Monday, 12 August 2019

Foreign Minister Continues Debate on Nikola Tesla Heritage

ZAGREB, August 12, 2019 - Following criticism from Serbia that Croatia is laying claim to the world-famous scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla, Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Monday that both Croats and Serbs could be proud of Tesla.

The Serbian Culture and Information Ministry last week issued a statement condemning in the strongest terms what it described as an unacceptable attempt by Croatia to lay claim to Tesla.

At the Expo 2020 exhibition in Dubai Croatia will present itself as a country of innovative projects, inventions and world-famous scientists, including Nikola Tesla, Faust Vrančić and Mate Rimac.

In an interview with N1, Grlić Radman said that he considered the reaction from Serbia "unnecessary" and that there were examples of famous people with dual identities everywhere in the world.

"Nikola Tesla was born in Croatia, he is of Serb ethnic background, but he always said that he was proud of his Croatian homeland and his Serb origin," the minister told the N1 broadcaster.

Grlić Radman cited the example of Nikola Šubić Zrinski, saying he was celebrated by both Croats and Hungarians, as well as Lavoslav Ružička, a chemist born in Vukovar, honoured with a Nobel prize for his work in Switzerland.

"In any case... both Croats and Serbs can be proud of having had a man of such renown. He is a universal man who has contributed to humanity," said the minister.

Grlić Radman also commented on the Croatian-Slovenian dispute regarding the border in Piran Bay, saying that he wanted Slovenia and Croatia to set an example in the EU in dealing with outstanding issues.

"Why wouldn't we see together how to solve that problem," he said, adding that other EU members, too, encouraged a bilateral solution to the dispute.

Slovenia insists that the ruling of an international arbitral tribunal on the two countries' border dispute should be applied.

In 2015 Croatia walked out of the border arbitration proceedings following the release of recordings of covert contacts between Simona Drenik, then a representative of Slovenia's Foreign Ministry, and Jernej Sekolec, Slovenia's member of the arbitral tribunal.

Since then, Croatian governments have maintained that the arbitration was irreversibly compromised and have refused to implement the subsequent ruling of the arbitral tribunal.

Slovenia has refused Croatia's proposal to resume bilateral talks on the border issue, claiming that talks are possible only on the implementation of the arbitration award and that by rejecting the award, Croatia is breaching European and international law.

Grlić Radman said that he met with former Slovenian prime minister and incumbent Foreign Minister Miro Cerar when the latter was on holiday in Croatia.

He said that he had told his Slovenian counterpart that the two countries "have been neighbours for centuries and there were never any conflicts between them" and that they should therefore solve their disputes through dialogue.

Grlić Radman also said that he had talked with Serbian counterpart Ivica Dačić and that they had agreed to work on outstanding bilateral issues, with the war missing being the most important issue for Croatia.

More news about Nikola Tesla can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

“Croatia Remembers Tesla with Respect, Not Denying His Ethnic Background”

ZAGREB, August 11, 2019 - Croatian Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek on Saturday commented on her Serbian counterpart Vladan Vukosavljević's claim that Croatia is laying claim to Nikola Tesla, saying that Croatia remembers Tesla with respect, without trying to deny his ethnic background.

"The Croatian encyclopaedia describes Nikola Tesla as a US and Croatian inventor of Serb descent. Tesla was born in Croatia, he was educated in Croatia and left Croatia for Austria and later the Czech Republic, Hungary, France and the United States. One of the greatest inventors, he changed the world and connects the countries and cultures in which he lived. Speaking of himself, Nikola Tesla said that he was proud of his Serb origin and his Croatian homeland," the minister said in a statement to Hina.

She added that unlike Serbia, which has not stopped falsifying history and laying claim to other countries' great people, Croatia "remembers one of the biggest inventors with respect, without trying to deny his ethnic background."

"I would appreciate if my colleague, Mr Vukosavljević, turned to facts instead of myths. If he did so, it would have certainly never occurred to him to propose that Serb cultural centres abroad be named after Ivo Andrić, yet another exceptional person whose identity and origin connect a number of cultures and peoples, and there is no need to lay claim to him the way Serbia did by naming Serb cultural centres after him," said Obuljen Koržinek.

The Serbian Culture and Information Ministry on Friday issued a statement condemning what it described as an unacceptable attempt by Croatia to lay claim to Tesla, whom it said the entire world recognised and remembered as a Serb who spent a large part of his life in the United States.

At the Expo 2020 in Dubai, Croatia will present itself as a country of innovative projects, inventions and world-famous scientists, including Nikola Tesla.

