Politics

Slovenia Wants Vatican to Mediate in Croatian-Slovenian Border Dispute

By 1 February 2017

Speaker of Slovenian Parliament hopes that the Holy See could influence Croatia.

Speaker of Slovenian Parliament Milan Brglez confirmed on Wednesday at the Vatican, where he arrived in a two-day working visit, that he expected that the Holy See could influence Croatia to accept the future arbitration ruling on the border dispute, or to take some sort of an intermediary role, reports Telegram.hr on February 1, 2017.

Citing unnamed sources, first reports about the Vatican connection were mentioned in the Maribor daily “Večer”, which claims that it is one of the goals of Brglez’s visit to the Vatican, whose formal reason is the 25th anniversary of the international recognition of Slovenia.

On Wednesday, the first day of the visit and after a brief general audience with Pope Francis, Brglez held talks with the dean the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who had an important role in the Vatican diplomatic service at the time when Slovenia and Croatia declared their independence. He confirmed that they had discussed the arbitration issue.

“It is our expectation that the Holy See will play a role regarding the arbitrage proceedings which will be similar to the one it had when the arbitration agreement was concluded”, said Brglez commenting on the reports in the Slovenian media, and adding that international agreements, such as the agreement on arbitration proceedings, must be respected. In connection with a possible diplomatic action by the Vatican, Brglez said that the Vatican has not yet stated its position.

“Večer” has published unofficial information about the Slovenia’s wish for the Vatican to mediate with Croatia in order for Croatia to accept the arbitration ruling which is expected later this year. It further reports that Slovenia explained its plans with the situation in the region and that arbitration should be a model for solving similar border disputes in the Balkans. In this regard, the influence of the Holy See could be crucial since Croatia is “a severely conservative” catholic country which the Vatican can influence.

As for talks with Sodano, Brglez said that they had discussed current issues in Europe and the world, with the Vatican advocating a path of dialogue and inclusiveness. He confirmed that during the meeting he mentioned the arbitration issue between Slovenia and Croatia.

It is widely expected that the decision of the arbitration tribunal will be in favour of Slovenia. Croatia left the proceedings in 2015, after it became known that Slovenian diplomats were in collusion with supposedly independent arbiters.

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