ZAGREB, February 13, 2018 – Commenting on his talks with visiting Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić on Monday, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that it was important to him that Croatia dealt with issues dating back to the time of the breakup of Yugoslavia, the time of the aggression of the Slobodan Milošević regime against Croatia and occupation of a part of its territory, “which prevented and slowed down the country’s development and integration with the EU and NATO.” “And for that we didn’t even get an apology from anyone,” he stressed.
Plenković went on to say that in developing relations with neighbours it was important to settle all outstanding issues, which was why he discussed with Vučić not only Europe’s new enlargement strategy, the situation in the region and economic cooperation, but also outstanding issues between the two countries. “And the outstanding issues are the war missing, the border, war reparations, protection of minorities, succession and the issue of cultural goods. We have to deal with all that in the period ahead,” he said.
Plenković said that he had agreed with Vučić that the two countries’ coordinators for outstanding issues would form a special task force to deal with the topic of war reparations.
Speaking about the issue of the border on the Danube river, he said that due to “Slovenia’s manipulation” Croatia’s experience with arbitration was not good. “However, that does not mean that some other arbitration case could not be conducted in line with entirely different, solid rules and principles of international law. But we first have to hold bilateral talks, and then see which international forum to possibly approach and with what kind of an agreement,” he said.
Plenković would not comment on President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović’s assessment that people protesting against the Serbian president’s visit were politically marginal, noting that the protesters were people who had clearly articulated their position on the neighbouring country’s leader with regard to his past. “You should ask the President about that,” he said when asked to comment on Grabar-Kitarović’s comment.
“Croatia is a democracy and those who for a number of reasons wanted to manifest their dissatisfaction, did so. That was not the first time it happened, such things happened in the case of some other visits, too,” Plenković said.