ZAGREB, Aug 8, 2020 – Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) leader Milorad Pupovac said on Saturday that it was not his duty to deepen traumas and conflicts but rather remove misunderstandings and create preconditions for dialogue in the process of reconciliation, which should also involve representatives of Serbia.
Addressing a news conference in Zagreb following the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Operation Storm in Knin earlier this week and the echoes of the messages sent from there, Pupovac said that it was his duty to contribute to calming down those reverberations, enhancing understanding for the process that had been launched, and to removing misunderstandings.
“In Knin, on the day which Croats see as a day for celebration while Serbs see it as a day for mourning, those two opposite feelings, experiences and perceptions have been turned into flour and water,” he told reporters in Zagreb’s Cvjetni Trg square, stressing that in Knin the process of kneading dough for the bread of reconciliation had been started.
He added that many more words, gestures, and acts would be needed to rid, through the process of kneading, the two opposite feelings of crimes and suffering.
“A significant portion of commemorative gestures of reconciliation can be made with us here in Croatia… For another portion, which has and can have particular weight, that will not be possible,” he said, adding that Croatian-Serbian reconciliation in Croatia would always be incomplete without a broader Croatian-Serbian reconciliation, on which the resolution of historical traumas, the establishment of the truth about the fate of missing persons and turning to a new kind of cooperation depend.
Pupovac went on to say that reconciliation could not happen in the past and that suffering and traumas could be faced only by distancing oneself from the worst past and by condemning its evils, which means from the perspective of the future.
Asked what the next steps in the process of reconciliation would be, Pupovac said that his duty was not to make traumas and conflicts deeper.
“It is my duty to remove misunderstandings and create preconditions for dialogue and for understanding regarding the beginning of this process and its continuation which, I am confident, will have to involve representatives of Serbia,” he stressed.
In a message to Croatian Foreign and European Minister Gordan Grlic Radman, Pupovac said that Croatian Serbs were not looking for a mentor in Belgrade but rather for interlocutors and partners for what they were doing.
“But we also do not need patronising in Croatia,” he stressed, adding that while lecturing others, Grlic Radman should finally take it as his duty to see to it that incidents targeting Serbian nationals vacationing in Croatia stopped.
Asked if he saw a will between Zagreb and Belgrade to open the issue of prosecution of war crimes, Pupovac said that there was such will, regardless of how much recently it had seemed that there was not.