The Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Ministry on Thursday declined to comment on the new moves taken by the Permanent Court of Arbitration regarding the Croatia-Slovenia border dispute, given that Croatia had left the arbitration process.
"The foreign ministry has no comment, because it is well known that Croatia left the arbitration process, following a unanimous decision of all deputies in the Croatian parliament," the ministry said in its response to a statement which the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) issued on Wednesday.
The PCA, headquarted in The Hague, on Wednesday called on Croatia and Slovenia to make further submissions regarding the legal effect of Croatia's position that the ongoing arbitration proceedings concerning the two countries' border dispute should be discontinued, and stated that it would hold one more hearing on the matter in March 2016.
In July this year Croatia informed the Arbitral Tribunal in the arbitration between Croatia and Slovenia that it had launched a procedure to terminate its arbitration agreement with Slovenia because of a serious breach of the agreement on Slovenia's part, and that it had informed the Slovenian government that it was terminating the agreement and leaving the arbitration proceedings which it considered to have been irreparably compromised.
In doing so, Croatia referred to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
Slovenia then sent a note to the Hague court, saying that it did not accept Croatia's "unilateral" decision to terminate the arbitration agreement, and that it believed the proceedings should continue and result in a ruling that would be binding on both countries.
The PCA said in the statement that the Arbitral Tribunal has been recomposed after the resignation of the previous Croatian and Slovenian arbiters, with the president of the tribunal having appointed two new arbiters, and that now a decision can be made on Croatia's motion to discontinue the arbitration proceedings, on which both sides need to make additional submissions.
The Croatian government is expected to make its submissions on 15 January 2016 and the Slovenian government on February 26. The PCA says in the statement that after that, it intends to hold one more hearing in the case, in March 2016.
The Slovenian foreign ministry has already confirmed having received the PCA note, repeating that the arbitration proceedings should be resumed and result in a binding ruling.