More Nikola Tesla news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Serbia Protests over Croatia's Alleged Laying Claim to Nikola Tesla

ZAGREB, August 10, 2019 - The Serbian Culture and Information Ministry on Friday issued a statement condemning what it described as an unacceptable attempt by Croatia to lay claim to scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla, whom it said the entire world recognised and remembered as a Serb who spent a large part of his life in the United States.

Repeated attempts to lay claim to the Serb scientist and falsify the truth will not bring any benefit to Croatia which, according to official announcements, plans to present the great man as a Croatian scientist and inventor at the Expo 2020 in Dubai, the Serbian ministry said in the statement.

At the world exhibition in Dubai, Croatia will present itself as a country of innovative projects, inventions and world-famous scientists, including Nikola Tesla.

The Serbian ministry claims that the only historically correct fact on Tesla's background in encyclopedias, scientific works and popular texts is one that puts Tesla among the most important Serb scientists.

"With his scientific contributions and inventions, Nikola Tesla belongs to the world but as regards his ethnic background, he belongs to the Serb people. No tragicomic attempts to falsify that simple truth can change that," the Serbian ministry said.

Croatia considers Tesla, a Serb born in Smiljan in the central Croatian region of Lika in 1856, to be a Croatian and US scientist and inventor who spent most of his life in the United States, where he created all of his inventions and where he died in 1943.

More info about Nikola Tesla can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Ahead of Operation Storm Anniversary, New Tensions Between Croatia and Neighbours

ZAGREB, August 4, 2019 - Where have 400,000 Serbs and Yugoslavs from Croatia gone, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić asked Croatian officials on Saturday, ahead of events marking the 24th anniversary of the Croatian military and police operation Storm.

Relations between Belgrade and Zagreb become tense every year in August when the operation whereby Croatia in 1995 won the war against the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and local Serb rebels, is commemorated.

Croats consider the operation a legitimate action that liberated then occupied parts of the country while Serbians see it as an act of ethnic cleansing of their ethnic kin from Croatia.

Vučić asked Croatian authorities to explain how it was possible that of the 582,000 Serbs and 106,000 Yugoslavs in Croatia's 1981 census, only 184,000 declared themselves as Serbs in 2011.

The Serbian president is confident that by 2021, there will be fewer than 150,000 Serbs left in Croatia.

"If you say that 100,000 have emigrated for economic reasons, what about the other 400,000? How will you explain that?" asked Vučić.

He reiterated that for Croatia the day of Operation Storm was "a day of joy" while for Serbia "it is one of the saddest days in the country's modern history."

"We must not be ashamed of our tears, we should respect others' victims but unlike before, we must also respect our, Serb victims, talk about them and not downplay them," Vucic told reporters in Belgrade.

Serbia-Croatia relations have been deteriorating in recent years, mainly because of opposite positions on Operation Storm and the plight of Serbs in Croatia, Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) president Milorad Pupovac said this past Thursday, adding that it was necessary to conceive a policy of remembering all the victims which would enable people to live normally.

Pupovac, a Croatian MP, said Croatia-Serbia relations had been bad since 2011 and that, aside from different interpretations of Operation Storm, "a serious problem for Serbs in Croatia" was the absence of sentences for war crimes, persecutions, the destruction of villages, and the prevention of returns.

This year Operation Storm has also caused disputes in relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, after President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said that it had saved Bosnia and Herzegovina's northwestern Krajina region from genocide and that she would like the neighboring country never to forget who gave it a hand in the most difficult times.

A former commander of the Bosniak Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hamdija Abdić Tigar, dismissed Grabar-Kitarovic's statement, claiming that it was Bosniak troops that had liberated parts of Croatia.

"The hell they saved us... We kept this region safe for them the whole time. What would have happened had we been defeated? Where would Croatia be today? Its border would be running along the Karlovac-Karlobag-Virovitica line," said Abdić.

The 24th anniversary of Operation Storm will be marked on August 5 and as in previous years, the central commemoration will be held in Knin, the former stronghold of Croatian Serb rebels, and it will be attended by the highest state officials.

On August 5 Croatia also observes Victory Day, Homeland Thanksgiving Day and Croatian Veterans' Day.

More news about the Operation Storm can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Vukovar Cross Border Project Presented

ZAGREB, August 1, 2019 - A Croatia-Serbia Interreg 2014-2020 cross border project, the Panona Net Destination Management Model was presented in Vukovar on Thursday, and the project includes Vukovar and Velika, Croatia and Subotica, Serbia.

