President Arrives in Sochi to Meet Russian Prime Minister and Attend World Cup Match

By 7 July 2018

ZAGREB, July 7, 2018 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on Saturday arrived in Sochi, Russia, where in the evening she will officially attend the World Cup quarter-final match between Croatia and Russia and meet with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Grabar-Kitarović said that her bilateral meeting with Medvedev, to be held before the match, would focus mostly on economic topics and that she especially wished to discuss Agrokor with her host.

"What we want now that the settlement deal has been agreed, and which I hope will have a good future, is for Agrokor to not only recover but become what representatives of its future management have promised me – one of Europe's best export-oriented companies, and that its creditors and suppliers – from Belje to others – are supported and their products promoted, especially here in Russia. I believe we can find a market for us here, despite the sanctions that are in force," Grabar-Kitarović told reporters upon arriving in Sochi.

She said that much had been done since her last visit to Russia and meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi and talks with Prime Minister Medvedev in Moscow in October 2017. "We have resolved at the political level the issue of air pollution in Slavonski Brod caused by the refinery in Bosanski Brod. The Russian side has committed itself to doing absolutely everything necessary. Now Crodux, the Russian partner and the partner from Republika Srpska have to implement the political agreement," she said.

She said that the question of the Russian cultural centre, the issue of helicopter overhaul and other topics discussed at the last meeting had been resolved in the meantime.

The Croatian president will join the Russian prime minister in the VIP box for tonight's football match. She was invited to the World Cup by President Putin, and the invitation was reiterated by several Russian officials, as well as by the Russian Ambassador to Croatia Anvar Azimov who did so by a diplomatic note.

Since Croatia plays against the host team, the Croatian president accepted the invitation and will attend the event officially.

Commenting on the match to be played on Saturday evening, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who was attending the summit of the 16+1 platform in Sofia on Saturday, told reporters after informal talks with the prime ministers of Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia that they strongly supported the Croatian team and that "the heart of the entire central Europe seems to be beating for Croatia."