New Croatian agenda for Bosnia

ZAGREB, Feb 1, 2000 -- (RFE/RL) Foreign Minister Tonino Picula told Slobodna Dalmacija of January 31 that the new Croatian government will carry out its obligations toward Bosnia under the 1995 Dayton peace agreement "even if there are certain [unspecified] political realities that we do not like."

Picula stressed that Zagreb will try to better the lot of the Croats in the neighboring state but not by calling for a revision of the Dayton agreement, as did the HDZ. Picula added that he hopes a new election law in Bosnia will put an end to ethnic polarization in voting patterns there. He called upon Serbian and Muslim leaders to help end such polarization.

The Croatian government will continue to provide financial assistance to the ethnic Croats in the neighboring state but will do so in a completely transparent manner. Picula also said that it is time to put an end to the "political manipulation" of the Herzegovinian Croats. Observers note that this is an apparent reference to the close links between Croatian nationalists in Herzegovina and hard-line HDZ factions in Croatia.