Knin – At the ceremony marking the Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day, the Day of Croatian Defenders and the 17th anniversary of the military operation “Storm” in Knin, top state officials, President of the Republic Mr Ivo Josipović, Prime Minister Mr Zoran Milanović and Deputy Speaker and acting Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Mr Josip Leko expressed their gratitude to all the defenders who ensured Croatia’s victory in the Homeland War. Mr Paul Vandoren, Head of the Delegation of the EU to Croatia, attended the ceremony as well.
"You secured victory to Croatia in a just and defensive war and I feel endlessly thankful for it (...).Croatia won the war but now it needs to win in peace as well – overcome economic difficulties, secure human rights and religious and minority freedoms and prosperity for all of its citizens”, said President Josipović.
PM Milanović said his government would “always defend Croatian borders knowing where they are and where they belong, as have all the Croatian governments ever since 1990. On this matter we speak with one voice”. He reminded Croatia’s path to independence was tougher than many and the price was high. “Our goal is to have a strong, firm Croatian sate that will be in control of its destiny and will not depend upon others”, he accentuated.
Deputy Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Mr Josip Leko said Croatia was proud of its defenders and addressed them by the following words: “Successfully performing Operation Storm, you significantly contributed to Croatia’s international reputation. Your knowledge and experience acquired in the Homeland War is still highly appreciated in international circles.” Croatia wants to maintain peace, security and stability in a global world that cherishes state and national interests, highlighted Mr Leko adding that in the war that had been imposed upon Croatia, the defenders’ role was essential. “Now we want to build a country of equal opportunities”, he concluded.
Seventeen years ago, Croatian armed forces performed the operation by the code name of Storm, freeing almost 10,500 square kilometers of occupied territory, i.e. almost one fifth of the state in only 84 hours. The operation sped up the end of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and contributed to the peaceful reintegration of the Eastern Slavonia region under the Republic of Croatia. (Croatian News Agency – Hina)