Slovenian Parliament Speaker Milan Brglez.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Lana SLIVAR DOMINIĆ/ lsd

The arbitration procedure for the Croatian-Slovenian border dispute is history for Croatia, which sees a solution in bilateral negotiations in line with international law, Croatian Parliament Speaker Zeljko Reiner said on Wednesday after meeting with his Slovenian counterpart Milan Brglez.

"Arbitration is history for us. We are in favour of bilateral negotiations in line with international law," Reiner told a joint news conference with Brglez, who said Slovenia considered the arbitration agreement between the two countries still valid. "That agreement still exists for us. Slovenia wants the Court of Arbitration to complete its work with a final decision."

The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration convened for Thursday a new hearing in the dispute. Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac said on Tuesday that Croatia had walked out of the procedure, that it was no longer a party to the proceedings and that it would not attend the hearing.

Regarding ethnic minorities, Brglez said Slovenia did not accept the reciprocity principle because under its constitution only the Hungarian and Italian communities enjoyed ethnic minority status. He added, however, that one could work on improving the position of minority communities, including the Croatian, through various committees and agreements.

Reiner and Brglez were agreed that Croatian-Slovenian relations were intensive in all areas, notably the economy and culture, and that one should continue to work on outstanding issues at all levels. They agreed regular meetings between the two parliaments as another link in attempts to improve bilateral cooperation and to coordinate efforts to handle regular challenges, including the migrant crisis.

"Good cooperation between the two parliaments will contribute to the settlement of the migrant crisis," said Brglez.

The two officials will next meet in Split at a meeting of parliament speakers of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative countries.

Brglez's visit to Zagreb is the first by a Slovenian parliament speaker since the end of 2013.

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