Tuesday, 8 February 2022

50th Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's Zagreb Visit to Be Marked This Year

ZAGREB, 8 Feb 2022 - On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II's rule, the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts is marking the 50th anniversary of her visit to Zagreb on 20 October 1972, when she said that as a maritime nation, Great Britain had for centuries had strong ties with Croatia and its coast.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, HAZU recalled that Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, and their daughter, Princess Anne, visited Zagreb during her five-day official visit to then Yugoslavia, when she also visited Dubrovnik, Đakovo, Pula and the Brijuni archipelago.

She arrived by train from Đakovo at Zagreb's Central Station where a welcome ceremony was held during which the British, Yugoslav and Croatian anthems were played.

Queen Elizabeth II was then taken in an open-top car to the city centre, where she took a walk and talked to some of the citizens who gathered to see her and who gave her a warm welcome, after which she attended a formal dinner organised at the government building in her honour by her host Jakov Blažević, Parliament Speaker of the then Socialist Republic of Croatia, at the time the highest political official in Croatia.

After the dinner, Queen Elizabeth II visited the HAZU building near Zagreb's Zrinjevac park.

HAZU draws attention to the text of Queen Elizabeth's toast, carried by newspapers at the time, in which she expressed delight at visiting the ancient beautiful city of Zagreb, the centre of Croatia's rich history and culture, and noted that she and her family had also visited Dubrovnik, seeing some of the amazing coastal landscape, as well as Đakovo.

She said that Zagreb's impressive development over the previous 25 years reflected an energetic determination of all its citizens to build a happy and progressive nation. As a maritime nation, Britain has for centuries had closer ties to Croatia and its long coast than with any other part of Yugoslavia. Today new ties are being established and more and more Britons arrive to enjoy the hospitality of your resorts, she said at the time.

The Queen then expressed hope that the British would in return make an equally useful contribution to Croatia's economy, stressing that she and her family were very much impressed by everything they had seen, especially the warm welcome they were given, and wished success and the best of luck to all Croatians.

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Minister Medved: Operation Maslenica Showed Our Ability to Free Homeland

ZAGREB, 22 Jan 2022 - Croatian War Veterans' Affairs Minister Tomo Medved said on Saturday that the Operation Maslenica in 1993 was a turning point in the Homeland War and that it had sent a strong message of the capability of the Croatian armed forces to free their country from the enemy.

Addressing the central ceremony marking the 29th anniversary of the Operation Maslenica in Zadar, the minister expressed gratitude to the participants in the operation and particularly to the families who lost their members in that liberating action.

Operation Maslenica was launched in the early morning hours of 22 January 1993, with Croatian forces regaining control of the Serb-occupied Zadar hinterland, the straight of Maslenica, the Zemunik airbase and later on the Peruca dam. Within 72 hours, nearly 100 square kilometres of occupied territory was liberated. Croatian forces regained control of key strategic points from Serb insurgents and re-established transport connections between the country's north and south. In the first three days of the operation, 19 Croatian soldiers were killed and 70 were wounded. However, by 31 March 1993 the number of Croatian fatalities rose to 127 as Serb forces fought back.

Minister Medved said that the Operation Maslenica sent a strong message that the Croatian armed forces and police were capable of liberating every occupied inch of the occupied territory, as it was later shown in the military and police operations in 1995.

Medved also pointed out the importance of commemorating this operation and other events from the 1991-1995 Homeland War as a reminder that freedom in the present-day Croatia should not be taken for granted and that the defenders and the Homeland War were the strongest pillar of the independent and sovereign Republic of Croatia.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Friday, 17 September 2021

20 Years of Riot Police Force in Croatia Marked

ZAGREB, 17 Sept 2021 - The riot police force is celebrating 20 years since its establishment and in addition to officials from the Ministry of the Interior and Police Directorate, the director of Germany's riot police, Andreas Backhof, attended the celebrations in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia's riot police force was established on the German model.

Inspector Backhof said that Croatia's riot police meet European standards at a very high level. He underscored that other countries seek advice from Croatia's police when establishing their own police units, which, he said, deserves great respect and recognition, the Ministry said in a press release.

"We have stood and will stand by you, with advice, action and support - all this time we have been learning from you too. We have not only maintained our partnership on an equal footing but have developed friendly relations based on mutual respect and trust," said Backhof.

Interior Ministry state-secretary Irena Petrijevčanin Vuksanović said that compared to previous years, the need to involve riot police in various daily tasks had increased and the scope of their duties had significantly expanded.

Police Director-General Nikola Milina thanked all members of the riot police unit, underscoring that along with the special police unit, riot police conduct the most difficult duties. He recalled that the riot police actively participate in a wide range of police activities, emphasising their engagement in the protection of Croatia's border - the longest external EU border.

The ministry recalled that in addition to their regular duties riot police participate in complex criminal-tactical situations such as police hunts, inspections of premises, ambushes, raids, road blockades, etc.

