Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic announced today that Croatia is to withdraw its troops from the UN observer mission in Golan Heights, an area between Israel and Syria after world media reported that Saudi Arabia has financed a large purchase of infantry weapons from Croatia and secretly transported then to antigovernment fighters in Syria.
“After talking with the President of the country I have initiated a systematic withdrawal of our troops from Golan Heights, where we have 100 soldiers in the contingent with Austria and two non-European countries. In recent days, there have been articles in the world’s most prestigious newspapers which exposes our soldiers to unpredictable risks. Our responsibility is to think and act, ” said Milanovic.
Croatia Week reported about the weapons deal earlier this week, after the New York Times reported that the arms were part of an undeclared surplus in Croatia remaining from the 1990s Balkan wars. One Western official said the shipments included “thousands of rifles and hundreds of machine guns” and an unknown quantity of ammunition.