Plenković Criticises Milanović for Okučani Incident

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, May 1, 2020 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Friday dismissed the president’s claims that the appearance of a few men wearing T-shirts with the salute “For the homeland ready” at the Okučani celebration was intentional provocation, adding that it is Milanović’s right to leave, and the obligation of others to stay.

President Zoran Milanović abruptly left the central commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Operation Flash in protest against the salute “For the homeland ready” on T-shirts of some of war veterans who arrived in the town of Okučani on Friday morning to participate in the commemoration. The salute concerned, which was used during the Ustasha regime in the Second World War, was also used by the HOS volunteers during the 1991-1995 Homeland War.

“I have understood. We have held a brief conversation, for a minute. He was obviously informed by someone that some of the participants in the commemorative event had T-shirts with the HOS insignia. It is his decision (to leave). It is his right to leave, and it is our obligation to stay,” Plenković said in his comment to Milanovic’s behaviour at the Okučani celebration.

Plenković dismissed Milanović’s claims that those T-shirts were an intentional act of provocation.

Asked by the press whether such T-shirts bothered him, Plenković answered that “all who gave their lives for Croatia, including the fallen HOS members, have deserved my respect.”

“Making differences and what the president has done is not good. We have come here to pay tribute to the fallen defenders. You can see these 51 cubes here (as part of the Okučani monument to the fallen soldiers), we have come here because of those people. There is no place for provocation, we are here also on behalf of the institutions,” the premier said.

As for the said salute, the premier recalled that his cabinet had made a clear position.

“The council for dealing with the past, which we have established, has adopted a document which very clearly identifies the moments in which some insignia, used during the Homeland War, can be used and those are commemorations and times when we remember our victims,” Plenković said. “We pay our deepest respects to Croatian defenders,” said the premier.

Plenković recalled that during the recent commemoration in Jasenovac, Milanović said that a memorial plaque with the names of the fallen HOS soldiers which contains the “For the homeland ready” salute should be thrown away.

“You will never hear any of us saying that a plaque with the names of the fallen soldiers who defended Croatia should be thrown away,” he explained.

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.


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