Slovenia’s Cerar Denies Agreement on Border Dispute Resolution was Reached with Croatia

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ZAGREB, January 18th, 2018 – Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar on Wednesday strongly denied an article in the Croatian newspaper Vecernji List according to which he backed down from a draft agreement on resolution of the border dispute a day before his recent visit to Zagreb, saying that Slovenia was insisting on the implementation of the border arbitration ruling.

“The Vecernji List article about an agreement with Croatia is completely untrue. During the six-month period for the preparation of the implementation of the ruling, Slovenia tried hard to promote dialogue. Unfortunately, Croatia still refuses to implement the arbitration ruling, despite the fact that it is its obligation under international law,” Cerar said in a Twitter post.

He later told the press that the Croatian newspaper article was “deceiving and untrue” and that no agreement on border dispute resolution was reached with Croatia at any level, but that the purpose of the dialogue was to ensure implementation of the arbitration ruling.

“All this time I have been committed to dialogue with Croatia that would lead to implementation of the arbitration ruling,” Cerar told a press conference after meeting with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa.

Cerar said that the dialogue with Croatia had been conducted at two levels – at the political level involving him and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, and at the level of experts. “We never reached any agreement,” he stressed.

Vecernji List said on Wednesday that an informal document, some sort of protocol on border dispute resolution, had been reached at the expert level before Cerar’s visit to Zagreb and that Slovenia mostly agreed with it. However, Cerar reportedly withdrew from the deal after one of his coalition partners warned him not to sign anything, as a result of which Cerar changed his mind.

Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec commented on the Vecernji List article somewhat differently.

“Yes, there was quiet diplomacy at work, but for quiet diplomacy you need a credible partner. It is not possible to conduct quiet diplomacy with Croatia, as this case has shown,” Erjavec said. He added that he would inform the European Commission that the Croatian high-circulation newspaper published what the two sides had discussed in confidence.

Erjavec said that before Cerar’s visit to Zagreb he had warned the prime minister not to sign anything because Croatia would try to take advantage of it to impose its own solutions.

“Croatia wanted to impose its own views in any way so that we would agree as part of a protocol where the border between the two countries runs,” Erjavec said.


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