APRIL 23 2009 12:14h

Slovenes Cancel Sanader-Pahor Meeting

Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader meets with his Slovene counterpart Borut Pahor in Mokrice.




Slovenes have not yet proposed the time of a new meeting between the premiers or the reasons of cancellation.

Slovenia has cancelled the meeting between Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader and his Slovene counterpart Borut Pahor on Thursday, which was scheduled for next week, Hina finds out from sources close to the Croatian government.

- News arrived this morning that Slovenes have cancelled the Sanader-Pahor meeting – the source said. Croatian PM announced last week that he would meet his Slovene colleague by the end of month to discuss unblocking Croatia`s European Union accession talks. This meeting was scheduled for April 28 at the Trakoscan Castle.

After a one-hour meeting between Sanader and Pahor in February, which was also their first meeting, it was concluded that neither countries would be forsaking their demands: Slovenia wants a referendum and Croatia wants the border dispute to be solved before an international court. So far, Slovenes have not yet proposed the time of a new meeting between the premiers or the reasons of cancellation, the source said.

European Union expansion commissioner Olli Rehn presented a new proposal for solving the Croatian-Slovene border dispute and Croatian Foreign Affairs Minister Gordan Jandrokovic assessed it as a good base for finding an acceptable solution and this proposal largely includes well-known Croatian positions, therefore separating Croatia’s EU accession talks from bilateral issues, deblocking Croatian accession talks and solving the border dispute in accordance with international law, before an international judiciary body.

Croatia and Slovenia close to an agreement?

A source from the Czech Presidency said that the presidency three fully supports Rehn`s latest proposal, adding that the two sides were close to an agreement.

According to the new proposal, the border at sea and land between Croatia and Slovenia would be determined by a five-membered arbitrage court in accordance with international law. Croatia and Slovenia would appoint one member each, while the remaining three members would be collaboratively appointed. If they cannot agree on the matter, the remaining three members would be named by the president of the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

The two sides should agree on what the “regime on using naval areas and Slovenia`s contact with the open sea” means, and in case they fail to do so, the arbitrage court would perform this task.

The proposal anticipates Croatian EU accession talks to be unblocked as soon as the parliaments of both countries ratify the agreement on handing over the border dispute to the arbitrage court. Upon signing the agreement, they would commit themselves to ratifying it in their parliaments.

It is expected that the two sides would present their final response to Rehn`s proposal at the start of May.