Friday, 30 April 2021

FM Gordan Grlić Radman Calls on President Zoran Milanović to Unblock Process of Ambassadorial Appointments

ZAGREB, 30 April, 2021 - Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman on Friday called on President Zoran Milanović to cease obstructing the process of the appointment of 19 Croatian ambassadors and to go back to the constitutional and legislative frameworks when performing his presidential duties.

Grlić Radman's statement ensued after the dispute between the government and the president Milanović about the process of the appointment of 19 ambassadors and six consuls-general whose  current terms will soon expire.

"I think that the president is behaving like the Opposition leader rather than the head of state," said the minister.

Milanović insists on "a fifty to fifty quota" so that he could nominate a half of those appointments and a half can be proposed by the government, claiming this was the practice of in the terms of some of the previous presidents. Insisting on this quota model, Milanović says that this should fend off the attempts by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) attempts to control everything.

The minister explained that he had not known of the fifty to fifty quota in the past.

This is not the proper way. Croatia's diplomacy is one diplomacy which cannot be fragmented, ambassadors do not belong to somebody, they are top-ranking political representatives in host countries and pursue the foreign policies of their countries, Minister Grlić Radman said.

Grlić Radman recalled that on 23 November 2020 during a meeting of the National Security Council, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković presented a list of ambassadorial nominations to President Milanović and a few days later the presidential office's chief of staff said that Milanović did not want to discuss the list containing the nominations and that he insisted on 50 to 50 quota.

"President Milanović is a co-creator of the country's foreign policy and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković wants to discuss this with him, as the list has to be fine-tuned", the minister said today.

He also called on the president to stop using offensive language.

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

Friday, 30 April 2021

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman: Croatia and San Marino For Expanding Cooperation

ZAGREB, 30 April, 2021 - Croatia and San Marino have great potential to expand their cooperation in their mutual interest, particularly in the economy, culture and tourism, Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman said on Friday after meeting with his counterpart from San Marino.

Luca Beccari as San Marino's Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Economic Cooperation and Telecommunications is currently on a working visit to Croatia. This is the first visit ever by a minister from San Marino to Croatia.

Croatia and San Marino do not have any outstanding issues and they are working on expanding their cooperation in their mutual interest, said Grlić Radman.

"In that regard, I see development potential for our cooperation in the fields of economy, culture and tourism, having in mind our common Mediterranean orientation and the free access that San Marino has to the European Union market," underscored Grlić Radman.

According to Grlić Radman, the two countries are committed to the strategies and objectives of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative, which San Marino joined in 2019.

He recalled that San Marino, along with Andorra and Monaco, was implementing the agreement of accession to the European Union, and expressed Croatia's support for the continuation of negotiations and hope that they would be concluded successfully.

Grlić Radman did not omit to thank Minister Beccari for the aid that San Marino had sent to the earthquake-struck areas of Sisak-Moslavina County.

Beccari said that this bilateral visit is an opportunity to take one step further in strengthening mutual cooperation, particularly in the areas of economy, noting that San Marino deeply appreciates Croatia's support when it comes to accession to the EU.

That process was launched in 2015 and we hope that it will be concluded soon, primarily thanks to the support of friendly countries, said Beccari.

In addition to cooperation within the EU market he underscored cooperation between the two countries within the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative as a concrete common platform.

In that way we can have cooperate bilaterally but also with all other neighbouring countries, said Beccari.

He emphasised that San Marino is resolute in cooperation in the fields of economy and that it invests a great deal in new technologies, particularly those related to sustainable development.

During a joint press conference, Grlić Radman spoke about the long historical ties between the two countries, recalling that according to legend the founder of San Marino was Saint Marinus from the island of Rab.

The city of San Marino has had a twin-city agreement with the city of Rab since 1968, and that charter was renewed in 2018.

Minister Beccari will visit Rab during his stay in Croatia.

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

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman Says Ambassador Hidajet Biščević Enjoys Government's Support

ZAGREB, 27 April, 2021 - Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Tuesday that Croatian Ambassador Hidajet Biščević enjoyed the support from the Croatian government, in his comment to the ethnic Croat leader's accusations against the diplomat.

Addressing a news conference in Petrinja, Minister Grlić Radman said that the experienced Croatian diplomat Biščević enjoyed the support of the government in Zagreb.

