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Democracy in Croatia

The editorial “Democracy in Croatia--Tudjman Style” (March 14) warrants correction of certain gross misrepresentations of fact.

The Croatian government did not seek the renaming of a street in Zagreb. The petition was never even considered by the City Council. What is under consideration is naming a major square in the city for victims of fascism and World War II in general.

A second point of misrepresentation concerns the Croatian government’s alleged “silencing” of Slobodna Dalmacija. The government agency responsible for the privatization of former state-owned enterprises is involved only to the degree of restructuring the newspaper so that it can survive financially. That agency has absolutely no role in the editorial or management duties of that paper.

Also, the three banks alluded to in your article have had a stake in Slobodna Dalmacija prior to any privatization efforts by the Croatian government. The interest of those banks arises from outstanding debts incurred by the newspaper under the former socialist regime.

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Your article also makes note of a recent article printed in the independent weekly Globus. Globus is an independent, privately run newspaper, and the government cannot and does not exert any influence or control over the weekly’s managerial functions. Responsibility for the unfortunate article rests with the editorial staff of Globus and not the government of Croatia.

ZELJKO URBAN

Assistant Minister

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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