PM Plenkovic: Croatia is open for dialogue with Serbia

NEWS 26.04.2018 12:08
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Source: Dalibor Urukalović/PIXSELL

Croatia is open for dialogue with Serbia, but it is also firmly determined to defend its dignity and protect its national interest, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said in a Croatian government session on Thursday.

“It was our view that (Serbia’s Defence Minister) Aleksandar Vulin arriving in Croatia would not contribute to reducing tensions and efforts to build good-neighbourly relations,” Plenkovic said, referring to Croatia’s decision to declare Vulin a persona non grata.

Plenkovic said Croatia had proved that it wanted to cooperate with its eastern neighbour, and added that Speaker of Parliament, Gordan Jandrokovic, had travelled to Belgrade earlier this month “in good faith”.

What was planned to be a two-day cordial visit of a Croatian Parliament delegation to Belgrade earlier this month was unexpectedly cut short following an incident involving Vojislav Seselj, an ultra-nationalist Serbian MP, who hurled insults at members of the delegation and desecrated Croatia’s flag in front of the Serbian Parliament.

Plenkovic said that the incident did not contribute to building cooperation between the two nations, but added that Croatia is still open for dialogue.

“Croatia is open for dialogue with Serbia, but it is also firmly determined to defend its dignity and protect its national interest,” Plenkovic said.

Croatian Foreign Ministry issued a protest note to the Serbian Embassy in Zagreb, in which it condemned Vulin’s earlier statement that the decision on him coming to Croatia can “only be made by the Serbian Army Commander-in-Chief, Aleksandar Vucic, rather than Croatian government ministers.”

In its response, Croatian Foreign Ministry said that “referring to the Serbian Army Commander-in-Chief, Aleksandar Vucic, as the person to decide whether anyone can or cannot come to Croatia is an inappropriate and unacceptable attempt to deny Croatia’s sovereignty.”

Because of his statement, Vulin was declared a persona non grata in Croatia. Serbian government announced earlier this week it would respond by matching Croatia’s decision, most likely by denying hospitality to a Croatian official, with the exact details to be announced later on Thursday.

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