CROATIA’S FOREIGN MINISTER:

FEBRUARY 21 2009 14:09h

Slovenia Is Occupying Croatian Land in Sveta Gera

Croatian Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Gordan Jandrokovic

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The Croatian foreign minister told the Slovenian media he was unhappy that political tensions are affecting the citizens of both countries.

ZAGREB, CROATIA – Ahead of a meeting between Croatian and Slovenian prime ministers Ivo Sanader and Borut Pahor in Slovenia’s Mokrice, Croatia’s Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic gave an interview for Slovenia’s Zurnal24 in which he said he believed that Croatia would become a permanent member of NATO, notwithstanding the Slovenian referendum. Regarding Slovenia’s blockade of opening negotiating chapters with the European Union, Jandrokovic said Croatia’s fate regarding its accession into the EU was still unclear.

- We cannot give up our territory to become an EU member, but I remain optimistic. Our Prime Minister Sanader says he does not now of any pessimist who has achieved his goals – Jandrokovic said.

- The border issue is bilateral and Croatia is not happy that the issue was discussed in the European

I am afraid that the inter-state relations are being reflected on relations among people, that the problem is no longer just political, but is felt among citizens, which is absolutely not good.

Croatia's Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic

context. I remind that in 2004 Slovenia joined the EU with the border issue still open, as it is today. Then, Croatia did not ask any questions of whether Slovenia can join the EU, rather, we supported it, convinced it would be useful for everybody. This is why we cannot understand why Slovenia is blocking Croatia on its path to the EU – the Croatian Minister told Zurnal24.

The border must be set based on international law 

- We hailed the idea of mediation by the European Commission, and now we believe that a third side would be of true help in reaching a final solution which would be acceptable for both sides. We also believe that a solution can be reached in accordance to international law and the two sides’ agreement in front of an international body of justice. Free sailing, fishing and everything connected with that area can later be an issue of a political agreement, but the border must be set on the basis of international law – Jandrokovic said.

Jandrokovic used the example of the Koper Harbour, which is today one of the leading harbours in the north of the Adriatic, to prove that, despite a solution to the border issue, Croatia is prepared to give Slovenia an exit to the open sea.

- We respect Slovenia’s national interests, but we are not prepared to give it our territory –-.--.-The Slovenian town of Piran. Jandrokovic stressed.

- There is no minimum or maximum to which we would consent. We have out stances and arguments and Slovenia has its own. Let us present them to the international court and let the court decide where the border till be. The parliaments of both countries should commit to adopt the court’s decision. It is obvious that we have different views of the Piran Bay and the borders on the Dragonja and Mura rivers, as well as the exit to the open sea – the Croatian minister said.

Asked why Croatia, as Slovenia is requesting, does not give up on the contentious documents it filed with its negotiations with the EU, Jandrokovic reiterated that no Croatian documents prejudges borders.

In Sveta Gera, Slovenia is indisputably occupying Croatia’s territory 

- Our main foreign affairs goal is membership in the European Union. Do you think we would jeopardise that by filing such documents? Ask the representatives of other European countries or-.--.- the Commission who put the border issue in the context of Croatia’s negotiations and you will see it wasn’t Croatia.

Slovenian reporters Ksenija Koren and Borut Hocevar asked Jandrokovic to comment on the fact that in the documents, the Plovanija border crossing was named a permanent crossing, although it had been agreed, while Nikica Valentic was prime minister, that it would be temporary.

- I repeat, we have our own stances, you have yours. In the last parliamentary statement, Slovenia claims that until both countries’ independence, the Piran bay was under Slovenia’s jurisdiction, that the villages on the left banks of the Dragonja and Mura rivers are Slovenia’s territory and that Slovenia has access to the open sea. Our views differ, which is why we need a third party to solve this issue. There is also the question of Sveta Gera, where Slovenia indisputably occupied Croatia’s territory. This will obviously have to be resolved before an international court. We are not giving up on that – Jandrokovic concluded.