The 27th anniversary of the military operation Maestral was being celebrated in Jajce. It was the first major operation of the joint forces of the Croatian Army and Croatian Defence Council in western Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which large areas of western Bosnia, including numerous cities, were liberated. Croatian President Zoran Milanović participated in the ceremony. In his speech, he considered it humiliating that the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina today have political representatives forced upon them by more numerous peoples.
In Croatia, said President Zoran Milanović, representatives of minorities, including Serbs, are exclusively elected by that community, and he called the opposite practice in Bosnia and Herzegovina thievery.
“Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina are not a minority, but they have been reduced to a minority. What is happening in Bosnia and Herzegovina, after years of attempts, warnings, insistence, begging, cannot be described as anything other than theft,” he pointed out.
He opposed the increasingly frequent pleas of some Bosniak politicians to cancel the Dayton Peace Agreement.
“As the president of the Republic of Croatia, a modern European country that is a member of NATO and the EU, I can say that Croatia will never support this. And not only will they never support it, but they will vigorously fight against it by all peaceful means. There is no Bosnia and Herzegovina without equal Croats, Bosniaks and Serbs,” he stated.
He announced an even stronger commitment to protect the rights of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina to choose their political representatives and be equal in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been announced for October 2nd, and there is again the danger that four times as many Bosniaks will outvote the Croats in the election of a member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the election of delegates to the upper, nationally conceived House of Peoples.
Numerous delegations arrived in Jajce
“This date is one of the most important in the recent history not only of Jajce but also of the entire Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially for the Croats who, after more than three years of persecution, returned to their homes 27 years ago,” said Ilko Barbarić.
Numerous delegations arrived in Jajce. In addition to the Croatian President, Zoran Milanović, there were delegations from Croatian Parliament and the Government, as well as delegations from friendly cities, and the leadership of the Croatian National Assembly.
“The people who fell for Jajce do not have to fear being forgotten, all respects to them,” said Milanović.
He said that Bosnia and Herzegovina would not, without Croatian soldiers, "today be a liberated and whole country".
“Bosnia and Herzegovina, the blockade of Sarajevo and other great things in the 1995 war were not achieved by American or British troops,” he said and added that Croatian defenders achieved them.
Western Bosnia was liberated by the boots and blood of Croatian soldiers
On this day in 1995, after three and a half years of occupation, the forces of the Croatian Army and the Croatian Defense Council and the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina liberated Jajce.
At the memorial, Milanović paid tribute to the fallen soldiers in Jajce and awarded the members of the Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić Jajce Brigade with the Order of Nikola Šubić Zrinski for their heroism in the Homeland War.
In his address, he said that this part of Bosnia and Herzegovina was liberated and the conditions were created for the end of the war and the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement thanks solely to the efforts of the Croatian forces, which consisted of units of the Croatian Army and the Croatian Defense Council.
“Those victories of the Croatian army in September, and especially in October 1995, led to the then enemy, the army of Karadžić and Mladić, being forced to sit down at the table in Dayton,” said the president in Jajce.
He added that the unblocking of Sarajevo and the liberation of Bihac "were achieved not by American, British, or French bombers, fighters and aircraft, but by boots on the ground and the blood of Croatian soldiers."
The military operation Maestral, which lasted from September 8 to 17, 1995, created the preconditions for the continued advance of Croatian forces, and on September 13, 1995, Jajce was liberated.
It was the first significant operation of the joint forces of the Croatian Army and Croatian Defense Council the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina in western Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which large areas of western Bosnia were occupied, including the towns of Drvar, Šipovo, Jajce, Bosanski Petrovac, Bosanska Krupa and Ključ.