slovenija, granica, žica, ograda.jpg
Photograph: HINA / mm

Slovenia on Thursday dismissed the claim from Croatia's latest protest note that Slovenia has unlawfully fenced off the border crossing points Trnovec-Sredisce Ob Dravi (Sparovec) and Prhovec-Godeninci (Kocijan), thus bringing into question a Croatian-Slovenian agreement enabling local border traffic on the two countries' border.

In a reply carried by the Slovenian news agency STA, the Slovenian Ministry of the Interior said that the barbed wire fence on the country's border did not violate the bilateral agreement on local border traffic and cooperation signed in 1997 and that Croatia, if it believed that it did, should raise that issue before the joint commission in charge of implementing the agreement and that Slovenia was very much interested in that happening as soon as possible.

In its reply, the Slovenian government reiterated its position made known after earlier warnings to remove the fence from locations that were on Croatian territory.

It said that technical barriers were put along the border to prevent a possible spilling of the migrant wave over Slovenia's green border and its Schengen border.

The barriers only follow the configuration of the ground, the Slovenian government says, adding that Croatians who cannot use local border crossings to enter Slovenia due to the fence should use the nearest open points of entry.

In its protest note, delivered to the Slovenian Embassy earlier in the day, the Croatian Foreign Ministry said that Croatia saw double standards in Slovenia's conduct because it prevented the crossing of the two border points that were used by Croatian nationals while border crossing points used by Slovenian and Croatian nationals remained open.

Slovenia's conduct brings into question the Agreement on Local Border Traffic and Cooperation whose purpose is to ensure equal treatment for residents of the border area, irrespective of whether they are Slovenian or Croatian nationals, and to make it possible for them to live normally and cross the border for everyday purposes, said the Croatian ministry.

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