The Slovenia Times

Parliament Endorses Ministry's Arbitration Document


The National Assembly endorsed in a 70:5 vote behind closed doors on Monday the Foreign Ministry's proposal for the definition of the subject matter of the border dispute with Croatia that is to be resolved by an arbitration tribunal.

As a result of the decision an alternative proposal, in line with which Slovenia would allegedly expand its claims in the case before the tribunal beyond those made by the ministry and an international team of lawyers, seems to be off the table.

Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec hailed the outcome of the vote, saying that the decision was made "practically unanimously" or with more than two-thirds majority and that only one party - allegedly the People's Party (SLS) - failed to back the proposal formed today by the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee.

The committee had backed the ministry's proposal, while also proposing a conclusion saying that "Slovenia declares that the task of the arbitral tribunal is to set a territorial junction of Slovenia's territorial waters with the high seas, i.e. retaining Slovenia's right to a contact with the highs seas, which the country had as on independence day 25 June 1991".

Erjavec notably added that the proposal has also already been confirmed by the government, which means that the cabinet will not have to discuss it again and will be able to send it to the Hague.

PM Janez Janša told the press after the vote that Slovenia has "made maximal use of the space for manoeuvring given by the arbitration agreement and taken a position that promises success in the most vital point of this dispute".

"The decision removes some unclarities which were appearing in the material and what is more now finally interprets the understanding of the Slovenian sovereign or Slovenian parliament in the key points of the provisions of the arbitration agreement," he added.

Janša said that Croatia, when it ratified the arbitration agreement, "clearly expressed its will or understating" of the key points, while Slovenia did not do so fully. "It only made a half-step and the second half of the step was made by parliament today."

The government, which was said to have failed to confirm the ministry's proposal in its recent sessions and decided to refer it to parliament, needs to submit the memorandum documents, as they are termed, by 11 February.


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