Serbia's Minister of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue Tomislav Zigmanov, said on Sunday that awareness of the need for cooperation between Serbia and Croatia "has matured", pointing out that there is a high level of readiness on both sides to make this happen.
“Awareness has matured that it is necessary to cooperate when it comes to the institutional relations between the two countries and there is a high level of readiness to make this happen, Žigmanov told Radio Television Srbija, commenting on the meeting between the Croatian and Serbian foreign ministers which took part in Subotica on Saturday.
Ministers Gordan Grlic Radman and Ivica Dacic on Saturday agreed on the steps the two countries must take to prepare their bilateral meeting, the aim of which is to reduce differences in views on the past and outstanding issues, as cooperation is in the interest of both countries.
Their meeting is a continuation of bilateral talks, following Dačić’s visit to Zagreb in early January, and the meeting between Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić on the sidelines of the forum in Davos.
Yesterday’s meeting between Dačić and Grlic Radman “confirmed that it is a serious process that has continuity when it comes to communication”, said Zigmanov, assessing that the talks were open and that both sides, as expected, highlighted differences in views.
Both Grlic Radman and Dacic stressed that the two sides have different views on the past, but said that expert teams from the two ministries will prepare a platform for their bilateral meeting in the coming months.
We believe that the most important thing in the process is that the regularity of the meetings will continue and that “we are moving towards not only meeting but also resolving issues hampering our relations”, Zigmanov assessed.
He pointed out that one of the most difficult issues is more than 1,800 missing people because there has been no progress in that field in recent years.
“It is encouraging that issue will become topical again,” said Zigmanov, stating his willingness to make progress when it comes to discovering the place where the victims were buried so that they could be properly honoured.
Zigmanov said European integration is one of his government’s priorities and that Croatia’s position and experience can be useful in this regard, as space has been created to expand cooperation between the two governments.
Speaking about the cooperation between the Serb minority in Croatia and the Croat minority in Serbia Zigmanov said they will meet in a technical format, in order to define cooperation in the field of culture, education, and the political life of the two minorities.