Serbia’s government has reportedly granted citizenship to Mohammed Dahlan, a former Palestinian Authority security chief and long-time rival of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
According to documents from the state’s official gazette analysed by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), Dahlan, his family and five key political supporters were all granted citizenship between February 2013 and June 2014.
It has been suggested that Dahlan could be planning to use Serbia as a base to launch his leadership challenge against Abbas.
The Serbian government is able to grant citizenship during closed cabinet sessions to foreigners deemed to have served “state interests” without offering any detailed public explanation.
The Serbian government has refused to respond to requests from BIRN addressing the subject.
However, Dusan Simeonovic, Serbia’s former ambassador to Egypt and Palestine, told BIRN the move was “clearly a sign of gratitude for Dahlan’s role in implementing investments from the UAE”. Dahlan is adviser to the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.