Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

Slovenia is using a humanitarian crisis to provoke incidents and exert pressure on international judicial authorities to continue contaminated proceedings, the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs said on Friday in response to statements by Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec.

The Croatian ministry recalled that on Thursday it had protested against the unlawful putting up of a barbed wire fence on Croatian soil and had called on Slovenia to remove it without delay. It warned the Slovenian charge d'affaires in Zagreb that the ongoing refugee crisis should not be used in the border dispute between the two countries and that incidents should be avoided.

"Statements by Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec are in support of what should certainly be avoided, and that is using a humanitarian crisis and the plights of vulnerable groups to provoke incidents which obviously serve the Slovenian side to exert further pressure on international judicial authorities to continue contaminated proceedings," the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs said in a statement.

Erjavec said on Thursday that the course of the borderline is still not known and that it will be known only after the arbitration tribunal delivers its ruling.

The Croatian ministry recalled that Croatia had exited the border arbitration with Slovenia after Slovenia had attempted to influence the tribunal's judges. "The arbitration mentioned by Minister Erjavec is irreversibly compromised to be able to produce a decision that would be relevant for Croatia, one that would be acceptable and practicable."

"The statements and behaviour of the Slovenian side show that Croatia was right in deciding to withdraw from the arbitration process, because the Slovenian side, as shown by the latest events, was not interested in resolving the border dispute through independent arbitration, but was trying all along to unlawfully influence the decision of the arbitral tribunal," the statement said. 

It seems that Slovenia seeks to impose unilateral solutions and use them to exert pressure to ensure that the arbitration continues. Outstanding issues need to be dealt with in an unbiased and credible way and in accordance with international law, which is crucial for good relations between Croatia and Slovenia. This is also important for the entire region and beyond, the statement concluded.

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