"This project will enable the Velika Municipality to develop its ecological tourism, Subotica its rural tourism and Vukovar its urban tourism... I consider this to be a good way for Vukovar to be heard far away and for tourists to choose Vukovar to visit along the EuroVelo 6 route," the director of the Vukovar Development Agency, Vedrana Zilić, said.

Mayor Ivan Penava is convinced that the project will attract an additional 850,000 kuna to continue working on the project that was launched 4 years ago.

"Vukovar is developing urban tourism and highlighting the tourism product segment, which is relatively new but is significantly and continually growing. With this project we will additionally promote urban tourism in line with increased cyclo-tourism and arrivals of tourists who visit our city on the EuroVela 6 route," said Penava.

The project is being financed with EU funds from the IPA Interreg Croatia - Serbia 2014-2020 cross border programme with a total value of more than 4.7 million kuna, 837,000 kuna of which is earmarked for Vukovar.

More Vukovar news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia Strengthening Cooperation in Search for War Missing

ZAGREB, July 30, 2019 - Locating and identifying the remains of those gone missing in the war in the former Yugoslavia is primarily a humanitarian issue and must not be the subject of political dispute between countries in the region, Croatia's representative told his counterparts from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia in Sarajevo on Tuesday with whom he signed protocols to speed up that process.

Croatian Assistant Veterans' Affairs Minister Stjepan Sučić, the head of Serbia's office for missing persons, Veljko Odalović, and the director of the Institute for Missing Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nikola Perišić, signed documents on the implementation of a previously agreed protocol on cooperation in the search for missing persons.

Croatia is still searching for 1,892 people who went missing during the 1990s Homeland War, yet the previously signed agreements have not produced any progress for that issue to finally be resolved, Sučić recalled. "When the time for action comes, disputes emerge," he added.

The missing, however, are primarily a humanitarian problem that must be separated from other outstanding issues between countries in the region, he said.

Today's signing is a "small step forward" and we aren't expecting "anything spectacular if good will doesn't exist and if that issue is not treated without any politics or relating it to other outstanding issues," Sučić said.

The existing agreement on tracing the missing signed with Serbia need to be reviewed as do the rules of procedure so that they are in line with the law on missing persons recently adopted in the Croatian parliament because it is necessary to protect the rights of missing persons and their families too, he said.

Perišić said that the documents signed today define the method of cooperation and exchange of information, including the exhumation and handing over of remains.

There are still about 12,000 people considered to have gone missing during the wars in the entire area of the former Yugoslavia and morgues throughout the region contain the remains of about 4,000 people that have not been identified.

He added that in Bosnia and Herzegovina alone there are about 7,200 missing persons and without institutional cooperation that search would be an impossible mission.

Odalović said that Serbia is prepared for cooperation without any restrictions so that the issue of those gone missing during the 1990s wars can be resolved, but considering the nature of all those conflicts, that problem cannot be solved without regional cooperation.

"There has to be a regional search mechanism" Odalović said, adding that country borders must not be an obstacle in the search for the war missing.

More news about the Homeland War can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Zagreb Philharmonic, Music Youth of Novi Sad Launch Cultural Project

ZAGREB, July 7, 2019 - The Zagreb Philharmonic and the Music Youth of Novi Sad cultural institution have launched a joint, EU-funded project of cross-border cooperation during which the Zagreb Philharmonic will stage 24 concerts in the eastern Croatian towns of Ilok and Vukovar and in Novi Sad and Subotica, in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina, performing music from Charlie Chaplin's films The Kid and The Circus.

Speaking at the launch of the project in Ilok on Friday, Zagreb Philharmonic director Mirko Boch said that this was one of the most important events in the history of the Zagreb Philharmonic, organised in cooperation with the Music Youth of Novi Sad with which the Zagreb Philharmonic had already successfully cooperated.

"Even though they are old, The Kid, made in 1921, and The Circus, made in 1928, are actually timeless movies as is the music composed for them. The original score will be performed by our 50 musicians under the baton of Maestro Krešimir Batinić," said Boch, adding that he hoped the project would contribute to what the region could offer in terms of cultural tourism.

The project will start in Novi Sad, with two concerts a day to be staged on September 3, 4 and 5, followed by concerts in Ilok on September 9, 10 and 11, while concerts in Subotica and Vukovar will be staged in May and July 2020.

The head of the Music Youth of Novi Sad, Milan Radulović, said that Novi Sad, this year's European Youth Capital which in two years' time will hold the title of European Capital of Culture, was eagerly awaiting the concerts by the Zagreb Philharmonic.

