Did Government Know about President's Invitation to Serbian Counterpart?

By 31 January 2018

Many wonder who is leading Croatia’s foreign policy.

The unexpected invitation by Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović to Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić to visit Croatia in February, despite recent diplomatic skirmishes between the two countries, was a topic of discussion among members of Croatian Parliament today, who are not entirely sure about the foreign policy that the current government is leading. Still, most welcome the attempt to calm down the relations between the two countries, reports Večernji List on January 31, 2018.

“We do not know what the Croatian foreign policy is. On the same day, the Prime Minister sends Serbia a diplomatic protest; the Foreign Minister says that Serbia is ruled by promoters of the Chetnik ideology, and at the same time the President invites Vučić. People are confused and do not understand what is going on. This is a stupid policy,” said Miro Bulj (MOST).

Milorad Pupovac (SDSS) believes that it is extremely important for President Vučić to meet with Croatian President in order to calm passions down. “We need to stop arguments which often cause hostility and animosity. It is also important that we return to all those issues that have not been in focus for years, such as issues related to war, refugees, missing persons, war crimes, minority rights and borders,” said Pupovac. Nevertheless, he admitted that he was not sure how coordinated were the moves of the President and the government, given that diplomatic protests and invitations were sent to Belgrade almost simultaneously.

“We all know that the meeting has been in the works for several months now. On several occasions, it was already prepared and then postponed for better times. And now people decided to go for it. Risks show certain courage and understanding that things need to be stopped at some point and that we should devote ourselves to dialogue,” explained Pupovac who, as a member of the ruling coalition, said he did not know whether the government was surprised by the President’s decision.

Vesna Pusić (GLAS) believes that it is necessary to work on improving Croatia's relationship with all neighbors, especially with Serbia, since that relationship is the most sensitive in the region, adding that she does not know whether the improvement can be realistically expected. “The government cannot be surprised by this; this has to be coordinated by all the factors which define foreign policies. This should be a well-prepared meeting and not just a photo opportunity,” said Pusić.

Joško Klisović (SDP) also welcomed the attempt to continue dialogue with Serbia, which he said was stopped after SDP left the government. “The President's policies are somewhat confusing. She canceled Vučić's visit two months ago, explaining that the condition had not been met,” says Klisović. “We do not know how the conditions have now been met. We welcome the talks and think they are necessary, but I do not think this is coordinated between the government and the Office of the President, and I think that government did not participate in this,” said Klisović.

Translated from Večernji List.