Plenković: Serbian Defence Minister Not Welcomed at Jasenovac

By 21 April 2018

ZAGREB, April 21, 2018 - Commenting on the possibility that Serbia's Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin might attend Sunday's commemoration for the victims of the World War II Jasenovac concentration camp, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Saturday said that that wouldn't be a good idea due to his previously unacceptable statements.

"As far as the announcement of Minister Vulin's coming to Croatia is concerned, we expect anyone coming to Croatia to respect the Croatian state, yet he has been known to make inappropriate and insulting statements during his visits and we aren't sure that at the moment this is the best solution," Plenković told reporters.

The Prime Minister said that he hoped that, during the official state commemoration tomorrow, tribute would be paid to the victims of the Ustasha concentration camp. "I will do that like I did last year as prime minister and so will the Parliament Speaker and the President did that yesterday and there is no dilemma over the firm, unambiguous and clear stance by the Croatian state and its institutions," Plenković said.

According to Plenković, the leader of the Serb National Council, Milorad Pupovac, the Alliance of Anti-Fascist Fighters and Jewish community have been invited to Sunday's commemoration. These organisations held a separate commemoration on Saturday due to their dissatisfaction with regard to the treatment of Ustasha legacy and Plenković said that dialogue had been conducted with them however, they were sending their messages to the wrong address.

"The situation this year is by no means the same compared to last year and in relation to inherited and implanted problems," the prime minister said and added that he was pursuing  the policy of unambiguous attitude towards all totalitarian regimes and that there was no dilemma in condemning Ustasha atrocities in Jasenovac.

With reference to the recent incident in Serbia's parliament by Serb Radical Party leader and member of the Serbian parliament, Vojislav Šešelj, who trampled on the Croatian flag and insulted a Croatian parliamentary delegation, Plenković said that the condemnation from Serbia as the days were going by are clearer than at first, which was good. He said that the incident of desecrating the Croatian flag and insulting the delegation was typical for Šešelj, a convicted war criminal.

That required an immediate decision by Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković and the delegation to return to Zagreb, after Croatia not so long ago, at the invitation of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, and as a good host, welcomed Serbia's President Aleksandar Vučić.

Croatia in good faith continued cooperation on all foreseen topics from dialogue about the continuation of cooperation on transport corridors to talks on topics that burden relations such as Serbia's law declaring its jurisdiction to try war crimes. Asked whether Croatia will insist that Serbia implements its law according to which a convicted war criminal cannot have a seat in parliament, Plenković said that was up to Serbia to resolve.

"Serbia has some previous issues it has to resolve, including undergoing a catharsis in regard to Milošević's regime and its aggressive policies against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina," Plenković said.