Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Croatia FM Grlić Radman For Shedding Light on Fate of Missing, Killed Bugojno Croats

ZAGREB, 20 July, 2021 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Tuesday he expected light to be shed on the fate of missing and killed Croats from Bugojno, central Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he laid wreaths and attended Mass in a church destroyed in the 1990s war.

"It's very important to shed light on the dark past so we can live together, so we can open a new chapter of coexistence. It's important to shed light on the past, on the fate of the missing, the killed. Their families are still alive," Grlić Radman said in Kandija.

Croats in Bugojno are commemorating the 28th anniversary of suffering during the war with the Bosniak Army of BiH. In the summer of 1993, about 16,000 were driven out and about 300 were killed, while 15 top military and political officials, who were captured, taken to concentration camps and then killed, are still being traced.

Tomorrow, the search for their bodies will continue with excavations at Rostova, where the remains of four missing Bugojno Croats were exhumed last year.

In Kandija, Grlić Radman laid a wreath for the Croat victims of the Homeland and other wars.

He said Bugojno was a test for all in BiH in "bringing back the spirit of unity, tolerance, multi-ethnicity."

The minister said it was sad that 16,000 Croats lived in Bugojno before the 1990s war and only 2,500 today.

"It's necessary to create the prerequisites for their return. The Croatian government and all its institutions will help with appropriate crossborder cooperation projects and through EU funds. I'm sure the Croats of Bugojno will be able to return home and that the Croatian identity will be cultivated and shown here again, while respecting all other faiths and nations as it used to be."

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

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Friends of Croatia: Croatian Protocol Guide - Diplomatic Arrivals and Departures

June 23, 2021 - The ninth article in the series, "Friends of Croatia: Croatian Protocol Guide", brings you more details from the Protocol guide for diplomatic missions accredited to the Republic of Croatia issued by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs to ease the arrival of the foreign diplomatic representatives to Croatia.

With diplomatic immunity already being mentioned in this series, we saw that the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MVEP) following the terms of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, dedicated a special part to diplomatic immunity in its Protocol guide for diplomatic missions accredited to the Republic of Croatia. This guide is another confirmation of how MVEP, as it previously explained to TCN, finds diplomatic relations very important, particularly representing the interests of Croatian companies and the Croatian economy, which back in March was evident in a successful agreements FM Gordan Grlić Radman achieved for Croatian entrepreneurs on the Egyptian market.

„In a constant effort to provide, in a timely fashion, quality support to diplomatic missions, diplomats, and other members of missions, the Diplomatic Protocol is happy to present a brief guide for diplomatic missions with useful guidelines concerning ceremonies and visits, and privileges and immunities. The guide is meant for information purposes only, and we hope it will help diplomatic missions and their members enjoy successful terms in office in Croatia“, says the opening of the Protocol guide. Guide also points out how „The Diplomatic Protocol of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is the principal address for diplomatic missions accredited to Croatia“.

Apart from previously mentioned diplomatic immunity, the guide also explains the details of welcoming new diplomats as well as the procedure of escorting the diplomats on their departure from Croatia.

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Ground/air arrivals

So, when the Ambassador arrives in Croatia, the Diplomatic Protocol, Ceremonies, and Visits Department informs the competent authorities. What is interesting is that the rules in the protocol differ in practice pending how Ambassador comes to the country.

„If the Ambassador arrives by a road border crossing, then the head of the Ceremonies and Visits Department will schedule the earliest convenient date for a visit to the newly appointed Ambassador at the official residence or the Embassy of the sending state“, explains the guide.

The other option is by airplane.

„When the newly appointed Ambassador enters the state territory of the Republic of Croatia for the first time at a border crossing at the Zagreb International Airport, his/her VIP treatment will have been arranged and, during office hours, he/she will be greeted by the head or a representative of the Ceremonies and Visits Department“, says the guide.

The Embassy also sends a diplomatic note to the Diplomatic Protocol to arrange details and date regarding the presentation of credentials to the President of the Republic of Croatia and of copies of the credentials to the Head of the Diplomatic Protocol of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia. This is important as it confirms the Ambassador is not just a visitor but a legitimate representer of his/her country and appointed by the authorities of the country that enjoys bilateral relations with Croatia. And proper goodbyes at the end of the Ambassador term are in order as well.

„When an Ambassador is to depart from the Republic of Croatia, his/her Embassy will send a note to the Diplomatic Protocol advising of the date and time of his/her departure. The Ceremonies and Visits Department then notifies the competent authorities of the time and place of his/her departure from the state territory of the Republic of Croatia. VIP treatment at Zagreb International Airport will be arranged“, explains the guide.

