The Slovenia Times

Talks in Zagreb bring no breakthrough in Slo-Cro border dispute


While Cerar repeated the June arbitration award is binding on both countries, Plenković proposed a legal framework for a bilateral agreement.

Cerar reiterated after the meeting, which lasted over three hours, that the only path to resolving the issue was implementing the arbitration decision on the course of the border on land and sea.

He stressed that Slovenia would start with implementation where it can do so on its own after the 29 December implementation deadline set by the Hague arbitration tribunal.

Cerar said that talks with Croatia would still be necessary on certain sections of the land border, while the border in the Bay of Piran was clear.

"While our positions are completely clear, I wanted us to make a last effort before the implementation preparation deadline, a last effort to convince our neighbour that the implementation of the arbitration award is the only right path to take together to resolve this long-standing dispute," Cerar told the press.

He still has hope Croatia will follow Slovenia down this path, since the two countries will also be able to cooperate much more closely in other areas once the border issue is settled.

Plenković insisted today that Croatia rejects the award due to collusion between the Slovenian member of the five-strong tribunal and the Slovenian side.

He instead proposed drawing up a special protocol for the border on land and sea and for a navigation regime in the area between the Piran Bay and the open seas. A special joint commission would draw up the proposal.

Plenković argued that the two counties were in agreement on over 90% of the land border and closer to a solution than ever before. He wishes for dialogue to continue and for more flexibility as regards the positions of the two sides.

Commenting on the possibility of Slovenia taking Croatia to court, Plenković said this was not the path Croatia would like to see in the future and argued there was no legal basis for this.

While the pair stressed the two countries would avoid incidents on the border, Plenković said that other things besides the border issue had been discussed today, including the renovation of two border bridges.

Cerar said this showed Slovenia and Croatia honoured their responsibilities to the people living along the border. He however stressed the arbitration award had been the focal point of today's talks.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec, who already announced before the meeting that today would be a wasted day as regards the border efforts, said Croatian politics and in particular Plenković confirmed today they had no intention of respecting the arbitration award.

He said opting for a bilateral solution would entail Slovenia rescinding the arbitration decision and would mean Croatia would fail to honour an agreement between the two countries, doing so for the third time already.


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