President Concludes Her “Mysterious” Visit to United States

By 6 January 2017

President Grabar-Kitarović says there was nothing secretive about her visit.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said on Thursday that there was nothing mysterious about her visit to the United States and that it was an official visit which was focused on an attempt to use the period between two presidential administrations for Croatia to position itself as a factor that will affect American foreign policy, reports HRT on January 6, 2016.

“There is absolutely nothing mysterious about this visit. As always, we have announced the visit in advance. When I went to the United States privately with my family, then we announced it as a family visit which was paid by my own personal funds”, said the President after Commission for Conflict of Interest Prevention received complaints regarding the nature of the her five-day visit to the United States which ended on Thursday.

Commission Chairperson Dalija Orešković said that the problem was the fact that it was not known whether it was a private visit paid from the state budget or an official visit. “This is an official visit and the goal was to take advantage of this moment between two presidential administrations for Croatia to position itself as a factor that will actively participate in the development of American foreign policy”, said Grabar-Kitarović.

Commenting on the complaints, the President said that the Commission should do its job. “I will not comment on these complaints, but I hope that Croatia will modernize itself as a state and finally understand how politics should be done, how we can define our own country at the international level. What I can say is that I personally, as President, will always work in the interests of the Croatian people and the country, and I am going to continue to work regardless of all the roadblocks some people try to set up”, said the President.

Speaking about Croatia’s foreign policy, Grabar-Kitarović said that she was personally bothered by the fact that Croatia was always following someone and never leading. “This visit is aimed to make people who are currently in the US administration, or who will be, or are close to US President-elect Donald Trump or the Republican Party or to the Democratic Party, to make them aware about problems of Croatia, Southeast Europe and the fact that we cannot, as a country that is small geographically and in terms of the number of people, wait for us to be put on the agenda, but we have to put ourselves there”, she said.

The President did not specifically talk about the names of people she has met while in the United States, adding that she had met with many people, some of whom will report it on Facebook or Twitter, while some do not want their names to appear in the media. She said they were members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats. However, it is certain that one of them is Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who announced the meeting on his Twitter profile.