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Friendly and safely

As foreign ministers frequently travel to other countries, embassies have a key role in making those visits.

„An Embassy in the Republic of Croatia notifies the Diplomatic Protocol in a diplomatic note of the visit of a Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Republic of Croatia. All further details concerning the visit are conveyed to the Diplomatic Protocol in a diplomatic note. In the case of an official or working visit, the Ceremonies and Visits Department is responsible for the logistic support. The Ceremonies and Visits Department will in further communication with the Embassy in the Republic of Croatia arrange the details of the organization of the meetings requested. This includes accommodation in the previously agreed format, transport, protocol and security. At the proposal of the Ceremonies and Visits Department, or at the request of the Embassy, free time will be organized as well. If the proposal is accepted, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs will cover the expenses of the proposed part of the program“, explains the guide.

There is even an interesting prescription regarding the safety of politicians visiting the country. As the guide points out, the arrival of a protected person, delegation and security staff needs to be announced at least 48 hours prior to entering the territory of the Republic of Croatia. Pending on the rating of the protected person varies the allotment of firepower allowed to be carried in Croatia by the security staff. Three pieces of firearms along with ammunition for the Head of State, 2 pieces of firearms for a Parliament Speaker or a Prime Minister, and one piece of a firearm for the Minister of Foreign Affairs or a Head of an International Organization and Institution. Of course, this norm can be changed pending „on the basis of the judgment of the security department in charge, or on the basis of reciprocity“.

„When announcing the arrival of a protected person, delegation and security staff, a detailed program of activities needs to be submitted“, informs the guide.

Info such as times of arrival in and departure from the Republic of Croatia, the border crossing to be used for entering and exiting the state territory of the Republic of Croatia, personal information including passport numbers of nationals of non-member states, ID numbers for citizens of EU Member States as well as brand, type and a serial number of firearms and quantity of ammunition that foreign security staff will be bringing into the Republic of Croatia must be provided in the program of activities.

It may sound a bit strict but easily manageable by professionals in a friendly bilateral relationship, allowing to conduct diplomatic relations without fuss. One such important recent visit to Croatia came from the US Department of Homeland Security Officials in Croatia regarding visa-free travel. No doubt, these established rules were vital for that visit as for many others to come in the future as Croatia continues to nourish diplomatic ties with its allies.

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

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

 

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Foreign Minister Grlić Radman For Opening EU Entry Talks With N. Macedonia, Albania as Soon as Possible

ZAGREB, 22 June, 2021 - North Macedonia and Albania have met all the criteria to open EU accession negotiations as soon as possible and Kosovo deserves visa liberalisation, Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Tuesday in Luxembourg.

"Albania and North Macedonia have met all the criteria and we believe that accession negotiations should be opened with them as soon as possible," said Grlić Radman upo arriving in Luxembourg for a General Affairs Council meeting.

The General Affairs Council is composed of foreign or European affairs ministers of the member states. They convened today to discuss preparations for an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday on migration, enlargement and the stabilisation and association process.  Furthermore, the Portuguese presidency will inform the EU ministers about the work of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

One of the more important topics to be debated within Article 7 is the rule of law in Hungary and Poland.

Accession intergovernmental conferences with Serbia and Montenegro will be held on the margins of today's meeting, but without opening or closing any policy chapters. So-called political intergovernmental conferences are a new approach in the accession process.

Agreement still has not been reached to open negotiations with North Macedonia due to objections by Bulgaria and no progress is expected before elections in Bulgaria scheduled for next month.

There are no blockades regarding Albania, however some countries do not wish to separate the issue of opening negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.

Grlić Radman that Croatia supports the motion for liberalising the visa regime for Kosovo as soon as possible.

Croatia would like talks on candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be launched as soon as possible too, said Grlić Radman and once again underscored the need for the election law in that country to be changed so that it ensures the equality of all three constitutent peoples.

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

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Foreign Minister Grlić Radman Calls on Remaining EU Countries to Recognise Kosovo

ZAGREB, 16 June, 2021 - Croatia encourages the remaining EU countries who have not done so to recognise Kosovo's independence, Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Wednesday, which is a move that Serbia certainly will not be pleased with as it does not recognise the sovereignty of its former southern province.

Kosovo declared its independence in 2008 and it has been recognised by about one hundred countries, including all EU member states with the exception of Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Spain and Slovakia.

