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Brussels, 11 January 2012

Border Arbitration Agreement between Slovenia and Croatia

Upon the initiative of the European Commission, Commissioner Füle met today with Ms Vesna Pusic, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia and Samuel Žbogar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia.

Further to the regular contacts which have taken place between the Commission and the parties, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the next steps of the implementation of the Border Arbitration Agreement signed by both countries on 4 November 2009 in Stockholm. The European Commission is neither party to this agreement nor bound by its timelines, but has been invited to perform certain functions under this agreement by the signatories.

Under the terms of the agreement, the President of the Commission and the Member of the Commission responsible for enlargement are to establish a list of candidates from which both parties shall appoint by common agreement the President of the Arbitral Tribunal and two members recognised for their competence in international law. In case the parties cannot agree within fifteen days from the establishment of this list by the Commission, the Agreement foresees that the President and the two members of the Arbitral Tribunal shall be appointed by the President of the International Court of Justice from this list.

Today's meeting has been very constructive and a useful opportunity to discuss the modalities for the establishment of the list and the process leading to the appointment of the members of the Tribunal.

The Commissioner informed the Ministers about the intention of the European Commission to communicate the list in the second half of January in order to create the best conditions for a successful launch of the Arbitration process.

Today's meeting also discussed the secretarial support to the Arbitration Tribunal.

The European Commission continues to provide its good offices to help the parties to reach a common agreement on the President and two members of the Arbitral Tribunal as foreseen in the Arbitration Agreement while respecting the confidentiality of the proceedings.

A common agreement would be a positive political signal for the further development of the good neighbourly relations between the two countries as well as for the Western Balkans regions showing how difficult issues could be solved.

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