Croatian and Slovenian Foreign Ministers Miro Kovac and Karl Erjavec agreed in Ljubljana on Tuesday that the two countries' relations were good, in many areas even excellent, however, the positions of Zagreb and Ljubljana regarding the solution to the border dispute remain different.

Kovac reiterated Croatia's position that the arbitration process was history, adding that the unresolved border issue was only one segment in the two countries' friendly relations. "I am personally confident that step by step we can reach an acceptable bilateral solution," said Kovac during his first visit to Slovenia since stepping into office. 

He added that in the meantime Zagreb and Ljubljana should not put that issue in the focus and thus burden their good bilateral relations.

Slovenian Foreign Minister said that Ljubljana's positions on the unresolved border dispute remained unchanged.

"Slovenia sees the arbitration agreement as an international agreement that is still in effect, we expect (the arbitration process) to continue and a ruling to be handed down," Erjavec said adding that Croatia, as a member of the European Union, should honour that agreement because it was brokered under the auspices of the European Union, He underscored that Slovenia was not considering alternative solutions to the border dispute.

Talking to the press after their meeting, Kovac said he as confident the two countries could reach a solution acceptable to both, saying that the arbitration issue must not cast a shadow on good communication and cooperation between the two governments and friendly relations between the two countries' state officials and the two peoples.

Kovac declined to answer what kind of a solution Croatia will propose to Slovenia to resume the process after Croatia's decision to leave the arbitration procedure. He recalled that other EU countries, such as the Netherlands and Germany, did not have their border issues resolved in detail, but still cooperate at all levels, as is the case with Croatia and Slovenia.

Erjavec said the border dispute was one of the topics discussed at the talks, adding however that no progress was made, given the two countries' different positions. He reiterated Slovenia was not considering alternative solutions to the border dispute.

Asked when one can expect the removal of the fence which Slovenia set up along its border with Croatia last autumn in the midst of the migrant crisis so as to prevent the uncontrolled influx of migrants, Erjavec said the Slovenian government would make that decision after a thorough analysis. He also said Slovenia must see how the deal between the EU and Turkey will function.

During his visit to Slovenia, Kovac also held talks with Slovenian President Borut Pahor and opposition MPs. He also spoke with representative of the Croat community in Slovenia.

Asked about the position of 50,000 Slovenian Croats, Erjavec said their status would be resolved together with the status of other peoples from the former Yugoslavia. He however, ruled out the possibility of recognising Croats as an ethnic minority by the Constitution like the Italians or the Hungarians which Slovenia considers autochthonous population.

The Croatian and the Slovenian foreign minister condemned the terrorist attack which took place earlier today in Brussels. Erjavec confirmed a Slovenian diplomat was injured in the attack, adding however that his injuries were not life-threatening.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.