Cerar Rejects Croatian Media Claim of New Border Agreement

By , 17 Jan 2018, 13:00 PM News
Cerar Rejects Croatian Media Claim of New Border Agreement Wikimedia

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Slovenia will insist on arbitration implementation” 

January 17, 2018

The STA reports January 17, 2018, that Prime Minister Miro Cerar rejected on Wednesday a report by the Croatian newspaper Večernji List that an agreement had been reached on resolving the border dispute and that he backed out of signing the document at the last minute. He labelled the report as complete fabrication.

Talking to the press after hosting the Portuguese prime minister in Ljubljana, Cerar said that Slovenia had discussed with Croatia only ways for the implementation of the border arbitration decision. No agreement was ever reached, said Cerar.

"Slovenia tried to persuade Croatia to respect the border arbitration decision and failed. I went to Zagreb nonetheless to show the public that Slovenia will insist on arbitration implementation," said Cerar, referring to the 19 December trip.

Croatia refuses to recognise the award announced in late June because a representative of Slovenia was caught talking to the arbitration tribunal member appointed upon nomination by Slovenia. The tribunal however saw no reason not to continue its work after the pair removed themselves from the process.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said during Cerar's visit to Zagreb in December that Croatia had proposed a special protocol for the border on land and sea and for a navigation regime in the area between the Bay of Piran and the open seas.

It seems that this protocol is the document Večernji List is referring to in its report today.

Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec, who has adamantly objected to Cerar going to Zagreb, said today that Croatia wanted to "impose its position to discuss the course of the border between Slovenia and Croatia in the form of a protocol."

He admitted that there was quiet diplomacy but "as I said many times before, you need a trustworthy and credible partner to conduct quiet diplomacy".

"Therefore I've always said that it is impossible to conduct quiet diplomacy with Croatia and this has proved true in this particular case as well."

The foreign minister added that Slovenia would report the writing by Večernji List to the European Commission, which has said it is willing to help the countries facilitate the border arbitration decision.

However, only yesterday European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who has been asked by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to assist the two countries, said that borders between EU member states were no longer of existential importance.

Cerar responded to this today, saying that the issue was very much of existential importance not only for Slovenia and Croatia but also for the EU.

"If we show no respect for international and EU law then we no longer need the EU; then the EU is headed towards gradual disintegration," the prime minister said.

He added that the arbitration decision implementation was important because of how the Western Balkan countries would react, considering that they are expected to respect legal obligations and EU rules.

Cerar also reiterated that the border between Slovenia and Croatia was not just a national border but it was also the Schengen border.

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