Slovenian Parliament Debates Possible Military Solution to Dispute with Croatia

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Slovenian Parliamentary Committee on Defense will meet behind closed doors.

An extraordinary session of the Slovenian Parliamentary Committee on Defense, devoted to “the readiness of the army to enforce the arbitration decision on the border with Croatia,” convened by Committee Chairperson Žan Mahnič from the largest opposition party, will be held on Thursday, despite government’s calls for the session to be cancelled and a possible boycott by part of the ruling parties, reports Večernji List on September 13, 2017.

This was confirmed by Mateja Erčulj, a spokeswoman for the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS). Mahnič is a member of SDS. The session will be held behind the closed doors late on Thursday afternoon, and Mahnič will later probably give a statement to reporters, “depending on what will happen at the session,” said Erčulj.

Asked whether the leading Slovenian opposition party supported Mahnič’s initiative to convene the meeting, she replied that SDS supported its member of Parliament, but added that the initiative was his own.

Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar has repeatedly called for the session to be cancelled and said that the topic was “completely inappropriate.” He warned that it would send a wrong signal to the international community about the dispute with Croatia because Slovenia intends to implement the arbitration decision in a peaceful manner. Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec, a hardliner with regards to relations with Croatia, also said that the session was unnecessary.

Reacting to Cerar’s call for the session to be cancelled, Mahnič said on Tuesday that his move was legitimate and asked why the Prime Minister had only responded to the meeting now, although it was announced ten days ago. The Slovenian media speculate that Cerar acted only after the information was reported by the German news agency DPA, with a commentary that the session could result in tensions and conflicts between Croatia and Slovenia.

“Given the statements of Prime Minister Cerar and Foreign Minister Erjavac that they are losing patience with Croatia, that it is enough with diplomacy and that Slovenia would implement the arbitration decision itself, I have decided to convene the session to ask the government what kind of scenarios they have if there is a conflict,” said Mahnič, explaining his move to journalists.

“I have information from the Prime Minister’s office that Croatia has already sent its coast guard ships to the area of ​​Umag and Pula, and that members of special units of the Croatian Army are on them. Prime Minister Cerar has also allegedly been informed that Croatia will not allow the implementation of the arbitration decision in the Bay of Piran and that it would defend half of the bay by all means if Slovenia tried to implement its sovereignty there,” Mahnič said.

Translated from Večernji List.


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