He says that exclusively Croatian institutions are in charge of assessing the performance of Croatian diplomats.

The minister said that the status of the Croatian community in Serbia is one of Biščević's priorities.

"Media speculations and such statements in media about Croatia's diplomats are not the best way of communication. Croatia's diplomacy does not deserve that and furthermore this could also be an indirect attempt from outside to impact the political relations in Croatia," said the minister who will travel to Subotica on Wednesday.

He also said that it was also inappropriate to disseminate reports against Biščević after the recent incident in which the Croatian flag was removed from the residence of the Croatian ambassador in Belgrade.

Following media reports about the criticism targeted against Biščević, President Zoran Milanović said that he would recall the ambassador for consultations to establish the truth.

Minister Grlić Radman also rejected Milanović's claims that it was him who appointed Grlić Radman to an ambassadorial post.

Grlić Radman said that he had been employed for diplomatic tasks for the first time in 1991 by the first Croatian president Franjo Tuđman and since then he has been an official in the foreign ministry.

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

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

President Zoran Milanović to Recall Ambassador to Serbia Over His Alleged Disregard For Ethnic Croats

ZAGREB, 27 April, 2021 - Croatia's President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday that he would recall Croatian Ambassador to Belgrade, Hidajet Biščević, after the ethnic Croat leader Tomislav Žigmanov criticised the diplomat for working against the Croats in Serbia.

In the meantime media outlets have reported that Ambassador Biščević did not react to the developments in which ethnic Croats received death threats, and that he also failed to even telephone those members who received threats to express sympathy with them.

Žigmanov, who is the leader of the Democratic party of Croats in Vojvodina (DSHV), recently claimed that the Croatian ambassador had made a "tepid reaction" to attempts by Serbian authorities in Subotica to introduce the Bunjevci vernacular as an official language in that northern city and that the ambassador communicated with people whom Žigmanov described as persons "who are actively working on the destabilisation and dissolution of the (ethnic Croat) community."

All that prompted President Milanović to say today that he did not know whose policy Biščević "is pursuing there."

I cannot know whether all those headlines are true and I will summon him back to Zagreb for consultations, Milanović said in his address to the press at the Gašinci military range in eastern Croatia.

The Večernji List daily has reported that on 30 March, Žigmanov sent a letter to Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman to inform him that Biščević was working against the interests of the ethnic Croat community in Serbia.

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

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.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman: "Women Account For 50% of Senior Officials in Croatian Foreign Ministry"

ZAGREB, 21 April, 2021 - Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Wednesday that women filled more than 50% of management positions in this Croatian ministry.

Addressing a video conference called "Women’s Contribution to Peace and Security: Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead," the Croatian foreign minister, who was the host of this digital gathering, said his country appreciated the contribution made by women to the security and stability of the society.

Croatia is taking measures to boost the representation of women on the national political scene, the minister said.

The conference was organised by the Croatian foreign and defence ministries as part of Croatia's year-long presidency of the US-Adriatic Charter (A5).

Some of the participants in the event were former Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovć, and officials of the USA, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro.

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

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.

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, 31 March 2021

Croatia Donates 100 Books For New Egyptian Capital City

ZAGREB, 31 March, 2021 - Croatia has donated 100 books for the new capital of Egypt, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman, who is on a two-day visit to that country, said on Wednesday.

Croatia has donated 100 books for the new capital city, to be located somewhere between Cairo and the Red Sea, to strengthen cultural cooperation between the two countries, said Grlić Radman.

Egypt is building a new capital city to reduce pressure on the overpopulated Cairo.

The books handed over by Minister Grlić Radman were donated by the Croatian ministries of culture and media, science and education, and foreign and European affairs.

The books are mostly in Croatian, but the donation also includes books in English and French.

We hope the donation will contribute to the recognisability of our historical and cultural heritage and of our natural beauties, Grlić Radman said.

Grlić Radman and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry held talks on regional cooperation, stability in the Middle East and North Africa, migrations, and relations between Egypt and the EU.

Together they opened a business forum which was attended by more than 120 Egyptian and Croatian business people.

Grlić Radman said that as Mediterranean countries, Egypt and Croatia "share the interest in this region" and that tourism was an important industry for both countries.

"Sustainable tourism is our common goal," he said.

Earlier today, the Croatian minister held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, extending his condolences on a recent railway accident in which more than 30 people were killed and dozens were injured.

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

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