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EU urges Croatia, Serbia to reconcile

26 November 2012, 23:15 CET
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(ZAGREB) - EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele on Monday urged Croatia and Serbia to settle their disputes over war crimes after their relations hit the lowest point since the end of the 1991-1995 conflict.

"I believe that... politicians on both sides will find the way out (and) would contribute to cooling down the emotions and work to the benefit of the whole region, the benefit of reconciliation," Fuele told reporters in the Croatian capital, Zagreb.

The relations between the two former foes, which had gradually improved during the past several years, began to deteriorate when Serbian nationalist leader Tomislav Nikolic was elected president in May.

They dramatically worsened earlier this month when a UN war crimes court cleared on appeal two Croatian generals -- Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac.

The two were intially convicted and sentenced to 24 and 18 years in jail respectively for the murder of 324 Serbs and the forced displacement of 90,000 others during and after an operation that ended the 1991-1995 war in Croatia.

Unlike in Croatia, where the generals are considered heroes and their acquittal was celebrated, in Serbia the verdict was condemned by groups as diverse as extreme-right nationalists, liberal left-wingers and human rights activists.

Remarks by Nikolic in an interview earlier Monday further fuelled the rift between Belgrade and Zagreb.

"It is not going well with Croatia," Nikolic told Serbian daily Kurir.

"Croatians know that the crime committed in the (August 1995) operation Storm is awful, but they still celebrate that no one was convicted. They are a nation on a wrong path," he said.

Croatian President Ivo Josipovic immediately responded that such statements "do not contribute to reconciliation."

"The situation should be cooled down and once Nikolic changes his rhetoric, conditions will be met for mutual meetings," Josipovic told Croatian national radio.

But Nikolic said his Croatian counterpart wanted "us to talk -- me as the president of a nation which has committed crimes, and him as the president of a nation which has not been convicted of anything."

Croatia's proclamation of independence from the former Yugoslavia sparked the war with Belgrade-backed rebel Serbs who opposed the move.

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Relations: Croatia - Serbia

Posted by antun buterin at 30 November 2012, 14:14 CET
The main problem is that a lot of Serbs still feel they are the victims. Unlike Germany after WWII, Serbia is still not ready to apologize for trying to occupy Croatia and Bosnia&Hercegovina in the 90's.
One sincerely hopes that one sunny day in the near future Serbs will finally look to their past and admit: Yes, we were wrong! Yes, we attacked Croatia because we wanted to occupy Croatia. No, Croatia did not attack Serbia nor any Serbian city. Serbia bombed Zagreb, Split, Sibenik, Zadar, Dubrovnik, Osijek, Varazdin, Sisak, Karlovac, VUKOVAR and almost every other Croatian city. Not a single bomb from Croatia EVER fell on Serbian soil, not a single Croatian soldier EVER came to any Serbian city".
This is the most important thing of all. When Serbia eventually realize that, when they admit Croatia had every right to defend itself and has the right to celebrate its liberation (Operation Storm), than we can be neighbours. Not friends, but neighbours with respect for each other.

Croatia, Serbia to reconcile

Posted by rosstaylor2440 at 03 December 2012, 10:37 CET
Agreed Serbians still feel that they are the victims. Serbia is not ready to apologize for trying to occupy Croatia and Bosnia&Hercegovina in the past 90's. We can just hope that in future Serbians will admit it. Croatian President Ivo Josipovic responded that such statements do not contribute to reconciliation. Lets just hope Serbian's realize there mistakes and admit Croatia had every right to defend itself and has the right to celebrate its liberation.

Croatia, Serbia to reconcile

Posted by Stoyan Antonov at 18 December 2012, 20:29 CET
it is one bulgarian here - reading this opinions am puzzled somewhat - the yugoslavia's leader was josef broz tito - and he was croat, wasn't he? he is responsible for the murder of thousands of bulgarians in the present fyrom and for imposing after agreement with stalin and kominterna some "nasedonian nation" that saw yesterdays bulgarians beaten to change their ethnic origin, even killed' i have relatives from pirin macedonia and they know very well about that.
however i recognize serbst stall much foreign land - for example everybody can check with historical maps of serbia how small it was immediately after liberation from ottoman turks - serbis was just a small piece of land around belgrade.