Friday, 23 April 2021

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman Slams Removal of Croatian Flag From Ambassador's Residence in Belgrade

ZAGREB, 23 April, 2021 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman on Friday condemned the removal of the Croatian flag from the ambassador's official residence in Belgrade, saying that such incidents fomented an atmosphere of hate, hostility and intolerance.

"Such incidents are certainly not conducive to understanding (...) We hope and wish for the relations between Croatia and Serbia to be good because it makes sense that we should have stable relations," he told the press.

Croatian Ambassador Hido Biščević told N1 television on Thursday it was no accident that the Croatian flag was taken down from his residence and that the incident reflected "part of the atmosphere" in Serbian society, which he said continued to feed on hate speech.

Unknown persons removed the flag from the building which has video surveillance but no guards most likely on Wednesday morning, he said.

The Serbian Foreign Ministry said this was an "injudicious and isolated act," hoping that it "won't cast a shadow on efforts to set Serbia-Croatia relations on new foundations so that in future they can develop in the spirit of mutual trust and cooperation."

Grlić Radman said that because of such incidents "we can't say the relations have good prospects, we can't talk about a good future, but we must believe in a good future."

He announced that he will go to Subotica on 28 April for the laying of the cornerstone of a new Croatia House. His talks with local officials will also address an initiative, opposed by Croatian linguists, to declare the Bunjevci dialect an official language in that town in northern Serbia.

The minister reiterated that the initiative was contrary to the Croatia-Serbia agreement on the protection of national minorities.

He said that on 27 April the prime minister of the Vojvodina province, Igor Mirović, would visit Petrinja, struck by a devastating earthquake last December.

Serbia's EU path "goes also across Croatia"

The minister went on to say that Serbia's EU path "goes also across Croatia." Before Serbia joins, it is necessary to resolve the issue of the war missing, universal jurisdiction, and reparations for POWs, he said.

Serb representatives have three guaranteed seats in the Croatian parliament and Croatia wants Croats in Serbia to be represented as well, he added.

Serbia "must actively and strongly deal" with reforms, the fight against corruption, and the rule of law, he said.

Serbia was granted EU candidate status in March 2012 and began accession negotiations in January 2014.

Ambassadorial appointments

Although Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and President Zoran Milanović have not yet agreed on the appointment of new ambassadors and consuls, Grlić Radman said he did not think the process was blocked and that there was "only one Croatian diplomacy."

He dismissed the possibility of a quota or a 50:50 model (between the president's and government's proposals). He said "agreement must be reached" and that one could talk about the list of candidates the government had sent the president, but that the government was not in favour of quotas.

He said the candidates were "professional diplomats who have proved themselves on the job."

Milanović, on the other hand, wants it to be known who is behind which ambassador for responsibility's sake, saying that this has been the practice before.

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

Friday, 23 April 2021

Commander of U.S. Air Forces For Europe, Africa Visits Croatia

ZAGREB, 23 April, 2021 - General Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of United States Air Forces in Europe and Africa and of Allied Air Command, visited Croatia on Thursday, the Defence Ministry said on Friday.

Harrigian met with the ministry state secretary, Zdravko Jakop, the director of the Croatian Armed Forces General Staff, Major General Ivica Olujić, and the commander of the Croatian Air Force, Brigadier General Michael Križanec.

They discussed the development of bilateral cooperation in defence and Agile Combat Employment, which is based on interoperability, as well as agreements regulating access to the Allied infrastructure and air space.

The Croatian Army, as an active NATO member, is participating in many international military exercises and activities which enhance the common capabilities and intensify cooperation between the member states, including the DEFENDER-Europe 21 and Astral Knight 21 exercises.

Jakop thanked the U.S. for donations and training assistance, saying that the bilateral relations were developed and that the U.S. "is the most important strategic partner in global security building."

Harrigian said he was looking forward to joint participation in Astral Knight, an exercise taking place in Croatia which, he said, offers an exceptional opportunity to train with some of the strongest allies.

Križanec underlined the importance of joint participation in international military exercises and activities this year, including  Adriatic Strike 21, Astral Knight 21 and Immediate Response 21.

Air forces, owing to rapid action and deployment in an exceptionally wide operations area, play a significant role in supporting deterrence as a key element of NATO's collective defence, he said.

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

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Connecting Economies of Croatia, Israel and BiH Cantons

ZAGREB, 22 April (Hina) - Diplomatic representatives of Croatia and Israel met with local cantonal authorities in Široki Brijeg in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Thursday to discuss joint economic projects for which Croatia has earmarked funds this year.

Non-resident Israeli Ambassador Noah Gal Gendler said after the meeting with government representatives and businessmen that he was exceptionally pleased with the talks.

"The objective is to exchange ideas and after that to include the private sector because they know how to very quickly recognise potential. As the state of Israel, as the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as cantons and naturally as the Republic of Croatia, we will support those efforts," said the ambassador. He expressed satisfaction that Israel will help the development of this area by sharing its knowledge and experience.

Diplomatic advisor in the Croatian Embassy in BiH Mladen Glavina underscored that this is about connecting business people and exchanging ideas between the three countries.

"Our aim is long term, to achieve in the next few years as many contacts as possible between business people on the three sides," said Glavina. This all started last year with contacts between the foreign ministries of Croatia and Israel and is continuing today, with concrete cooperation to follow, said Glavina, announcing that the Croatian government will assist in this trilateral cooperation and that certain funds have been allocated for it.

West Herzegovina Canton Prime Minister Zdenko Ćosić said that together with businessmen he would visit Israel in an effort to make way for their cooperation.

Representatives of Croatia and Israel visited three cantons in BiH that border with Croatia over the past three days in an effort to motivate economic cooperation between the three countries.

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

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

USA Not Recommending Travel to 100 Countries, Including Croatia

ZAGREB, 21 April, 2021 - The U.S. State Department has added about 100 countries this week to its "Level Four: Do Not Travel" advisory list, putting Croatia, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Mexico, Germany and others on the list, citing a "very high level of COVID-19," Reuters reported.

On Monday, the State Department said it would boost the number of countries receiving its highest advisory rating to about 80% of countries worldwide.

Before Tuesday, the State Department listed 34 out of about 200 countries as "Do Not Travel." The State Department now lists about 131 countries at Level Four, says Reuters.

The State Department said Monday the move "reflects an adjustment in the State Department's Travel Advisory system to rely more on (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's) existing epidemiological assessments."

Other countries in the "Do Not Travel" list include Finland, Egypt, Belgium, Turkey, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain. Some countries like China and Japan remain at "Level 3: Reconsider Travel."

Most Americans already had been prevented from traveling to much of Europe because of COVID-19 restrictions. Washington has barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who have recently been in most of Europe, China, Brazil, Iran and South Africa, Reuters says.

On Tuesday, the United States extended by another 30 days restrictions barring non-essential travel at its Canadian and Mexican borders.

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

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Slovenia, Croatia, Italy Sign Statement on Protection of Adriatic

ZAGREB, 21 April, 2021 - The foreign ministers of Slovenia, Croatia and Italy signed in Brdo Pri Kranju, Slovenia on Wednesday a joint statement on the protection of the northern Adriatic, after plenary talks on joint cooperation in that area.

Speaking to the press after the signing, Anže Logar of Slovenia said that he, Gordan Grlić Radman of Croatia and Luigi di Maio of Italy endorsed conclusions on strengthening the three countries' cooperation in the protection of the Adriatic, which he said was the basic framework for strengthening cooperation in areas of common interest.

Last year Croatia and Italy announced the proclamation of exclusive economic zones in the Adriatic, including Slovenia in consultations on the matter. Slovenia, which under international law does not have the right to do the same, assessed that as a positive move by its two neighbours.

Early this February, the Croatian parliament proclaimed an exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic, giving Croatia additional rights in relation to the Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone declared in 2003 to build artificial islands and exploit the sea, wind and currents in that zone in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

At a meeting in Trieste on 19 December, the three ministers adopted a joint statement in which they share a vision of the sea as a bridge uniting all the peoples in this area and a source of progress for all. They were agreed that the Adriatic, as a closed sea with intensive traffic and a vulnerable eco-system, needs an integrated approach to environmental protection and sustainable development.

