Croat envoy notes ‘excellent relations’

Croat envoy notes ‘excellent relations’

The arrest of 95 Croatian soccer fans in connection with the violent incidents and the death of Michalis Katsouris outside the AEK stadium in Athens on August 7 has tested relations between the two countries, but “Croatia trusts the Greek justice system,” according to the country’s ambassador to Greece, Aleksandar Sunko.

“In this context, we believe that the charges will be differentiated and it will soon become clear who is accused of what,” he told Kathimerini. 

Croatian President Zoran Milanovic has been highly critical of Greece over the continued detention of 95 Croatian citizens for one murder, saying that it represents an overreach on the part of the Greek justice and security forces.

Sunko, however, insisted that this has not damaged ties. “Relations between the Croatian and Greek governments are excellent. I believe that cooperation will lead to a fair outcome,” he said. 

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic distanced himself from the president’s statements and recalled that the Croats detained in Greece face serious charges. He has also accepted the invitation of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and is expected to be in Athens on Monday to take part in an informal dinner to mark the 20th anniversary of the EU-Western Balkans Summit, thus showing that Milanovic’s barbs do not reflect the views of the Croatian government.

“The most important thing at this stage is the safety of the prisoners. Croatia and Greece agree on this point, regardless of the different tone of the statements on this issue,” Sunko said, assuring that despite the recent events, he remains convinced that the vast majority of Croatian and Greek citizens respect and appreciate each other.

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