Thursday, 20 January 2022

Plenković: I Want No Involvement in Conflict Between Banožić and Milanović

ZAGREB, 20 Jan 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday he wanted no involvement in the conflict between the Defence Ministry and the Office of the President, adding that President Zoran Milanović's letters to him were irrelevant but that the ministry and the president's office had to communicate.

"Sending me letters and then making them public via the media is absolutely unacceptable, I consider all of his letters totally irrelevant," Plenković told reporters after a government session.

Defence Minister Mario Banožić said earlier today that President Milanović should declassify documents on his travels and that he would then declassify the findings of an inspection in the office of the Chief of the General Staff, Admiral Robert Hranj.

The PM said that he had not read the report on the inspection in Hranj's office but would do so once he found the time.

"I do not consider it to be very important, the minister has stated his position on the matter," Plenković said.

As for Milanović's statement that he sees no possibility of cooperation with Banožić over the latter's campaign of strategic harassment, Plenković said that he could say the same about Milanović.

"I think the President of the Republic has been strategically harassing a huge portion of civil institutions, commentators, media, and political actors and we do not see any possibility of further cooperation, yet we are open to dialogue," the PM said.

Asked if he would demand that Banožić make the said report public, Plenković said that he would not because it was not Banožić who had classified the document.

Asked again why he would not, given that Banožić had been the one to request the inspection, the PM said that Banožić had not requested it for the public's sake but for his own sake.

"Banožić has said that he is satisfied with the report, if he is satisfied, it's fine with me," he added.

Asked if the Armed Forces could function if there was no communication between the Defence Ministry and the Office of the President, Plenković said that they had to communicate and that he recommended they do so.

He confirmed that he would soon forward agreements on the purchase of the Rafale multi-purpose fighter jets to the Office of the President.

"He has every right to it, he is the head of state. Whether there is room for cooperation is irrelevant, he has the right to see the agreements and he will obtain them, of course, they, too, are confidential."

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 20 January 2022

President Should Declassify His Own Requests, Defense Minister Says

ZAGREB, 20 Jan 2022 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić said on Wednesday he was satisfied with a report by the chief defense inspector "given the circumstances in which the inspection was conducted" and invited President Zoran Milanović to declassify his own requests.

Speaking to Jutarnji List daily, Banožić recalled: "a statement of 4 November 2021, at the start of the inspection, when President Milanović exerted gross pressure on the chief defense inspector by saying that 'they are saying in (power utility) HEP that the chief defense inspector's wife has been appointed director temporarily'."

Thereby, Banožić said, Milanović "showed what the chief inspector and his family will go through if the findings are not favorable to Milanović's interests."

Banožić was commenting on a letter Milanović sent Prime Minister Andrej Plenković in which he said that Banožić was hiding from the public the conclusions in which the Defence Inspectorate found that the military chief of staff did not break the law in implementing Banožić's decision on the holding of a swearing-in ceremony for conscripts and in providing support to the president's office in 2021.

The inspectorate's conclusions confirm that Banožić falsely accused the military leadership of breaking the law, thereby causing harm to the Armed Forces and Croatia, the president said, asking the prime minister to declassify the inspectorate's "restricted" findings.

Banožić said "the inspectorate's findings are classified" and asked the president to declassify "25 requests for transport by helicopter, 125 requests for various protocol matters, requests for using the Učka motor yacht, requests for the services of smaller military units, requests for using Armed Forces vehicles and drivers and for other forms of support which have been classified so that the public can have insight into the whole situation."

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 6 January 2022

President Tells Defence Minister to Stop Lying

ZAGREB, 6 Jan 2022 - President Zoran Milanović said on Thursday that Defence Minister Mario Banožić should "stop lying" and commented on yesterday's online meeting with United States representatives on the possibility of equipping the Croatian Army with Bradley fighting vehicles.

Milanović said in a press release the meeting was convened by Banožić in order for Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to obtain detailed technical information from US representatives on the Bradleys "so that he could make a decision."

He noted that Plenković did not participate in the meeting due to other commitments, as Milanović said Banožić told the Americans.

