Slovenia Disappointed with US Position on Border Arbitration with Croatia

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The Slovenian Foreign Minister recently received a letter from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson replied to his Slovenian counterpart Karl Erjavec’s letter sent in early July, in which the Slovenian Foreign Minister said that the US should be “on the side of international law” in the border arbitration dispute between Slovenia and Croatia. Ljubljana is somewhat disappointed with the response because the US advocates for a bilateral solution to the dispute, reports on November 4, 2017.

The Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Erjavec had received Tillerson’s letter “devoted to the border issue,” saying that it was sent in mid-October. It did not comment on the details of the letter. The Ministry further stated that the US Secretary of State in his letter “reiterated the known views” of the United States, according to which the country “supports any solution” which the two states, members of the EU and NATO and allies of the United States, “reach by agreement.”

Also, according to the Slovenian Foreign Ministry, Tillerson expressed hope in his letter that, in the meantime, both states will refrain from provocative moves that could negatively affect not just their bilateral relations but also regional stability.

Slovenian website states that Tillerson’s letter and its content can hardly be considered to be part of “regular diplomatic contacts” between Washington and Ljubljana since there is no explicit mention of arbitration decision on whose implementation Slovenia insists. It is believed that this may be a sign that the United States in more inclined to support Croatia’s position that the arbitration decision is not binding.

Also, it is also interesting to note the timing when the Trump administration decided to reply to the letter explaining the Slovenian position on arbitration and its implementation. Tillerson’s message was sent after Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar cancelled a visit to Zagreb, allegedly provoked by Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković’s speech at the United Nations in September when he repeated well-known Croatian views on the inadmissibility of the arbitration decision due to Slovenia’s actions which had compromised the whole arbitration process.

It is assumed that the content of Tillerson’s letter probably influenced Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar, who later sent a letter to Plenković in which he expressed his desire to continue the dialogue. “Plenković apparently received help from Washington, even though Tillerson in his letter to Erjavec emphasised that the US would not take sides in the dispute,” explained the Slovenian website.

It further reports that Slovenia is mainly relying on the implementation of the arbitration decision on the European Union, whose leading members support the Slovenian position on arbitration, while Croatia’s position is reportedly endorsed only by Poland. That is why Croatia wants to rely more heavily on US support, although it is clear that the Trump administration is not particularly interested in events in Southeast Europe.

Translated from


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