Sanader: "Croatia goes on"
Racan: "If Brussels is mistaken aboutCroatia, Croatia has no reason to be mistaken about itself"
"Croatia goes on and there is no reason for sadness or disappointment," said Prime Minister Ivo Sanader in reaction to the EU's decision to delay entry talks.
Reacting to the EU foreign ministers' 16 March decision to put off accession talks with Zagreb, Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader said that while "of course [he] can't be glad", he was satisfied with the EU's adoption of a negotiating framework for his country.
In Sanader's view, the foreign ministers did not conclude that "Croatia has not done its utmost [to capture war crimes suspect General Ante Gotovina], but there was no consensus on the matter". Sanader said that seven countries voted in support of Croatia, four or five were against, and the rest remained neutral.
Sanader also said that Zagreb will not intensify its efforts to resolve the Gotovina issue, "because we are already fully co-operating with the Hague tribunal".
President Stjepan Mesic commented that the Croats "should not be desperate, we should meet the requirements".
The leaders of the country's parliamentary parties agreed that Zagreb should continue with its preparations for EU entry. "If Brussels is mistaken about Croatia, Croatia has no reason to be mistaken about itself," declared Ivica Racan, the head of the strongest opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP).