Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac on Monday dismissed the latest accusations from Serbian Labour Minister Aleksandar Vulin who compared the situation in Croatia with that in the World War II Nazi-styled Independent State of Croatia (NDH), saying that on-call hatemongers in Serbia were again active.
"On-call hatemongers in the neighbourhood are again speaking, they again want to meddle in Croatia's internal affairs and change the history," Kovac said in a comment on Vulin's accusing Croatian Interior Minister Vlaho Orepic of turning Croatia into the NDH.
Orepic said recently that if all false residence registrations were deleted, the share of the Serb minority in the local population in Vukovar would drop to below 30% and the minority would lose the right to the equal official use of its language and the Cyrillic script.
"Time will come when Serbia will have to realise what was done in its name in the 1990s, that the war was not fought on its territory, and until that happens, it won't be good," Kovac told reporters in Sinj, in the Split hinterland, where he attended events marking the Feast of the Assumption.
Kovac said that Serbia had a chance to "change itself" in the process of talks on accession to the EU, notably regarding the policy chapter No. 23, which refers to the judiciary.
"Serbia will have to change its law (on universal jurisdiction for war crimes) and it will not be able to act as a mini Hague tribunal," said Kovac.
"It will also have to look for missing persons and their remains in cooperation with us. It will have to cooperate with our courts and hand over people who have been indicted," Kovac said.
The mayor of the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar, Ivan Penava, on Sunday accused the former government led by Social Democrat Zoran Milanovic of having tried to cause chaos in Vukovar by refusing demands by the town authorities to conduct a new census in that town.
The president of the Serb National Council (SNV), Milorad Pupovac, has described as worrying the statement by Minister of the Interior Vlaho Orepic that the Serb minority in Vukovar had manipulated the registration of residence in that eastern city and that after false residence registrations were removed, "there will no longer be any legal grounds for the use of the Cyrillic script in Vukovar."
In a statement carried by the Serbian public broadcaster RTS, Stefanovic said this was an attempt to "deny the few Serbs who have not been expelled from Croatia the right to use their language and script."
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Tuesday that Serbia did not wish to join the European Union if the condition was that it should be like Croatia, which he said "is rehabilitating fascism, Nazism and Ustashism," adding that Serbia would warn European and world leaders about Croatia's positions and policies and that it expected the EU to react.
Minister of the Interior Vlaho Orepic on Sunday called on Serb National Council (SNV) president Milorad Pupovac not to discuss the issue of false residence registrations outside its main context and particularly not in the context of inter-ethnic relations.
Croatian war veterans' organisations on Tuesday criticised the Croatian government and diplomats for allowing Serbia to open two chapters in its EU accession negotiations in Brussels on Monday even though it had not repealed its law on universal jurisdiction in prosecuting all war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
Croatia has the right to choose its own path but it does not have the right to rehabilitate and justify the genocide against Serbs, Jews and Romany in the Ustasha-led Independent State of Croatia (NDH) nor will Serbia refrain from commenting on it, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Monday.
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic described in Belgrade on Friday as "sheer impudence" Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic's statement that Operation Storm had been "ethically clean" and that it had "relieved (Serbs) of the heavy centuries-long burden of Greater Serbia projects."
About 650,000 people from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia came to Serbia during the 1990s wars and many, mainly displaced from Croatia, still cannot exercise their acquired rights, Serbian Refugees Commissioner Vladimir Cucic said in Belgrade on Friday.