Croatia, Serbia sign “historic” defence agreement

Croatian Defence Minister Branko Vukelic and his Serbian counterpart Dragan Sutanovac have signed a “historic agreement” on military cooperation.

Currently on a two-day visit to Zagreb, Sutanovac met with Croatian President Ivo Josipovic on Monday, and the two agreed that there was no alternative to cooperation between the two countries and the two armies.

“We agreed that the European future of Serbia and Croatia should be guaranteed within the European Union, with a desire to offer mutual support in that direction,” Sutanovac said.

Josipovic expressed his expectation that the agreement will strengthen and expand the area of bilateral defence cooperation which is of “importance to the entire region.”

On April 23, state secretaries in the Defence Ministries of Croatia and Serbia, Pjer Simunovic and Dusan Spasojevic, respectively, harmonised the defence agreement in Zagreb and announced that it would be signed by the two countries’ defence ministers.

As Sutanovac explained previously, the deal would put “the dark past” behind the countries and serve as a guideline on how to cooperate in the future. It includes the possibility of joint exercises, training, education, exchanges of experience and information.

He also said that Croatia has professionalised its army, is a member of NATO and “participates in a large number of peace-keeping missions, which is the future of the Serbian Army as well”.

Serbia became a member of the Partnership for Peace, PfP, programme in December 2006, signing a cooperation agreement with NATO in which democratic, institutional, and defence reforms were the key focus. PfP serves as the basis for bilateral cooperation between a state and NATO, and is tailored to the political and military needs of the country.

A day after NATO accepted Albania and Croatia as full members in the alliance in April 2009, Serbia unveiled drafts of national security and defence strategies in which it maintained its military neutrality.

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