National interest can be achieved only if it is continuous, “if there is some consensus… on what is important to us, what makes us a nation which shares unity and a common history, not haughtiness, not hate for others, but simply reality,” Milanović said at a ceremony on the occasion of Croatian Armed Forces Day, the 31st anniversary of their formation, and Croatian Army Day.
More than 30 years have passed since the formation of the Croatian Army and it’s good to reiterate some truths, Milanović said, adding that Croatia liberated itself in the war, without anyone’s help.
“It was the Croatian Army that made it possible for peace to be established in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and only then the NATO bombers and fighter planes. You are not properly honoured for that. We had to wait for years to enter both NATO and the European Union. Croatia was defended by a small number of good men, a very small number.”
Milanović said he was not saying that with bitterness, let alone with a desire for revenge, but as a contribution to the historical truth.
Speaking of relations between states and nations, he said they were a constant proving and convincing in order to avoid warfare.
“We see these days how it looks when a war breaks out and when a bigger state suddenly, fraudulently attacks a smaller state. We are far from that war in a way, but still living with it every day,” Milanović said.
We must first and foremost take care of ourselves and be aware that we owe maximum loyalty and faithfulness to our NATO allies, he added.
This has been a year of important good acquisitions in terms of the material situation and equipment of the Croatian Army, and that should be welcomed, he said.
However, he added, we must know that defence systems are unrealistically expensive, as is their maintenance, so we must find a balance because we can’t have everything but a little bit of everything.
Decisions on that are made by politics, which changes every four years or lasts longer, but it must look over the horizon for the longer term, not blinded by current interests, Milanović said.
Speaking of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said it was not good “and this should be said in every place. If we were united in that, we would solve the problem very quickly without any ado… and I will not tire of attempts for it to happen.”
He said one Bosnian Croat political party was being threatened on the official website of the European delegation in Sarajevo.
The biggest party, just one of 13 parties, “is being warned in a threatening language that something will be done to it unless it gives in to a stand. I know that pressure is also part of politics, but I ask on whose behalf is this being said? Of which member state?” he said, adding that those keeping quiet about it are not doing their job.
Milanović called for talks and agreement.
“A lack of talks always leads to wars, misunderstandings, haughtiness. There will be no war here, but years are being lost… years for success, for development. Let’s go forward, let’s move on, let’s care for our alliances, our friends, but finally or first of all, for ourselves, for our Croatia which you created and which should live happily and successfully.”