He said the meeting was convened because of Plenković's ignorance, negligence, and lack of interest in the important job of equipping the army with fighting vehicles.

Milanović said Banožić's presentation at the meeting "embarrassed Croatia and its Armed Forces, portraying them as a flippant and irresponsible partner."

Speaking in a Croatian Television program later, after the meeting, Banožić said that Croatia was offered an M2A2 ODS version of the Bradley vehicle, which had not been requested.

Milanović said that was not true and that the Defence Ministry had requested an offer for that version, as confirmed by a ministry memo to the US Embassy of 8 April 2021.

"Minister, stop lying, stop deluding the public, stop embarrassing Croatia, and stop damaging the Croatian Armed Forces," the president said.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Milanović Sends Christmas Greetings to Orthodox Believers

ZAGREB, 6 Jan 2022 - President Zoran Milanović on Thursday sent greetings to citizens of the Orthodox faith who will celebrate Christmas on Friday and called on those in power to show more comprehension for the people, particularly in Banija, where state aid is essential after the earthquakes.

The Christmas feast day is always a call to closeness with one's loved ones and family gathering, and it is my sincere wish that you spend it in peace and joy with your loved ones, the president wrote in his note.

Christmas is an opportunity to show mutual understanding and tolerance, particularly in these difficult times for our numerous citizens who were affected by the consequences of the earthquakes, he said.

We have to show solidarity to all those who will not celebrate Christmas in their homes with their families again this year, and human goodness as the most important message of Christmas, Milanović added.

I take this opportunity once again to call on those in power for more understanding for the people, particularly in Banija, for whom state aid is essential, he said.

In the hope that we will continue to build a tolerant Croatian society in which there will be room and opportunities for everyone, and Croatian citizens will feel to be their home, to all Orthodox believers once again, Merry Christmas with the traditional greeting, God's peace, Christ is born!, Milanović's message said.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Saturday, 1 January 2022

Highlights of Major Events in Croatia's Foreign Affairs in 2021

ZAGREB, 1 January 2021 - Entry into the U.S visa waiver program, French President Emmanuel Macron's visit, and the Rafale jets purchase deal, the fulfillment of the criteria for the Schengen Area, and diplomatic efforts to help solve the Bosnia and Herzegovina crisis are major features of Croatia's diplomacy in 2021.

In the year which will be remembered for global travel restrictions due to the COVID pandemic, Croatia entered the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which makes it possible for Croatians to travel to the United States for business or tourism purposes without visas, after obtaining approval via the online Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA.

Croatia formally entered the VWP on 23 October, after meeting strict conditions.

For a country to enter the VWP, it must meet criteria regarding the fight against terrorism, law enforcement, immigration, document security, and border management, and the percentage of rejected visa applications must be below 3%, which Croatia met only recently.

EU says Croatia fulfills conditions for the application of Schengen acquis

On 9 December, EU member states agreed on the text of draft conclusions confirming that Croatia has fulfilled the necessary conditions for the application of the Schengen acquis, which paves the way for a final decision on accession to the area without internal border controls.

The final decision could be adopted in about six months during the French EU Presidency. It requires the consent of all Schengen member states.

Also, as of 1 January 2022, Croatian nationals will have the same status as citizens of other European Union member states on the Swiss labor market, which will provide fresh impetus to Croatian-Swiss relations, it was said at a meeting of the two countries foreign ministers in Bern on 23 November 2021.

Macron's visit, Rafale purchase

In 2021, Emmanuel Macron visited Croatia as the first French president to pay an official visit to Zagreb since the country gained independence.

During his stay in Zagreb on 25 November, a deal was signed on the purchase of 12 Dassault Rafale F3R used multipurpose fighter jets - ten single-seats and two two-seaters - for €999 million, to be paid in five installments from 2022 to 2026.

Macron said in Zagreb that he supported Croatia's entry into the passport-free Schengen Area and added that Croatia had implemented all the necessary reforms for its entry into the euro area.

The French head of state and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković signed a strategic partnership declaration.

In October, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visited Zagreb as the first Spanish head of government to visit Croatia.

