Milanović: Bosnia Can Be Civic Only Upon Joining EU, Croats Will Not Be Minority

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Photo: Zeljko Lukunic/PIXSELL
Photo: Zeljko Lukunic/PIXSELL

“We want the whole Bosnia and Herzegovina in the European Union. Only then can it become a civic state. Until then it is regulated by (the) Dayton (peace agreement) and it was created in the blood of Croatian soldiers,” he said at a ceremony marking 30 years of the establishment of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO).

Milanović said such statements from him were not seen as friendly in BiH. “I have no prejudices either against the Serbs, who were the aggressors, or against the Bosniaks.”

The HVO, the Croatian Army and the Army of BiH were allies in the liberation of BiH, he said, wondering what happened for the Croatian side to be considered an enemy today.

Milanović called on present-day Bosniak political leaders to return the decoration which former Croatian president Franjo Tuđman bestowed on former BiH president Alija Izetbegović if they considered the HVO and Croatia criminal.

The role of the HVO was “fatefully significant” for the survival of BiH, he said, adding that Croats in BiH will preserve the role and status they have under the Dayton agreement. “As the least numerous people in BiH, Croats don’t want to be a minority today. Croatianhood can’t be eradicated from BiH.”

Milanović criticised the outvoting of Croats in elections and said this was not done with representatives of national minorities in Croatia.

Croatian War Veterans Minister Tomo Medved, who attended the ceremony as Prime Minister Andrej Plenković’s envoy, said Croatian volunteers from BiH and the HVO played an important role in the liberation of Croatia and a crucial role in BiH’s survival.

“There would have been no free and independent BiH had the HVO not been established at the start of the war,” he said, adding that the Croatian government will continue to support Coats in BiH in the exercise of their political rights via changes to the election law and in defusing tensions and restoring the alliance between Croats and Bosniaks.

The fight for Croats in BiH continues by insisting on achieving equality, said Dragan Čović, president of the Croatian National Assembly, an umbrella organisation of Croat political parties in BiH. He called for the support of all Croatian institutions.

Before the ceremony, wreaths were laid for the HVO defenders killed in the war in BiH, including by Milanović and Medved.

 For more, check out our politics section.


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