ZAGREB, Sept 2, 2020 – Defence Minister Mario Banozic said on Wednesday that according to his information President’s visit to Albania was official and dismissed remarks that the ministry was keeping mum about the case.
“From what has been given to me in writing, it was an official trip, and the Conflict of Interest Commission will establish… if it was a private or an official visit,” Banozic told the press in Split.
He said the media interpreted his recent statement about the president’s visit to Albania flippantly. He explained that he was stating the rights which the president and Armed Forces commander in chief had in using military resources under the Defence Act.
Banozic said that in his statement he pointed to the amount that was paid because the expenses for the use of those resources were covered by the Defence Ministry, not the president’s office and that he would always comment on that. He added that it was not true that the ministry was keeping quiet about it.
Banozic said the ministry did not participate in organizing the president’s trips and that they were organized by the president’s office in cooperation with its services.
He said the Armed Forces received a request, under the Defence Act, based on which he, as a minister, gave his consent for diplomatic or ceremonial purposes.
Banozic said he did not have the legal grounds not to consent to the use of the military and that any questions about this case should be put to the president’s office.