News 16 Oct 13

Serbia, Croatia Presidents: War Still Troubles Relations

At a landmark meeting, the presidents of Serbia and Croatia said the two countries’ mutual genocide lawsuits and the issue of wartime missing persons are preventing more friendly links.

Marija Ristic
BIRN
Belgrade
 Photo by Beta

Croatian President Ivo Josipovic paid a landmark visit to Belgrade to meet his Serbian counterpart Tomislav Nikolic on Wednesday but both men made it clear that specific problems must be resolved before their relationship can thaw further.

Josipovic was visiting Belgrade for the first time since Nikolic, once the right-hand man of Hague Tribunal war crimes defendant and Serbian Radical Party chief  Vojislav Seselj, become president in May last year.

Speaking after their meeting, Nikolic urged Croatia to drop its genocide lawsuit against Serbia, suggesting that in return Belgrade would drop its own genocide suit against Zagreb.

“By withdrawing the mutual lawsuits for genocide, two states and two nations would establish overall peace,” Nikolic told journalists.

Josipovic said however that Zagreb will not withdraw its lawsuit until the issue of Croats missing since the war is properly addressed.

“Resolving the problem of the 1,689 missing persons from the war is a precondition for resolving all issues between Zagreb and Belgrade,” Josipovic said.

Croatia filed a genocide law suit against Serbia at the International Court of Justice in 1999 over the killings of Croats during the war.

Serbia responded with a genocide law suit against Croatia at the same court in 2009 over the killings of Serbs during the same war. The Serbian suit also contains allegations that Croatia committed genocide against Serbs during World War II.

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