19:13 / 20.05.2022.

Author: Domagoj Ferenčić

Milanović firm on blocking Swedish and Finnish NATO membership over Croat voting rights in BiH

President Zoran Milanović

President Zoran Milanović

Foto: Matija Habljak / PIXSELL

Tensions between the Croatian Prime Minister and President continued on Friday. The president has called for Croatia to oppose the accession of Finland and Sweden to the NATO alliance until the election law in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been reformed to ensure equal voting rights for Croats, a view the prime minister opposes.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković claimed that President Zoran Milanović was not calling for the blocking of Sweden and Finland’s NATO accession to help Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but was instead using them in a bid to do political damage to him, his government and the HDZ in both Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

President Milanović responded today by standing firm on his position with regard to the Swedish and Finnish accession bids. He questioned why Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman feels that it is OK for Turkey to oppose the bids to resolve its open issues, but not for Croatia to do the same: “I have to make sure I quote him directly: 'Turkey definitely has its reasons for doing this. Croatia does not.' That's what Radman said. Another blind politician, who was once in my party and my protégé. So, Turkey definitely has its reasons, and the NATO alliance says that the interests of all member states must be taken into consideration. Croatia, the way it is being presented by Plenković and his team is coming off like a pathetic wretch.”

Turkey announced recently that it will oppose Sweden and Finland's NATO membership over their support for Turkish Kurds and the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which Ankara says is a terrorist organization. Milanović said that given the Plenković government's complete failure in protecting Croatia's national interests and the Croat people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he expects that they will establish their own self-government by the fall, adding that this measure of self-preservation will be labelled as fascist and secessionist by Euro-bureaucrats, while Plenković will hide and avoid the issue.

Milanović also accused the prime minister of wrestling control over the country's biggest private company and employer, Agrokor, away from former owner Ivica Todorić, and handing it over to the Russians: “Plenković is a Russian contractor. Who other than Plenković stole Agrokor from Todorić and handed it over to the Russians, while simultaneously enabling a few people to reap massive criminal profits from this? Sberbank and the Russian Bank for Foreign Trade have become owners of massive resources in Croatia thanks to Plenković capitulating. He probably got a commission for that.”

And while the president and prime minister joust as to how best serve and protect Croatian national interests, the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences made public a document it drafted on the protection of Croatian national interests during Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia’s EU accession negotiations. The academy originally forwarded the document to the Office of the President, the Government and the Parliament in February, but until now its content has been unknown to the Croatian public. The following are among the key items in the document are:

• Serbia must stop persecuting Croatian citizens and finally provide concrete details as to the locations of Serbian war crimes and mass graves still left uncovered from the Serbian aggression of the 1990's.

• Serbia must finally admit that it conducted a war of aggression against Croatia, primarily by finally paying war damages.

• The need to define the position of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia.

The academy also notes that Montenegro must pay war reparations for the damage inflicted against Croatia, especially in terms of cultural heritage, and return stolen cultural treasures, and to formally ask Croatia for forgiveness for the evils committed. With regards to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia must resolve the issue of the position of the Croat people there, who must be enabled equal representation in government bodies at all costs, thereby ensuring them equal status with the other two constituent peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Source: HRT

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