On 8 July, European Commission President Ursula von der Layen arrived in Zagreb to convey the Commission's approval for Croatia's recovery and resilience plan (NPOO), worth €6.3 billion, which could significantly boost the country's Gross Domestic Product and create 21,000 new jobs by 2026.

Under the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility, Croatia has €6.3 billion in grants and 3.6 billion in favorable loans at its disposal.

On 6 July, Seychellois Foreign Minister Sylvester Radegonde arrived in Zagreb and opened an honorary consulate.

In September, Montenegrin President Milo Đukanović was in Zagreb for an official visit and after his talks with his Croatian host, Zoran Milanović, Đukanović warned that "Serbian world" is a euphemism for Great Serbia policy.

Crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina

During their bilateral meetings with their counterparts in 2021, Croatia's diplomats raised the issue of the situation in the southeast of Europe, particularly Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Croatia's diplomatic offensive was launched in 2021 ahead of the election year in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In October 2022, Bosnia and Herzegovina are due to hold general elections. Election reform is needed before that and negotiations on it are currently underway.

The Croats, one of the three constituent peoples in the country, want to avoid a repeat of the scenario in which Bosniaks actually elect senior officeholders who are supposed to represent the Croats, the least numerous constituent people.

The crisis is further deepened by the Serb representative in Bosnia's three-member presidency, Milorad Dodik, who is implementing "a creeping" secession of the country's Serb entity.

In March 2021, Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister, Gordan Grlić Radman, outlined Croatia's non-paper for its southeastern neighbor. The paper, which was also supported by EU member-states Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, and Cyprus, highlights the importance of adhering to the principle of the three constituent peoples.

Throughout 2021, some of the political actors in Sarajevo accused Zagreb of trying to violate the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Željko Komšić, who sits on the BiH Presidency as the Croat representative although he won the post thanks to the votes of Bosniak voters, accused Zagreb of the construction of a gas pipeline under the River Sava to connect Slavonski Brod and Bosanski Brod in the Serb entity. Some politicians in Sarajevo also disapproved of Zagreb's decision to declare an exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic.

In July, Zagreb Mufti Aziz Hasanović said that current bilateral relations between Croatia and Bosnia were worse than during the Croat-Bosniak conflict in the 1992-1995 war.

However, visiting Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in Sarajevo on 13 December that the bonds between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are unbreakable and that Croatia remains Bosnia and Herzegovina's greatest friend and advocate in the European Union.

At the end of the year, on 19 December, President Zoran Milanović's visit to central Bosnia was canceled for security reasons against a background of discussions provoked by Milanović's comments on the application of the term genocide for the atrocities committed by Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica in July 1995. Bosniak politicians bear a grudge against Milanović who in return calls them unitarianists.

The issue of protection of the status of the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina has become another bone of contention between Milanović and Plenković, with Milanović resenting the government's failure to make sure the Council of the EU conclusions on enlargement incorporate the term "constituent peoples" in the Bosnia and Herzegovina section of the document.

Relations with Serbia

Tensions in relations between Zagreb and Belgrade traditionally become heightened in August when Croatia celebrates Victory Day in memory of the 1995 Operation Storm when Croatia's military and police forces liberated a majority of areas held by Serb rebels since 1992.

This year, things got worse in September when Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić called on all Serbs to display the Serbian flag on Serbian Unity, Freedom, and National Flag Day, observed for the first time this year, on 15 September.

However, Croatian Serb leader Milorad Pupovac called on ethnic Serbs to respect the laws in Croatia which ban the display of foreign countries' flags by individuals.

For us it was important to make it clear in which circumstances individuals in Croatia and individuals in Serbia could display flags of other countries. It is important for us that the Serbs in Croatia can be sure that they can display their ethnic flag on holidays concerning their institutions or on important holidays on official events, Pupovac said at the time.

Also, relations between the two countries were adversely affected by the decision of the city council in Subotica, where Vučić's Serb Progressive Party holds a majority, to declare the Bunjevci dialect an official language in that northern Serbian city despite opposition from the Croat community in Vojvodina and from Croatia.

