President, PM hold first formal meeting


President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic held their first formal meeting at the president’s office on Tuesday, and the talks focused on current topics related to their areas of responsibility, with emphasis on defence and national security and the foreign policy and economic diplomacy, the Office of the President said in a brief statement.

The president and the prime minister agreed to continue holding regular working meetings in order to coordinate their political activities and maintain the country’s stability and security, the statement said.

This was also the first formal meeting between President Grabar-Kitarovic and the prime minister since she took office because she never held such a meeting with former PM Zoran Milanovic.
Although they would not comment on the particulars of the meeting, both the Office of the President and the government confirmed to Hina that the atmosphere at the meeting was very positive, which indicates their satisfaction with the fact that through their regular communication they will entirely comply with their constitutional obligation to coordinate their activities.

As for the coordination of their activities regarding Croatia’s foreign policy, Grabar-Kitarovic and Oreskovic discussed all of the president’s activities and the government’s plans, agreeing to coordinate activities regarding the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea initiative and friendly relations with neighbouring countries, which they said had been compromised in the past period and would now be restored.

The talks at the Office of the President also focused on defence and national security. Considering the fact that the president cooperates with the government in directing the work of security services via the National Security Council, whose decisions as well as the appointment of the leading people of security-intelligence services she co-signs with the prime minister, it is believed that they also discussed the replacement of Security-Intelligence Agency (SOA) head Dragan Lozancic.

The media have lately reported about this, saying, among other things, that Lozancic did not inform the president that the person with whom she had contact was under surveillance but that he did inform then Prime Minister Milanovic about it.

Since the president of the republic and the government together appoint the Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff and military commanders and relieve them of duty, this, too, was probably one of the topics of today’s meeting.
The term of the current Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff, Drago Lovric, expires on March 1 and the media have reported that his most likely successors are Lieutenant General and Deputy Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff Dragutin Repinc, the Croatian Military Academy commander, Lieutenant General Slavko Baric, the chief defence inspector, Lieutenant General Mirko Sundov, and the commander of the Croatian Land Forces, Lieutenant General Mate Ostovic.

(Hina) rml