Vesna Pusić.jpg
Photograph: HINA / Darko VLAHOVIĆ

Foreign and European Affairs Minister Vesna Pusic said on Wednesday that the arrival of US Vice-President Joe Biden in Croatia for a summit of Southeast European countries was a very important event signalling the return of the United States to this part of the world.

"The arrival of the US vice-president in Croatia is certainly an important event. I don't think America hasever lost interest, we have been cooperating very well for years. This part of the world certainly isn't as it was during the wars (of the 1990s). There has always been an interest in stabilising the southeast of Europe and promoting cooperation in this part of Europe, this is just a confirmation," Pusic told the N1 television channel.

"Croatia is a staunch American ally and we have been closely cooperating in that regard for years, it's a traditional alliance. However, Croatia's primary interest is in stabilising its immediate neighbourhood.," Pusic said.

Pusic said that Biden's visit had been arranged before the global situation deteriorated.  She said that the situation was dangerous not just for this party of the world but for the entire world following the recent terror attacks in Paris and the downing of a Russian military aircraft by Turkey.

Speaking of the summit of Southeast European countries which was taking place in Zagreb, Pusic said that it would be dominated by topics relating to tensions between Turkey and Russia, the refugee crisis, terrorism and regional cooperation.

Asked if the US would get more involved in stabilising this region because of Bosnia and Herzegovina and an increased risk of terrorism, Pusic said Croatia always considered Bosnia and Herzegovina as one of the key topics. "That's why we initiated change to the EU policy towards Bosnia and Herzegovina, and this will certainly be one of the topics."

Asked to what extent Croatia was involved in the advisory or political alliance with NATO and the EU, Pusic said that Croatia was part of these organisations and was involved in all of their discussions.

"Croatia has been involved in the anti-terrorist coalition from the outset, before the tragedy in France, and that is becoming even more important now," Pusic said.

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