Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic reiterated on Thursday that the deadline to file an appeal against an arbitration ruling in the INA-MOL dispute, delivered by the Arbitral Tribunal of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in Geneva, is February 1 and that the appeal is not running late and at the same time, activities in the arbitration procedure in Washington are continuing

"The deadline to file an appeal before the Swiss court is February 1. As such, the appeal is not running late. Our legal team is working on that in detail and we will submit those arguments that are admissible considering the fact that this is an arbitral decision which has a specific framework and all sides in the dispute can submit an appeal. At the same time we are preparing and continuing activities in the other arbitral procedure in Washington," Plenkovic told a press conference after a meeting of his cabinet.

Asked whether there had been any contact with the Hungarian side to see whether MOL was prepared to sell its stake in INA, Plenkovic said that if that were not the case then there would not have been any decision to return INA to Croatian ownership.

"Had I as prime minister not been given the clear impression that the Hungarian side iwas prepared and wanted to sell its stake in INA, then not one of these decisions that followed would have occurred," Plenkovic said.

He stressed that INA was one of the most complex political, economic, financial and legal issues that several governments had dealt with, each in their own way.

"I personally did not have anything to do with any of the decisions about INA until now and I can approach it rationally, in such a way that, according to my deepest conviction and the conviction of my government, is in Croatia's interest," he said.

Stressing that the question of energy security is a capital issue for the future of the world, Europe and Croatia, Plenkovic said that "having a national company that has reserves of oil and gas is in the interest of any country and few people would not agree with that."

Plenkovic however underscored that events concerning INA - legal processes before Croatian courts and two arbitration procedures - cannot be entirely transparent as they "have to be conducted with discrete communication with legal representatives, taking account of the country's interests."

Responding to reporters' questions, he said that contacts with the Hungarian side were permanent, currently on a diplomatic level and "once we consolidate our positions, a formal phase of talks will be approached."

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