After Abstaining on Jerusalem Vote, Croatia Intensifies Cooperation with Israel

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Cooperation in shipbuilding is the latest economic sector where Croatian ties with Israel are strengthening, reports The Medi Telegraph on January 28, 2018. 

These are increasingly cordial times in the relationship between Croatia and Israel, a partnership which looks to get even stronger. Apart from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia was the only country in former Yugoslavia which voted against the recent UN motion to oppose President Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 

A few weeks after the vote, Israeli media has reported that Croatia and Israel had agreed a US$500 million deal to sell 16 Israeli F-16s to Croatia. The story emerged after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office issued a press release stating that the two prime ministers had agreed to move forward with the deal, and that the deal was a “further expression of the deep ties between the countries.” Croatian Prime Minister Plenkovic was quick to deny that a deal had actually been done. Time will tell. 

Cynics may think that there is a link between the Jerusalem position and Israeli interest in Croatia, and while that may or may not be the case, what is certain is that ties between the two countries are getting stronger. One of the first foreign trips by current Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, was to Israel – here she is in a joint press conference with Netanyahu back in 2015:

Netanyahu and Plenkovic had a very cordial meeting last week in Davos, during which wider cooperation was discussed, in addition to the F-16s purchase. These include shipbuilding and agriculture, according to a report in The Medi Telegraph:

Croatia and Israeli are determined to step up their economic cooperation, particularly in agriculture, as well as Mediterranean cooperation, Plenkovic was quoted as saying in the statement issued after he met with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday: “We offered a possible cooperation in shipbuilding and, of course, in the field of political multilateral forums and defence,” Plenkovic said.

Meanwhile, across the border in Slovenia, another former Yugoslav republic with whom Croatia is experiencing strained relations currently, the Israeli relationship is somewhat different. Not only did Slovenia, the birthplace of Mrs. Trump, vote against the American President on Jerusalem, but it now widely expected that Slovenia will recognise Palestine in March or April this year, a move which Israel has warned against


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