Prime Minister Plenković Rejects Defence Minister’s Resignation

By 18 July 2017

The Prime Minister strongly supports Defence Minister Damir Krstičević.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has returned to Zagreb after his tour of the Split area. After Defence Minister Damir Krstičević had announced that he has resigned as minister, due to criticism made by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović that the army should have reacted more quickly, the Prime Minister held a press conference during which he announced he would not accept Krstičević’s resignation, reports Index.hr on 18 July 2017.

“I do not accept the resignation of Minister Krstičević. This was one of 14 fires that were active at the time. The media is interested in it because fires rarely reach the town of Split. I want to thank the firefighters. There is major damage, with about a dozen buildings destroyed. A lot of forests and olive groves have been burnt to the ground. What is important is that no object of strategic importance has been endangered. I would like to congratulate firefighters.

When it comes to the military, activities of the army and the armed forces at fire sites are based on a request made in agreement with the State Protection and Rescue Service. The Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Krstičević, on the basis of his own experience, ordered members of the military to come from Gospić yesterday in order to help defend the military rocket base at Žrnovnica near Split. The decision was made by an oral agreement. About 400 members of the military are currently active in this operation. They are engaged to the extent that is adequate to help the firefighters. At the same time, we have firefighting aircraft, which are active in the area around Podstrana. On this occasion, I would like to thank Minister Krstičević, and I reject any talk about his resignation.

It is not clear to me on the basis of which information did the President come to such a conclusion. I was on the plane when I heard this news. We can only praise the preventive engagement of the Minister who has the instincts of a war commander. I do not know where she found this information.

I spoke briefly with Krstičević. I told him to calm down. Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister has much to offer to Croatia, and especially to the Defense Ministry.