US Ambassador Julieta Valls Noyes.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Hrvatska kuća/ ua

Today's Croatia is the accomplishment of the mission the US delegation headed by Ronald Brown had 20 years ago, US Ambassador Julieta Valls Noyes said on Sunday, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the death of the US secretary of commerce and his associates in a plane crash near Dubrovnik.

The US army plane carrying then US Secretary of Commerce Ronald Brown and a delegation of 34 people, who were travelling to a meeting with Croatian officials in Dubrovnik, crashed just before landing at Cilipi airport on 3 April 1996.

A commemoration was held to mark the 20th anniversary of that tragedy in the Ronald Brown Memorial House in downtown Dubrovnik on Sunday.

Ambassador Valls Noyes recalled that since the tragedy, the two countries had continued the delegation's mission thus honouring the victims.

In 2012 a series of business forums inspired by the memory of Ronald Brown was launched in Dubrovnik, promoting topics his delegation had advocated and advancing Croatia's economic development, she said.

On Monday, the legacy of Ronald Brown and his delegation will be cemented in Dubrovnik with the announcement of a series of events that will promote innovation and strengthen economic relations between the United States  and Croatia. At the time of the tragedy, Croatia was recovering from a brutal war and today it is a proud member of NATO and the EU. It represents hope for the region and is a strong and stabilising force for neighbouring countries, the ambassador said.

The commemoration in Dubrovnik was also attended by Mayor Andro Vlahusic and Dubrovnik County head Nikola Dobroslavic.

After the commemoration, the officials visited the site of the plane crash to lay flowers and light candles.

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