The president of Serbia dismissed the country's army chief Tuesday, days after the army chief charged the country had no strategy for defense.
President Boris Tadic said in a statement that he was replacing Gen. Zdravko Ponos. The statement gave no reason for the dismissal. It said a deputy commander will take over until a new army chief is named.
Last week, Ponos lashed out at the Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac, an ally of Tadic. Ponos was quoted by Serbian news organizations as criticizing the military budget and saying Serbia had no defense strategy. He also alleged that reform of the army had been halted.
The clash fueled opposition criticism of the government and added weight to allegations that the country's security system was under threat.
In an interview on Serbian state television late Monday, Tadic said both Ponos and Sutanovac bore responsibility for the disagreement. But he said Ponos should not have criticized the defense minister publicly.
Ponos became the Serbian army commander in 2006. He launched pro-Western reform of the Balkan country's military and restored relations with NATO, which had been strained since the 1999 U.S.-led bombing of Serbia over the country's actions in its breakaway province of Kosovo.