The Slovenia Times

Ministry rejects Croatian FM's statements on border arbitration


Grlić Radman, who took over at the end of July, made the statements for the Croatian desk of the regional broadcaster N1 on Monday after recently meting Slovenian counterpart Miro Cerar, who was on a vacation in Croatia.

The ministry noted that the Croatian foreign minister presented some controversial views about the border arbitration saga, which were reported on in the following days by the Croatian daily newspapers Večernji List and Novi List.

Among other things, Grlić Radman said that Cerar, when he was still prime minister, had almost accepted the Croatian offer in December 2017 that the border issue be resolved bilaterally, with a "protocol in six points", just as he was visiting Zagreb.

The Croatian minister added that Cerar had become "scared" and backed out of the agreement, which was supposed to be announced by Cerar and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković at the 19 December meeting in Zagreb.

The Slovenian ministry corrected Grlić Radman by saying that at the time, Slovenia was "in intensive, discreet dialogue after the final arbitration decision was announced in order to find a solution which would take into account the arbitration decision while being acceptable for both sides.

"It turned out in the talks that Croatia wants substantial changes in the course of the border in its favour. This is why an agreement was not reached," it added.

Plenković did present at the time a protocol as a "legal framework which could be a foundation for a bilateral agreement on the border", but Cerar reiterated that the arbitration decision was binding for both countries and that talks were possible only about its implementation.

The Slovenian ministry reiterated this today and rejected Grlić Radman's assessment that Cerar had changed his mind at the time because of pressure in Ljubljana. "He has done everything that the modalities of the implementation of the decision acceptable for both sides are agreed on within six months, as the arbitration agreement envisaged."

The ministry added that Cerar's visit in Zagreb last December was a confirmation of these efforts, when it had turned out that Croatia demanded considerable corrections of the border determined by the arbitration in its favour.

"This is something Slovenia could not and cannot agree to," it said, also rejecting as false Grlić Radman's statement that the arbitration tribunal was compromised, which was the reason why Croatia had withdrawn from the process.

The ministry said that the "arbitration tribunal has addressed Croatia's doubts in a partial decision and then adopted a final, binding decision under international law which the Republic of Croatia does not respect unilaterally."

It also rejected the Croatian minister's statement that "all EU members states are encouraging" Slovenia and Croatia to settle the issue bilaterally. "They mostly insist on the respect of international law as a condition for equal relations in the international community and the rule of law in the EU."

Grlić Radman was also indirectly reproached by the ministry for "disrespecting the standards of quiet diplomacy", noting that Cerar "consistently and resolutely advocates...the importance of respect and implementation of decisions of international courts both in official and informal talks while also respecting the standards of quiet diplomacy and verifiable historical facts."


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