Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/croatia/slovenia : Trilateral Meeting on Border Dispute Ends without Deal

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/croatia/slovenia : Trilateral Meeting on Border Dispute Ends without Deal

Article excerpt

After rather long and careful consideration, Croatia and Slovenia have eventually started direct talks on the European Commission facilitation proposal aimed at solving the prolonged border dispute between the two countries and allowing Zagreb to continue its EU accession talks. However, the first round of discussions, held on 11 March and chaired by Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn at the Commission's premises in Brussels, ended inconclusively. "It is still work in progress," said Rehn in a statement issued by the Commission's press service following the meeting.

He explained that during the meeting Slovenian Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar and his Croatian counterpart, Gordan Jandrokovic, "explored the possibilities to agree on the mediation's specific terms" and confirmed that both parties are ready to "continue their discussions in the near future". No specific date for the next round of talks was set.

The meeting was held after the two countries have recently agreed to accept the Commission's facilitation proposal on setting up an expert group led by Martti Ahtisaari to solve the row and allow Croatia's accession talks to continue without further delay. However, both Ljubljana and Croatia set certain conflicting conditions for the modalities of potential mediation.

Zagreb made it clear that rather than directly solving the problem, the mediation in question should help the two countries to formulate an agreement on presenting their border dispute before the International Court of Justice in The Hague. …

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