Riot police are also called in in cases of general danger caused by natural disasters and in all other situations where the presence of a large number of police officers trained to conduct teamwork is required, the ministry said.

For more news, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Lučko Anti-Terrorist Unit Marks 31st Anniversary

ZAGREB, 7 Sept, 2021 - The Lučko Anti-terrorist Unit, which earned its fame on all Croatian battlefields and handles the most complex police tasks today, on Tuesday marked its 31st anniversary with a demonstration exercise.

Before the exercise, wreaths were laid and candles lit at a memorial to the unit's fallen members, with Interior Minister Davor Božinović attending.

"ATJ Lučko was the first organised unit and the first Croatian armed formation which protected the constitutional order, the state leadership, and which earned its wartime fame on all Croatian battlefields," he said, adding that this elite unit had always been on the front lines and engaged in the toughest operations.

During the 1991-95 Homeland War, more than 350 people were in the unit, 19 were killed and 52 were wounded, the minister said.

He said that in peacetime the unit showed its new equipment every year, such as the best specialist vehicles.

Božinović said the incumbent government had invested considerable funds in the police, including European funds, and that HRK 144 million was invested in the special police alone in the past four years.

Procurement will continue and there are plans to equip ATJ Lučko with three new multipurpose helicopters, he added.

The minister said the government cared a lot about the unit and that its elitism was not fake as the unit was not closed but there to help civilians in various disasters. The helicopters, he added, will be made available to the civil protection system.

"Our special forces do not make only Croatia proud. They have been recognised as members of ATLAS and their colleagues across the EU have a high opinion of them," said Božinović.

The ATLAS network is an association of the police tactical units of the EU's 27 member states established following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 upon the initiative of the Police Chiefs Task Force.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Borell and Várhelyi: We Remember Victims of Srebrenica Genocide

ZAGREB, 10 July 2021 - It is the shared duty of the entire civilised world to remember the victims of the genocide in Srebrenica and not to allow attempts at rewriting history to diminish that crime, senior EU officials said in a joint statement on Saturday.

In a joint statement issued ahead of the 26th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, in which Bosnian Serb forces killed more than 8,000 Bosniaks in July 1995, EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell and Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi said it was a duty to forever remember that tragedy.

"On Sunday, 19 more victims will be laid to rest. We honour their memory, and of all victims and those still missing. We share the grief of their families and of those who survived, whose lives have been impacted forever," the two EU officials said.

They noted that Europe has not forgotten its own responsibility for not being able to prevent the Srebrenica genocide, one of the worst crimes in Europe’s modern history.

"Srebrenica painfully reminds us all of the need to stand up firmly and decisively for peace, human dignity and all the values which underpin our Union. Serving justice and building a better society are the best ways of remembering those who were systematically and deliberately murdered. This is a necessary step to work for a better common future for all Europeans.

"There can be no impunity. Genocide is genocide, be it in Srebrenica or elsewhere. International courts, domestic courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the neighbouring countries need to continue providing justice for all victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, as well as for their family members. Peace can only be built upon justice," the joint statement said.

Political leaders in the Western Balkans were called upon to lead by example in acknowledging what happened, honouring the victims and genuinely promoting reconciliation by confronting the roots of hatred that led to the genocide.

"There is no place in Europe for genocide denial, revisionism and glorification of war criminals, which contradict the most fundamental European values. Attempts to rewrite history are unacceptable," the EU officials said, alluding to Bosnian Serb officials who persistently deny that the genocide was committed in Srebrenica.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Monday, 28 June 2021

30th Anniversary of ZNG 106th Brigade and Day of Osijek Defenders Marked

ZAGREB, 28 June 2021 - A special event was held at the Croatian National Theatre in Osijek on Monday to mark the 30 anniversary of the founding of the Croatian National Guard 106th Brigade and Day of Osijek Defenders, with President Zoran Milanović saying that there is no danger that Croatia will forget those events.

Addressing those present, President Milanović underscored that a few people had the courage to defend the country with arms, and without them Croatia would not have been victorious.

He said that there was no danger that those events would be forgotten, not because 30 years had passed but because those events were constantly being talked about, debated and evaluated.

Milanović underscored that the truth may hurt, but that no one should be ashamed of the truth." "Ours hurts, because it was painful and deadly. It killed many people and traumatised many... but we need not be ashamed but should be proud of it," he said.

"The mistakes on that path happened due to negligence or human traits which we will never get rid of, because of greed, envy or hate towards one's neighbour. That has been penalised, debts have been paid and I think that it is high time to stop questioning those things. That in particular refers to the fantasies, illusions, delusions, crimes and other faults of our grandfathers and great grandfathers of 80 or 100 years ago," underscored Milanović.

Anyone who spent the war in an office is not a defender

He sent a message to Croatian defenders to preserve their status, noting that they risked their lives and there were not many of them.

