"Our Concern Is Croatia and its Way to Prosperity; We Have Common Topics"

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(180910) -- ZAGREB, Sept. 10, 2018 () -- Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (R) and visiting Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen inspect the guard of honor during a welcoming ceremony in Zagreb, Croatia, on Sept. 10, 2018. Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen started his two-day official visit to Croatia on Monday., Image: 386189835, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: WORLD RIGHTS excluding China - Fee Payable Upon Reproduction - For queries contact Avalon.red - sales@avalon.red London: +44 (0) 20 7421 6000 Los Angeles: +1 (310) 822 0419 Berlin: +49 (0) 30 76 212 251 Madrid: +34 91 533 4289, Model Release: no, Credit line: Profimedia, UPPA News
Profimedia, UPPA News

President Grabar-Kitarović and Austrian President Van der Bellen

It was a pointless and inappropriate provocation; the historical facts are well known - sums up the Government response.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić's speech in Kosovo was sharply condemned by Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and the Croatian government, also receiving harsh reactions of other notable Croatian politicians.

Grabar-Kitarović, who met with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen in Zagreb on Monday, said they did not talk about Vučić's speech; she cannot see why it should be important to Croatia in the first place. "Why should Vučić impose topics on us?" ‒ she asked. "We have our own topics; our concern is Croatia and the way to prosperity."

Clear criteria

On Pantovčak, where the guest from Austria was officially and ceremonially welcomed, the Croatian President reiterated the position that the EU should expand, but that all candidate countries should also meet the criteria for the entry. "The criteria have become more specific than ever", she said. "Croatia does not want to be in a position to block anyone on that road. However, we shall continue to insist on fulfillment of the criteria." It was an obvious hint at Serbia, among others.

- I want the stability of the Serb community in Croatia and the Croat community in Serbia, and will not stoop to a comment of Vučić's words - said Grabar-Kitarović.

- I think his own words serve as the best comment - she added.

During the course of the day, the Croatian President said that the Croatian flag flew in Knin before Vučić's speech and will continue to do so in the future.

The Croatian government also reacted very sharply with a statement quoting Vučić's words, a release saying that such statements were a new, pointless and inappropriate provocation that could not change reality or historical facts. "It is a historical fact that Croatia was attacked at the beginning of the 1990s and was a victim of the aggression by Milošević's Greater Serbian regime", says the government statement. "That regime was defeated by the victorious Croatian Army in the Homeland War. The entire occupied territory, including the town of Knin, was liberated. We can be proud of that. The Croatian flag flying on the Knin Fortress is a permanent symbol of [that victory], as well as a millennial symbol of the Croatian statehood. Despite the fact that the war was imposed, Croatia emerged from it victorious; today it is a member of the EU and the NATO."

The government also touches on the future relations between Croatia and Serbia. "If the President of today's Serbia considers the wars of conquest conducted by the regime of Slobodan Milošević the 'best intentions', the repair of the broken bridges between Serbia and the victims of its aggression will unfortunately require much more further effort and time," says the release. "As a war loser responsible for so much tragedy suffered by almost all its neighboring nations, Serbia is certainly in a very difficult position. The sooner Serbia, its leadership and its public face that fact and adopt European values, the sooner a true reconciliation can take place and good neighborly relations be restored."

Failed concept

Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS) president Darinko Kosor has called for a meeting of the ruling coalition in order to hear a clear position of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS), a coalition member that represents the Croatian Serb minority.

President of the Parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee Miro Kovač has told Jutarnji list that Vučić knows very well that Knin has been and remains a Croat city. "What is new in [his] speech in Mitrovica is that, for the first time in the role of the Serbian President, he clearly told the Serbian people that the Greater Serbian policies and the myth of 'Heavenly Serbia' are failed, unsuccessful concepts", he added.

Kovač also stated that Vučić had admitted the Serbia's assessment of its position in the world and its attitude toward Croats, Bosniaks and Albanians were wrong, and that the country lost the wars initiated by his predecessor Slobodan Milošević. "In his peculiar style, Vučić has made Serbia face the catastrophic consequences of the Greater Serbian policies", he concluded.

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Inačica na drugom jeziku / Alternate language version