Croatian president Ivo Josipović has confirmed that he will not attend the June 11 2012 inauguration ceremony of Serbian president Tomislav Nikolić, following Nikolić’s controversial reported statements about Vukovar, Srebrenica and his thwarted dream of a greater Serbia.
“Unfortunately, the positions defended by Nikolić, and his statement that Vukovar is a Serbian town, and that there was no genocide in Srebrenica, are absolutely distanced from the European values,” Josipović said, according to a report by Croatian Radio and Television (HRT) on June 6.
Josipović said, however, that relations withCroatiahad been improving in recent years and he wanted this trend of good relations to continue, according to the HRT report.
The Croatian president had said earlier that co-operation withSerbiawas a two-way street and could not rely solely on political goodwill only on one side.
In interviews and statements in recent days, Josipović emphasised that Nikolić would be expected to demonstrate that he shares common European values.
“Anyone who wants to participate in a joint project of Europeanisation of the region, who wants to have friends and partners in Europe, must abandon forever expansion ideas, ideas that territories and boundaries are not defined…When it is clear that such a concept is accepted, then we will co-operate. Without a clear expression of it, certainly I will not go to the inauguration in Belgrade,” Josipović said, according to a report by the Croatian Times.
Serbian news agency Tanjug on June 5 quoted Josipović as saying that Croatia wanted to build good relations with all countries, including Serbia, and he hoped that Nikolić’s positions would change.
“We have made significant progress in relations in the past two to three years and it would be a shame if those relations stopped developing due to tactless and wrong statements and political concepts,” Josipović said.
The statements attributed to Nikolić about Vukovar being a Serbian city have been denied by his office but the German journalist who reported them for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has stuck by his story, citing an audio tape.
Croatian media have carried unofficial reports from Josipović’s office that the Croatian president “intends to ignore Nikolić completely,” Balkan Insight said on June 1.
Meanwhile, the leader of Serbia’s Democratic Party, former president Boris Tadić, who was defeated by Nikolić in the 2012 elections, will probably inform Nikolić that his party, together with the Socialist Party of Serbia and the Liberal Democratic Party, are close to forming a parliamentary majority, according to Serbian Press daily, Bulgarian news agency Focus said on June 6.
Sources from Tadić’s party said that the parties were close to securing a parliamentary majority to form the new Serbian government. The technical details are expected to be cleared up over the next few days.