"Croatia-Serbia border issue critical"

Beside Slovenia, Serbia is yet another country on Croatia's border-issues list, according to a statement from Ivo Josipović.

Source: Tanjug
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Speaking for Zagreb daily Jutarnji List, Croatia's new president, however, noted that the border problem with Serbia, "unlike that with Slovenia", was "not as big, and is easier to solve".

The solution should be found "by implementing one or the other criteria", he was quoted as saying.

The border and problems related to the war and post-war period were singled out by Josipović as the most contentious points in the relations between Croatia and Serbia.

He noted that there is "an obviously problem of Croatian citizens of Serb ethnicity who fled to Serbia due to the war circumstances", and stressed that their status "must be resolved".

"They have a right to return, just as they have a right to their property," he said, but added that "whether some policies are protecting those people's interest or merely exploiting the issue" was "another matter".

As for Kosovo, Josipović said that the issue of "relations between Serbia and Kosovo is entirely outside the Croatian policy", with his country "neither able, nor willing to influence them".

When it comes to Croatia's relations with Serbia, any analysis, the Croat president said, "should start with the fact that Croatia was exposed to aggression and that it suffers the consequences of that aggression to this day".

"The issue of responsibility for war crimes should not be circumvented. One of the reasons for our genocide lawsuit was precisely that Serbia would not even hear about responsibility for war crimes," he said, but noted that "this has now changed".

"Serbia is cooperating with the Hague (Tribunal), and their Special War Crimes Court is working very well, at least from the professional point of view. However, Belgrade has not solved the cases of Mladić and Hadžić, which is unacceptable to us."

Croatia's recently inaugurated president also said that Zagreb sees security but also markets as important in the ties with its neighbors.

Josipović told the newspaper that the Serb entity in Bosnia, the Republic of Srpska (RS), came as a result of the Dayton Agreement, and that it is a legal category that cannot be violently canceled, adding that "RS cannot independently change the status-quo either".

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