Croatian President Josipovic Tells VOA of Improved Ties With Serbia and Bosnia

Croatian President Ivo Josipovic says his country’s relations with Serbia are improving and he fully backs Bosnian efforts to establish closer ties with NATO and the European Union.

President Josipovic, who appeared Wednesday on VOA’s Croatian Service TV program Newsflash, expressed “full respect” for the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and he said Croatia has “no intentions to meddle in Bosnia’s internal affairs.” Josipovic said Croatia is helping Bosnia’s “movement towards the EU and NATO.”

Asked about relations with Serbia, Josipovic said his meetings with Serbian president Boris Tadic over the past year have “created a political climate in which it is now much easier to resolve problems.”

President Josipovic met earlier this week in Washington with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said the United States “fully supports” Croatia’s aspirations for EU membership, and the role Croatia is playing in Europe and the region.

Cooperation between the former Yugoslavia states has continued to improve since the bloody breakup of the country in the early 1990s.  Croatia became a full member of NATO in 2009, and is working toward EU membership.  Bosnia and Serbia are both working toward EU membership.

All three countries struggle with government corruption.  Asked about the issue, President Josipovic said, “Eradicating corruption is something that will define the destiny of Croatia.”  He said the country has started what he called, “a decisive fight” that has seen high-ranking officials detained, including a former prime minister and his deputies.

Josipovic also thanked the United States for its continuous support since the first days of Croatia’s independence.  Visit VOA’s Croatian Service website for a complete text of the interview.  For the latest news in English or for links to our other language services, visit www.voanews.com.

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