Croatia protests: Serbia treats us in revisionist manner
The Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has sent a protest note to Serbia over "unacceptable statements" made by the country's top officials.Source: Beta, Tanjug
These statements concern the reactions in Serbia last week to a Croatian court's decision to annul the war crimes verdict passed in 1946 against Croatian Catholic cleric Alojzije Stepinac.
The Croatian minister said the statements by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and PM-designate Aleksandar Vucic "in an inappropriate and revisionist manner assess Croatia and actions of its institutions, which represents direct interference into internal affairs of a neighboring country," Beta agency has reported, quoting Croatia's Hina agency.
"Such rhetoric is encouraging the incitement of intolerance between the two peoples and was distancing Serbia from endorsing European value and its accession to the European family," the Croatian ministry said, according to Hina, at the same time "inviting Serbian officials to direct their discourse to strengthening good neighborly ties and to, instead of tendentious verbal conflicts embroidered with untruthfulness and historic revisions, focus on a rational dialogue on all issues that were important for bilateral relations."
In that context, Nikolic's statement about ""Croatia covering up the pits where Ustasha's buried Serbs - but if it continues like this it will dig up an abyss into which it will fall and remain alone, without the support of the civilized, anti-fascist, and anti-Nazi part of humanity."
Hina also quoted Vucic's statement that Serbia wished good ties with Croatia and that it would always be on the side of anti-fascism, but that the annulment of the verdict to Stepinac spoke more about Croatia, than Serbia.
On Friday, the Zagreb District Court annulled the 1946 verdict against Stepinac that found him guilty and sentenced him to 16 years in prison for collaboration with Italian and German occupiers and the Nazi-allied Ustasha regime of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH).
Stepinac was also found guilty of forced conversions of Orthodox Christian Serbs to Catholicism, and for spreading enemy propaganda after the war, whose aim was to endanger the state system of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia (FNRJ).
"Padre of the Ustasha"
Reacting to the protest note, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said it was "shameful that Croatia is protesting because Serbia criticizes the rehabilitation of war criminal Stepinac, the padre of the Ustasha Independent State of Croatia (NDH)."
"Stepinac gave his blessing to the genocide against the Serbs, Jews and Roma, and even set up a commission for converting Serbs into Catholicism. No one will ever stop Serbia to raise its voice against the rehabilitation of war criminals from the time of fascism and the Ustasha NDH. Serbia sure is for good neighborly ties and reconciliation, but no one will humiliate Serbia and the victims of the Ustasha terror," Dacic said, according to a statement from the ministry carried by Beta.