Iain Gray urged to say sorry after 'ethnic cleansing' gaffe sparks diplomatic row

Labour leader Iain Gray has been urged to apologise after his comments linking Montenegro to ethnic cleansing sparked a diplomatic row.

A Montenegrin diplomat has written to the Scottish Labour leader to complain over what he said in the Scottish Parliament just before Christmas.

During First Minister's Questions, Mr Gray said he had looked at the SNP website for arguments in support of independence and it cited Montenegro as having gained its independence in 40 days.

The SNP website states: "Montenegro shows us just how easy it can be to become an independent country."

But Mr Gray said it took "40 days, two world wars, the Balkan conflict, ethnic cleansing, a war crimes tribunal and a UN peacekeeping mission".

Marijana Zivkovic, charg d'affaires at the Montenegro embassy in London, has rebuked him over the comments he made at Holyrood on 23 December. In a letter, she expressed her "deep regret" about the way he depicted the country.

She wrote: "Your statement that Montenegro was involved in 'ethnic cleansing', including your references to 'a war crimes tribunal and a UN peacekeeping mission' is simply incorrect."