tomislav karamarko.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Lana SLIVAR DOMINIĆ / lsd

Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader Tomislav Karamarko said on Monday that good relations with Serbia were in Croatia's interest, stressing the need to address the outstanding issues between the two countries.

"It is in Croatia's interest to have a good relationship with Serbia, to do business and maintain economic relations. But we also need to resolve problems such as celebrations of Operation Storm, which Serbia is opposed to. We need to resolve these issues, and we need to have good relations," Karamarko told the press after negotiations with the Bridge party on the formation of the new government. He was asked to comment on Serbia's expectations to have better cooperation with the new government in Croatia than it had had with the previous one.

Karamarko said that the outgoing Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic "has fallen out with everyone, which is not good for Croatian interests." He added that cooperation with other countries would now be much better.

Commenting on the problem of the use of Cyrillic alphabet in Vukovar, Karamarko said that this issue would be resolved one day. He said that "the forceful introduction" of Cyrillic signs on public institutions in Vukovar was "an open wound" for Croats and in violation of Article 8 of the constitutional law governing the rights of ethnic minorities.

"Vukovar is our open wound and we are particularly sensitive about it. Victims of war crimes and war criminals are still walking side by side there. We have to be very subtle because Vukovar is a town of special reverence to us," the HDZ leader said.

The leader of the Bridge party, Bozo Petrov, also called for good relations with the neighbours, saying that this was important both for regional security and for the economic development of Croatia.

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