CEOL
Haider to attend historical Croatian tournament

ZAGREB, May 24, 2000 -- (AFP) Austrian far-right leader Joerg Haider is to attend an historical Croatian tournament in August at the invitation of a rightwing party, the party head told AFP Tuesday.

Ivan Gabelica, the leader of the Croatian Pure Party of Rights (HCSP), said the HCSP branch in the southern town of Sinj, where the traditional tournament is taking place, had informed him that Haider had been invited and had confirmed his presence.

Gabelica welcomed Haider's visit since "Austria is a friendly state with which we share 400 years of common history resulting in strong historical, cultural and political ties," referring to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy that Croatia was part of until 1918.

The August contest, in which riders, at full gallop, try to thrust a spear into a small metal ring hanging from a wire, traditionally takes place early August in Sinj, some 350 kilometers (210 miles) south of Zagreb.

It commemorates the victory of the people of that region over the Ottoman Turks.



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