Albright gets tough on Croatia
Country's actions costing it aid,
May 31, 1997
U.S. secretary of state says
Web posted at: 3:34 p.m. EDT (1534 GMT)
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ZAGREB, Croatia (CNN) -- If Croatia does not exercise "moral"
leadership in the former Yugoslavia, Washington will continue
to oppose aid and other benefits for the country, U.S.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright warned during a visit
to Croatia Saturday.
She condemned Croatia for its failure to meet pledges on
refugees and war crimes it made through the Dayton peace
"We believe that Croatia's future lies in the democratic
community we are building. We hold Croatia to the standards
of this community, not the standards of this region's
autocratic and violent past," Albright told a joint news
conference with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman.
(314K/25 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
It was the latest in a series of dressings down Washington
has given to Croatia and comes just two weeks before Tudjman
stands for re-election. Tudjman appeared to balk at many of
Albright voiced a complaint held by NATO as well as the U.S.
government, saying that Tudjman was dragging his feet on
arresting war crimes suspects, including Dario Kordic, the
political leader in central Bosnia during the 3 1/2-year war
there. Tudjman responded that his government was cooperating
with the international court in The Hague.
When she criticized his government's track record on letting
refugees return to Croatia, he said his record is far better
And when she told him that the region's most urgent need was
"for persons of every ethnic group to be able to return home
in safety," he was ambiguous.
The country had no goal of being ethnically "pure," he said,
but it would be "insane" to repatriate the 180,000 ethnic
Serbs who fled his country after their separatist republic
was overrun in 1995.
Bridge reopening 'only positive development'
On one front, at least, there was headway. Tudjman responded
to Albright's plea that a bridge to the Serb republic in
Bosnia be reopened. It will be done on Sunday, Tudjman said.
Albright plans to attend.
"It was the only positive development I can point to," said
State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns, who called the
meeting the toughest Albright has had in more than four
months as secretary of state.
|CNN's Christiane Amanpour reports
|On Albright's visit to Krajina...
|(347K/30 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
|On the Dayton accords and U.S. aid...
|(1.2M/15 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
Albright visits Serb refugees attacked on return
Earlier in the day, Albright visited an area in what was
Krajina in Croatia. Two weeks ago, some Serb refugees
returned to the town. As they tried to reclaim their homes,
they were attacked by Bosnian Croats who had moved into that
She met with some of the families who had been attacked, saw
some of the homes that had been burned down, and in the
presence of two Croatian government ministers, she said she
was shocked and disgusted by what had happened.
One of the ministers claimed that returning Serbs had been
provocateurs, and they had provoked the attacks against them,
but Albright dismissed that and told them she did not like
being lied to.
Albright told reporters she thought it would be "useful" if
some arrests were made in the area, adding that there had to
be action rather than just talk. And though she got no
commitment from Foreign Minister Mate Granic and
Reconstruction Minister Jure Radic that arrests would be
made, they did say they would look into it.
"I think it is the responsibility of your government to live
up to what you say you're doing, which is to make sure there
is freedom of movement," she told the ministers. "I hope you
will send out a message loud and clear that this is not
Correspondent Christiane Amanpour and Reuters contributed to this report.
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