The demand for declaring its speech an official language in Subotica was made by the Bunjevci community, which denies its Croat ethnic background.

The initiative was strongly opposed by the DSHV party of local Croats, the Croatian National Council in Serbia, the Croatian Language Institute, and other Croatian science institutions, and it prompted the Croatian Foreign Ministry to send two protest notes to Serbia.

They all say there is no legal basis for the initiative and that the Bunjevci speech is a dialect of the Croatian community in Vojvodina's northern region of Bačka and not a standard language.

Furthermore, in October Plenković asked Vučić to address the issue of Serbian grammar books that negate the existence of the Croatian language.

No progress has been made in the provision of information by Serbia about sites of mass graves from the 1991-95 war.

Relations with Slovenia at the highest level ever

Croatia's political leaders have underscored that the Zagreb-Ljubljana relations are at the highest level ever. Plenković and his Slovenian counterpart Janez Janša seem willing to settle all the bilateral issues.

The friendship between the two neighbors was evidenced by ceremonies held on 18 October when the two presidents, Milanović and Borut Pahor, unveiled a monument to a leader of the Croatian National Revival, Ljudevit Gaj, in Ljubljana and to a Slovenian poet, France Prešeren, in Zagreb's Bundek Park.

Croatia and Italy declared exclusive economic zones in the Adriatic, and they included Slovenia in the process.

In 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.

Concerning Croatia-Hungary relations, the most important event was the ruling of Croatia's Supreme Court upholding the guilty verdict against Hungarian executive Zsolt Hernadi in a graft scandal implicating former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader and business relations between MOL and INA. Croatia's Justice Minister Ivan Malenica expects Budapest to extradite Hernadi who was given two years for white-collar crimes.

Frictions in relations with Bulgaria and Austria

Milanović's criticism of how Bulgaria treats North Macedonia on its journey towards the European Union prompted the Bulgarian government to summon Croatia's ambassador in Sofia in mid-May.

Ambassador Jasna Ognjanovac was summoned at the request of Minister Svetlan Stoev, and was received by the Director-General for European Affairs, Rumen Alexandrov.

The reason for the meeting was Milanović's statement after a summit of the Brdo-Brijuni Process at Brdo Pri Kranju, in which he sharply criticized Bulgaria's policy towards the European integration of North Macedonia. Milanović warned that North Macedonia "is in an impossible position" and that one EU member state demanded that North Macedonia "define its national genesis in the way requested by the neighboring state" in history textbooks. He said that he would "openly oppose" that within his powers.

His statement was an allusion to Bulgaria, which is rejecting a negotiating framework for North Macedonia because, as Sofia claims, North Macedonian textbooks "revise and negate their common ethnic and linguistic history."

Milanović's comments on Austria's decision to lock down unvaccinated persons prompted Vienna to summon Croatian Ambassador Danijel Glunčić.

Glunčić declined to reveal details of the discussion but according to a statement from the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Glunčić was called over "highly unusual statements by the Croatian president," which were "sharply rejected".

"Comparing the measures against the coronavirus pandemic to fascism is unacceptable. It is our responsibility to protect the citizens of Austria and we are acting accordingly," the Austrian ministry said, as quoted by APA news agency.

Austrian media quoted the Croatian president as saying after an audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican that the Austrian decision to impose a lockdown on unvaccinated people was "reminiscent of the 1930s" and called it foolish. On 22 November, the Croatian President's foreign affairs advisor, Neven Pelicarić, held talks with Austrian Ambassador Josef Markus Wuketich. Earlier that day, President Milanović said in the town of Našice that he had apologized for his statement.

"I said that what was happening in Austria reminded me of fascism. I apologize," Milanović said in a statement to the press.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Despite Milanovic's Comments, Croatian Covid Certificates Checked at Pantovcak

December the 30th, 2021 - President Zoran Milanovic has never been shy in expressing his opinion and is very well known for speaking his mind. This has been the case when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic and the introduction of digital Croatian covid certificates as well. It seems now, however, that those digital Croatian covid certificates that Milanovic had been so vocal about until recently, are being checked for validity at Pantovcak.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, it should be noted that, as hinted at above, President Zoran Milanovic has repeatedly warned that his Office will not require anyone to present a valid digital Croatian covid certificate when enteting, which is a move made by the National Civil Protection Directorate that the Croatian President considers to be stupid. The reality now looks decidedly different.

