18:51 / 27.04.2022.

Author: Nikola Badovinac

President's remark on NATO expansion 'embarrassing', says foreign minister

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić-Radman

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić-Radman

Foto: Davorin Visnjic / Pixsell

Statements made by President Zoran Milanović on Tuesday about blocking Sweden's and Finland's bids to join NATO have led members states to believe that Croatia has changed its foreign policy, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Wednesday.

Milanović said yesterday that parliament "must not ratify any country's accession to NATO" until changes are made to the electoral law in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina. The president and supreme commander of the Croatian Armed Forces said he considered Finland's and Sweden's bids to join the alliance "a very dangerous adventure".

Grlić Radman said the president's statement had prompted a number of calls, and that he had discussed the matter with his Finnish and Swedish counterparts.

"His statement was quoted by all the leading foreign media outlets. All NATO countries have expressed great concern because if the president makes such a statement they think that Croatia has changed its foreign policy. His remarks have once again embarrassed Croatia.

After a country applies for NATO membership, the national parliaments of the member states must adopt an act of ratification proposed by the government, the foreign minister noted.

Grlić Radman said that the membership of Sweden and Finland, which are already compatible with alliance standards, should be separated from the electoral reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina which the Croatian government "strongly supports".

Finland and Sweden have Croatia's "undoubted and unreserved" support, and their accession to NATO is a major challenge to them, given their tradition of political neutrality for centuries and the Russian military invasion of Ukraine which has nearly changed the world order, Grlić Radman said.

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