Russian foreign ministry defends ambassador
The Russian Foreign Ministry has stated that Ambassador Aleksandr Konuzin's presence at a Serb Progressive Party (SNS) rally was common diplomatic practice.Source: Tanjug
It is common diplomatic practice in the world for ambassadors to maintain contacts with all political powers of the respective country and attend various events they organize, RIA Novosti cited the ministry's statement.
The news agency says information about the presence of the Russian diplomatic envoy in Serbia at the opposition party's rally in the southern town of Niš appeared in the media late last week.
This was the reason for some politicians to accuse the ambassador of interfering with the country's internal affairs, the ministry noted.
Konuzin attended the rally in Niš on Saturday, marking the third anniversary of the SNS, where he remarked that the party had become one of the chief indicators of the Serbian public opinion, gaining the ability to make plans for the whole nation, but also assuming the responsibility that comes with the trust and expectations the people invest in the SNS.
The ambassador's presence at the rally and his messages were interpreted as interference with Serbia's internal affairs.
Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister and high official of the ruling Democrats (DS) Božidar Đelić said Konuzin had once again interfered with Serbia's internal affairs when he spoke at the SNS rally.
The League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina requested that the authorities declare Konuzin persona non grata and expel him from Serbia.
Some analysts, meanwhile, assert that Konuzin's appearance at the pre-election rally represented the continuation of Russia's interference with Serbia's internal issues, but also a clear message to the current government pointing out which political option enjoyed Russia's support.