Prime Minister and President to Jointly Attend UN General Assembly

Total Croatia News

Unlike in previous years, both highest-ranking officials will travel to New York.

The regular annual session of the UN General Assembly which be held in September this year will be attended by both Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. In previous years, presidents and prime ministers would alternate and go to New York every other year – one year it would be the president, and then the prime minister. Last year, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and then Foreign Minister Miro Kovač went to New York, so it was expected that this year Prime Minister Plenković would go alone to New York for the first time as prime minister, reports Večernji List on 31 July 2017.

Sources close to the government say that the President insisted she should go to New York again this year, allegedly because Croatia is celebrating 25 years of the UN membership this year. Although her request was not initially accepted by the government, it was concluded that it was not advisable to open another conflict with the President, so in the end, it was agreed that both of them would travel to New York, with Plenković giving a speech at the General Assembly.

“We have agreed on everything. The Prime Minister and the President will travel separately, but their visits will briefly overlap. The President will hold some meetings regarding the Three Seas Initiative, while the Prime Minister will give a speech at the UN General Assembly,” says President’s spokesman Luka Đurić. He argues that there was no conflict between the Prime Minister and the President.

Tensions between presidents and the government about who should travel to New York are nothing new. For example, in 2007, then Prime Minister Ivo Sanader and President Stjepan Mesić also went jointly to New York. Prime Minister Sanader insisted that he would speak on behalf of Croatia and present its positions about the work of the Hague Tribunal. However, since it was Mesić’s turn to speak at the General Assembly, his office protested. In the end, the winner was Sanader, and Mesić just had informal meetings on the margins of the summit.

Prime Minister Zoran Milanović and President Ivo Josipović managed to avoid conflicts and agreed they would travel alternatively. The only exception was in 2014 when Milanović was visiting the Silicon Valley at the time of the UN session, so Josipović went to the East River for the second time in a row.

After Grabar-Kitarović was elected, she represented Croatia in 2015 and again last year, because the Parliament had already adopted a motion of no confidence against then Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković.

Translated from Večernji List.


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