(E) Kucan urges Croatians to sign border deal. Do they know
Slovenia's Kucan urges Croats to sign border deal
ZAGREB, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Slovene President Milan Kucan urged Croatia on Wednesday to avoid international arbitration and ratify a border deal with Slovenia, vital for the European integration prospects of the two neighbours.
"Both countries are mature and responsible enough to be able to arrange their relations on their own," Kucan told Croatian parliament in an address during his two-day visit.
"They do not need special envoys and there is no reason to burden the international community with our problems," he said.
The two former Yugoslav republics must resolve a set of open issues prior to their integration into the EU. Slovenia is among front-running candidates to join, possibly as early as 2004, and Croatia signed an associate membership deal last month.
Ratifying the land-and-sea border accord reached by Croatian Prime Minister Ivica Racan and Slovene Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek in July is a priority.
Other issues include a jointly-owned nuclear power plant at the Slovene town of Krsko and money owed to Croatians by Slovenia's Ljubljanska Banka from before Yugoslavia's 1991 split.
Racan told reporters on Wednesday each issue should be dealt with separately.
"We agreed that the things we currently cannot resolve, that is the borders, should not stand in the way of resolving other issues," he said after meeting Kucan.
Earlier this year, Croatia's parliament refused to endorse the border deal, saying it gave Slovenia too large a part of Croatia's northern Adriatic waters in the Piran bay.
Drnovsek has said the failure to ratify the border agreement may endanger efforts to resolve the other issues.
Croatia and Slovenia jointly proclaimed independence from the Socialist Yugoslav federation in 1991. Their relations have been strained ever since and a precise border was never agreed.
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op-ed There is no rush on this issue. Ljubljanska Banka and Krsko on the other hand ARE a rush issue. Does our Croatian Government know this? If President Kucan is so eager to sign a treaty, he should show some good will (read respect) and solve two big problems like Krsko and Ljubljanska banka before any other discussions about the borders. Does our Croatian Government know how to handle this? Nenad Bach distributed by CROWN (Croatian World Net) - CroworldNet@aol.com