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Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarevic has launched another “crude attack” against Serbia, says Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic.
Reacting to a TV interview Grabar-Kitarevic gave on Wednesday, Dacic said her claim that there was no Ustashism and fascism in Croatia was “an obvious lie.”
During the Second World War, the Ustasha regime was in power in the Independent State of Croatia (NHD) – a Nazi-allied entity that ran death camps for Serbs, Jews, and Roma, including the one in Jasenovac.
In a statement sent to the media on Thursday, Dacic said:
“What is it other than Ustashism and fascism when a plaque is installed with the Ustasha greeting ‘For home ready’ in Jasenovac, the biggest place of suffering of Serbs, Jews, and Roma? What is it other than Ustashism and fascism when many streets in Croatia are named after Mile Budak, (NDH leader Ante) Pavelic’s minister, known for his doctrine that ‘the Serb question’ should be solved by killing one third them, converting another third to Catholicism, and expelling one third?”
The minister also mentioned the rehabilitation of WW2-era Croatian Catholic cleric Alojzije Stepinac, who headed a commission tasked with converting Orthodox Christian Serbs to Catholicism, as well as the unveiling of a monument in Croatia to Ustasha terrorist Miro Baresic, who in the 1970s assassinated Yugoslav Ambassador to Sweden Vladimir Rolovic.
“The Croatian president talks about (Serbian opposition politician Vojislav) Seselj, while the authorities in Croatia are directly taking part in all this,” said Dacic.
He added that “such things are not happening in any European country” and that it would be “impossible to see or hear Nazi greetings in Germany or in Austria, or for anyone in Germany to name streets after Hermann Goering or Heinrich Himmler. ”
“How, then, is there no Ustashism and fascism in Croatia?” asked Dacic.
The Croatian president, he continued, asks “who Serbia is defending against when it acquires planes – but doesn’t wonder who Croatia wants to attack when they acquire launchpads.”
“I will remind you that the Independent State of Croatia, a Nazi Ustasha creation, (during WW2) occupied a part of Serbia, up to Zemun, Sabac, and Novi Sad, as well as the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina,” said the minister.
Dacic then stressed that he “agrees with the Croatian president about one thing – that one should turn toward future and dialogue, and solve the issues from the past with a cool head, and look for common interests.”
“Serbia is ready for that, but is not ready to suffer insults and humiliation,” Dacic concluded.
Grabar-Kitarevic on Wednesday evening told Croatia’s state broadcaster HRT that there was no Ustashism and fascism in Croatia – “unlike in Serbia.”
The Croatian website Index said on Thursday that the president dedicated the entire second half of the interview to “blabbering about Serbs” – and noted she did this “as if Croatia has no problems of its own, and as if Serbia is some cross-Danube version of Mordor.”