Speaking to the press after attending a Feast of the Assumption of Mary Mass in Rijeka, he said all services were involved with regard to the Croatian nationals in Afghanistan and that Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman was in daily contact with them.
Plenković said most of those people were working as part of various international engagements and arrangements.
He said that after so many years, the Afghan authorities did not make it independently for long and that there was a sort of disorganisation now, but that it was good that there did not seem to be many casualties. “In any case, it’s not good that the Afghan authorities have been so fragile after the withdrawal of international forces.”
Asked about “the U.S. president’s withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Plenković said it was not only him. “He entered a process that… had begun before,” he said, adding that “the Croatian army withdrew almost a year ago… and some other states decided to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan.”
“That attempt to build a state in such a society, so divided, often tribally organised, evidently failed and it’s a lesson we will have to consider well on the international level,” Plenković said.
“In relation to what was attempted, I think the intention was good, but after 19 years it was evidently time to see if the Afghan authorities, after so much investment, training, attempting to build a state, could keep that state functioning, but that didn’t happen, unfortunately.”
Consultations on new Supreme Court president candidate next week
Asked if he had reached an agreement with President Zoran Milanović on a new candidate for Supreme Court president, Plenković said that first the Court’s General Convention had to take a position on the candidates, after which it was the turn of the parliamentary judiciary committee.
He said neither the ruling HDZ party nor the parliamentary majority had held consultations on the matter due to the summer holidays and that this topic would be on the agenda next week.
We won’t pay someone to get vaccinated
Speaking of the COVID situation, Plenković said the most important thing was for Croatia to remain in the orange zone and that he was confident it would.
He said infection was spreading because of the many tourists in the country but that compared with other countries, Croatia was doing quite well.
He again called on everyone to get vaccinated, saying that over 50% of the population were still unvaccinated and that they were a reservoir from which the virus spread.
As for the coming school year, Plenković said it was necessary to be as disciplined as possible for the safety of students and their families.
He said the government did not have a new plan to speed up vaccination because there were enough doses and he talked about it in every public address. “We certainly won’t pay someone to get vaccinated,” he said.
The vaccination rate will not exceed 60% “for I don’t know how many more months,” he said. “The autumn will be as we make it.”
Asked about Slovenia’s requirement that people in transit be tested for COVID, Plenković said every country would somehow filter people returning from abroad ahead of the school year.
Asked about Croatia’s restrictions for the autumn, he said that if they were lifted, so would the job-retention payments, reiterating that Croatia’s restrictions had been “normal, reasonable… without a curfew.”
He also said the Safe Stay in Croatia scheme had been received well and that plenty of tourists were expected in the next six weeks.