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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 August 2007, 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK
Serbian minister joins horse row
Lipizzaner horses near the Serbian town of Novi Sad
The horses were reported to be have been maltreated
Serbia's agriculture minister has visited a group of prized Lipizzaner horses at the centre of a dispute with neighbouring Croatia.

The group of some 70 horses was brought to northern Serbia from Croatia in 1991 during the Balkan wars.

Croatia has insisted that the horses were taken illegally and is demanding their return.

The minister's visit was prompted by allegations that the horses were in a poor state of health and neglected.

But Slobodan Milosavljevic said vets who accompanied him on his visit to the farm in Novi Sad said the animals seemed to be in good health.

"I am no expert to judge their condition, but they seem in a decent state," he said.

Mr Milosavljevic said he planned to meet his Croatian counterpart soon to resolve the dispute surrounding the horses.

Until now, Serbian officials had said the matter should be resolved between the farm and the Croatian government directly.

The farm owner's demands for some $410,000 (300,000 euros) in compensation from the Croatian government to pay for the horses' care have reportedly been refused.

Country profile: Serbia
17 Jul 07 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Croatia
19 Apr 07 |  Country profiles

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