According to Novi list, Nikola Jelic, a spokesman for the Office of the President, confirmed that the epidemiological measure adopted by the National Civil Protection Directorate was applied in Pantovcak despite opposition from some officials, including Milanovic himself, at least if we look at what he has said about the measure.

“Members of the Honorary Protection Battalion at the entrance to the Office of the President are requesting valid digital Croatian covid certificates from each of our employees, as well as from visitors. As for the employees in the Office of the President, this isn't a problem for us because 95 percent of them have been fully vaccinated, which puts us well above the national level,'' Jelic assured.

When asked how it was that President Zoran Milanovic's announcements that he would not "harass people" about digital Croatian covid certificates failed to come to fruition, Jelic said that the president never said that he intended to break the law.

"He spoke exclusively about inspectors, and as I've said, digital Croatian covid certificates are regularly checked in various places in this country, so there is no real need for inspectors to come at all, and of course, that means there's no need for them to come and punish the head of the Office, either,'' concluded spokesman Jelic.

For more, make sure to check out our politics section. For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Monday, 20 December 2021

Milanović: Citizens and People Respect and Love Croatian Army

ZAGREB, 20 Dec 2021 - The President of the Republic and Armed Forces Commander in Chief, Zoran Milanović, said on Monday that the Dr. Franjo Tuđman Croatian Military Academy was created amid the war and nation-building, underscoring that the Croatian Armed Forces served to defend the country and were respected and loved by the people.

"I've arrived from an institution that has marked its 30th anniversary this morning -- the Croatian National Bank (HNB). That 30th anniversary isn't actually real because that institution had existed before. This one, yours and ours, hadn't existed, it was created amid the war and state-building process. And it's completely new and in that sense completely ours," said Milanović at an event marking the 30th anniversary of the Dr. Franjo Tuđman Croatian Military Academy and a graduation ceremony.

He added that after 30 years of the Croatian state, the Dr. Franjo Tuđman Croatian Military Academy and the HNB were the only two institutions that had done their job well and with honor and had never disgraced themselves.

"One of these two institutions is financial and it enjoys a good reputation but doesn't inspire love. The other one, your and our Croatian army is special, it is only ours, it serves to defend our country and did so when it was hardest, and it's respected and loved by the citizens and the people. These two institutions, these two pillars, do what is good in the Croatian state," he said.

He announced that he would visit the Republic of Kosovo in two days, where he would also visit Croatian soldiers who are there as part of NATO's KFOR operation. He stressed they were there "because that is our decision".

"No solidarity, no force made us go there, that is our decision and our assessment that it is good for us and the region. We will increasingly have to be guided by our interests and then solidarity," Milanović stressed.

You have something to be proud of, you've chosen a difficult job

He told the military academy graduates that they had something to be proud of and that they had chosen a difficult job of being a Croatian soldier in a country that is a NATO and EU member.

In addition to President Milanović, the event was attended by his adviser on war veterans, Marijan Mareković, the Commander of the Dr. Franjo Tuđman Croatian Military Academy, Lt. Gen. Mate Pađen, and the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, Lt. Gen. Siniša Jurković.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 20 December 2021

Milanović: Plenković Made Mistake for Not Blocking EU Council Conclusions

ZAGREB, 20 Dec 2021 - President Zoran Milanović believes that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković didn't make a mistake by going to Sarajevo but he should have used a mechanism at Croatia's disposal in Brussels to block the adoption of the conclusions by the Council of the EU concerning Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"Plenković didn't make a mistake by going to Sarajevo but he did make a mistake when he did not, consciously or intentionally, use the mechanism that Croatia has at its disposal in Brussels and that is to block the adoption of the conclusions that are in contradiction to Croatia's starting positions," Milanović said in a statement after attending a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Dr. Franjo Tuđman Military Academy. 

