Zagreb – The parliament speaker's envoy and Deputy Speaker Milijan Brkić headed on Monday the Sabor´s delegation at a ceremony in Zadar commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Operation Maslenica.
Twenty-five years ago, in only 72 hours, the Croatian armed forces and the police reconnected the north and south of the country, pushing away the enemy from Rovanjska, Novsko Ždrilo, Maslenica and the Jadranska Magistrala road along the coast.
- Had it not been for Croatian defenders, policemen and soldiers, there would be no present-day Republic of Croatia, stressed in his speech Deputy Speaker Milijan Brkić who also took part in the Operation Maslenica.
- Our defenders in Croatia, but also in our other homeland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, carried by patriotism, achieved magnificent victories in the Homeland Defense War, he said, adding that the fight continued today, but with entirely different means, to provide conditions for a better life, notably of young people. Brkić thanked the defenders for freedom, peace, and their sacrifice, saying it should be an encouragement, notably to politicians, to build a better and more prosperous Croatia with stronger economic recovery and progress. He wished for a higher birth rate and for young people and young families to stay in Croatia.
- Not just this operation but others too during the Homeland War testify to the patriotism, courage and moral virtues of Croatian people, said Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. They remind us that for Croatia there are no unsurmountable obstacles when we are together and when we have clearly set goals, when we, as our Maslenica heroes did, tirelessly, despite the victims, persistently aspire to the progress of our homeland every day.
- With Operation Maslenica, the aggressor forces were pushed back into the then occupied parts of Croatia where, two years later, they experienced a complete military defeat in Operation Storm, Grabar-Kitarović said, adding that Operation Maslenica paved the way to the final liberation of the Zadar hinterland and the entire country.
The prime minister's envoy, Defense Minister Damir Krstičević, who also took part in Operation Maslenica, thanked all the defenders who took part in the operation, saying it was a watershed in the Homeland War as it reconnected the north and the south and showed that the army had reached a level of organization and equipment that made it possible to carry out complex military operations.
- The secret of that victory and all Homeland War victories were our people. The Croatian soldier is a brand recognized both in our nation and in the world and our task is to guard, develop and upgrade that brand, he added.
The operation's commander General Ante Gotovina, the Mayor of the City of Zadar Branko Dukić and Zadar County Prefect Božidar Longin also addressed the audience.