Zagreb Philharmonic conductor Batinić said that the project would be a challenge as well as a great experience because the orchestra would be performing music from the two Chaplin films while they were screened, which, he said, would require great concentration on the part of the conductor.

More culture news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 5 July 2019

Croatian Minority in Serbia Welcomes Pejčinović Burić's Appointment as CoE Secretary-General

ZAGREB, July 5, 2019 - Croatian minority leaders in Serbia on Friday welcomed the appointment of Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister, Marija Pejčinović Burić, as Secretary-General of the Council of Europe and the message of congratulation by Serbia's Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić on that occasion, however, they expressed disappointment that the highest Serbian officials did not say anything about this achievement by Croatia's diplomacy.

Dačić said at the 2019 Western Balkans-EU summit on Thursday that Serbia was looking forward to Croatia's chairmanship of the European Union in the first half of 2020 and he congratulated Pejčinović Burić on her appointment as Secretary-General of the CoE, stating that the position "was very important for the region."

"It is odd that in the case of certain events in diplomatic circles that directly impact you, and the Council of Europe certainly does impact Serbia, congratulations and assessments are expressed at international forums abroad and with a week's delay! In that regard, the silence of the highest Serbian government officials about Pejčinović Burić's appointment speaks volumes and can be interpreted as a defeat of their own plans," the president of the Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina (DSHV), Tomislav Žigmanov, said on Friday.

Pejčinović Burić was elected the new Secretary-General of the Council of Europe by secret ballot in Strasbourg last week and will take office in September.

The CoE was founded in 1949, it has 47 member states, covers approximately 830 million people and its stated aim is to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe.

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

Friday, 5 July 2019

Dačić Says Serbia Looking Forward to Croatia's EU Presidency

ZAGREB, July 5, 2019 - Serbia is looking forward to Croatia's presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2020 and expects a lot from it, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić said at the Western Balkans summit in the Polish city of Poznan on Thursday.

"Serbia is looking forward to and expects a lot from Croatia's presidency of the EU. We are all family here and it is in our interest to help one another. That is why I think Croatia's presidency should be in accordance with the interests of the entire region," Dačić was quoted by Serbian media as saying at the summit, organised as part of the Berlin Process.

Dačić "congratulated Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić on being elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe," saying that this position is "very important for the region."

Dačić said that Serbia believes that all countries in the region are friends, that they have similar problems and none of them should gloat over the failures of another, suggesting that the countries in the region should mutually support each other.

"Some people will say that is a new Yugoslavia, but I am not talking about that. I am saying that we have common interests and that it would be better for to discuss them publicly rather than think the same in various waiting rooms without daring to say so," Dačić said.

He said that conflicts were not in Serbia's interest and emphasised the need for peace in the region.

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

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Serbian President Vučić Congratulates Croatia on Its Statehood Day

ZAGREB, June 25, 2019 - Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić on Tuesday sent messages with best wishes to Croatia and Slovenia on the occasion of their public holidays -- Statehood Day -- observed in remembrance of the declaration of the two countries' independence in 1991 from the Socialist Yugoslav federation (SFRY).

Vučić's message sent to Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović reads that the Serbian head of state expects the intensification of dialogue on the matters of joint interest. so as to enhance the Serbia-Croatia relations.

Vučić wrote in his message to his Slovenian counterpart Borut Pahor that Serbia was committed to the development of bilateral relations.

He added that he appreciated Slovenia's support to Belgrade on its journey towards Europe, according to a press release issued by the office of Serbian president.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović says in her congratulatory message on the occasion of Croatia's Statehood Day, observed on 25 June, that the adoption of the constitutional decision on the country's sovereignty and independence and the Declaration of Independence 28 years ago placed Croatia forever on the global political map.

Extending her cordial congratulations, the president says that 25 June 1991 is one of the most important dates in Croatia's history.

The constitutional decision and the Declaration of Independence marked not only the severance of ties with the republics of the former Yugoslavia but also Croatia's exit from the complex state union, she said in the message released on Monday.

"The name of the Republic of Croatia is thus permanently inscribed on the political map of the world."

Grabar-Kitarović also paid tribute to the first Croatian president Franjo Tuđman who led the Croatian people on the journey towards the establishment of its independent state and to soldiers who defended Croatia against a Great Serbian aggression.

The victory (in the 1991-1995 war) has marked the completion of our historical struggle for the sovereign and independent Croatian state, the president says adding that many successes are making Croatia more and more recognisable around the globe.

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

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