Serbs and Croats will have to be allies in the future, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has told a Zagreb based daily in an interview.
Vucic also announced his visit to Croatia for November.
Asked what he saw as the main problem in relations between the two countries, he told Vecerni List that he “sees these problems, but does not understand them.”
“I have to be honest, I see them, but I do not understand them and I think that in the future, Serbs and Croats will increasingly have to be allies, while there will be increasingly fewer people who live in the past of their hostilities,” Vucic said.
He added that “poison darts” were frequently exchanged between Zagreb and Belgrade, “mostly around Ustashas and Chetniks or the status of national minorities.”
Asked to “comment on when this would end,” Vucic said, “not any time soon” – but added that he believed the situation would change slowly, and that there would be “less of it than there is now.”
The Belgrade-based daily Vecernje Novosti also carried excerpts from the interview, to report that Vucic announced he would travel to Zagreb in early November.
Asked “why he criticized the proposal of the new Croatian law on defenders” he said that “when Greater Serbia aggression is being referred to – and the result was the expulsion of 250,000 Serbs from their homes (in Croatia), and more Serb than Croats victims in the area – then one forgets that Serbs could pass 500 laws on Jasenovac and other places of suffering.”
“The question arises where it all leads to. I’m merely pleading with our Croatian friends to walk in our shoes before passing the law, as we do here. I never asked to come to Zagreb, and that somebody had to talk about what kind of genocide has been committed in Jasenovac, or that someone coming to Belgrade had to talk about it. Our shortcoming is that we rarely put ourselves in the other’s position,” said he.
Asked what he thought about the idea of proclaiming “a moratorium on public debates about the past,” Vucic said it was “a wonderful sentence”.
“I will use it as soon as on Tuesday on RTS,” added the Serbian president.
He believes that Croatia will not hinder Serbia on its European path, but stressed that former Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic would impose sanctions “for no reason.”
“None of that will come to anything, even in Croatia wanted it to. It can cause problems, but it cannot stop our path to the EU. But, to be honest, I believe we will have the support of Croatia along that path,” Vucic said.
He also said that he “respected Croatian President Kolin Grabar-Kitarovic and considered it important to work on concrete matters and show respect for each other.”
“It is healing and significantly helps in relations of our countries and nations,” he said.
Vucic also spoke about the attack that he experienced in Srebrenica several years ago.
“At one point I thought, when I saw that I was left alone and that nobody from the protocol was near, and that my associates were twenty meters behind me, ‘that’s it, it’s over’. I did not bow my head, I bowed my head before the memorial, in front of the Srebrenica victims, because I only bow my head where I want to, and that was my decision. Later, under the stones, shoes, bottles, I did not bow my head for one second,” Vucic said.