President Grabar-Kitarović Comments on Latest Events

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In an interview, the President says she will not visit Jasenovac and Bleiburg this year.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović gave an interview in which she said she would not visit Jasenovac and Bleiburg this year, because she did not want to participate in ideological divisions, reports Jutarnji List on April 30, 2016.

“As President, I do not want to participate in the further intensification of ideological divisions. I want to end them because I believe that political conflicts in connection with Jasenovac and Bleiburg are re-victimizing the victims. They deserve dignity, reverence and peace”, said the President. She added that she was disappointed with ideological conflicts because staying in the past makes it impossible to turn towards the future.

“Croatia does not have a strategy what to do now after it joined NATO and the EU. We do not have a development strategy for the next 5, 10 or 15 years. It is easiest to make a distraction with the Ustasha and partisans. It is terrible that today some are trying to create a division between antifascists and those who supported the Homeland War. It is a completely artificial division. My family was antifascist, they were partisans, but they were also anticommunists. The vast majority of my family also took part in the Homeland War”, said Grabar-Kitarović.

Asked whether she could do something to calm down the tensions, she said she had launched an initiative for dialogue. “In a conversation with representatives of minorities, I said we should all agree to a plan to promote dialogue and tolerance. I do not like the character of political rhetoric in Croatia”, she stated, adding that she did not deny that minorities had problems, but that she believed that everything could be solved with mutual respect.

Asked whether Croatia planned to block Serbia in the European accession process, she explained that it was not a blockade. “What Croatia wants is not a bilateral issue, but a matter of fulfilling the accession criteria, the same criteria that we ourselves had to meet”, she said. The President added that Croatian diplomacy had to explain to the EU that this was not a dispute between Croatia and Serbia, but that Serbia must adopt European standards.

Talking about the first one hundred days of the new government, Grabar-Kitarović welcomed the National Reform Programme and expressed hope that frictions will be turned into a constructive dialogue and cooperation. “It is high time that empty talk about reforms is finally replaced with specific actions”, she said.

The President pointed out that she supported all reforms aimed at creating new jobs, stopping negative demographic trends, improving business climate and economic growth. “The key is the implementation. We will all ultimately assess what has been done, and not just written”, she stressed.

Asked about her opinion with regards to rumours about possible reshuffle in the ruling coalition or early parliamentary elections, the President said that the Constitution clearly defined the requirements for new elections and that so far they had not been met. “As President, I cannot comment on coalition agreements and debates, but I will not let their differences affect the execution of reforms”, ​​said President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.


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