Discussing issues in positive atmosphere


Erjavec, who is paying an official visit to Croatia today, said that the governments should take advantage of the positive atmosphere in the Slovenian-Croatian relations.

Pusić believes the governments should meet to discuss the issues that the countries have divergent opinions on such as the storage of nuclear waste from the Krško power plant and the issue of savers of the defunct LB bank.

Erjavec reiterated that the debt of the LB bank should be tackled as part of the succession agreement.

Erjavec also said that he and Pusić agreed that prior to that meeting it would be good if the Slovenian and Croatian interior ministers met to discuss the recent incidents in the Piran Bay, involving fishermen fishing in the area where the border between the countries has not been set yet.

Erjavec added that the justice and financial ministers of the two countries should also meet, over the issue of the defunct LB bank.

The ministers also touched on the bilateral Slovenian-Croatian commission dealing with open issues. Erjavec said the task force should start addressing the issues of development and cooperation in energy, transport and the drawing of EU funds.

Two other important topics of today's talks were also the implementation of the border arbitration agreement and Slovenia's ratification of the Croatian EU Accession Treaty, according to Pusić.

Erjavec said that as foreign minister he would personally like to see the National Assembly ratify Croatia's EU Accession Treaty as soon as possible. "I believe we could consider this after the meeting of the two governments," he said.

According to Erjavec, the meeting of the two governments should be held before the summer holidays. "That would be a very positive signal for all Slovenian tourists," he said.

Regarding the border arbitration tribunal, Erjavec said that both sides seemed to have similar views. "Some differences were expected in the selection of arbiters, but we've realised we have a similar line of thinking."

He believes all conditions for the border arbitration agreement to be implemented as soon as possible are fulfilled.

The ministers pointed out that both countries should avoid incidents at sea, as demanded by the border arbitration agreement and the Brijuni declaration. "We need to be patient, especially until the arbitration tribunal reaches its decision. I don't think we'll have such problems after that," the Slovenian minister said.

He added that incidents should be avoided for the countries to keep the current positive atmosphere in their relations to be able to solve as many open issues as possible.

He pointed out that the fact that he chose Croatia for his first visit abroad showed how important the relations with Croatia were to Slovenia.

Prior to the meeting with Pusić, Erjavec was received by Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović, who also expressed the wish that the relations between Slovenia and Croatia would enhance. In this context, the pair discussed the proposal for a meeting of the two countries' governments, Milanović's office said in a press release.

Erjavec said Milanović had no objections to the meeting taking place in Slovenia.

The Slovenian FM started today's visit by meeting Croatian President Ivo Josipović, who used the opportunity to thank Slovenia for its support to Croatia's EU accession efforts. He expressed hope that the National Assembly will ratify the country's accession treaty within "appropriate time frame", Josipović's office said.

Erjavec concluded his visit, which is the first official visit of a Slovenian foreign minister to the country since 2004, by meeting the Speaker of the Croatian Sabor Boris Šprem and representatives of the Slovenian cultural association in Zagreb.