Saturday, 4 January 2020

Croatia Calls for Calming Situation in Iraq and Middle East

ZAGREB, January 4, 2020 - Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Ministry on Friday called for defusing the situation in Iraq and the Middle East following the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike in Iraq, which has prompted Iran to threaten reciprocal actions.

"The Republic of Croatia is closely following with deep concern the developments in Iraq and in the entire Middle East," the ministry says in a press release.

We call for calming the situation and urge restraint from the use of force and we also advocate the investment of additional efforts in seeking a diplomatic solution in the interest of all sides and the preservation of global peace, the Croatian ministry says.

The ministry is also in permanent contact with the Croatian embassy in Baghdad and says that the embassy staff and Croatian nationals in that country are safe and well.

The international community is concerned over the escalation of the situation in the region following U.S airstrikes in which General Soleimani was killed on Friday morning.

Iranian officials are quoted by international media as saying that this is an act of war to be met by "harsh retaliation".

More news about Croatia and the Middle East can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Plenković Participating in European Union-Arab World Summit in Athens

ZAGREB, October 29, 2019 - Europe and the Arab world need better coordination of efforts aimed at tackling migration, an issue that dominates the relations between the two blocs, it was said at the 4th European Union-Arab World Summit in Athens on Tuesday.

Our biggest challenge is migration. This issue is not restricted to geography, it is not just the Sahel, Libya, Syria, Greece and Turkey. It is spreading everywhere in the world and has become a test of our solidarity and humanity and our readiness to counter organised crime and protect our borders, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in his opening speech at the conference which brought together European and Arab leaders, including Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

Building connections among us is our response to fragmentation which is going on in the world, the Greek PM said.

Mitsotakis called for better coordination between the Europeans and the Arabs to address migrations at their source.

“We control our borders and always take in the hunted of this world. But one country alone cannot carry the problems of three continents on its shoulders,” he said.

"The only way to respond to this great challenge of the 21st century is in a coordinated manner, with due process and cooperation. We need better coordination between the Europeans and the Arabs in order to manage the causes of migration," he added, saying the countries which the refugees and immigrants fled should do more and halt human smuggling.

"More than 78,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe so far this year, more than half of them to Greece, according to United Nations data. About 40 percent of recent arrivals are families from Afghanistan and about 20 percent are Syrian," Reuters reported.

In his speech, the Greek premier called for avoiding a fragmented response to this issue, and alluding to Turkey he said that “those who magnified the refugee crisis, using the persecuted as pawns in forwarding their own geopolitical goals, should be more cautious when referring to Greece."

On the other hand, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abul Gheit said that the issue of refugees bothered the Mediterranean and said that those who were trying to intervene in the Arab world should stop doing that as they only made the situation worse.

Please, go away, Gheit said adding that the Arab world had suffered enough.

Addressing the conference, Croatian Prime Minister Plenković said that today, 10 years after some of Arab countries were hit by the crisis, there was an opportunity to arrange relations in such a way as to make cooperation stronger.

Croatia, which is the next chair of the European Union, takes strong care of dialogue and partnership which is being developed between the European Union and Arab countries. However, challenges concerning the two blocs, notably migration, often dominate their dialogue, Plenković said.

The discussion about migrations has slowed down our ambitions for the Union for the Mediterranean. It is now on hold, Plenković said in his comment on the organisation that comprises 43 Mediterranean countries.

He said that the Mediterranean would be one of the priorities of Croatia's chairmanship of the European Union in the first half of 2020.

Croatia plans to organise a Mediterranean forum in the coastal city of Šibenik in that period.

On the margins of today's conference, the Croatian PM held bilateral talks with his Greek counterpart. Plenković recalled Croatia's participation in Operation Poseidon and praised the Greek authorities for coping well with the challenges of the influx of irregular migrants.

During his stay in Athens he also met Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama for a bilateral meeting and was received by Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

More news about Croatia and the European Union can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Jordan Offering Croatia an Opportunity to Enter Middle East

ZAGREB, October 11, 2019 - Jordan can be a point of entry for Croatian companies wishing to do business in the Middle East, heard a Croatian-Jordanian business forum, organised by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) in Zagreb on Thursday.

Mirjana Čagalj of the HGK said that Jordan's economy was on the rise and that after several years of insecurity, caused by the wars in Syria and Iraq and a massive influx of refugees, the Jordanian economy had managed to reverse negative trends.