"Croatia encourages the remaining five EU member states to recognise Kosovo because that would contribute to stabilising the region and Kosovo itself," Grlić Radman told reporters.

Today Grlić Radman is participating at the international GLOBSEC conference in Bratislava, convened to discuss also the situation in the western Balkans.

Croatia's foreign minister said that three things were key to the region's stability: respecting countries' territorial integrity, equal constitutional rights of Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the establishment of mutual trust after the 1990s wars.

"The territorial integrity of Balkan countries needs to be preserved and respected, hence without changing borders like we heard over the past few months in some much-vaunted non-papers that were heading in that direction," said Grlić Radman.

He believes that trust can be achieved through sincere talks, by resolving the issue of the war missing, processing war crimes and providing justice for the victims.

Speaking about BiH, he said the country is trapped between two political tendencies - centralism, or rather unitarism, and separatism.

"That undermines the foundations of a stable BiH and negatively reflects on the status of the Croat people in BiH," he underscored.

He reiterated Croatia's stance that the multi-ethnic BiH needs to reforms the election law to eliminate any form of discrimination and violation of equal rights.

Grlić Radman said that Croatia is a "sincere advocate" of BiH's Euro-Atlantic pathway and that at all international forums it keeps that country in the limelight because it is in its interest to have a stable, functioning and prosperous country in its neighbourhood.

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

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Foreign Minister Grlić Radman Attends Ministerial Meeting on Berlin Process

ZAGREB, 8 June, 2021 - Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman participated in a video-conference on Tuesday with the foreign ministers of country participants in the Berlin process, the foreign ministry has reported.

"The Berlin Process has so far resulted in many tangible achievements. Primarily, it has reiterated its commitment to the European Union's enlargement process, created a positive boost for concrete regional cooperation, and has helped to strengthen ties both between the six countries in the Western Balkans region as well as between those countries and the EU," said Grlić Radman.

He added that the area of the Western Balkans has been seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but also that a recovery framework was created at last year's Berlin Process summit in Sofia.

"In times of crisis, we have to show solidarity with those who require help. Croatia is among the first EU member states to implement the vaccine sharing mechanism, via which we will send vaccines to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia," underscored Grlić Radman.

He reiterated Croatia's support to Western Balkan countries on their European journey, reflecting particularly on Bosnia and Herzegovina, underscoring its stability which is Croatia's interest and of the whole of the European Union.

He underlined the urgency to resolve the most important issues in that country such as reforming the election law and the opportunity to implement that this year.

He called on those countries that have not yet recognised Kosovo to do so because of the positive effect that its recognition would have on the security and stability of Southeast Europe.

He also expressed hope that a consensus would be reached without any delay on the negotiation framework for Albania and North Macedonia and subsequently for an inter-governmental conference to be organised with both countries and for an inter-governmental conference to also be organised with Montenegro and Serbia in the context of the new negotiation methodology.

Today's meeting included the participation of representatives from EU institutions, the Council for Regional Cooperation and the regional youth cooperation office and the office for cooperation with NGOs.

Germany hosted today's video-conference of the Berlin Process, the foreign ministry said in its press release.

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

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Portugal Supports Croatia's Schengen Membership Bid, Says Grlić Radman

ZAGREB, 27 May 2021 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman, who held talks with his Portuguese counterpart in Lisbon on Wednesday, said that Portugal supported Croatia's efforts to join the passport-free Schengen Area, as well as to enter the OECD and the MED7, an alliance of Mediterranean EU member states.

Portugal has expressed unreserved support for Croatia in that regard, Minister Grlić Radman told Hina after he held the hour-long talks with Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva in Lisbon.

Grlić Radman recalled that during his recent visit to Madrid, Spain's officials also expressed support for Croatia's Schengen membership bid and plans to join MED7.

MED 7 or EuroMed 7 is a group consisting of Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, and Malta, and their ministers meet once a year to discuss topics of common interest and harmonize their positions. The group was established in 2013 at the proposal of Spain and Cyprus.

The next meeting of MED 7 is likely to be organized in Greece this autumn, and Grlić Radman said in Lisbon that he hoped that Croatia and Slovenia, which also aspire for MED7 membership, could attend that ministerial gathering.

The admission of Croatia and Slovenia to that association will bolster the Mediterranean cooperation, the Croatian minister said.

Portugal is the chair of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2021, and on Thursday, a Gymnich meeting, an informal meeting of the foreign ministers of the EU member states, will take place in Lisbon. EU-Africa relations, the unresolved conflicts in the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood and the Indo-Pacific region will be on the agenda. There will also be an exchange of views with the Jordanian Foreign Affairs Minister, Ayman Al Safadi, who has been invited to take part in the working lunch.

