Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec said on Thursday he was satisfied with the Slovenian case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, adding that the border arbitration process could continue even though Croatia had withdrawn from it.
"I am pleased that this hearing was held," Erjavec told the press after addressing the Arbitral Tribunal on how Slovenia viewed the arbitration on the border dispute with Croatia and Croatia's decision to withdraw from that process.
"I regret that Croatia did not attend the oral hearing. We responded to all the questions and provided the necessary arguments. We believe that the arbitration process was not violated and that it can continue," he said.
Erjavec said he could not discuss details of the hearing because of the confidentiality of the process, adding that he was "cautiously optimistic" about the outcome of the arbitration and Slovenian expectations.
Erjavec said that the arbiters would publish a summary of the hearing in the coming days.
Slovenia expects the arbitration process to continue even though Croatia has withdrawn from it, and lawyers representing Slovenia in the case believe that Slovenia should be granted access to the open seas, according to Slovenian media.
The PCA announced on Monday that a new oral hearing in connection with the Croatian and Slovenian land and sea border dispute would be held on March 17. On the same day Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miro Kovac said that Croatia had withdrawn from the arbitration and would not attend the hearing.
On Thursday, Croatia circulated among UN member states its position on the irreversibly compromised arbitration with Slovenia, expressing its readiness to resolve the border dispute bilaterally.