Plenković visited Bosnia and Herzegovina last Monday. Several days later Milanović criticized the government's support to the Council's conclusions on enlargement because the final document does not mention the constituent states and the legitimate political representation of Croats in BiH. 

Today he said that the time has come to replace Croatia's Ambassador to Brussels, Irena Andrassy.

Milanović on Sunday canceled his visit to Travnik and Nova Bila, Bosnia and Herzegovina for security reasons, but today he would not discuss the security threats in question. He said he would visit Bosnia and Herzegovina some other time and that "no moral rabble-rousers would stop him."

"I cannot be friends with everyone, especially not with the unitarist clique in Sarajevo who are posing as patriots, and I will oppose them," Milanović said.

He said that the Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, Milorad Dodik, is provoking those people and that he can understand his behavior. "I understand such behavior, but I do not encourage it. Realistically, Dodik can do nothing to them. He doesn't have two long barrels, which is good in this situation. He is provoking them, but he is dealing with people who are professional liars who would rob an entire community, Croats in BiH. Well, that just won't go," said Milanović.

He criticized the Croatian government for not doing enough to protect the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The government is ignoring its job and what it has at its disposal. Those are diplomatic measures to protect state interests, in this case, the Croats in BiH", said Milanović.

"Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot exist without Croats. They are the smallest constituent group, but they tip the scales for the country's survival. If after all that a handful of unitary rabble-rousers, moral usurers don't like me, that's fine," Milanović said.

He said that nearly 200,000 Croats remained in the Lašva valley. "If you talk to them, they are more for BiH than the Croats in Herzegovina - naturally. We are talking about that political community. They are loyal to Bosnia and Herzegovina," said Milanović.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 20 December 2021

Milanović Says Will Come to Bosnia Again

ZAGREB, 20 Dec 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović said on Monday, a day after canceling a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina due to security risks, that he would come again.

Milanović yesterday canceled a visit to Travnik and Nova Bila and today would not elaborate on the security risks.

He said he would come to BiH again and that "no morality rabble-rousers will stop me."

"They can get lost", he added. "I can't be friends with everybody. If one should be in a conflict with someone, and that's the unitarist clique in Sarajevo who say they are patriots, I will be in conflict with them."

Milanović said he felt his statements helped the Croat people in BiH, otherwise, they would be exposed to disorganization. He reproached the Croatian government for not doing enough for their protection.

"Bosnia and Herzegovina doesn't exist without Croats. They are the smallest, but they tip the scales for the state's survival. If, after all that, a handful of unitarist rabble-rousers, morality usurers, don't like me, then great," the president said.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 19 December 2021

BiH Official: No Information on Security Threats to Croatian President

ZAGREB, 19 Dec, 2021 - The police and security services in Bosnia and Herzegovina have said they did not receive any information of a threat to the security of Croatian President Zoran Milanović, who, according to a statement from his office, on Sunday cancelled his visit to central Bosnia and Herzegovina for security reasons.  

The head of the BiH Directorate for the Coordination of Police Agencies, Mirsad Vilić, told the Bosnia and Herzegovina BHRT public broadcaster on Sunday that they had worked for days with police agencies from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia that were involved in the organisation of the Croatian president's visit to central Bosnia.

"Our services did not have information that would indicate a threat to Zoran Milanović's security during his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina," Vilić said.

The body headed by Vilić coordinates the work of a number of police agencies and its personnel is most directly involved in the protection of VIPs.

The spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior of Central Bosnia Canton, Hasan Hodžić, has told the local media that the security situation in that canton is satisfactory.

The visit by President Milanović to Bosnia and Herzegovina, set for Sunday, has been cancelled due to security reasons, the Office of the President said earlier in the day.

The Croatian president was to have visited Travnik, central BiH, on Sunday morning to attend an event commemorating the 28th anniversary of a humanitarian convoy from Croatia which in 1993 visited the Croat enclaves of central Bosnia and Herzegovina that had been under siege by Bosniak forces for months.

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