Croatia and Norway have no outstanding political issues and there is plenty of room to advance cooperation in tourism, the energy sector, the economy, and communications technology, Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik said after meeting Croatian President Stjepan Mesic in Oslo on Thursday.
Croatia-Norway trade was a mere US12 million in 2004, with a high deficit on the Croatian side. The two officials agreed that the potential to cooperate on the economic front was high. Bondevik said Norway was impressed by the reforms Croatia had carried out in recent years and supported it on its road to the European Union and NATO.
He therefore called on Croatia to fully cooperate with the Hague war crimes tribunal.
Mesic said he briefed Bondevik about everything Croatia was doing to join the EU and NATO. He added Croatia was cooperating with the UN court. The Norwegian press was mostly interested in the case of Ante Gotovina, the fugitive Croatian general wanted by the Hague tribunal. "Three Croatian generals are on trial before the Hague tribunal and all have surrendered. Croatia has no reason to hide the fourth," Mesic said. "Our security services have checked all information and leads and established that Gotovina is not in Croatia," he said, adding that it was good that a European monitoring mission was about to come to Croatia to evaluate its cooperation with the Hague tribunal.
Mesic and Bondevik also discussed regional cooperation. The PM said that in recent years Croatia and its president had been recognised in Norway as advocates of such cooperation.
At the press conference, Mesic also spoke of his meeting with Norwegian Prince Haakon and his wife Mette-Marit. He said the future royal couple expressed a keen interest in Croatia. Also today, Mesic visited a Croatian primarily school in Oslo attended by 35 pupils.