The country's efforts to utilise its geographical position and political stability and become a regional distribution centre to provide an opportunity for Croatian companies too, for which Jordan could be the starting point for doing business with the entire Middle East, the HGK said in a statement.

Čagalj said both countries were very similar and had both overcome difficult geopolitical situations that had slowed their economies.

Both countries are characterised by a favourable geographical position and large tourism revenues. Our domestic markets are small and that is why we have to turn more and more to exports, Čagalj said, adding that the two countries had a lot in common and should make use of it.

She sees the most potential for cooperation in the rail sector, health tourism, IT and the pharmaceutical industry.

The head of the Jordan Europe Business Association, Jamal Badran, said his country was attractive to foreign investments. Even though located in a turbulent part of the world, Jordan is a financially stable country through which Croatian business people could reach the entire Middle East, he said.

Croatia's honorary consul to Jordan, Abdel Nour Habaybeh, said that Jordan's geopolitical situation had been difficult in the last ten years but that it had stabilised.

He expressed hope that the two countries would use the current favourable phase to develop economic relations, calling for the establishment of a direct line between Jordanian ports and the Croatian northern Adriatic port of Rijeka to connect Jordan not only with Croatia but also with the entire EU.

After the plenary part of the business forum and presentations of investment possibilities in Croatia and Jordan, talks were held between some 40 Croatian and Jordanian companies.

More news about relations between Croatia and the Middle East can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Plenković Attending EU-Arab Summit, Meets with Kuwaiti Emir

ZAGREB, February 25, 2019 - Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Monday met Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah IV Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on the margins of a summit meeting of the Arab League and the European Union in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Prime Minister Plenković was quoted in a press release issued by the government as saying that Croatia would like to boost economic and trade cooperation with Kuwait, to which Zagreb accredited its ambassador a year and a half ago.

In 2017, the volume of trade between Croatia and the Arab League reached a billion euro.

Plenković says that this can be perceived as an opportunity for Croatian companies specialised in construction and the defence industry. The government supports the efforts to enable them to do business in those countries, the premier said.

Attending the talks between Plenković and the Kuwaiti emir were also the ministers of finance and foreign affairs of that Gulf country.

Croatia and the EU wish to strengthen multilateral institutions and organisations and an international order founded on international law, which envisages the rule of law and human rights at national level, and this is the message the EU wishes to send its Arabian partners, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in Sharm El Sheikh on Monday.

"The position of Croatia and all of the European Union is very clear. We wish to strengthen bilateral institutions and organisations. We want the international order to be founded on international law, so that not only international law but the rule of law and human rights are respected at national level. These are the messages of nearly all European officials. They are part of what we are sending as the values of our foreign policy activities. Naturally, there's room for progress in this part of the world and all leaders of the partner countries realise that," Plenković said ahead of the second day of an EU-League of Arab States summit.

With this meeting, the EU wishes to highlight "the high dose of partnership and respect" in the relations with the Arab world, the countries of North Africa and the Middle East, Plenković said.

This partnership is expected to help boost economic cooperation and trade relations as well as prevent illegal migration, while enabling the EU to resolve key security issues with regard to Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya.

"By arriving at the highest level, the EU also wished to send a message of partnership, as resolving our internal security issues is very much related to the good cooperation, partnership and dialogue which we must have, notably with the countries of North Africa," said Plenković.

The cooperation with those countries has significantly reduced illegal migration. They are transit countries for migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa and some have become destination countries, he added.

"That's why it's important to focus our foreign policy activities and development aid, so as to build the institutions of the states in this part of the world so that they, with their strength, economic development and eradication of poverty, can prevent radicalisation and then not just illegal migration, but also terrorist activities," Plenković said.

More news on the relations between Croatia and Kuwait can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 23 April 2018

EXPO 2020 in Dubai to Help Croatian Companies Do Business in UAE

ZAGREB, April 23, 2018 - Potential for economic cooperation between Croatia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is great, and the EXPO 2020 which will be held in Dubai will serve as a good opportunity for the promotion of Croatian companies in the country, Ivan Barbarić of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) said at a Croatia-UAE forum in Zagreb.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Palestinian Family Opens Oriental Fast Food Outlet in Sisak

The restaurant is popular among local residents.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Croatia’s “Juicy” Juices Conquer Middle East

Croatian juices were presented in the United Arab Emirates.