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news 24 Jun 13

Serbia Demands Roman Villa of Croatian Fascist Chief

Serbia's committee on issues related to the division of assets of the former Yugoslavia is seeking the villa in Rome that once belonged to the Fascist leader of Croatia.

Vecernje novosti
Belgrade

Oliver Antic, chief of the Serbian committee on succession issues, said Serbia was seeking ownership of a villa in Rome that once belonged to the wartime Fascist leader of Croatia, Ante Pavelic.

The villa Maraviglia, built in 1920, was a gift of the Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini to Pavelic, head of the Croatian "Ustasha".

After the Second World War, the villa belonged to Yugoslavia. It then passed into the hands of the Republic of Slovenia following the division of the assets of the former Yugoslavia.

"As the Serbian nation suffered in the [Second World] war the most, the symbolic significance of the building is clear," Antic said.

During the Second World War, Croatia was run by the Ustasha, which ruled the country in alliance with Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany.

The Independent State of Croatia, NDH, led by Pavelic, killed tens or even hundreds of thousands Serbs, Jews, Roma and Croatian leftists, many of them in the Jasenovac concentration camp.

According to Antic, the Serbian committee has yet to determine the exact value of the villa and then start negotiating with Slovenia. Serbia's embassy building in Rome is located next to the villa.

On Wednesday, Slovenia's Foreign Minister, Karl Erjavec, said during his visit to Belgrade that all outstanding issues between the two countries, including the dispute over the villa in Rome, would be resolved amicably.

Other issues up for discussion include factories that were moved from Serbia to Slovenia during the time of the former Yugoslavia.

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