"Mind your status because not everyone can be a defender. Someone who spent the war in an office is not a defender. He can be and is a Croatian patriot, a loyal and well-meaning citizen of this country but your worth lies in the fact that there are not many of you," underscored Milanović.

For more news from Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

PM Andrej Plenković: 32 Years After Founding HDZ Remains Strongest Political Party

ZAGREB, 16 June, 2021 - A delegation of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) on Wednesday laid wreaths on the grave of HDZ founder and first Croatian president Franjo Tuđman to mark the party's 32nd anniversary, with the party leader, PM Andrej Plenković, saying the HDZ was the strongest political party in Croatia even today.

At the start of day-long events commemorating the party's 32nd anniversary, HDZ officials, led by Plenković, paid their respects at Zagreb's Mirogoj cemetery to Franjo Tuđman, whom Plenković described as "a statesman, a visionary, the man who led Croatia to freedom, independence, with the plebiscite support of the Croatian people, and with the courage and bravery of Croatian defenders."

"Even today, 32 years later, the HDZ is the strongest political force in the Republic of Croatia, in Croatia in which we have achieved all basic national goals - freedom, democracy and the protection of human and minority rights, and have built institutions. Now in the fourth decade of our independence, the goal is the economy, demographic revitalisation, social inclusion, following key global processes and the fourth industrial revolution, but also the green transformation and the digital transformation," Plenković said in a statement to reporters.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 2 May 2021

President and Government Condemn Borovo Incident

ZAGREB, 2 May 2021 - President Zoran Milanović has condemned an incident that occurred in the eastern town of Borovo on Sunday morning when a group of young men chanted anti-Serb slogans, calling it shameful and heinous hate speech.

"In Borovo today a group of men tried to incite violence using heinous hate speech against our fellow citizens Serbs. That is a disgrace and deserves absolute condemnation," Milanović wrote on Facebook. 

He criticized the police, whom he called the police of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Serb leader Milorad Pupovac, for not taking pre-emptive action to prevent the incident.

The Vukovar-Srijem County Police Department has confirmed that around 6.30 am on Sunday, after laying wreaths at the monument to 12 police officers killed by Serb paramilitaries 30 years ago, a group of about 20 young men went into the town chanting anti-Serb slogans, including "Kill the Serbs". The police responded promptly, identifying the perpetrators. Footage of the incident was posted on the town's Facebook account.

Government strongly condemns the incident

The government also strongly condemned the incident, calling it a scandalous act of provocation and hate speech by a group of football fans. It said that it would always oppose and condemn hate speech against any fellow citizens.

"In Croatian society, there is no room for such outrageous behavior and intolerance towards members of the Serb ethnic minority, who celebrate Orthodox Easter today, or any other minority," the government said in a statement. 

"We will always strongly oppose and clearly condemn the stirring up of hatred against any of our fellow citizens. The Croatian police responded promptly and are investigating to bring those responsible to justice," the government.

For more about politics in Croatia, visit our dedicated section.

Sunday, 2 May 2021

30th Anniversary of Death of 12 Special Policemen Commemorated in Borovo

ZAGREB, 2 May 2021 - Commemorative events were held in the village of Borovo on Sunday in tribute to 12 special policemen killed there by Serb paramilitaries in an ambush on 2 May 1991.

The 12 Croatian policemen were killed in an ambush in the night between May 1 and 2, 1991 after coming to Borovo in an attempt to rescue two of their colleagues who were captured the night before by Serb paramilitaries.

After negotiations on their release failed, a group of members of special police forces from Vinkovci were sent to Borovo on May 2. In a conflict with Serb paramilitaries that followed, 12 of them were killed and another 21 were wounded.

The policemen who were killed were Stjepan Bošnjak (born in 1955), Antun Grbavac (1961), Josip Culej (1966), Mladen Šaric (1965), Zdenko Perica (1965), Zoran Grašic (1969), Ivica Vučić (1961), Luka Crnković (1970), Marinko Petrušić (1966), Janko Čović (1965), Zeljko Hrala (1968) and Mladen Čatić (1971).

For more about the homeland war in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Milanović: Eternal Praises to Croatian Heroes!

ZAGREB, 1 May 2021 - President Zoran Milanović laid a wreath in the eastern town of Okučani on Saturday in tribute to Croatian soldiers and police officers killed in Operation Flash during the Homeland War 26 years ago.

On this day in 1995, "with their knowledge, patience and courage, Croatian heroes liberated this part of Croatia," Milanović said, adding that Operation Flash, and 1993's Operation Maslenica, had paved the way for Operation Storm in August 1995 that ended the four-year Serb armed insurgency in the country.

"While we others were in Zagreb, Geneva, in administrative services, a small number of men fought here. Eternal praises and glory to the Croatian heroes!" the president said.

Milanović's delegation included the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, Admiral Robert Hranj, presidential adviser on defence and national security Dragan Lozančić, presidential adviser on Homeland War veterans Marijan Mareković and high-level military commanders.

For more about the homeland war in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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