Serbia says its embassies and a US consulate have been ‘suspended’ without explanation
The accounts of seven Serbian embassies and one consulate in the United States were “suspended” via Twitter, the Foreign Ministry in Belgrade announced on Monday. Serbia asked Twitter to unblock the accounts, arguing that such censorship from a pro-European democracy that champions freedom of expression was unacceptable.
The embassies of Armenia, Ghana, Iran, Indonesia, Kuwait, Nigeria and Zimbabwe had their accounts “suspended” on August 18, the Serbian Foreign Ministry said In Monday. The same thing happened at the consulate in Chicago, in the US state of Illinois. The hangers have arrived “without any explanation or prior notification of a possible violation of the rules of the social network.”
“Without getting into Twitter’s trade policies, we note that it is unacceptable to censor the diplomatic offices of a democratic state that has not been sanctioned in any way. Belgrade said.
“Serbia is a country strategically committed to European Union membership and our political and democratic standards – including media freedom – are adjusted to meet the highest European standards,” the Serbian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “It is therefore absurd that a series of our diplomatic and consular offices have been censored on a social network that boasts of promoting democracy and diversity of opinion.”
Belgrade hopes the ban is “is not part of an attempt to thwart or silence Serbia in its struggle for truth,particularly on the situation in Kosovo, added the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Sixteen people – including 13 MPs from the ruling Progressive Party – were also suspended without explanation last week. Among them was Arnaud Gouillon, the French-born aid worker currently employed as head of the Foreign Ministry’s office for cooperation with the diaspora. His account has since been restored.
On the day Twitter targeted Serbian accounts for suspension, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met with Kosovo Albanian authorities in Brussels. The talks, mediated by the US and the EU, were meant to resolve tensions in the breakaway province.
NATO occupied Kosovo after the 78-day war in 1999 and handed it over to ethnic Albanian separatists, who declared independence in 2008 with US backing. Belgrade refuses to recognize the government in Pristina, in which it is supported by Russia, China and about half of the countries of the world.
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