ZAGREB, March 2, 2018 – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Croatian counterpart Marija Pejčinović Burić met in Zagreb on Thursday, discussing the fight against extremism and terrorism as well as economic cooperation.
“We have touched upon a common challenge we are facing, and that is extremism and terrorism. We have come to the common conclusion that efforts should also be made on a cultural basis to prevent them and ensure that they do not return to this region,” Zarif told a joint press conference after the meeting.
“Iran was among the first Asian countries to recognise Croatia’s independence and I am very pleased that our relations are friendly, both on the political and economic level. I hope we will manage to establish good ties between the private sectors of our countries,” he added.
The focus of the meeting was on economic cooperation.
Earlier in the day, Zarif and his business delegation attended the third conference of business people from the two countries. The conference was opened by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Economy Minister Martina Dalić.
Pejčinović Burić said that the fact that the conference was opened by the president and the economy minister showed the importance Croatia attached to promoting economic cooperation between the two countries.
Pejčinović Burić said that potential areas of cooperation were shipbuilding, energy, industries, tourism, transport, education, science and the food industry because Croatia has the halal certification system and could therefore export food to Iran.
In the first nine months of 2017, trade between Croatia and Iran was 5.4 million dollars.
Pejčinović Burić conveyed the position of Croatia, which is also the position of the EU member states, on the importance of continuing the nuclear agreement between Iran and the big powers, which led to the lifting of sanctions two years ago and paved the way for cooperation between Europe and Iran.
The United States under President Donald Trump, a staunch opponent of this deal, has threatened European countries that it will withdraw from the agreement unless certain corrections are made.
European and US officials plan to meet in Berlin in March to discuss this issue, a source at the German foreign ministry said on Wednesday. The Russian foreign minister said in January that the agreement would not survive if the US pulled out.
Pejčinović Burić and Zarif also discussed the crises in Syria and Yemen, especially in light of the migrant crisis which is affecting Croatia, and the situation in Southeast Europe.
Zarif is due to meet with representatives of the Islamic community in Croatia before he leaves for Bosnia and Herzegovina.