JANUARY 7 2013 14:40h

Relations with Croatia should be "unfrozen and reset," says Serbian PM




Relations between Serbia and Croatia should be "unfrozen, reset and restarted," Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic told Beta news agency on Monday, adding that he was willing to meet with Croatian PM Zoran Milanovic.

Dacic said it would not be good to let Belgrade-Zagreb relations enter an ever worse stage from which a return would be more difficult and that this was why he was willing to meet with Milanovic.

"It's not good to have two countries where political communication isn't on the highest level, so I think it's important to reset those relations now and begin again," he said.

Dacic believes that the unfreezing of Serbia-Croatia relations would contribute to an atmosphere of good regional cooperation. "Serbia wants to promote good cooperation and relations with all states in our region. We have to realise that we can't agree on everything, but we must seek things that will pull us forward."

Dacic believes that one should be practical in Serbia-Croatia relations. "This means that we don't need to show any love, but political cooperation and political relations between Serbia and Croatia must exist."

He does not share the impression that Belgrade's relations with the countries in the region have deteriorated since the May 2012 elections in Serbia. He said the highest Serbian officials had visited Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Greece, and Hungary, and announced new bilateral meetings, including with Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, and Montenegro.

Speaking of relations with Montenegro, Dacic said political contacts were expected with the new government and described as "wrong" the impression that Serbia had something against Montenegro's independence. "Serbia respects the decision of Montenegro's citizens and we are interested in the position of the Serbs who live in Montenegro and their rights," he told Beta.