Croatian FM: Harsh words affect relations, solution needed

Everything that happened in the past days will affect relations between Serbia and Croatia, Vesna Pusic has told the Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti.

Source: Vecernje novosti, Tanjug

The Croatian foreign minister added that it was "important not to dramatize every situation, but to try to resolve everything in a way that will benefit both Croatia and Serbia."

Asked "how can all the bad done in the past few days now be smoothed over - primarily the barrage of ugly words that arrived from Zagreb at the expense of Serbia," Pusic said that "both sides understand that they cannot solve problems unless they talk and find a compromise on some things."

"On the other hand, even when some unnecessarily harsh words are exchanged, in the end some agreement must be found," said Pusic.

Asked "how she can deny that all this has left its impact on the Serbia-Croatia relations," she said:

"Of course all this has reflected on our relations, but in the end I hope we will find a way that makes the conflict less dramatic, and a solution more accessible to both parties."

Referring to last week's Croatian blockade of Serbia's border and the countermeasures introduced by Serbia, the newspaper asked if "everything" could have been solved "with quiet diplomacy." Pusic replied that "dialogue is not absent only from our region, it is in a way absent in all of Europe, because everything that is happening (the migrant crisis) is a completely new situation."

"It turned out that under this kind of pressure Europe has no united answer to the problem of refugees. And that produced different reactions among EU member states and between member states and those that are not," the Croatian official said, and added that "unfortunately the first reaction" was to shift the problem onto somebody else.

According to her, it turned out that the problem cannot be shifted to anyone else, and that it is "ours."

"Unless we take care of it together and immediately there will be no solution, because we are in the same boat. We should behave at least somewhat decently and help the people who have come here in vast numbers and in big trouble," Pusic said.

She added that "efforts should be made to reach a permanent solution."

"And that is the conversation with Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. In the slightly longer term, but not too long, a broader alliance that would be able to stop the war in Syria and Iraq should be considered. Without it us Croats and Serbs can argue as much we want, but the problem will not be solved. It will only get bigger," Pusic said.


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