ZAGREB, December 14, 2018 – President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović would not comment on the resignation of her defence and national security adviser Vlado Galić on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters in Velika Gorica, just south of Zagreb, the president said she would accept Galić’s resignation, who had given “ethical and moral reasons” for his decision, but she would not say whether his resignation was prompted by the fake text messages scandal.
“According to what Galić told me, he has nothing to do with what he is being accused of,” Grabar-Kitarović said, adding that the investigation was being treated as confidential and she could not go into it.
Asked if she would seek clarification of allegations that a coup and the resignation of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković had been demanded in her name, the president said she would request reports from relevant services. “I think that an attempt to replace the prime minister is a very serious matter, which is furthest from my mind. I want to hear if there is any concrete information indicating that attempts were made to create a new scandal,” Grabar Kitarović said.
The president does not think Defence Minister Damir Krstičević should step down over problems relating to the delivery of Israeli F-16 Barak fighter jets, saying that she cannot see how he is responsible for that.
She, however, noted that Croatia had no time to waste. “Considering the state of our Air Force fleet, we need to act fast,” Grabar-Kitarović said, adding that the 2013 overhaul of the MiGs was poorly done and that “soon we won’t have any MiGs that will be able to take off, and we also need to keep the pilots.”
Grabar-Kitarović confirmed she had talked with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, adding that he said he was working with the US to resolve the matter. The president said that US officials she had spoken with had expressed their principled support for the project, but she did not go into details of the deal with them.
The deputy speaker of parliament and deputy leader of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party, Milijan Brkić, said on Thursday while commenting on the resignation of presidential defence and national security adviser Vlado Galić, that he did not want to take part in “this circus of lies and fabrications”.
“It is regrettable that in this country it is not important who committed crimes and who was convicted, but who met whom and who had a coffee with whom. I don’t want to take part in this circus of lies and fabrications,” Brkić told Hina.
Presidential defence and national security adviser Vlado Galić stepped down on Thursday, citing “moral and ethical reasons”. President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović has accepted his resignation, her office confirmed to Hina.
Galić’s name was mentioned by the chief suspect during an investigation into the so-called fake text messages scandal. The scandal concerns the fabrication by former police IT specialist Franjo Varga of false text messages between former chief state prosecutor Dinko Cvitan and a judge in the trial of former Dinamo Football Club boss Zdravko Mamić. The purpose of the false correspondence was to show that Cvitan tried to exert pressure on the judge to convict Mamić.
In his deposition to investigators, Varga also spoke about his cooperation with former HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko and his deputy Milijan Brkić as well as with former Agrokor owner Ivica Todorić and presidential adviser Vlado Galić, who had introduced Varga to Karamarko.
More news on the national security issues in Croatia can be found in our Politics section.