Grlić Radman, who will attend that meeting, said that he had congratulated Minister Santos Silva on the successful Portuguese EU presidency.

Croatian-Portuguese relations excellent, TAP introduces direct Lisbon-Zagreb flight service

Considering the Croatian-Portuguese relations, Grlić Radman described them as excellent without any outstanding issues.

He thanked Santos Silva for the prompt Portuguese assistance after the 29 December 6.2 strong quake hit central Croatia.

"We discussed economic cooperation. There is room for its advancement," Grlić Radman said.

TAP Air Portugal, the state-owned flag carrier airline of Portugal, will restore the direct flights between Lisbon and Zagreb on 2 June, after it had ceased operating that line more than five years ago.

We are looking forward to that service, the Croatian minister said.

In 2019, 65,570 Portuguese visitors traveled to Croatia, and in 2020, their number fell to 7,122  due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the data provided by the Croatian National Tourist Board.

Grlić Radman also welcomed the Portuguese authorities' decision to relax rules for the entry of Croatians into Portugal. Currently, travelers arriving from Croatia into Portugal are required to have a negative PCR test to coronavirus and need no quarantine.

The two ministers discussed the developments in the Western Balkans and the EU enlargement to that part of Europe.

The European security and stability depend on the admission of those countries in the European space, and this is also important in the light of reducing the influence of third countries on Western Balkan countries, the Croatian minister said. 

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

Friday, 14 May 2021

"Croatia to The World" Exhibition Could Be Shown in Diplomatic Offices

ZAGREB, 14 May, 2021 - The fantastic exhibition "Croatia to the world" represents the best that Croatia has contributed to the world and it would be good if it were shown in diplomatic offices abroad to help to break down stereotypes, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Friday.

He was accompanying diplomats accredited in Croatia who were visiting the exhibition at the Meštrović Pavilion. The exhibition honour 38 greats linked to Croatia whose work left a deep trace on humankind. Apostolic Nuncio Giorgio Lingua, doyen of the diplomatic corps, thanked the minister on their behalf.

"In order for the exhibition to be visible, it would be good if it were shown, for example, in Budapest, Berlin, Rome," Grlić Radman told the press.

That would help to break down the stereotypes about Croatia, which is often seen as a country of athletes, footballers, the most beautiful sea, nature and such, he said.

Today's visit was an opportunity for diplomats to get to know the many things they use every day without knowing who contributed to their creation, said Archbishop Lingua. "This is a good opportunity to see how much Croats have contributed to many fields in the world."

"The exhibition is an introduction to the unimaginable wealth of the Croatian cultural heritage," said Grlić Radman. It is dedicated to "extraordinary minds" linked to Croatia by birth, education or activity, he added.

The exhibition is dedicated to individuals whose work influenced global processes, changed the world or influenced global history, the minister said, such as inventor Nikola Tesla, presented as the man "who discovered the 20th century," or Nobel winners Lavoslav Ružička and Vladimir Prelog, or "the father of forensics" Ivan Vučetić.

Archbishop Lingua said he was pleased that today's visit was an opportunity "to see the world through Croatian eyes."

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

Friday, 14 May 2021

FM Gordan Grlić Radman Says Croatians in Israel Are Safe

ZAGREB, 14 May, 2021 - All Croatian citizens in Israel are safe, Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Friday, and expressed solidarity with the families of the civilian victims on all the sides and called for the de-escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On 12 May, Croatia called on all the parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to refrain from any action that would lead to escalation of violence, in which dozens of people have been killed so far, including civilians.

"There is no justification for attacks on civilians," the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs said in a statement last Wednesday, calling on all leaders to help de-escalate the conflict.

Grlić Radman said today that so far Zagreb was in permanent contact with the Croatian Embassy in Israel and was kept informed on a regular basis.

None of the Croatians in Israel have asked for assistance, he added.

It is most saddening that civilians are among the casualties. We extend our solidarity with the families of civilian casualties, and we appeal to all parties for defusing the tensions, the Croatian minister said.

The Middle East crisis has always been very sensitive, and those developments can simply spill over to some other regions, Grlić Radman said.

The European Union with its partners, including the USA, keep calling for multilateral action, he added.

"It is in the interest of all to have a sound, stable, peaceful global order, based on the respect for international and human rights," he said.

Grlić Radman said he did not believe that the USA was insufficiently engaged in that region and he believes that the Joe Biden Administration will make some headway in that regard.

