Cablegate: Croatia Still Open to Negotiated Settlement On

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: (A) ZAGREB 1737 (B) ZAGREB 1741


1. (SBU) Croatia remains open to a negotiated bilateral
settlement on the Croatia-Slovenia maritime boundary despite
press reports to the contrary. A much-hyped Slovenian
proposal to avoid fishing incidents in the Adriatic has not
yet been presented to the GoC. Two weeks after Slovenian
parliamentary elections, the maritime boundary issue is still
very much alive; if Croatia is unable to conclude bilateral
negotiations with Slovenia on the border, it will press for
international arbitration. END SUMMARY AND COMMENT.


2. (SBU) On October 14, Croatian MFA Director for Central
Europe and Head of the International Law Department told
Emboffs that the GoC was still open to a negotiated bilateral
settlement on the open maritime boundary question with
Slovenia. If a negotiated agreement proves impossible, the
GoC is prepared to submit to binding arbitration (reftel A).
MFA lawyers have not started to prepare their case to present
before an arbitration court, though they have begun
collecting relevant documents.

3. (SBU) Our MFA contacts' statements contradict an October
15 press report that FM Zuzul's formation of a special team
to handle arbitration meant that Croatia had ruled out a
bilateral agreement. Our MFA contacts had not heard of any
such arbitration team.

4. (SBU) Croatian and Slovenian media reported that Slovenia
would present the Croatian MFA with an "Agreement on the
Avoidance of Incidents" in the disputed territorial waters of
the northern Adriatic. On September 30 -- the day Slovenian
FM Ivo Vajgl announced Slovenia would present its proposal --
the Head of EU Politics at the Croatian MFA told us he had
heard of the proposal only from the newspapers and that he
had no meetings scheduled with the Slovenian Embassy in
Zagreb. At the October 14 meeting, our MFA contacts confirmed
that they have not/not received such agreement from the GoS.

5. (SBU) Our MFA contacts stressed that Croatia will not use
its recently-proclaimed Fishing and Environmental Protection
Zone (FEPZ) to press its case on the maritime boundary
(reftel B). The FEPZ and maritime boundary are completely
separate questions, although the media and even some GoC
officials have employed rhetoric equating the FEPZ with
territorial expansion. The FEPZ lies well south of the
disputed area.


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