Serbia, Croatia leaders smooth over ‘chocolategate’

Source:AFP Published: 2017/4/5 20:38:39

After weeks of bitter accusations between the Balkan nations of Serbia and Croatia, the leaders of both countries moved to smooth relations after a dispute sparked by the offering of Serbian chocolate to Croatian children.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic drew the ire of her fellow citizens in December after she gave the sweets to delighted kids in the Adriatic city of Dubrovnik.

The city was the site of a deadly siege by Serbian forces during the 1991-95 war, and critics saw the chocolate as a insult to the memory of the Croats killed there.

The give was particularly hard to swallow as it was made on December 6, the 25th anniversary of a crucial battle to defend Dubrovnik from Serb forces.

Grabar-Kitarovic publicly apologized a day later, but that only soured relations further after Belgrade denounced its neighbor's "incomprehensible racism."

But on Tuesday, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic was all smiles as he offered more of the chocolate to his Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenkovic, along with other sweets and products made by the confectionery maker.

The two leaders met at a regional economic forum in the southern Bosiann town of Mostar.

Asked if he intended to eat the chocolate, Plenkovic replied, "Without problem," Serbia's Tanjug news agency reported.

Ties between the two former Yugoslav republics remain fragile, however, as Belgrade and Zagreb continually trade accusations over war crimes committed by their forces during the 1991-95 war but also during World War II.


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