Croatian president apologizes to Bosnia for role in war | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 14.04.2010
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Croatian president apologizes to Bosnia for role in war

Croatian President Ivo Josipovic told the Bosnian parliament on Wednesday he deeply regrets the role his country played in the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia involving the country's Croats, Muslims and Serbs.

Ivo Josipovic

President Josipovic said "a new time has come" for the region

Croatian President Ivo Josipovic addressed the Bosnian parliament on Wednesday, and apologized for Zagreb's role in fuelling bitter ethnic divisions during the 1992-1995 war which still endure today.

"I deeply regret that Croatian politics contributed to the suffering of people and to divisions that are still tormenting us," he said, in reference to the inter-conflict involving Bosnia's Serbs, Croats and mainly Muslim Bosniaks.

Aroung 100,000 people, primarily Bosniaks, were killed in the Bosnian war, a conflict which eventually split the country into two semi-autonomous entities - the Muslim-Croat Federation and the mainly Serb Republika Srpska.

"The politics of the 1990s … must be abandoned once and for all," Josipovic told Bosnian lawmakers in Sarajevo. "For a new era, we need new politics."

Croatian and Serbian reformist leaders have been taking a series of steps designed to heal the wounds of the 1990s which still mar the countries' relations.

President Josipovic, who is on a two-day visit to Bosnia, is the first Croatian leader to pay tribute to the victims of Bosnian-Croat violence during the war.

During the 1993-94 Croat-Bosniak conflict in Bosnia - a part of the wider war - Zagreb backed, financed and armed hard-line Croats in Bosnia.

In an effort to close one of the darkest chapters in Croatia's recent history, on Thursday Josipovic visits the site of a 1993 Croat massacre of Bosniak villagers in Ahmici, central Bosnia.

"Instead of old conflicts and confrontations, Croatia is ready to provide wholehearted support and assistance to Bosnia on its way towards the European Union and NATO," he said.

Editor: Chuck Penfold

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