kolinda grabar kitarović.jpg
Photograph: HINA / Tomislav PAVLEK / mm

Speaking at a ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Croatian Armed Forces on Saturday, President and Armed Forces Supreme Commander Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said that Croatia today needed a unified state policy with clear goals and resolute measures and that the Opposition's role in that was to serve as a constructive corrective, and she called for putting an end to "petty political one-upmanship, exclusiveness and futile debates."    

"Our successes, which are not small, cannot make up for what we need the most now - an accelerated economic development and demographic revival. The emigration of young people is the most drastic message to the political elites of both the government and the opposition. There has been enough of petty political one-upmanship, exclusiveness and futile discussions. We need a unified state policy with clear goals and resolute measures. The task of the Opposition in that is to be a constructive corrective. Problems are big, but there is no room for resignation and indifference," Grabar-Kitarovic said at the ceremony held at the stadium of the Zagreb football club.

She went on to say that values of the Homeland War were built into the foundations of the independent and sovereign Croatia, that young generations should be told about the events of the 1990s and taught about the lasting ethical, historical, political and general social values of the 1991-95 war.

"The more so as there are still today people who distort the truth about the Homeland War by singling out individual incidents... and exaggerating them," she said.

Addressing the event, Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic said that the Armed Forces today participated in all important world peace missions and that Croatia had transformed from a country that in the 1990s sought assistance from others to an active factor of building the global security system.

"The government has a task to stop divisions in the Croatian society. We have a common goal. With our reforms we are building Croatia as a prosperous and just country. We want to make it better in all aspects - we want to strengthen the economy, create new jobs and continue investing in our army for the sake of the country's security," Oreskovic said, among other things.

Defence Minister Josip Buljevic recalled the role of the army in community building.

"The Armed Forces are always ready to help citizens in the most difficult situations and that is why they enjoy their trust," he said, adding that the government and his ministry fully supported ongoing projects designed to modernise and equip the Armed Forces.

The ceremony was also addressed by Parliament Speaker Zeljko Reiner.

Prior to the state officials' addresses, defenders from the Homeland War and members of the Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior lined up before them for a review at the beginning of ceremonies marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Armed Forces, Armed Forces Day and Army Day.

Twenty-five years ago, the first review of the National Guard Corps (ZNG) was held at the stadium of the Zagreb football club, when the first ZNG brigades, which during the war grew into the Armed Forces, were presented to the Croatian public.

The commemorative events were expected to continue at Jarun, the city's sports and recreation centre, and last throughout the day. They include a presentation of the military and police equipment, an exhibition, a concert, a parachute show, military exercises, and an air show.

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