BELGRADE – The Serbian Foreign Ministry said Thursday it handed a protest note to Croatia’s ambassador in Belgrade over an “insulting” statement made by the Croatian foreign minister about Serbia.

Earlier this week, Croatia’s top diplomat Miro Kovac said that Serbia should not have a law claiming jurisdiction over war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia countries because it is “a historical perversion” as Serbia was the state from where the plans on the 1990s Balkan wars originated.

“The Serbian Foreign Ministry takes this opportunity to point out to the almost daily nationalist attacks and hate speech in the Republic of Croatia, which produces a sense of insecurity among the members of the Serb national minority — a direct consequence of the avoidance of the Republic of Croatia’s competent organs to adequately sanction and condemn such manifestations,” the Serbian Foreign Ministry said in the protest note.

The 1990s was notorious by a series of ethnic conflicts on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, which was then in the breakup process. The major conflicts included wars in Slovenia, Bosnia, the Croatian War of Independence, Kosovo war, insurgency in the Presevo Valley and the Republic of Macedonia.

In 1991, the Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK), an unrecognized entity made up of ethnic Serbs, was proclaimed in eastern Croatia during the war of independence. Four years later, Croatian and Bosnian armed forces launched an operation, which resulted in the elimination of the RSK. According to various estimates, up to 1,200 ethnic Serbian civilians were killed during the offensive, and some 200,000 Serbs were forced to flee.

Earlier this month, Zagreb sent a complaint to the European Council demanding better treatment of Croats in Serbia and more action on war crimes, as well as the annulment of the Serbian law on jurisdiction for the 1990s war crimes in Yugoslavia. After that, the Council postponed negotiations with Serbia on its EU membership.