Croatia is donating 10,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to Kosovo, Croatian Foreign Affairs Minister, Gordan Grlic-Radman, said in Pristina on Thursday, promising that Zagreb would continue promoting the recognition of Kosovo's independence.
“We know that this donation will be useful in the prevention of and protection against the pandemic which, unfortunately, has had serious consequences for public health and the overall economic situation in Koovo,” Grlic-Radman said at a joint news conference with his host, Kosovo Foreign Minister, Donika Gërvalla Schwarz.
Grlic-Radman, who during his visit will also meet with other top state officials and visit the Kosovo Croat community, said that Croatia had been among the first to recognize Kosovo’s independence.
“We are very proud of that,” he said, adding that Croatia had strongly supported Kosovo’s admission to international and regional organisations and would continue doing so.
Croatia has recently decided to increase the number of its troops in the Kosovo Force (KROF) and the minister said that participation in the mission was important to Croatia because its purpose was to preserve peace in the region.
Croatia is strongly against the redrawing of borders in Southeast Europe, Grlic-Radman stressed.
Zagreb to continue lobbying for Kosovo’s recognition
Zagreb strongly supports the continuation of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, which should resume in June, the Croatian minister said. He called on both sides to invest “maximum effort to finally agree an acceptable solution.”
Serbia does not recognise Kosovo’s independence and some EU member countries do not either.
To facilitate Kosovo’s European prospects, Zagreb will advocate Kosovo’s recognition with those EU countries that have still not recognised it, said Grlic-Radman. “If we want true peace… if we want to respect the will of Kosovo citizens, then we should definitely recognise their decision,” he said.
Grlic-Radman said this would facilitate relations and “pave the way to ensuring peace and stability in Southeast Europe.”
Croatia fully supports the liberalization of the visa regime with Kosovo, he said, adding also that at a meeting of the Council for European Affairs in Brussels next week he would stress the importance of EU enlargement to Southeast Europe.
Ethnic Croat minority in Kosovo
Later in the day the Croatian minister is expected to meet with representatives of the ethnic Croat minority, whose members mostly live in the villages of Janjevo, Letnica and Vrnavokolo.
“I have asked the minister to personally see to it that their status is improved and regulated,” he said, adding that he would express this request also to his other interlocutors.
Grlic-Radman and Gërvalla Schwarz also discussed ways to improve business conditions for Croatian companies, such as Ina.
“We expect Kosovo to make further progress in that regard as well, which would contribute to further intensification of economic relations,” he said.