ante kotromanović.jpg
Photograph: HINA/Tomislav Pavlek/tp

Outgoing Defence Minister Ante Kotromanovic said on Friday that Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic showed nervousness when he opposed Croatia's plan to procure ballistic missiles, saying that the Serbian official had no reason to be nervous as Croatia did not have hostile intentions towards Serbia.

"My message to Vucic is: 'Don't be nervous, you have no reason to be nervous.' We most definitely do not have hostile intentions towards Serbia, it is our neighbour, we respect it and support Serbia's aspirations to join the European Union, but as a NATO member state we are entitled to our own defence and to developing our own system and our own funds," Kotromanovic told reporters in Split.

Reminding Vucic that he did not voice his objection in 1991 when the powerful Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) had attacked a small and weak Croatian Army.

"We want peace, this is not armament, a competition or a threat. This is simply a NATO objective and we want to see it through the end. Nothing more," Kotromanovic said.

Asked to comment on the indictment against wartime Serb paramilitary commander Dragan Vasiljkovic, Kotromanovic said he was following the case through the media and that all knew who Captain Dragan was.

"I can even say that I personally, namely my team had fought against his team, it was exciting in 1993. I believe in Croatia's judiciary and I believe in justice," Kotromanovic said.

The Split County Prosecutor's Office on Friday indicted Dragan Vasiljkovic aka Captain Dragan for war crimes almost six months after he was extradited by Australia. Vasiljkovic is accused, in his capacity as a commander in Serb paramilitary units, of acting contrary to the Geneva Convention by torturing and killing captive Croatian soldiers and police in Knin in June and July 1991 and in Bruska in February 1993.

Related stories

Serbian ministry condemns Croatian minister's statement

Indictment against Serb paramilitary leader upheld

War crimes indictee Dragan Vasiljkovic to remain in custody

Captain Dragan wants to be defended by Serbian lawyer

Serb paramilitary commander indicted for war crimes

Latest news

Merkel calls for fewer EU regulations as nationalist sentiments grow

As voters in the Netherlands, France and Germany show increasing support for nationalist, euro-sceptic political movements ahead of this year's elections, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for limits on EU regulations.

French prosecutors transfer Fillon case to investigative judge

The French judiciary has opened a formal investigation in connection with presidential candidate Francois Fillon to examine whether the employment of his wife as a parliamentary employee was a sham, the country's financial prosecutors' office said Friday.

White House bars major news outlets from press briefing

Major news organizations, which were Friday blocked by the White House from attending an informal press briefing, condemned the move just hours after President Donald Trump described parts of the media as "the enemy of the people."

Report: German intelligence spied on BBC, other foreign journalists

Germany's intelligence agency monitored foreign journalists at the BBC, the New York Times and other news organizations from 1999 onwards across several countries, according to a Friday report from Der Spiegel magazine.

Classroom for Islamic religious education opened in Split

A classroom for Islamic religious education, whose equipment was financially assisted by city and county authorities, was opened in the coastal city of Split on Friday.

Ministry say no licences for export of military goods to Saudi Arabia issued in 2016

The Economy, Enterprise and Crafts Ministry on Friday issued a statement regarding media reports about export licences for military goods, stressing that in 2016 it did not issue any licences for the export of military goods to Saudi Arabia.

Croatia for preserving Bosnia's stability

Croatia on Friday supported the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), calling on its authorities to adopt decisions in institutions, after a request by BiH Presidency Bosniak member Bakir Izetbegovic to review a ruling which acquitted Serbia of genocide.

Mexico is not a migrant "waiting room" for US, interior minister says

Mexico will not accept undocumented immigrants from other countries whom the United States plans to deport, Mexico's interior minister said Friday.

Right-wing populist Wilders declines first Dutch election debate

Candidates from nine Dutch parties answered questions from journalists Friday at the first national radio debate of the election campaign, but the leading candidate

Bosnian Croat reps insist on channel airing programmes in Croatian

Being one of the constituent peoples, the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina are entitled to a broadcaster that will air programmes in their native language, HNS BiH official Ivan Vukoja said at a news conference in Mostar on Friday.

Same-sex couples in Slovenia can marry

A Slovenian law allowing same-sex couples to marry went into force on Friday and the first civil registrar ceremony, between two women, is to take place in Maribor on Saturday, the town's Vecer daily said.

Moody's changes Agrokor's outlook to negative

The Moody's rating agency on Friday changed its outlook for the Agrokor food retailer from stable to negative, affirming its rating of B3.