Former Croatian President Ivo Josipovic said that the relations between Serbia and Croatia have deteriorated significantly in the last three years, adding that mending them would require positive messages from both country's top officials.
In a statement to the Belgrade-based Danas daily, Josipovic added that the current officeholders were spoiling the relations between the two countries by misusing them for “scoring cheap nationalist points meant for domestic audiences.”
“The rehabilitation of the Chetniks (ex-royal military units and nationalistic German collaborators) in Serbia and Ustashas (pro-Nazi German collaborators) in Croatia represent strong negative factors in mutual relations,” Josipovic, who was President of Croatia from 2010 to 2015, said.
He added that neither the majority Serbs nor the huge numbers of Croats were sympathizers of Chetniks or Ustashas respectively. “Simply put, the political landscape opens the space for extremists to move in, and sections of the media help them.”
Josipovic said he supported a visit by the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic to Serbia. “It would be nice if it ended in an agreement to end this war of words, to agree on a political level on the principles of positive communication which would then replace the current, almost warmongering, rhetoric, and to agree on a concrete plan for dealing with all the unresolved issues between the two countries,” Josipovic said.