Memorial Procession Passing Down Vukovar

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, November 18, 2019 – Tens of thousands of citizens led by the defenders of Vukovar, together with members of the families of killed, unaccounted-for and captured Vukovar defenders, are marching down the eastern town on Monday in a memorial procession, honouring in a dignified manner the 2,717 killed in the military aggression on Vukovar in 1991.

Also in the procession are President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who will lay a wreath and light candles at a monument to the victims at the local cemetery. A wreath will also be laid and candles lit by a delegation of Vukovar’s defenders, the town and Vukovar-Srijem County.

According to police, the commemorative events are passing peacefully and there have been no incidents.

Also in the procession is Lyliane Fournier, whose son Jean Michel Nicolier, a French volunteer, was killed at Ovćara near Vukovar.

She told reporters she expected the person responsible for her son’s death to be brought to justice and that she had information on the killer’s identity. She pushed for blocking Serbia’s EU accession until it hands over all war criminals.

“Of course, Serbia’s EU entry should be blocked until they provide information on where the mass graves are, extradite war criminals and apologise as the aggressor on Croatia,” she said.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday that the government constantly invested efforts to help the City of Vukovar in its development and was also dedicated to the resolution of the issue of missing people.

“State institutions will not cease working until this issue is settled,” the premier said ahead of the start of the main commemoration of the 28th anniversary of the fall of the eastern town of Vukovar into the hands of Serb rebels and the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA).

Concerning the search for people who went missing in the 1991-1995 war of independence, Plenković said that his cabinet dealt with that issue committedly.

Croatia also holds dialogue with other countries, international organisations, in hope of accomplishing results and every year headway is made, he said.

Asked by the press whether Zagreb mulled the possibility of blocking Serbia’s journey towards the European Union until the issue of missing persons was settled, Plenković said that for many years, Croatia had been tackling that issue and that its settlement required political will.

“I think that political will should be shown in Belgrade to provide Croatia with the data it keeps, so that we can learn what happened with our people,” said Plenković.

Considering Serbia’s EU membership aspirations, Plenković said that the process was strict and full of preconditions and it would take long under the new methodology.

These are so-called fundamental issues that should be addressed under the (policy) chapters that concern fundamental rights, the premier added.

Plenković said that 28 years after the war, one should also look to the future.

In that context he mentioned legislation on investment stimulation and added that Zagreb was conducting negotiations with the European Union to ensure a special status for Vukovar.

He said that Vukovar should be given prospects in the “homeland which has, since the tragedy of Vukovar, accomplished its national tasks thanks to the statesmanlike policy of President (Franjo) Tuđman, and this includes the peaceful reintegration of the Croatian Danube region and everything we have done in recent years to make Croatia economically strong, socially integrative and internationally positioned.”

Vukovar was peacefully reintegrated into Croatia in January 1998. The peaceful reintegration began in January 1996 with the assistance of the UNTAES (UN Transitional Authority in Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium) mission.

Before the commemoration, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović briefly stated: “Respect to all, respect to the victims of Vukovar!”

More Vukovar news can be found in the Politics section.


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