Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Croatia Denies Blocking EU Condemnation of Turkey's Syria Offensive

ZAGREB, October 15, 2019 - Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman on Monday denied a media report that Croatia had blocked the adoption of an EU joint statement condemning Turkey's military intervention in north-eastern Syria.

"We were surprised when we saw it. It is possible that someone confused Croatia with another country which may have wanted milder wording. We strongly supported a condemnation of the unilateral military intervention," Grlić Radman told reporters when asked to comment on a media report that Croatia, along Great Britain, had vetoed the adoption of the joint statement.

"We advocate multilateralism and are interested in stability in that region. We are against unilateral actions that cause instability, insecurity and a possible new wave of refugees," Grlić Radman said.

AFP journalist Damon Wake wrote on Twitter, citing unnamed sources, that Great Britain and Croatia were currently blocking the EU joint statement condemning the Turkish offensive and that they objected to the use of the word "condemn".

EU foreign ministers, meeting in Luxembourg on Monday, condemned Turkey's unilateral military action in north-eastern Syria and urged Ankara to withdraw its troops from the area.

"The EU condemns Turkey’s military action which seriously undermines the stability and the security of the whole region, resulting in more civilians suffering and further displacement and severely hindering access to humanitarian assistance," says the statement agreed by the foreign ministers of the 28 member states.

Last week Turkey launched a military operation in north-eastern Syria against the Kurdish YPG militia. The aim of the operation is to form a security zone in north-eastern Syria, along the border with Turkey, and settle there Syrian refugees currently staying in Turkey.

More foreign policy news can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 31 May 2019

Sixth Group of Syrian Refugees Relocated from Turkey to Croatia

ZAGREB, May 31, 2019 - Fifty Syrian refugees have arrived in Croatia from Turkey as part of the European refugee relocation programme, the Ministry of the Interior said in a statement on Thursday, explaining that this was the sixth group of refugees to be relocated to Croatia so far on the basis of quotas set by the government.

The last group of refugees arrived in Croatia on May 29-30. So far, 202 Syrian refugees have been relocated to Croatia from Turkey.

Another 51 Syrian refugees are expected to arrive in July and August, when Croatia will have met quotas defined by government decisions of 2015 and 2017, taking in a total of 253 refugees.

As was the case with previous arrivals of refugees, the last group of Syrian refugee families underwent cultural orientation in Turkey and will immediately begin with the process of social integration in Croatia, the ministry said, adding that refugees would initially be provided with accommodation at the centre for seekers of international protection in Kutina.

The ministry recalls in its statement that relocation is an expression of international solidarity and sharing of responsibility with the countries where a large number of people seeking international protection have arrived or have been staying, and that it is a tool for the management of migrations, reduction of illegal migrations and prevention of people smuggling to which refugees are frequently exposed.

More news about migrant crisis can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 21 December 2018

Allegations of Syrian Migrant Who Said Croatian Police Separated Him from Daughter Were False

ZAGREB, December 21, 2018 - Syrian migrant Wadie Ghazi Sineid, who claimed that Croatian police separated him from his daughter, came to Europe alone, according to Interpol data, Interior Minister Davor Božinović said on Friday, adding that this case showed that the institute of international protection was frequently abused.

In September, after Croatia returned him to Bosnia and Herzegovina, from which he had illegally entered Croatia, Sineid told Bosnian media that Croatian police had separated him from his daughter.

Božinović said the police immediately did everything they did in case of missing persons, notably children, finding that in all the countries Sineid had passed through on his way to Croatia - Turkey, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina - the Syrian migrant was registered without a child.

Croatian police also contacted police in Syria and Lebanon, Božinović told reporters. Damascus said that Sineid had left Syria in 2011 and that since then they had had no information about him and his daughter, while Beirut said they had no information about his family.

Božinović said that according to current information, Sineid was registered in the Netherlands in October and that it was not known if he had contacted anyone in Croatia.

