Foreign Minister Stier on Regional Security and New US Administration

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Deputy Prime Minister Davor Ivo Stier commented on latest events.

Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier gave an interview on Sunday in which he discussed the latest events, reports N1 on January 22, 2017.

Regarding the security situation in the region, Stier said that it was necessary that everybody works towards the stability of Southeast Europe. “It is in our interest to have stability, particularly regarding Bosnia and Herzegovina, given that we share such a long border. There is also a geostrategic reason, since Croats are a constituent people in Bosnia, Croatia is a signatory of the Dayton Agreement, and we have a right and an obligation to promote stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the entire region”, said Stier.

“There are changes at the continental and even global level, which has repercussions on Eastern Europe. Serbia is trying to restore some positions that it has lost in the last 25 years. Of course, the main difference compared to twenty or thirty years, or even earlier, is that this time we have a sovereign state and we can protect our interests. With regards to Serbia, we need to work with Belgrade to identify common challenges, such as radicalized Islamism. This is a common threat to Croatia, Europe, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we should work on this platform”, added Stier. “We cooperated with Serbia on the issue of mass migration of refugees, which has a humanitarian dimension, but the security aspect cannot be excluded as well. We also have economic cooperation where we can find common ground. But, we have to resolve our outstanding issues, and there are a lot of them.”

Foreign Minister Stier also discussed relations with Russia. “We need to have a channel of communication and we have it. In a few days we will hold consultations with the Russian Federation at the level of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have an open channel with Turkey as well. It was the same under President Tuđman – orientation of Croatia is clearly towards the West, but that does not mean that we do not have a channel of communication with Russia and Turkey, which are traditionally present in Southeast Europe.”

Regarding relations with the new US administration, Stier was optimistic. “I have already mentioned that Croatia has recognized potential threats to the EU and Croatia, such as radicalized Islamism. This is one of the priorities of the Trump administration as well. In addition to being formally linked through membership in NATO, there are also many people in his administration who want to maintain a strong transatlantic relationship. I am confident that we will continue to build our alliance with the new administration, with the State Department and the Pentagon”, said Stier.


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