Commenting on the fiercest fighting between Israel and the Palestinians in the last few years, President Zoran Milanović said on Thursday that the USA should define its foreign policy more clearly, noting that the new US energy policy was making that part of the world less interesting than it was before.

"I look at the American position. Israel is defending itself, but is also attacking. (...) The Americans will have to better define their foreign policy and make it clearer," Milanović said yesterday.

Unlike his predecessor Donald Trump, President Joe Biden has distanced himself from the Middle East, but is now aware that he cannot distance himself completely, he said.

"That part of the world is ceasing to be interesting as it used to be because of the US energy policy, notably because of this administration, which is much more focused on renewable sources and less on oil, on hydrocarbons which America now produces in sufficient quantities on its own. So the question is, what is their strategic objective in the Middle East other than being a policeman?" Milanović said. "These are extremely important issues that put us in a moral dilemma."

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

 

 

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Croatia Calls On All Parties to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict to Refrain From Violence

ZAGREB, 12 May, 2021 - Croatia has called on all parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to refrain from any action that would lead to escalation of violence, in which dozens of people have been killed so far, including civilians.

"There is no justification for attacks on civilians," the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday, calling on all leaders to help de-escalate the conflict.

According to the Health Ministry in Gaza, over 30 Palestinians have been killed, including women and children, since clashes between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa mosque in east Jerusalem escalated into fighting. According to Israeli sources, six persons have been killed in Palestinian rocket attacks.

The military conflict between the Palestinian movement Hamas and Israel flared up on Tuesday evening after Hamas showered Tel Aviv with rockets and the Israeli military responded with air strikes against the Gaza Strip.

The international community has called for peace, while Muslim countries have deplored the worst escalation of violence between Hamas and Israel in recent years, prompted by the clashes in east Jerusalem.

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

 

Friday, 30 April 2021

FM Gordan Grlić Radman: "Cooperation Between Croatia And Italy Reinforced"

ZAGREB, 30 April, 2021 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said in Petrinja on Friday that the cooperation between Zagreb and Rome has been reinforced bilaterally and trilaterally, thanking Italy for its latest aid following last year's earthquake.

At a working meeting at the "Colonel Predrag Matanović" barracks in Petrinja, the ministers talked about Southeast Europe and agreed that EU enlargement to the Western Balkans is a guarantee of strengthening the stability of the neighbourhood and Europe as a whole, the Croatian minister said.

Both ministers visited Bosnia and Herzegovina in recent weeks, and Croatia and Italy together strive for a stable and institutionally functioning Bosnia and Herzegovina and for its Euro-Atlantic integration, Grlić Radman said.

The ministers discussed Croatia's non-paper on Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was agreed with Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus.

The document stresses the importance of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Euro-Atlantic path and says that it must remain at the centre of EU's attention. It underscores that the country's membership in the EU is a priority and an aspiration, and in order to achieve it, a comprehensive transformation of the entire society is needed.

The topic will also be discussed during the debate on the Western Balkans on 10 May at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, Grlić Radman announced.

The cooperation between Croatia and Italy has been strengthened in a trilateral format with Slovenia, the Croatian minister said, recalling last week's meeting of the two ministers with their Slovenian counterpart Anže Logar. Last week, the three ministers signed a joint statement on the protection of the northern Adriatic in the Slovenian mountain resort of Brdo Pri Kranju.

The next meeting should take place in Croatia in June, Grlić Radman said.

The Coordinating Committee of Ministers met in late November 2020 and guidelines for the development of bilateral relations were agreed then. In several months, it will be possible to check how much those forms of cooperation have improved, Italian minister Di Maio said.

Croatia expects Italian tourists in summer

Grlić Radman said that Croatia was committed to the safety and health of visitors and tourism workers, especially through the Safe Stay in Croatia project, so he is convinced of the return of Italian tourists.

"We believe that this year we will accommodate many Italian friends again," Grlić Radman said.

He thanked Italy one more time for its selfless help, which he sees as another indicator of closeness and cooperation.

Italy on Friday donated to Croatia containerised housing units for the accommodation of 50 families who had lost their homes in the earthquake that hit Banija at the end of last year.

Italy was among the first countries to help Croatia by sending 100 military tents immediately after the 29 December earthquake which affected Petrinja, Sisak and their environs the most, and shortly thereafter Italy sent members of the Blue Helmets of Culture to help salvage the artistic heritage affected by the earthquake.

Italy itself faced devastating earthquakes in the recent past, so it decided to help immediately, Di Maio said.

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

 

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