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Serbian Leader Walks Fine Line on Croatian Trip

Presidents Vucic and Grabar-Kitarovic focus on concrete issues during talks yesterday in Zagreb.

13 February 2018

Serbia and Croatia will eventually “have relations like Sweden and Norway,” Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said yesterday, the first day of his closely-watched trip to Croatia. The overall tenor of the visit, however, suggested there is much to be done before their relationship approaches anything like Nordic coziness.

 

After talks with Vucic, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said they had not discussed contentious issues from the past, Serbia’s B92 reports.

Vucic earlier dismissed Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic’s suggestion that compensation for Croatian victims of the 1990s war with Serbia should be on the agenda.

 

Screenshot from a video of the press conference held by the Croatian and Serbian leaders, via Kurir/Youtube.

 

On the specific issue of two countries’ shared Danube River border, the two leaders said they will seek international arbitration if talks to resolve border disputes do not make headway in the next two years.

 

Grabar-Kitarovic also reiterated Croatia’s support for Serbia to join the EU, Bloomberg reports.

 

Ahead of the visit, Serbian media reported the two leaders might also discuss minority rights, missing persons, and economic and judicial cooperation, Balkan Insight reported.

 

 

  • Vucic’s trip marks the first official meeting of the Serbian and Croatian presidents since 2013.

 

  • Vucic said all Serbian officials will “have an obligation” not to insult Croatian officials for the next 100 days, even if provoked, Balkan Insight says.

 

  • Vucic planned to visit a majority-Serb town today and speak to a gathering of Croatian Serbs in Zagreb, B92 says.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

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