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Last Updated: Friday, 12 September, 2003, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Slovenia moves to end border dispute
Piran
The dispute centres on the waters off Slovenia's short coastline
Slovenia has sent its ambassador back to Croatia in a goodwill gesture ahead of talks on a border dispute.

The ambassador, Peter Bekes, was recalled on 31 August in protest at a Croatian plan to establish an exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic.

The move would leave Slovenia without direct access to international waters, though it would retain transit rights.

In return, Slovenia has threatened to hinder Croatia's attempts to join the EU once it becomes a member itself next year.

The two sides are to have informal talks on the coastal dispute next Tuesday.

Good will

The Slovene Foreign Ministry said the ambassador's return showed Ljubljana's good will and determination to solve all bilateral open issues constructively.

Slovenia has a short strip of coastline between the Croatian and Italian borders.

Under the Croatian plan, the northern Adriatic would be divided into two sectors - Croatian and Italian.

The sea border dispute is one of several afflicting Slovenia and Croatia, which stem from the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991.

They are also arguing over land borders, the functioning of a nuclear power station and some frozen bank deposits.

But with Slovenia's entry into the EU in May 2004 and Croatia's intention to join in 2007, Brussels wants the disputes to be settled.




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Country profile: Slovenia
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