Croatian President Stjepan Mesic on Friday continued his official visit to the Kingdom of Norway by visiting the Norwegian parliament (Stortinget), where he held talks with members of the parliament's foreign affairs committee.
The chairman of the committee, Thorbjorn Jagland, said that relations between Norway and Croatia had developed in many areas in a very short period of time. Norway is pleased to see the implementation of the Sarajevo agreement on refugee return, he said, adding that he hoped to soon see Croatia join the EU and NATO. President Mesic stressed that Croatia was working simultaneously to draw closer to the EU and NATO and develop cooperation with neighbouring countries. "A large number of reforms has been implemented and many laws have been adjusted to the European legislation," he said. The President also advocated closer cooperation between parliaments. Apart from the situation in Croatia, committee members were also interested in Mesic's position on the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.
Croatian President Stjepan Mesic delivered a talk entitled "World Peace - Unreachable Illusion or Reality within Reach" in Oslo on Friday. The talk was organised by the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs.
Mesic said that war as a means of achieving political goals on the Old Continent would be definitely ruled out once the European Union completed its process of unification. "If we ever were within reach of peace as a lasting state, and not just as a period in between wars, we are so today, at least in Europe," he said. Mesic said that the nations of Southeast Europe and the international community would have to make efforts "to overcome the horrors of the recent wars and collective recriminations". "I am certain that Southeast Europe will never again be a source of war. My country, Croatia, will make its contribution to stabilising the situation in the region," the Croatian president said. Mesic stressed that Croatia was determined to build its future in the united Europe, fostering good relations with all its neighbours and remaining open to the entire world. "If Europe becomes a continent of peace, it will be a great step forward in achieving global peace," the Croatian president said. "On that road, first it will be necessary to reform the United Nations in order to make it capable of responding to the challenges of today." "The United Nations, no matter how imperfect or flawed and despite all its failures, has proved to be an irreplaceable institution in efforts to establish global peace and stability," Mesic said. "It is inconceivable that one country, regardless of how powerful it may be, or an ad hoc group of countries, should assume the role of the UN." The Croatian president cited terrorism, "the evil of our time", as the biggest threat to global peace. He said that economic underdevelopment proved to be one of the key elements favouring the development of terrorism. "We will not win the struggle against terrorism if we limit it only to the armed struggle. We should eliminate its causes, or rather we should not just treat the symptoms but remove the causes of the disease," Mesic said, stressing that Croatia "sincerely and resolutely" supported the fight against global terrorism.
Later on, the Croatian president visited the Fridtjof Nansen Institute where he briefly greeted Croatian and Norwegian scientists at a seminar on the protection of the Adriatic Sea. During the seminar, leaders of the Institute signed agreements on cooperation with three Croatian scientific institutions -- the Institute for Oceanography and Fisheries from Split, the Rudjer Boskovic Institute from Zagreb and the Croatian Hydrographic Institute from Split. Mesic concluded his visit to Norway by attending, together with Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, a dinner given by the Oslo office of the Croatian Tourism Board.