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The BBC's Nick Thorpe
"President Tudjman was always a contraversial man abroad than at home"
 real 28k

The BBC's Nick Thorpe
"This was very much a national day of mourning"
 real 28k

Monday, 13 December, 1999, 17:59 GMT
Croatia mourns as Tudjman is buried

Croatian officers salute their late president


The state funeral of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman has taken place in the capital Zagreb.

He was buried at 1540 local time (1440 GMT) in a black-granite tomb near the entrance to the Mirogoj cemetery.

Archbishop Josip Bozanic told mourners gathered at a hilltop cemetery overlooking the city: "He will enter history as one of the great creators.

"For all the good Tudjman did himself and with all of us, we express our deep gratitude and let God be his reward.

"For those things which were less worthy and sinful, let them be forgiven," the archbishop said.



He was a man who never gave up, who fought until the last moment
Acting President Vlatko Pavletic
The 77-year-old president died on Friday following a lengthy battle with cancer.

A former Yugoslav army general, Mr Tudjman became president of Croatia in 1990, when it was still a Yugoslav republic, and led it to independence in 1992.

His funeral was attended by President Demirel of Turkey and by the prime ministers of Slovenia, Bosnia, Macedonia and Hungary.

Western countries - which were critical of Mr Tudjman's authoritarian style - were represented by diplomats.

A BBC correspondent in Zagreb, Nick Thorpe, says the decision of many heads of state not to attend is a reflection of the relative isolation in which Croatia finds itself.

A national day of mourning

About 100,000 people lined the rain-soaked streets on Monday as a military procession carried the coffin along a 15km route from the presidential palace to the main cemetery.

There, thousands more gathered for the ceremony, which began with a drumroll and a choir singing a Dalmatian folk anthem.

The ceremony ended with a procession of mourners carrying the late president's body to his grave as cannons fired a salute.


People came from all over Croatia to bid Mr Tudjman farewell
Acting President Vlatko Pavletic described Mr Tudjman in his eulogy as a "man who never gave up".

Mr Pavletic said: "He leaves behind an independent, democratic and upright Croatia."

Air force jets flew overhead and a choir sang the national anthem as the casket was lowered into the grave.

Special trains and buses were laid on to transport thousands of people to Zagreb from all parts of the country.

"He gave us everything," said Ivan Znaor, who travelled with his 4-year-old grandson from southern Croatia.

"To pay him respect and thank him is the least we could do."

Legacy

Croatia now faces a choice between continuing on the path of Mr Tudjman's brand of hardline nationalism or moving closer to European-style democracy.


Franjo Tudjman:
Croatian hero
1922 Born in Veliko Trgovisce, north-west Croatia
1941 Joined partisans fighting Nazis in Croatia
1960 Promoted to the Yugoslav army general staff
1961 Leaves army to study history
1989 Formed Christian Democratic Union party
1990 Elected president
1992 Croatia becomes independent
1996 First indication of health problems
Mr Tudjman did not leave behind an obvious successor, but a power struggle is already apparent between prominent figures in his Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party.

One of the contenders, Vladimir Seks, said the party's task was now to complete the work the president had begun.

But Ivica Racan, leader of the main opposition Social Democrats party, said Croatia must strengthen parliamentary democracy and guarantee human rights and freedom of the media.

And a senior figure in the Liberal Party described the president's legacy as "corruption, non-functioning state institutions and international isolation".

As acting President, Mr Pavletic must now decide whether to go ahead with parliamentary elections due on 3 January, or to delay them until presidential elections which must be held within two months.

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See also:
13 Dec 99 |  Europe
In pictures: A nation mourns
13 Dec 99 |  Europe
Analysis: Where next for Croatia
11 Dec 99 |  Europe
Franjo Tudjman: Father of Croatia
26 Nov 99 |  Europe
Analysis: Contemplating life without Tudjman
01 Dec 99 |  Europe
Who will lead Croatia after Tudjman?

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