20:21 / 12.05.2022.

Author: Nikola Badovinac

Foreign minister clarifies support for NATO expansion

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić-Radman

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić-Radman

Foto: Jurica Galoic / Pixsell

The Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Croatia's ambassador to NATO would obey its instructions in deciding on the admission of Finland and Sweden.

The ministry issued a statement after Minister Gordan Grlić-Radman earlier today did not answer explicitly when asked by the press if the ambassador must obey the president or the ministry.

President Zoran Milanović wants Croatia to make the two countries' NATO accession conditional on changing the electoral law in Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure the equality of Croats. Yesterday he said he would order Croatian Ambassador to NATO Mario Nobilo to veto enlargement if his condition was not met.

The government, on the other hand, supports the accession of Finland and Sweden unconditionally.

"This is the government's prudent and reasonable position which is in line with our commitments to NATO membership, which is in line with our support for an open door policy, and which is in line with our own national interest. We do not want to a state that causes problems, but rather a state that shares the values and commitments that come with both EU and NATO membership," said Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman

The permanent representative to NATO receives his instructions from the ministry, which is the usual procedure and will be so in this case also, the ministry said, adding that in the case of the NATO accession of Finland and Sweden, Nobilo will act in line with the ministry's instructions.

"He is in the service of protecting national interests, which are clear in this case. By enlarging NATO, we are strengthening our own security," the statement said.

Finland's foreign minister, Pekka Haavisto, said it was important that the ratification process in all 30 NATO member states goes smoothly.

"Croatia is an important member of NATO and the European Union. I called the Croatian Minister of Foreign Affairs and asked him what he thought, and he said that the Croatian government and parliament support Finland's membership in NATO. We would not like some issues that are not related to Europe's security to be related to our accession to NATO," said Haavisto.

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