Slovenia Hoping for Melania Trump’s Help in Dispute with Croatia

Total Croatia News

Ahead of the arbitration tribunal’s decision, Slovenia hopes that the European Union, the United States and Russia will pressure Croatia to accept the verdict.

In addition to presidential elections in the autumn, the “arbitration story” with Croatia will be the central political event in Slovenia in 2017, reports the Slovenian media, adding that Slovenia could be helped by certain international factors, such as good relations between Ljubljana and Moscow, and the fact that wife of US President-elect Donald Trump is a Slovenian, reports Večernji List on January 4, 2017.

“With little risk we can expect that the verdict of the arbitration tribunal, which is expected mid-year, will be the main story of 2017”, wrote Darijan Košir, deputy editor of Slovenian daily Dnevnik.

The verdict will have significant legal consequences for both countries, but its final implementation will be possible only with “external intervention of a third party”, wrote Košir who was director of the Slovenian Government Information Office during the government of Prime Minister Borut Pahor from 2010 to 2012.

Based on the published transcripts of telephone conversations between former Slovenian arbiter Jernej Sekolec and a representative of Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Simona Drenik, it can be assumed that the ruling about the border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia will go in the direction of a “compromise”, meaning that Slovenia will probably get most of the Bay of Piran and an access to international waters, while Croatia will get Sveta Gera hill and some other disputed locations along the land border, wrote Košir. It is estimated that this could meet most of the goals of Slovenian “mainstream” politics, but not some of the demands of more ambitious nationalist circles.

Slovenian diplomatic sources say that the country is intensively preparing for the moment when the verdict will need to be implemented, and that there are several options for resolving the situation, in which it will benefit from several international factors.

“First of all, the main sponsor of the arbitration agreement is the European Union, so Croatian disregard of the verdict would represent an expression of no confidence in the patron of the arbitration proceedings, in a situation where the EU cannot allow to be seen expressing preference for one member over another”, wrote the analyst.

Another favourable circumstance is that “Russia, due to Slovenia’s smart policies in recent years, is undoubtedly an ally of Slovenia, and due to errors made by Zagreb is openly opposing Croatia”.

Thirdly, “it is hard to believe that new US President Donald Trump, whose wife is from Sevnica in Slovenia, would decide to support Croatian arguments”, concluded Košir.


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