The Slovenia Times

Slo-Cro border arbitration reactions from Slovenian officials


PM Miro Cerar

Today's decision of the arbitration tribunal on the Slovenia-Croatia border is a historic moment for Slovenia. He confirmed the decision is final and legally binding on both countries, but admitted that not all of Slovenia's expectations have been met.

Regardless of the decision and dialogue on its implementation, Slovenia will continue cooperating well with Croatia in all fields, Cerar told the press, adding that it would not do anything that would worsen the relations at the level of states and its citizens.

According to the prime minister, the government will explain the substance of the border arbitration decision to Slovenian citizens as soon as possible. Some ministers have already visited border areas today, he added.

One of the first moves Slovenia will make is changing laws and other legal acts to allow for the decision to be implemented. By doing so Slovenia is boosting its reputation as a country which respects international law, Cerar said.

Cerar believes that the government is well prepared for the implementation of the decision, with its guiding lines being graduality, proportionality and patience. He announced that he would explain in detail what the decision brings in the coming days.

He added that he would give his best that the respect and implementation of the arbitration decision included establishing a "dialogue and finding a common ground with representatives of Croatia ... to relieve the future generations from the burden of this unresolved border issue."

Meanwhile, Cerar took to Twitter to announce that he had a phone conversation with his Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenković urging him to engage in "dialogue on the implementation" of the ruling. The pair agreed that they would meet in Ljubljana on 12 July, according to the tweet.

Earlier today, however, Plenković reiterated Croatia's position that his country will not respect the ruling and said he expected Slovenia not to take unilateral measures.

"We expect Slovenia not to take any unilateral measures. Croatia has means to protect its territory and interests," he warned, but was quick to add that Slovenia was a neighbour and a friend, a partner in the EU and an ally in NATO and that Croatia was ready to solve the border issue bilaterally and in a peaceful manner.

President Borut Pahor

said that the arbitration proven to be the best way of solving the border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia. After the tribunal deciding on the issue delivered its final award today, Pahor stressed that the rejection of the arbitration treaty did not exempt Croatia from implementing the ruling.

The president said that Slovenia should be satisfied that the arbitration tribunal had definitively determined the entire course of the Slovenia-Croatia border.

The country should also be satisfied with the outcome of the arbitration, with regards to the border both on land and at sea, Pahor added.

After 18 years of unsuccessful attempts to resolve the border issue, the arbitration has proven to be the best possible solution, he told the press in Ljubljana.

"For Slovenia's interests, with regards to the course of the border on land and at sea, and based on 18 years of unsuccessful search of solution, nothing else would lead to a better solution for us," he believes.

Without a doubt there will be different opinions, "but my honest opinion is that in the future, we'll look back on today's historic decision of the arbitration tribunal with sincere gratefulness", he said. He believes the tribunal determined the fairest possible course of the border between the two countries.

"We peacefully resolved the problem which had greatly burdened the relations between the neighbourly nations and countries," said Pahor.

He signed the arbitration agreement on behalf of Slovenia in 2009 together with his then Croatian counterpart, PM Jadranka Kosor, under the auspices of the EU.

According to Pahor, both countries now have the unique opportunity to close the border issue once and for all and to focus their attention on internal issues, bilateral cooperation and joint efforts for peace and stability in the region.

Pahor will meet Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović tomorrow at a summit of the South-East European Cooperation Process to discuss the ruling, which Croatia claims nobody can force it to implement due to its withdrawal from the arbitration agreement following a wiretapping scandal in 2015.

He reiterated that Croatia would not be exempt from implementing the ruling under international law. Slovenia will strive to find a peaceful way of implementing it in sincere dialogue with Croatia.

Pahor, however, does not expect Croatia to change its position after tomorrow's meeting. But dialogue will be key in the coming months.

"An agreement on the implementation of the course of the border will be substantial labour...It will demand every bit of political wisdom and enormous patience," he concluded.


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