President and Foreign Ministry Clash over Migration Agreement

Total Croatia News

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ZAGREB, November 5, 2018 – On Monday, the Jutarnji List daily published a letter which President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović sent UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres in August this year, in which she says, among other things, that she is very much pleased to be able to participate in the adoption of a document on migration in Marrakesh, Morocco.

“I am exceptionally pleased to be able to participate in the adoption of this important document which constitutes materialisation of the agreement from the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, as well as a response by the international community to the biggest movement of people in the history of the world,” reads the letter which, according to Jutarnji List, the president sent the UN secretary-general on August 16.

Grabar-Kitarović’s participation in the Marrakesh conference has caused a new disagreement between the Office of the President and the government after a controversial TV host published on his Facebook wall an alleged reply from the Office of the President saying that she would not sign the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in Marrakesh and that her office was not involved in talks on the Declaration.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said this past Friday that the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration regulated only legal migration and that he had been informed that President Grabar-Kitarović would go to Morocco in December for the ratification of the document. He would not comment on media reports that the president would not go to Morocco, saying that, as far as he knew, she planned to attend the Global Compact ratification conference in Marrakesh because she was invited by the UN secretary-general.

Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić told a news conference on Friday that she was surprised by announcements that Grabar-Kitarović would not attend the conference, and on that occasion cited Grabar-Kitarović’s speech in the UN in which she expressed clear support for the Global Compact.

The Office of the President said on Friday that the president supported the completion of talks on the Marrakesh agreement but that she would not attend the ratification conference in Marrakesh and that she had informed the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry of her decision.

On Monday, President Grabar-Kitarović said that “I neither support nor don’t support” the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and severely criticised the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry over its failure to inform the public about the Marrakesh declaration on regular migrations which is now the issue that is causing disputes in the public.

Asked by the press about the document, she said “I neither support nor don’t support it.” The president is sure that a global response to migrations is necessary but that “it must not be a disputable issue among countries.” “More and more countries give up on the agreement on a daily basis for various reasons. I am not led by the interests of the United States or Austria but by the interests of Croatia,” she said.

She insists that putting the Marrakesh declaration on the front burner is an attempt to distract the public attention from Croatia’s burning issues.

To read more about the migrant crisis as it affects Croatia, click here.


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