ZAGREB, February 18, 2018 – Croatia’s Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić on Saturday met with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the margins of the international security conference in Munich, and their talks were part of the intensified dynamics in bilateral meetings.
Throughout 2017, there were a several meetings at the ministerial and parliamentary level, and that was crowned by a meeting between the two presidents, Vladimir Putin of Russia and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović of Croatia, in the Russian resort of Sochi.
Minister Pejčinović Burić said that all that resulted in the strengthening of cooperation as evidenced in higher exports and imports to and from Russia, while the number of Russians visiting Croatia rose by 15% in 2017.
Russia also helped efforts aimed at reaching an agreement on converting the Russian-owned oil refinery at Bosanski Brod into the one powered by natural gas, so as to address the problem of cross-border air pollution affecting Slavonski Brod, a Croatian town on the other bank of the Sava River.
Pejčinović Burić said she had not discussed with Lavrov the interest of Russia’s Rosnjeft in acquiring a part of Croatia’s oil and gas company INA, but she recalled that Moscow was interested in being present in Croatia’s energy sector.
Croatia is a member of the European Union and NATO and stands by other members, but we think that there should be room for developing the relations with large countries such as Russia, she said.
During her stay in Munich, Pejčinović Burić also held talks with an U.S. official on the future LNG terminal off the Croatian island of Krk.
She also met an Israeli official for talks on the Croatia-Israel relations that were developing towards “strategic partnership” in the defence industry and in agriculture, according to a statement made by the minister.