kolinda grabar kitarović.jpg
Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Photograph: HINA / Denis CERIĆ / POOL / mm

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said on Saturday that one should not manipulate with the number of victims of the WWII Jasenovac concentration camp and that the canonisation of Alojzije Stepinac was not directed against the Serb people.

Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople said in Jasenovac earlier today that hundreds of thousands of Serbs were killed at the Ustasha-run camp in WWII, and about 700,000 Serb victims were mentioned during a liturgy there.

"One should learn from history but also look to the future, which is why manipulations with the numbers of victims that could be heard in Jasenovac today aren't good," the president said at her meeting with Bartholomew I in Zagreb later.

She underlined the importance of the canonisation the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, a victim of the communist regime, saying it was not directed against any people, notably Serbs, her office said in a press release, adding that the president expressed her respects for all the victims and condemned any attempts at revisionism.

Grabar-Kitarovic and Bartholomew I agreed about the importance of dialogue as a way of solving problems and conflicts as well as of avoiding war and bloodshed. They underlined the importance of inter-religious dialogue at a time of rising extremism, radicalism and distortion of faith.

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