Croatia-Serbia Tensions Rising Ahead of Presidential Visit

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, February 8, 2018 – A statement by Serbia’s Defence Minister, Aleksandar Vulin, who said that the Ustasha ideology never left politics and public life in Croatia and that he expects the Ustasha to wait for Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić in the squares in Zagreb was on Thursday met with condemnation from Croatian officials.

Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković branded Vulin’s statement as “a very destructive signal that could ruin all the efforts made so far for Vučić’s visit to take place at all”. Vučić is due to pay a visit to Croatia on Monday and Tuesday, at the invitation of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.

Vulin’s statement “certainly doesn’t contribute to a positive atmosphere that should be connected to Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić’s visit,” Jandroković told the press, adding that Vulin is Vučić’s close associate, and Vučić should tell his associates to watch what they are saying.

Croatian parliamentarian Branko Bačić (HDZ) also thinks that the Serbian president should now give his position on statements made by his ministers: Vulin and Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić.

Croatian Construction Minister Lovro Kuščević made a succinct response to Vulin’s claims. “In Croatia there are neither Ustasha nor Partisans, but only Croatian patriots, Croatian citizens. And, the safety and security of every foreigner visiting Croatia is certainly guaranteed,” Kuščević said.

Justice Minister Dražen Bošnjaković said there were no Ustasha in Croatia and labelled Vulin’s statement as exaggeration. “I think that messages like that shouldn’t be sent, they simply aren’t true,” Bošnjaković said.

With regard to the topics to be discussed by the host Grabar-Kitarović and and her guest Vucic during his official visit to Zagreb, Bošnjaković told reporters to ask the President’s Office for that information.

Serbian media on Thursday reported that Vulin said that “Aleksandar Vučić is going to Croatia to fight for the status of Serbs in that country and to try and mend relations between the two countries, however, unfortunately, he will be greeted by Ustasha and talk of war reparation.” “I told Vučić that there was no need to go to Croatia in that atmosphere and the way they will greet him. I don’t believe in Croatia’s sincerity and desire to mend our relations,” Vulin said.


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