The Croatian PM dismissed President Josipovic’s allegation that the Serb MP in the Croatian Parliament is blackmailing the government and using state money for his own purposes.
The first serious misunderstanding between the Croatian Prime Minister, Zoran Milanovic, and President Ivo Josipovic came after Jospovic accused Serb MP Milorad Pupovac of using the money received through the Council for National Minorities as the legal representative of the Serb minority for his own gain rather than to help Serbs in Croatia.
“We called Pupovac to be part of our government. I appointed him as the Head of the Council of Foreign Policy. So he is going abroad to represent Croatia, to defend the constitution of Croatia, he is going to Kosovo as the Croatian representative. To Kosovo, which Croatia recognized and Serbia did not,” Milanovic explained.
In his interview for the Zagreb based television Nova, Milanovic said that unlike other Serb representatives in Croatia Pupovic’s record is spotless.
“During the 1990s Pupovac was in Zagreb risking to be attacked by some furious Croat. Unlike some other Serbs who were fighting against the Croatian state, and who are now exonerated,” said Milanovic.
The Croatian PM was referring to Veljko Dzakula, a former high-ranking official in the self-proclaimed Serb Autonomous Region of Krajina in Croatia, who is considered to be, as Pupovac described him, “one of Josipovic’s Serbs”.
Dzakula, head of the humanitarian NGO the Serb Democratic Forum which helps Serb refugees to return to Croatia, was the only Croatian Serb leader who accepted Josipovic’s invitation to participate in the official ceremony marking the operation Storm.
Pupovac believes that the reason for Josipovic's claims against him is his refusal to appear at the commemoration of Croatia's military-police Operation Storm carried out in 1995.
“My refusal to come to the celebration of Operation Storm, which I had not been asked to attend by a single Croatian president or prime minister, is certainly one of the reasons for which President Josipovic decided to start a campaign against me, and accuse me of not being a true advocate of the reconciliation between Croats and Serbs, claiming that I maintain inter-ethnic tensions of low intensity at many places,” Pupovac said.
Pupovac also claimed that Josipovic is trying to gain additional political points by moving towards the right political spectrum.
Josipovic previously said that Pupovac is engaged in ethno-business and the racketeering of earlier Croatian governments, and that he did a lot for himself and little for Serbs.