"Croatia will advocate for Serbia to get talks date"

BELGRADE -- Croatian FM Vesna Pusić said during a meeting with Tomislav Nikolić that on June 28 Croatia will advocate for Serbia to obtain a start date for EU talks.

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During the meeting with Pusić, President Nikolić underlined that the two countries should resolve all open issues as soon as possible and begin cooperation in the field of economy, the president's press service announced.

“Our relations are burdened by the past, but that does not mean that we should fail to build a better future through cooperation,” the Serbian president stressed.

As regards the date for opening EU accession negotiations, Serbia has met all the conditions and there is no reason for the country to be two steps behind Croatia on that road, Nikolić said.

“Europe will not wait for us to stop arguing,” the president said, adding that there are numerous opportunities for cooperation in the sectors of infrastructure, agriculture and energy.

“The onus is on us to ensure a better life for our peoples,” the president concluded, asking from Croatia to resolve the issue of Serb property as soon as possible, and ensure for the Serbs in Croatia all the rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution.

Minister Pusić said she will advocate for Serbia to get the start date for EU membership talks at the meeting of the European Council in Brussels on June 28.

A message from Brussels is very important for citizens, it has to be encouraging despite high requirements, Pusić stressed.

When it comes to the economic cooperation, the Croatian minister said that geography defines us and that we depend on each other.

It is not in Croatia's interest to work to the detriment of its neighbors, Pusić said.

She added that the economic cooperation between the two countries is very important, so that they could be competitive in the third markets.

As regards the political dialogue, Croatia is open to cooperation and willing to resolve all open issues, the Croatian minister underscored.

"Unequivocal support"

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Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Vesna Pusić stated in Belgrade on Friday, during the talks with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić, that Zagreb will unequivocally back Serbia's EU path.

Having in mind the fact that Croatian ministers and top officials would attend the talks on Serbia's EU integration in Brussels, the Croatian minister said that her country would unequivocally back Serbia, the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released.

Mrkić and Pusić discussed issues concerning the joint future of Serbia and Croatia and their approach to certain areas of cooperation after Croatia obtains full EU membership.

Mrkić underscored that neighborly support is more important and productive than the support coming from remote countries.

According to him, everyone in Serbia knows that the fact a Croatian official has come to show the country's support just a few days ahead of the important decisions has special weight and shows that the country's leadership thinks much of such a move and respects it.

Mrkić and Pusić expressed special satisfaction with the fact that Serbia would be represented at the highest possible level in the days of celebration of Croatia's EU membership.

The foreign ministers of Serbia and Croatia also discussed inherited problems which both countries are gradually resolving.