Vučić Calls for Better Relations between Croatia and Serbia

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ZAGREB, January 25, 2019 – Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said on Friday that Croatia and Serbia should have much better relations if they wanted to survive, adding that the entire region should stop thinking about the past and look forward.

“What I am not happy about are political relations in the region,” Vučić told Hina and the Croatian public broadcaster HRT on the margins of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

“There are always countless problems there, too much thinking about the past and too little about the future, but I guess it’s the characteristic of all of us and that’s what we’ll have to change,” the Serbian president said.

Vučić earlier attended a panel on the Western Balkans together with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and had an opportunity to talk to him informally.

He said that economic relations were much better than the political situation in the region. “I think that the Serbs and Croats as nations, not just the Serbian and Croatian states, regardless of their emotions which are not always good, must have much better relations if they both want to survive,” Vučić said.

He said that both countries had “terrible demographics” as many people were emigrating. “If we are to survive, we will have to work together, get closer to each other, and that will happen,” Vučić said.

He added that the Croats and Serbs would find ways of cooperating once they started thinking less about “stabbing one another in the back” and became more focused on the future. “I absolutely believe in this,” he stressed.

Vučić said that relations with Priština were a burning issue for Belgrade, and that the imposition by Kosovo of customs duties on imports from Serbia was against all European rules. He said that all important European and world stakeholders had told him in Davos that they were against Kosovo’s move.

Speaking of other problems in the region, Vučić mentioned the latest initiative by the Bosniak SDA party in Bosnia and Herzegovina for assessment of the constitutionality of the name of Republika Srpska, the country’s Serb entity.

Its name “is a Dayton category, it’s a constitutional category of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They cannot do that and expect support from the world,” the Serbian president said.

The announcement by the SDA that it will formally ask the Constitutional Court to assess whether the name of the Bosnian Serb entity is constitutional has met with strong reactions in the country and condemnation from the international community. SDA leader Bakir Izetbegović said on Thursday that it was a legitimate initiative the aim of which was to eliminate evident discrimination against non-Serbs living in Republika Srpska.

More news on the relations between Croatia and Serbia can be found in the Politics section.


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