"This example shows that the institute of international protection is often abused," he said, adding that over 80% of the people eligible to apply for asylum or some other form of international protection in Croatia disappeared during the procedure as they had freedom of movement. This shows that Croatia is not their goal and that they use those mechanisms to go a step further, he added.

Commenting on media criticisms of Croatian police brutality towards migrants on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Božinović said they checked each such report and that so far there had been no instances of violence, only acts of deterrence from the border.

As for accusations that Croatian police prevented migrants from applying for asylum, Božinović said that of the 7,500 people caught illegally entering Croatia, over 1,000 had applied for asylum or international protection.

"Everyone who wants to say that Croatia doesn't respect the law or that it is closed like some other countries, the facts and the numbers refute that," he said, adding that Croatia would be glad to let those people move on to other European Union countries if they wanted to receive them.

More news on Croatia’s migrant policies can be found in our Politics section.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Thankful for Help, Syrian Children Present a Gift to Croatian President

I am glad that we have succeeded in bringing Syrian children, orphans, to forget at least for a short time the Syrian hell in which they have been living for eight years, said Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović after she received a gift that these Syrian children sent her as a sign of gratitude. In June, 34 children and five adults from various parts of Syria stayed at the Red Cross resort in Novi Vinodolski in Croatia, reports Večernji List on November 19, 2018.

The children have managed to collect enough money from their allowances to buy a unique handmade jewellery box made of high-quality oak wood. A box of this size takes at least 15 days of handwork because all the engravings are made manually. In most of the Arab world, giving such a box shows great respect and gratitude.

The president emphasized she hoped that next year she would be able to again bring children from Syria and other countries tormented by war horrors. The person who did the most to bring them to Croatia is Đurđa Adlešić, the president of the Croatia Helps association, who worked on the project for two years.

In addition to President Grabar-Kitarović, the project was supported by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković as well, who sent his spokesperson Marko Milić to visit the children while they were in Novi Vinodolski. President’s advisor Mate Granić also visited them.

Prior to returning to Syria, the children were received at the government building by Zvonimir Frka-Petešić, the prime minister’s chief of staff, who presented them with small gifts and wished them happiness and peace in their country.

“We want to live in peace just like people in Croatia live. Instead of grenades and shootings, we want to listen to birds. Instead of tears and sadness, we want laughter, dancing and singing,” said the youngest member of the group, the 10-year-old Hanin who lost her father and brother in the war, adding that she would never forget Croatia and her new friends whom she will invite to her country as soon as the war is over.

For more on Croatia’s relations with Syria, click here.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Hassan Haidar Diab).

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Russian Ambassador in Croatia on “Barbaric Aggression” in Syria

ZAGREB, April 15, 2018 - Russia's Ambassador to Croatia Anvar Azimov said on Saturday that the Western military attack on Syria was an act of barbaric aggression, adding that Russia would not intervene militarily as long as there were no Russian casualties.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

US Grateful for Croatia’s Support for Syria strikes

ZAGREB, April 14, 2018 - The US Embassy in Zagreb thanked Croatia on Saturday for supporting the actions of Western allies against the Syrian chemical programme.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

MP Ivan Pernar: Donald Trump Is No Better than Assad

While the government supports US latest intervention in Syria, others do not share its opinion.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Croatia Supports US Operation in Syria

ZAGREB, April 14, 2018 - Croatia supports its partners and allies in efforts to prevent any further use of chemical weapons in Syria and protect the civilian population there, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs said in a statement on Saturday, after three Western countries launched airstrikes at chemical weapons facilities in Syria in response to the chemical attack on Douma on April 7.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Rally of Solidarity with Syrians Held in Croatia

ZAGREB, April 7, 2018 - A peaceful rally of solidarity with Syrian citizens, who have been living the horrors of war for seven years, was held in downtown Zagreb on Friday evening.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

40 Syrian Refugees from Turkey Arrive in Croatia

The seven Syrian families have already passed a cultural orientation course and will immediately start the process of integration into the Croatian society.

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