Croatia, Slovenia Mark 20 Years of Independence

Posted June 25th, 2011 at 5:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Croatia and Slovenia have marked the 20th anniversary of their independence from Yugoslavia.

Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor said in the capital, Zagreb, Saturday the country celebrates 20 years of modern statehood, strengthened by returning home to where it belongs — to Europe.

Celebrations were also planned for the eastern city of Vukovar, a symbol of resistance during the 1991-1995 Balkan war.

The country joined NATO in 2009 and is next in line to become the European Union's 28th member state by July 1, 2013.

In neighboring Slovenia, nationwide celebrations to mark the anniversary began Friday evening in the capital, Ljubljana.

Slovenia also declared its split from Yugoslavia on June 25, 1991 and became an EU and NATO member in 2004.

The former Yugoslavia consisted of six republics — Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. All are now independent states.

Kosovo broke away from Serbia in February 2008 and declared independence. Many countries, including most EU members and the United States, have recognized Kosovo's independence, but Serbian leaders have not.

However, Belgrade has agreed to holding talks with Pristina on normalizing relations without raising the question of Kosovo's status.