Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Sarec told the Dnevnik daily of Saturday that his government's position on the border arbitration with Croatia could not be different from the position of the previous government led by Miro Cerar, who is now Foreign Minister.
"The arbitration ruling has been made public, Slovenia has its position on it and cannot change it," Sarec said in a pre-New Year interview with the Ljubljana-based newspaper.
Recalling that Slovenia had sued Croatia with the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the EU over its noncompliance with the arbitration ruling, alleging that Croatia was thus violating EU law, Sarec said that Ljubljana was waiting for the court to make a ruling and for Croatia to respond to Slovenia's proposal for the establishment of a joint border demarcation commission to implement the arbitration ruling.
"We are still waiting for a response to our proposal," he said.
In 2015 Croatia decided, following a unanimous decision of its parliament to that effect, to walk out of border arbitration proceedings, after secret communication between former Slovene arbiter Jernej Sekolec and Slovenian Foreign Ministry official Simona Drenik was leaked, showing that they had worked on a strategy to exert influence on the arbiters and their decision, thus contaminating and compromising the arbitration process.
Croatia, therefore, does not consider the subsequent arbitration ruling as binding and has notified Slovenia of its position, offering bilateral talks on the border dispute, which Ljubljana does not accept.
Asked about his communication with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, Sarec said that he respected him and that their discussions at sessions of the European Council were normal but that due to the principled position on the arbitration issue, he had not invited Plenkovic to visit Slovenia because he was waiting for Croatia to change its position on the arbitration issue, whereas Slovenia could not change its position about the implementation of the arbitration ruling being binding.
Commenting on Cerar's recent visit to Washington, seen as an attempt by Slovenia to establish balance in its relationship with great powers, Sarec described it as good.
"We are being criticised for being pro-Russian, but I don't think that's the case. Our relations with the Russian Federation are just as they should be. There was a certain deficit in relations with the United States, but it is also true that those relations are now more problematic also at EU level, due to the new leadership in the White House," he said in the interview, among other things.