Andrej Plenkovic .jpg
Photograph: HINA/ ua

Croatia will protect the legal security of Homeland Defence War veterans and the latest developments show that the issue of arrests of Croatian veterans by Serbia must be solved, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) chief, Andrej Plenkovic said in Zadar on Saturday, calling on Serbia to resort to dialogue.

"Croatia, and the next HDZ government will not let Serbia keep provoking," Plenkovic said after a few days ago Serbia had arrested a Croatian citizen, Zdravko Hlobik, at the Bogojevo border crossing on the basis of Belgrade's accusations of his alleged involvement in terrorism during the Homeland Defence War. The 54-year-old Hlobik was released a few hours after the arrest since it has been established that there is one more Zdravko Hlobik, a Croatian war veteran.

The HDZ chief admitted that those developments showed that this matter was very sensitive.

"We must insist on the resolution of this issue," Plenkovic said adding that "dialogue must be opened" and called on Serbia "to tone down" rhetoric.

Plenkovic said this in the coastal city of Zadar where the HDZ presented its candidates from the ninth constituency for the September 11 early parliamentary election.

Earlier on Saturday, Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac of the HDZ branded the arrest of Hlobik as "an impertinent provocation" by Serbia.

Kovac said that Zagreb would apply counter-measures on Serbia which he accused of persecuting Croatian Homeland Defence War veterans.

"We will not tolerate this behaviour, these acts of intimidation and provocation. As long as it behaves this way, Serbia will not enter the European Union. Croatia is ready to introduce counter-measures," Kovac said.

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