President Meeting with Putin Next Week

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A lot of topics to discuss.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović will visit the Russian Federation and talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week. According to reports, before the visit she has managed to agree with the government on the positions towards the Agrokor crisis, events in Ukraine and the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, reports Jutarnji List on October 15, 2017.

However, since Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović-Burić will not be part of the Croatian delegation in Sochi and Moscow, it is not yet known whether the President will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. While diplomats point out that the absence of Minister Pejčinović-Burić is not usual for such a high-level visit, the government insists it is not a message to Moscow or any attempt to diminish the significance of the President’s visit, which some believe is one of the most important events for Croatian foreign policy this year. At this point, it is not known whether the President will talk about the implementation of the bilateral agreement that Croatia should find a solution for the Russian Embassy building in Zagreb, which Russia expects finally to happen very soon.

The long-awaited visit will begin on Wednesday in Sochi, where President Vladimir Putin will receive his guest. Putin and Kitarović will have a private conversation, which will be followed by a meeting of the two delegations. Croatian delegation will include Interior Minister Davor Božinović and Culture Minister Nina Obuljen-Koržinek, as well as State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Zdravka Bušić. They will sign six agreements, including a protocol on cooperation between the Croatian and Russian interior ministries.

On Wednesday evening, Grabar-Kitarović will again be welcomed in Moscow with the official honour guard. On Thursday, she will meet with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and participate in the Russian-Croatian economic forum which will include about 150 Croatian and 250 Russian businesspeople. In Moscow, she will also lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Hero and meet with the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill.

President Grabar-Kitarović will also meet with Valentina Matviyenko, the chairwoman of the Federal Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, and she will hold a lecture at the Plekhanov University where she will be awarded an honorary doctorate. On Friday, the last day of her stay in Russia, the president will meet in St. Petersburg with Governor Georgy Poltavchenko. She is expected to visit several museums and theatres.

The visit of the Croatian President to Russia comes in a period when relations between the two countries are not sufficiently developed. This will be the third visit of a Croatian president to Russia, following visits by Franjo Tuđman in 1998 and Stjepan Mesić in 2009. It is expected that this trip will be followed by a visit of President Grabar-Kitarović to the United States, where she will meet with representatives from the Trump administration.

“It is expected that Putin and Grabar-Kitarović will discuss issues of common interest, such as the fight against terrorism. They will also talk about the stability of Southeast Europe, which will include Bosnia and Herzegovina as well. Particular emphasis will be put on the development of economic co-operation,” according to the President’s office.

Translated from Jutarnji List.


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