Serbian president speaks with Serbs in Croatian town
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Tuesday visited the town of Vrginmost in Croatia, that was in 1996 renamed to Gvozd.Source: Tanjug
He met and spoke with ethnic Serbs there, and visited a local elementary school, to which he presented a gift - 11 laptop computers.
Tanjug is reporting that police increased their presence along the route Vucic's delegation traveled today.
Vrginmost was a place of suffering of Serbs, both in the Second World War and in during the war in the 1900s.
In 1941, Croatian fascists, Ustashas, killed more than 1,500 Serbs in this town and its vicinity. 67 Serb civilians - some of whom are still listed as missing - were killed in 1995 during Croatia's military-police Operation Storm.
After the war, Vrginmost is inhabited mostly by ethnic Croats from Bosnia-Herzegovina, but there are also Serb returnees, the agency said.
Addressing them on Tuesday, Vucic, who is on a two-day official visit to Croatia, said:
"I want you to carry your Serb name with pride, not to be ashamed of anybody, not to be afraid of anybody, to have the right to say what you expect, both from Serbia and from Croatia."
The president said that Serbia was ready to grant the same rights, "and more than reciprocity," that it seeks for Serbs in Croatia to Croats and other minorities in Serbia.
Vucic will return to Zagreb on Tuesday afternoon to attend the Assembly of the Serb National Council before wrapping up his visit. Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic is also expected at the event.