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The deadline for the application of the arbitration decision on the border between the sea and land between Slovenia and Croatia expires today, and while Ljubljana announced that it will begin implementing this decision, Zagreb opposes it and calls for the abstention from any application of unilateral measures, which, as they warned, they could lead to incidents.
According to Croatian media reports, Istrian fishermen sailed early this morning to pick up their nets in the Piran Bay, on Savudrija Wave, as the bay is called by the Croats, there are no incidents, but there are tensions.
Zagreb's Vecernji list newspaper says that a new period begins in relationships between Croatia and Slovenia which will show if the two parties are mature enough, and the question arises, what if there are incidents? Croatian police are obliged to guard its state border and it will do so.
Six months are expiring today since the court made a decision on the border, which should be applied from today. That, however, didn't happen. Croatia does not recognize this decision and refuses to implement it, while Slovenia has announced that it will act upon the decision and they have adopted a number of accompanying laws for this purpose.
Since Slovenia insists on the implementation of the decision and rejects Croatian calls for dialogue and bilateral agreement, there is obviously a nerves game in which both sides will closely monitor the actions of the other party, Vecernji writes.
After the last meeting of the two prime ministers, Miro Cerar and Andrej Plenkovic in Zagreb last week, Slovenia remained with the attitude to implement the decision within the deadline and they prepared the set of laws which will be adopted in the parliament in the meantime. That set of laws takes effect today and the key is the one which enters Croatian border into official records of borders and the one in ground registers.
The Marine Fisheries Act predicts issuing of commercial fishing licenses. With these permits, Slovenian fishermen could fish up to Lim Canal, and Croats in Slovenian territorial sea.
The last of a series of laws regulate the rights of the population in the part that "belonged" to Croatia. It is primarily a land where the arbitration court accepted the Croatian request that the borderline follows the cadastral border.
Slovenian prime minister Miro Cerar at the meeting in Zagreb with his Croatian colleague Plenkovic said that "it will be implemented where Croatian consent is not necessary".
"The question of all the questions is whether Slovenia will use force, especially for the demarcation in the Savudrija Wave where Croatia is pursued by the equidistance line, while Slovenians received 2/3 of the bay by the decision of the court", the newspaper writes. For experienced international lawyers, he says, there is no dilemma, something like that is considered inadmissible.
Croatia's Foreign Ministry invited Slovenia with a diplomatic note to restrain and avoid incidents.
- Violent enforcement or the imposition of a court decision on one side is contrary to international law - Professor Stefan Talmon, a lawyer, is a professor at Oxford and the University of Bonn.
Talmon deals with international public law, the resolution of international disputes and the right of the sea. He says it is obvious that pressure is exerted on Croatia by threatening the country's membership in the OECD, but also threats to sue Croatia to the EU Court for violating European law.
They draw their arguments from the annex to the Accession Agreement between the EU and Croatia referring to the fish catch, and the quotas should be applied when an arbitral decision takes effect. For Croatia, however, this argument is null and void because there are no arbitration decisions for them.
First Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, emphasized that priority is to avoid incidents until a bilateral border agreement is reached.
Vecernji noticed that there are numerous unsolved border disputes in EU, but the states are living normally.
The unresolved border is not a problem until it is instrumentalized for political purposes, and then the temporary winners are politicians and long-term losers are the nations, the conclusion of Vecernje.
WARNING TO THE FISHERMEN
Prime Minister Plenkovic also called on the government of Ljubljana to restrain and avoid incidents, and the Istrian police held a meeting with fishermen to instruct them on how to behave at sea.
The Slovenian police in the Piran Bay warned that two Croatian fishing vessels were in illegal waters early this morning, that is, in the part of the sea that belongs to Slovenia with the arbitration decision.
According to the Croatian portal 24sata, two ships were accompanied by police, which made a buffer zone between fishermen and the Slovenian police. The fishermen returned unharmed to the harbor, and since the bad weather was announced in that part of the Adriatic, it is not expected that they will be able to sail again today.
(Telegraf.co.uk / Tanjug)