andrej plenkovic.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Dario GRZELJ/ ua

Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) president Andrej Plenkovic said on Thursday he was against a referendum on Republika Srpska (RS) Day scheduled for Sunday because it could lead to a referendum on the Bosnian Serb entity's secession from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

"I'm against that referendum. It could be the first step towards a referendum that would lead to RS' separation from BiH, which isn't good. That's also the uniform position of the international community, Croatia and all key political stakeholders in the country," Plenkovic told reporters.

He said it was necessary to work on defusing tensions and focusing more on the decisions of the Council of the European Union, which tasked the European Commission with drawing up an opinion on BiH's membership application. "It is through that European path that we can best protect the constitutionality and equality of Croats in BiH as well as the well-being of all other peoples."

Plenkovic was talking to the press before meeting with a delegation of retired generals led by Pavao Miljavac, who said they wanted to support Plenkovic in forming a new government as soon as possible because the situation in the neighbourhood was getting complicated.

It would not be good "to catch us on the wrong foot," Miljavac said, adding that until a year ago it seemed that things had stabilised in RS and BiH, while now tensions were escalating. He said Russia supported the RS referendum and that "it's about big players and anything can happen" so it would not be good if Croatia was not ready to respond to any challenge.

A reporter noted that Croatia is a member of the EU and NATO, to which Miljavac said the NATO membership treaty first and foremost said that everyone must be capable of protecting one's national interests. "You can get hurt until the whole system is activated. Every country must take that into account."

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