Lieberman now Israel's first FM to visit once pro-Nazi Croatia
FM's Balkan tour comes amid effort to reach out to neglected countries, strengthen Israel's global standing.
Israel's top diplomat Avigdor Lieberman arrived on Tuesday in Croatia as part of his Balkan tour, becoming the first Israeli foreign minister to visit the former pro-Nazi state.
Lieberman was to meet top Croatian officials during his visit, before proceeding to neighboring Serbia and Montenegro.
The foreign minister characterized his trip as proving new directions in Israel's foreign policy, according to the Foreign Ministry.
Lieberman's four-day visit to the Balkans came as part of his effort to engage countries that Israel has failed to give adequate attention to in the past. He also visited South America earlier this year, the first foreign minister to do so in over 20 years.
"The Balkan states, as well as the African and South American states I visited recently, did not receive adequate attention in the past," Lieberman said in his statement Monday.
"My visit to the region is intended to strengthen the bilateral relations between the countries and to reinforce and develop the economic relationship, which will also contribute to Israel's international standing."
After meeting his Croatian counterpart, Gordan Jandrokovic, Lieberman said their meeting was "just a first step in our mutual commitment to strengthen our relations and deepen our dialogue."
Israel shunned Croatia until the 1999 death of its nationalist president, whose government diminished crimes committed by Croatia's World War II pro-Nazi state.