|AJC Leaders Visit Croatia|
June 25, 2014 -- Zagreb -- An AJC leadership delegation has concluded a two-day visit to Zagreb, Croatia.
The eight-member group, which included AJC President Stanley Bergman, met with Croatian President Ivo Josipović; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Ranko Ostojić; Minister of Justice Orsat Miljenić; Assistant Foreign Minister Dubravka Plejić Marković; U.S. Ambassador to Croatia Kenneth Merten; and Israeli Charge d'affaires Michal Hershkovitz. The delegation also met with leaders from the Jewish Community of Zagreb and Bet Israel Zagreb.
"We visited Zagreb to express our friendship and our support for deepening ties among Croatia, the U.S., and Israel," said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
"As the EU's newest member, Croatia has become an increasingly important player on the regional and international stages," he added. "Moreover, its immediate neighborhood presents both opportunities and challenges that have profound implications not only for the country itself, but also for Europe as a whole, the U.S., and beyond. And it is apparent to us that Croatia and Israel, which enjoy close links, have the potential to deepen and widen their relations still further."
During their visit, the delegation thanked President Josipović personally for the powerful address he delivered in the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in which he declared: "The Ustasha (pro-Nazi puppet regime in wartime Croatia) brutality was terrible, their crimes abominable. We do know this, but knowing is not enough... Here I am, standing before the Parliament of the Jewish State, and more important, before the children of Croatia, and with no ambiguity, I apologize, and I ask Holocaust survivors’, your and all the victims’ forgiveness."
The delegation also had an extensive discussion with the President and other officials on U.S.-Croatian ties and the transatlantic partnership, regional security developments, the Middle East, and Jewish communal property restitution.
AJC has long maintained frequent links with Croatian diplomats in both the U.S. and Europe. Most recently, Harris met with Croatian Ambassador to the U.S. Josip Paro in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.Date: 6/25/2014 12:00:00 AM