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

 

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Friends of Croatia: New TCN Series On All Things Diplomatic

April 20, 2021 - Check out the newest TCN series "Friends of Croatia", dealing with all things diplomatic, by TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac

December 22, 1990, the Croatian parliament known as Sabor brought its first independent constitution, known as „The Christmas Constitution“. After that, the same parliament officially declared Croatia as an independent country and no longer part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on June 25, 1991. Then followed the Ex-Yu War known in Croatia as a Homeland War, which lasted until 1995.

While this war is one of the foundations of Croatian independence, noted by the modern constitution as well as on other grounds of historic events, the dedication of soldiers, tactics, weapons, force and combat skills weren't the only cards Croatia had to achieve its sovereignty. It was also the communication with the international community and international recognition. This allowed Croatian citizens to not end up in the trap of Transnistria, a sovereign state officially recognized as part of Moldova, where Moldova does not rule due to the army and force monopoly by the Transnistrian government, but whose passports have no benefit for its citizens and despite being a state, in official maps does not exist.

Iceland was the first sovereign country to recognize Croatia as a sovereign state on December 19, 1991, followed by Germany in whose recognition took effect on January 15, 1992. Slovenia technically did recognise Croatia first, the same as Croatia was the first to recognise Slovenia, but neither country had international recognition at the time, which is the reason Iceland counts first. Floored by Iceland and Germany, other countries started to recognize Croatia and the new-found Republic joined the UN on May 22, 1992. The international status was then additionally boosted with joining Nato on April 1, 2009, and the EU on July 1, 2013.

Today, Croatia has 176 diplomatic relations; and for TCN writers, reporting on diplomacy is nothing new. Diplomatic relations can be viewed, in layman terms, like friendships, and this is why this series is called „Friends of Croatia“. As stated by the E-International relations site, diplomacy has existed as long as the human race. It can be viewed in the first negotiations amongst individuals before graduating to the level we know today.

„Among the many functions of diplomacy, some include preventing war and violence and fortifying relations between two nations. Diplomacy is most importantly used to complete a specific agenda. Therefore without diplomacy, much of the world’s affairs would be abolished, international organizations would not exist, and above all, the world would be in a constant state of war. It is for diplomacy that certain countries can exist in harmony“, writes the E-International relations site.

And indeed, shutting down diplomatic relations is a final step before potential war escalation and the spread of violence. Even with certain diplomatic tensions, Croatia has with Slovenia around Piranski Bay, or with Serbia regarding uncleared questions from the Homeland War, the fact there are diplomatic relations both with Serbia and Slovenia ensures that these tensions can be solved by peace and not violence.

But what exactly are the details of Croatian diplomatic relations with other countries and international organizations? This is precisely what this series strives to bring by explaining the history of Croatian diplomatic relations by talking to diplomats, embassies, and representers of international communities, with an informative, unique approach to each specific relation. The series wants to inform of the ups and downs of Croatian international collaboration, how to make them better, what benefits are there in these relations for Croatia, and what benefits are there for other countries. Keep your eyes open for articles in these series with more details and interesting facts about diplomacy in general too.

If you are working in the embassy or in an international organization in Croatia, feel free to reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

To read more from the series "Friends of Croatia", follow TCN's dedicated page.

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

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

EU Ministers, Including Croatian FM Gordan Grlić Radman, Exchange Views on Ukraine, Ethiopia

ZAGREB, 20 April, 2021 - The EU member-states' foreign ministers, including Croatia's Gordan Grlić Radman, on Monday expressed concern over the situation in Ethiopia, and also over the Russian activities at the Ukrainian border and in Crimea.

The developments in Ukraine and in Ethiopia were the main topics of the informal video conference of foreign affairs ministers on Monday afternoon, and the Ukrainian Minister for Foreign Affairs  Dmytro Kuleba also joined them.

"Ministers reiterated their strong support to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, including to the non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. They also welcomed increased diplomatic efforts aimed at restoring Ukraine's territorial integrity," the Council of the European Union said on its web site.

Minister Grlić Radman was quoted in a press release issued by his ministry as saying that he praised Ukraine's efforts to implement the reforms and to deepen its relations with the European bloc.

Ethiopia

EU foreign ministers discussed the situation in the Tigray region, where fighting is ongoing, full humanitarian access is still being prevented, and human rights violations continue. They were briefed by Finland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Haavisto, who travelled to the region a second time, as representative of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to assess the situation, the Council's press release reads.

"The discussion underlined the urgent need for a monitored ceasefire to improve security conditions in Tigray, and to investigate allegations of human right abuses, war crimes and gender based violence. The High Representative encouraged the deployment of joint investigations between the Ethiopian Human Right Commission and the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights."

Grlić Radman pointed out the importance of the EU's constructive role in de-escalation between Sudan and Ethiopia and in defusing the tensions between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt over the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

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

Friday, 16 April 2021

Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team Visits Croatia's Krila Oluje Pilots

ZAGREB, 16 April, 2021 - Ten British Royal Airforce planes landed at the military based in Zemunik on Friday enroute to Greece to visit Croatia's Airforce - Krila Oluje (Wings of the Storm) aerobatic team, the Defence Ministry reported in a press release.

The British Red Arrow pilots were welcomed by their Croatian colleagues in the Krila Oluje team along with a team of aircraft technicians.

"After a long 2020 when we were not able to meet at base nor in the air, we are truly honoured to be able to receive our dear friends and offer them support on their way to Greece," Captain Darko Belančić said.

He hopes that the next season will be more successful despite all the challenges and that pilots will be able to conduct training and prepare for various performances.

"We look forward to their visit again on returning to the United Kingdom after the completion of the Springhawk exercise and hope that we can organise and plan a joint flight and exchange of experiences," added Belaničić.

This is the fourth time the Red Arrows have visited Zemunik as one of the bases on the way to Tanagra in Greece where they will conduct a five-week training in preparation for 2021 performances.

The Red Arrows, officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, is the aerobatics display team of the Royal Air Force based at RAF Scampton. The team was formed in late 1964 as an all-RAF team, replacing a number of unofficial teams that had been sponsored by RAF commands.

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

 

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Grlić Radman: Stability Reason for Croatian BiH EU Membership Support

ZAGREB, 15 April, 2021 - Croatia wants to see Bosnia and Herzegovina as a future member of the European Union because that is the only way to ensure stability in this area, and Bosnia and Herzegovina will have all our support, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Thursday.

"Bosnia and Herzegovina is our most important neighbour, a country with which we share 1,100 kilometres of border, a country made up of two entities, three equal peoples, including Croats, and it is our constitutional and moral obligation to help Bosnia and Herzegovina on its European path," Grlić Radman said in Kreševo at the end of his two-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He visited the Franciscan monastery and a museum co-financed by the Croatian government, which should open soon.

"We want to help all areas of life of Croats in this place, where Croats make up more than 80% of the population, so that they would stay in this area, especially young people," Grlić Radman said.

Together with HDZ BiH party leader Dragan Čović, he visited the plants owned by the Stanić family, noting that these modern production facilities prove that it is possible to live and invest there.

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

 

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

American Film Producer Don Victor Cisternino Ends Up in Remetinec Jail - Jutarnji List daily Reports

ZAGREB, 14 April, 2021 - US actor and producer Don Victor Cisternino has found himself on an international arrest warrant because the United States wants him for fraud of millions of dollars in subsidies for his employees affected by the pandemic, the Jutarnji List daily said on Wednesday.

I was afraid that the new administration under President Joe Biden would prosecute me for this kind of business, even though it was allowed during the Trump administration. That is why I decided to flee to Europe after the election in the US and seek asylum in Russia or some other country. And that's how I came to Croatia where I wanted to seek political asylum, Cisternino was quoted as saying.

The 45-year old actor and producer, known for his episode role in the television series ER, was arrested on an international arrest warrant on Sunday evening when he entered Croatia from Slovenia in a vehicle.

Over the past few years Cisternino has been running his own company, Magnifi Co, providing consulting services in the film and art industry. The state attorney in Orlando, Florida has charged Cisternino with embezzlement of $7.2 million of a state loan for support to companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Cisternino submitted fraudulent details to obtain a jobkeeping loan claiming that his company employed 422 employees, yet it only has two - Cisternino and his wife.

Irregularities were discovered by the tax authorities as Cisternino's tax return noted that all his workers paid the same tax of $3,356. However, due to tax deductions related to the number of children, unemployed spouse and other benefits, taxation varies from employee to employee which then raised suspicion as all 422 workers paid an identical tax amount.

Cisternino has declared that he objects to being extradited to the US. That means that his extradition won't be expedited and the formal extradition procedure will follow, the daily reported.

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

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