Croatian FM begins official visit to Washington

Croatian FM begins official visit to Washington Izvor: N1

Croatia's Foreign Minister, Marija Pejcinovic-Buric, began an official visit to Washington DC on Tuesday, in what state agency Hina described as the first official visit of a Croatian foreign minister to the United States "for several years".

The centrepiece of the visit is a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, scheduled for Wednesday. Pejcinovic-Buric said it was important to ensure that such visits were more frequent.

Croatian and US foreign policy chiefs have not met since 2012, when former Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic met with the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"Croatia fosters good and friendly relations with America," she said, and added that the US had supported Croatia "in the best possible way" in the process of its accession to NATO and the European Union, and that their cooperation had been raised to a higher level.

"We believe that this strategic relationship and the defence cooperation that we have developed within NATO have the potential for further development," the minister said.

Pejcinovic-Buric added that Croatia was among the few EU countries whose citizens still require a visa to enter the United States. She said that more work should be done to make it easier for Croatian citizens to get visas for the US, and to abolish the visa requirements altogether.

On the first day of her visit, she delivered a talk at a roundtable hosted by the international relations think tank Atlantic Council and spoke about Croatia's views on ways to ensure a strong and successful European Union.

According to a press release from the foreign ministry, Pejcinovic-Buric in her talk mentioned a number of challenges facing the EU, including illegal migration, debates on the future of Europe, the EU after the United Kingdom's departure from the bloc, the upcoming elections for the European Parliament, energy security, and the political situation in southeastern Europe.

She also talked about Croatia's preparations for joining the EU's passport-free Schengen area and the euro zone, as well as the Three Seas Initiative ahead of its summit in Bucharest.

During her visit, Pejcinovic-Buric will also meet with Mira Ricardel, deputy national security advisor to President Donald Trump, Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Europe, and the co-chairs of the Congressional Croatian Caucus, David Joyce, and Nanette Barragan.

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