Alexa

Croatia agrees plan for ending row with Slovenia

Croatia agrees plan for ending row with Slovenia

Croatia on Tuesday agreed to accept international arbitration to solve an 18-year border dispute with Slovenia that has hampered its bid to join the European Union.
Croatian President Stipe Mesic said that all political parties backed the EU proposal to try to end a dispute over an Adriatic Sea bay shared by Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.
Slovenia's Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar said that his country remained "cautious" about a proposal by EU foreign ministers last week to let an arbitration panel rule on the dispute. It is not clear what will happen if Slovenia rejects the plan.
Slovenia _ an EU member since 2004 _ has blocked Croatia's accession to the EU, insisting that the two neighbors first solve their border dispute. It stems from 1991, when both seceded from the Yugoslav federation.
Slovenia's access to international waters is blocked by its two larger neighbors and it wants Croatia to give it a channel to the open sea. The two also argue about ownership of several bordering villages.
Slovenia's move has put Croatia's desired entry date of 2011 into question and unnerved EU officials, who want to move on with the 27-nation bloc's enlargement.