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Croatian President on first visit to Australia, New Zealand since 22 years

President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović | Wikimedia

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović has begun her tour to Australia and New Zealand, with the aim of meeting representatives of the Croatian community there.

According to total Croatian news, President Grabar-Kitarović is the first Croatian president to visit the two countries in 22 years. The president met on Sunday with the representative of the Croatian community in Sydney, and is scheduled to meet with Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnball and other senior Australian officials in the coming few days.

The source further noted that the president visited the Croatian Catholic center and attended a mass in the church of St. Nikola Travelic in St. John Park, where she gave a short speech and unveiled a memorial plaque to mark the visit.

The president will be meeting with people from the Croatian community in the different Australian cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Port Lincoln. Also, official dinners are planned in Sydney and Melbourne. Australian PM Turnball who is scheduled to meet with the Croatian president had stated earlier that Australia appreciated its good relations with Croatia and noted that the year 2017 marked the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Turnball underscored that some 43,000 people born in Croatia live in Australia and that there are some 133,000 Australians who are originally Croatian.

He stressed that during his talks with Grabar-Kitarović, he will focus on strengthening business and other ties and links with Croatia.

On a related note, New Zeland’s PM Bill English said that his country had a constructive relation with Croatia, pointing out that “The Croatian community, which has found its home in New Zealand actively contributes to the country’s economy, as well as cultural and political life.”

English underscored that he will focus on discussing Grabar-Kitarović’s vision of recent events in Europe as well as try to benefit from the chance to allow New Zealand to strengthen relations with the region.

Australia and New Zealand are both members of the Commonwealth and therefore looking for new partners in the EU.