Croatian FM under fire after visit to Belgrade

The leader of the Croatian opposition has criticized Vesna Pusić for her statements made during her visit to Serbia earlier this week.

Source: Tanjug, Večernje novosti
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Tomislav Karamarko asked Croatia's foreign minister and deputy prime minister, "to declare herself on whether aggression was carried out against Croatia in the 1990s."

"I would ask Mrs. Vesna Pusić about her statement in Belgrade in which she equates some policies that led to the war, the aggressor and the attacked, which is disgraceful. She equates Milošević and Tuđman. She did not say this explicitly, but certainly she said it in an associative manner, and so she violated the Croatian Constitution," Karamarko said, according to a report in Belgrade's Večernje Novosti.

"I'd like her to finally declare herself on whether aggression was carried out against Croatia, or if two tribes got into a fight - which stems from her words. She, as foreign minister, allowed herself to make a statement like that in Belgrade, thus insulting veterans and all citizens of Croatia," said Karamarko, who heads the opposition HDZ party.

Pusić, however, said that these accusations were an attempt by Karamarko "to cover up their own hate speech."

"Enough with lies and fabrications to cover up their own primitive language of hatred which, according to all normal criteria, should also be prosecuted in court," Pusić said at the Zagreb airport before leaving for the United States, according to the agency Hina.

The verbal skirmish started when Karamarko, according to Croatian media reports, "commended somebody from the audience" during a HDZ gathering in Omiš, who shouted that the current government "should be thrown into Kevina Jama (pit)," as well as a reference to Croatian President Ivo Josipović as "trash."

The pit in question was used in the Second World War as a mass grave of Partisan victims. Pusić qualified these statements as hate speech.

But Karamarko denied this, and said the gathering in Omiš was "magnificent and dignified - attended by citizens who live badly and who are concerned about the fate of Croatia." He also said he "heard no reference to Kevina Jama and therefore does not intend to apologize to anyone for anything."

The Zagreb daily Večernji List reported that the so-called Headquarters for the Defense of Croatian Vukovar also criticized Pusić, saying she should resign for "missing several occasions to protect the interests and reputation of Croatia," and citing her statements made earlier this week in Belgrade as "the latest example."

This group is responsible for organizing protests in the town of Vukovar aimed at removing bilingual signs in Croatian and Serbian from public administration buildings.

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