Austrian Police Disarms Croatian Army at Bleiburg

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Unsurprisingly, Austrian authorities do not allow armed foreign armies to wander through their country.

The commemoration for the victims of Bleiburg is taking place today in the Austrian town. Many high-ranking Croatian officials are present, including Parliament Speaker Željko Reiner, First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko and an envoy of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. The memorial was visited yesterday by Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković as well. However, an incident occurred today prior to the ceremony, when Austrian police disarmed several soldiers of a ceremonial unit of Croatian Army which was supposed to take part in the commemoration, reports on May 14, 2016.

Austrian police stopped the ceremonial unit and did not allow them to attend the commemoration. One of the rifles was seemingly suspicious. While the commander of the unit tried to explain to an Austrian police officer that the rifle was just for ceremonial purposes, the policeman did not accept his explanation.

All the armed soldiers were driven away about a kilometre away from the commemoration, where police decided to take a photograph of each rifle individually. The soldiers were subsequently released and returned to the commemoration, but without their arms.

Boris Blažeković, former representative of the Croatian Parliament at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, commented on the incident. “The military cannot cross the state border with its weapons unless it has a permission from the government, Parliament and the President. This is unacceptable and a real disgrace. It is simply unacceptable that these things can happen. When we had two soldiers who were supposed to take part in a mission in Somalia, Parliament had to give them approval”, said Blažeković.

Former Croatian President Ivo Josipović was also critical. “This was a problem for Austria, since it cannot accept that foreign armies enter its territory. Croatia made a serious blunder, because it had not checked how and under what conditions this can be done”, said Josipović.

Austria is one of permanently neutral countries, so Croatian Army has violated international rules, entering as a NATO member into the territory of a neutral country.


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