Croatia "won't use bilateral issues" against Serbia

Croatia "will not use bilateral issues to impose conditions" on Serbia during the country’s negotiations on EU membership, Gordan Markotić has said.

Source: Tanjug
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Croatia's ambassador to Serbia explained that these issues "include border demarcation on the Danube and mutual genocide charges."

“We will not use bilateral issues as something to condition future members negotiating with the EU. In 2011, Croatia adopted a declaration on the promotion of the EU in southeastern Europe. It clearly states that we support EU enlargement in the region and that we will offer support to all states applying for membership,” Markotić told the Tanjug news agency.

Zagreb does not want to behave toward other candidates in the manner of Slovenia, which had blocked Croatia’s negotiations with the EU because of the Piran Bay border dispute.

“We have a joint commission to address the question of the border on the Danube. I am confident that the experts on the committee will surely find a joint solution,” said the Croatian ambassador.

There are two proposals based on which compromise is possible, and if this does not work, the issue will eventually be resolved through an international arbitration, he said, adding that he believes the latter scenario will not take place.

The commission is made up of international legal experts and for now, the two countries’ starting points differ, as Croatia has wanted the demarcation to be determined by cadastral boundaries and Serbia for it to be drawn down the middle of the Danube.

When it comes to the mutual charges of genocide in a case before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Croatian ambassador believes that the dispute “will not affect overall relations significantly.”

The task for the political structures in both countries is to create conditions for the development of relations, Markotić said, stressing that despite the global recession, in trade cooperation, Croatia and Serbia are among the top 10 partners to each other.

He pointed out that Serbia and Croatia could soon be linked by the South Stream pipeline, since Zagreb has signed to construct a 100-kilometer leg arriving from Serbia.

Markotić said that generally, the position of the Serbs in Croatia and Croats in Serbia is good, but there are outstanding issues, such as representation of both minorities in the executive, judicial and local authorities, the problem of schooling in their own language and direct participation in the work of the parliament.

Commenting on last year's tearing down of bilingual signs with inscriptions in Serbian Cyrillic alphabet in Vukovar, eastern Croatia, Markotić said that the government in Zagreb is not backing such incidents and those involved should be prosecuted.

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Region Monday, March 31, 2014 10:40 Comments: 4
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