Friday, 13 May 2022

Milanović Accuses Finland Of Ignoring Croatia's Interests

ZAGREB, 13 May 2022 - President Zoran Milanović on Friday accused Finland of ignoring Croatian interests for years and reiterated that he would continue fighting for the rights of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina because he considers that an exceptionally good security reason for Croatia.

Milanović was responding to a question from a Nova TV reporter to comment on the statement by Finnish foreign minister Pekka Haavisto, who had allegedly said that Finland was shocked by the president's statements.

"Welcome to the club, mister foreign minister. We have been shocked for several years already by your ignorance and rudeness," said Milanović in response, noting: "If he really said that."

Milanović added that two days ago, the state secretary of the Finnish ministry of foreign affairs spoke with the associates in his office and that he "didn't say that" then.

In his yesterday's statement to Nova TV, Haavisto didn't mention being "shocked" but he said that he hoped for Croatian solidarity and assistance in their bid to join NATO.

We find it a bit strange that our NATO membership is being connected to something we cannot influence, he said.

Milanović's support for Finland and Sweden's aspirations is conditional on a reform of the election law in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"We are shocked that they haven't given a damn about us for years. We are shocked that they are treating us as if we were a member of the Arab League, with all due respect, and not a NATO and EU member. We are shocked that we are obstructed every time we put this topic on the agenda and try to turn our attention to it. I am shocked by the behaviour of the Croatian government and Plenković's part of the HDZ," the Croatian president said.

Milanović stressed that he wouldn't give up fighting for the rights of Croats in the neighbouring country. "I have no choice. I must fight for the basic rights of Croats in BiH peacefully. There is no other option," he said.

Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Friday that it wouldn't be wise to block Finland and Sweden on their NATO path and that that would mean working to the benefit of Russia, and Milanović told him "it isn't a matter of wisdom but a matter of national interest."

Finland's state leadership said on Thursday that Finland had to submit a membership application to NATO "without delay," which is a big turnabout in its policy, prompted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"What joining NATO means to Finland at this moment, is what Bosnia and Herzegovina means to us. The difference is in the fact that we have been saying this for several years," said Milanović, dismissing claims that he was catering to Russia.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Foreign Ministry Says Ambassador Will Obey It As To NATO Entry Of Finland, Sweden

ZAGREB, 12 May 2022 - The Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Croatia's ambassador to NATO would obey its instructions in deciding on the admission of Finland and Sweden.

The ministry issued a statement after Minister Gordan Grlić Radman earlier today did not answer explicitly when asked by the press if the ambassador must obey the president or the ministry.

President Zoran Milanović wants Croatia to make the two countries' NATO accession conditional on changing the electoral law in Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure the equality of Croats. Yesterday he said he would order Croatian Ambassador to NATO Mario Nobilo to veto enlargement if his condition was not met.

The government, on the other hand, supports the accession of Finland and Sweden unconditionally.

The permanent representative to NATO receives his instructions from the ministry, which is the usual procedure and will be so in this case also, the ministry said, adding that in the case of the NATO accession of Finland and Sweden, Nobilo will act in line with the ministry's instructions.

"He is in the service of protecting national interests, which are clear in this case. By enlarging NATO, we are strengthening our own security," the statement said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Finnish Ambassador: Milanović's Statement Won't Affect Good Relations With Croatia

ZAGREB, 27 Apr 2022 - President Zoran Milanović's statement that the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO should be blocked will not change the good relations between Croatia and Finland, Finnish Ambassador to Zagreb, Kalle Kankaanpää, told Hina on Wednesday.

"I don't think anything will change in relations between Croatia and Finland", the diplomat said, adding that bilateral relations have always been good at all levels.

"I have been here as ambassador for more than a year. I closely follow politics in this country and am familiar with the way politics are run in Croatia", the Finnish ambassador said.

Kankaanpää explained that on Tuesday his minister of foreign affairs, Pekka Haavisto, had a good conversation with his Croatian counterpart, Gordan Grlić Radman, and that he himself had contacts with representatives of the parliament and government.

In Finland, an active discussion is ongoing on whether the country should join NATO or not, a final decision can be expected in May, the ambassador said.

On Tuesday, Croatian President Zoran Milanović said that Finland and Sweden could not join NATO before the election law in Bosnia and Herzegovina was changed.

The Croatian parliament "must not ratify anyone's accession to NATO" until Bosnia and Herzegovina changes its election law, he told the press. The accession of Finland and Sweden can be discussed, but it is "a very dangerous adventure," Milanović added.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

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