Arbiters suspend deliberations on border dispute

A panel of five arbiters deliberating on a border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia have suspended their deliberations until they study the legal implications of Croatia's decision to withdraw from the arbitration process, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) said on Friday.

"The Tribunal will now begin its deliberations concerning the legal implications of the matters set out in Croatia's letters of 24 July 2015 and 31 July 2015. In the meantime, any consideration by the Tribunal regarding the merits of the underlying territorial and maritime dispute remains suspended," the court said in a press release.

In the letters and subsequent documents, the Croatian government informed Slovenia and the arbiters of its intention to terminate the arbitration agreement because of material breaches of the agreement by Slovenia, citing provisions on the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

Slovenia, on the other hand, argued that no material breach had occurred and that the Arbitral Tribunal should complete its mandate and render an award.

The previous government of Croatia decided to withdraw from the arbitration after information published last year proved unlawful contacts between Slovenian arbiter Jernej Sekolec and Slovenian government agent Simona Drenik. Since the decision was supported by a resolution unanimously adopted by the Croatian parliament, the new government of Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic has assumed the same position and notified UN member states of the termination of the arbitration agreement.

Speaking ahead of his visit to Slovenia next week, Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac has reiterated that the arbitration process is no longer Croatia's concern because it withdrew from it, but that Zagreb is ready for bilateral talks to settle the border dispute.

Slovenian officials said on Thursday, after the tribunal was addressed by Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec, that they were optimistic about the continuation of the arbitration process and that the arbitration agreement was still binding on both parties, even though Croatia had withdrawn. Prime Minister Miro Cerar said that he was increasingly confident that the arbitration was the only way to settle the dispute.

Slovenia had for a long time blocked Croatia on its path to EU membership, demanding "a junction to the high sea". After the arbitration agreement was signed in 2009, Slovenian officials often said that the arbitration could be terminated at any time if the two parties decided to seek a better solution through bilateral negotiation.

Last update: Fri, 18/03/2016 - 19:35
Author: 

More from Croatia

8.7% of Croats can't afford a drink/meal with friends/family once a month

8.7% of Croatians aged 16 or over cannot afford to get together with their friends or family for a drink or a meal...

Croatia ranks 49th in ease of paying taxes

Croatia ranks 49th on the list of 189 countries covered by an in-depth analysis of tax systems conducted by PwC and...

Croatia Winter Music Festival, multigaming tournament in Zagreb's Arena during New Year holidays

The Croatia Winter Music Festival will take place in Zagreb from 31 December to 6 January, and the event is expected...

"The House of Batana" in Rovinj added to UNESCO list

The project of the preservation of intangible heritage of Rovinj through the Ecomuseum Casa Della Batana has been...

Komadina, Lalovac, Ostojic, Grbin new SDP deputy chiefs

Delegates of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) elected Zlatko Komadina, Boris Lalovac, Rajko Ostojic and Pedja Grbin...