Ambassador Sabolic conveys Croatia's support to Cardinal Puljic

Ambassador Sabolic conveys Croatia's support to Cardinal Puljic

Ambassador Sabolic conveys Croatia's support to Cardinal Puljic Izvor: Fena/Harun Muminović

Croatia's Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ivan Sabolic, on Wednesday visited Cardinal Vinko Puljic to convey the support of Croatia's authorities to this dignitary who was exposed to threats after he said a mass for victims of the Bleiburg tragedy in the Sarajevo Cathedral.

The Catholic news agency in Bosnia (KTA) quoted Ambassador Sabolic as saying that tendentious statements labelling the mass for Bleiburg victims as an act of glorifying the puppet Ustasha regime were unacceptable.

The two interlocutors agreed that free Europe was built on the rejection of Nazism, Fascism and Communism and that any attempt to ignore the objective facts mean the violation of the human dignity of victims and of those who remember them, which could pave the way to new unnecessary divisions.

The KTA says that the latest developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina "reflect a lack of respect to and a lack of understanding of Catholic believers".

Until this year, the commemorations were held in the Loibach field in the southern region of Carinthia, in tribute to tens of thousands of Croatian civilians and soldiers of the defeated pro-Nazi Independent State of Croatia (NDH) who surrendered to allied forces there in May 1945 but were handed over by British troops to Tito-led Yugoslav partisans. Some of those civilians and soldiers were executed on the spot, while many perished during so-called death marches back to Yugoslavia.

The central commemoration of the Bleiburg victims was held under the auspices of the Croatian parliament, but due to the coronavirus epidemic this year it was not held in Bleiburg, but the victims were commemorated in three places, in Bleiburg, Zagreb and Sarajevo.

The commemoration has caused a torrent of condemnation ranging from local officials like Bosnia's Croat and Bosniak Presidency members, Sarajevo city officials, the local Jewish Municipality and Jewish representatives from the country, to the Israeli Embassy and the World Jewish Council – all expressing their belief that the Church leg by Vinko Puljic decided to support and hold the mass in Sarajevo, where tens of thousands of innocent anti-fascists and civilians were killed by the NDH.

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