“Slovenian Fines for Croatian Fishermen in Bay of Piran Are Meaningless”

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Croatian Foreign Minister comments on Slovenia’s threats that it will impose fines on Croatian fishermen which come to the disputed part of the Bay of Piran.

Croatia calls on Slovenia to resolve the border issue in the Bay of Piran with dialogue and to refrain from any one-sided moves, Croatian Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić said on Tuesday, adding that Slovenian threats to impose high fines on Croatian fishermen were “completely inappropriate, meaningless and impossible,” reports Večernji List on January 3, 2018.

Minister Pejčinović Burić pointed out that Croatia remained firm in its position that the arbitration decision could not be implemented unilaterally and called on Slovenia to return to the dialogue. She also announced that a meeting between fishers and representatives of the competent ministries would be held on Thursday at the Ministry of Agriculture to discuss all issues of concern. “We believe there is no other solution than to return to talks. Dialogue is the only way to resolve this open border issue,” she said, reiterating that the unilateral implementation of the arbitral judgement would be contrary to international law.

She stressed that Croatian territory was the same as it was in 1991. “The border line is the line that was established in 1991, and nothing has changed on the ground,” she explained. “This is Croatian territory, which is undeniable, and no Slovenian laws can be implemented on the territory of the Republic of Croatia,” she stressed. If that were to happen, that would mean “changing or attempting to change the situation with violent means, and this is certainly not allowed under international law,” the Minister said.

Asked how Croatia would respond to this, the Minister said that Croatia would protect itself with all the resources it had. “All our services control our state territory under our jurisdiction, and the police defend our fishermen,” she said.

The Minister stressed that Slovenian threats to impose high fines on Croatian fishermen, which could amount to up to 40,000 euros, were “completely inappropriate, meaningless and impossible.” “We do not think it is a good thing at this stage to cause incidents, and we will not do anything unilaterally. We have asked the Slovenian side not to do it,” she said, adding that there had been no unilateral incidents so far.

“Slovenia at this stage says it will implement the arbitral judgement. We remain firm in our view that this is impossible and that the only way to resolve this issue is with the dialogue. We expect the Slovenian side to understand that would be the best solution for both countries,” she said. “We need flexibility on both sides. We insist on finding solutions that are good for both the two states and for people living on both sides of the border,” the Minister added.

The Minister voiced her hope that the dispute with Slovenia would be resolved by 2020 when Croatia will take over the rotating presidency of the European Union. She believes that the arbitral judgement has put many of the unrealistic Slovenian demands into a more realistic framework and could be a reasonable basis for the final solution to be reached. “Given the long period in which we have been trying to reach a solution, there are many good things that have happened in this process, and we think that, with goodwill on both sides, we can relatively quickly reach an appropriate solution,” concluded Pejčinović Burić.

Translated from Večernji List.


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