It is unlikely that Slovenia will abandon its official position that arbitration on the border dispute with Croatia should continue and that a binding judgement should be handed down, or that it will agree to Croatia's offer for a bilateral solution or going to an international court, Slovenian media said on Thursday regarding Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec's address to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague later today.
"The new Croatian government is offering a new round of negotiations on the border, but it's unclear how it imagines this, so this improper offer can also be seen as a trap. Agreeing to that proposal would mean that Slovenia is renouncing everything it has achieved so far," Delo daily said.
The 25-year-old dispute has shown that a bilateral solution cannot be reached, following unsuccessful attempts through various forms and forums, and the fact that Croatia has abandoned "the initialled (Drnovsek-Racan) agreement", which makes a final arbitration judgement the only possible solution, Delo said.
The STA news agency said Slovenian Parliament Speaker Milan Brglez clearly said in Zagreb yesterday that seeking a solution outside the arbitration agreement was not acceptable. STA said the European Commission supported the resumption of arbitration and expected both parties to "honour the judgement" to be made by the arbiters.
Slovenian Radio's Brussels correspondent said it was difficult to say when the PCA would take a position regarding the resumption of arbitration or when the judgement might be handed down, as expected by Slovenia.
Slovenian media said one should also discuss how to enforce the eventual judgement given that Croatia considered the arbitration process to be over because enforcement would require an agreement between the two countries or the mediation of an international institution.
Slovenian media said Erjavec would probably reiterate to the arbiters Slovenia's positions that the arbitration process should be completed with a judgement binding for both parties.
He said in Brussels on Monday he regretted that Croatia was "boycotting" the process but that in international law it was not unusual for such processes to proceed without one party attending.
Croatia has withdrawn from the arbitration process and will not attend the hearing scheduled for this week, Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac said in Brussels on Monday.
The PCA scheduled a new hearing for today in connection with the border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia. The hearing will be held in closed session and the parties will each have several hours to present their views. Croatia was invited to do so in the morning and Slovenia in the afternoon.
"Croatia's position is well known. Croatia withdrew from the arbitration based on a Croatian Parliament resolution, and that is no longer relevant for us," Kovac told the press, adding that Croatia would not attend the hearing.
Croatia will seek a solution through bilateral negotiations with Slovenia in accordance with international law, he added.