Defenders are the cornerstone of freedom, of democracy; Accusations will not be tolerated

ZAGREB, 5 August 2022 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday, on the occasion of Victory Day, that Croatian defenders are the cornerstone of Croatian freedom and democracy and that the government will not tolerate attempts to question the fact that the war for the homeland was just and legitimate or to accuse its war heroes.

“The Croats were not masters of their own destiny for almost 900 years, but lived in their territory under various foreign rulers and regimes until, at a time of tectonic changes in Europe, thanks to the vision of the President Tuđman and the courage of Croatian defenders and the unity of all Croatian people, we have won the right to freedom and the right to our own state,” Plenković said in Knin, at the central event marking the day of Victory and Fatherland Thanksgiving and Veterans Day and the 27th anniversary of Operation Storm.

Operation Storm was a combined military and police operation that ended a Serbian armed insurgency in August 1995 and restored Croatian sovereignty over the occupied central and southern parts of the country, paving the way for the peaceful reintegration of the eastern Croatia in January 1998.

Operation Storm brought victory in the internal war and peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Plenković said that the magnificent victory of Operation Storm was decisive in allowing Croatia to win an imposed war and to restore its constitutional and legal order throughout its territory.

Operation Storm also enabled peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and enabled Bihać to avoid genocide unlike Srebrenica, and it also enabled the Dayton-Paris peace accord, he said.

The government will insist on protecting the constitutional rights of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the prime minister said, adding that “there can be no European Bosnia and Herzegovina as long as all its citizens, especially Croats, who are often outvoted and deprived of their rights, are legitimately and democratically represented in the executive and representative bodies of the country”.

The prerequisites for this are a fair electoral law and a better functioning entity of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said.

Serbia’s accusations of deportation are false and futile

In a message to Serbia, Plenković said that Croatia will continue to work for peace, good neighborly relations, stability and dialogue, but also expects its neighbors to do the same.

Croatia will not tolerate questioning the character of the Homeland War as a just and legitimate war and it will not allow indictments against its war heroes, he said.

“Some again tried to slander Croatia with false and frivolous accusations regarding the expulsion of Serbs from Croatia in 1995, even though it is well known that the leaders of the Serbian rebels had forced them, together with Belgrade, to leave Croatia, as confirmed and proven by documents at the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague by Serbian indictees who repented of their actions,” Plenković said.

He said Serbian indictments against Croatian pilots and the expansion of his jurisdiction to other countries were unacceptable.

Especially since she comes from a country that launched the aggression against Croatia and which still shows no real willingness to recognize its responsibility “in the criminal enterprise of the Milošević regime”, Plenković said.

Investing in security is more necessary than ever

Given the current geopolitical situation, it is important to invest more than ever in security because the war in Europe has upset the security balance and its impact on the economy, finance, energy and food. Europe and the rest of the world is obvious, he said.

“This translates into the weakening and destabilization of fragile and vulnerable states, into poverty and hunger and new waves of migration. Even though 27 years have passed since the end of the Homeland War, it is a warning that we must continue to strengthen our defense capabilities,” Plenković said, pointing out that Croatia is budgeting HRK 7.6 billion a year for defence.

He noted that his government was leading Croatia in times of crisis – from the coronavirus pandemic and earthquakes to financial, energy and economic crises, but was overcoming them while managing to maintain political stability, ready to intervene. for the benefit of citizens. and the business sector.

The government will continue to do so in order to prevent social divide and strengthen the business sector, in line with the principle of modern sovereignism and respecting the sacrifice of Croatian defenders, Plenković said.

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