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The Croatian and Slovenian Foreign Ministers said they had solved the problem of the former Ljubljanska bank, which was threatening to impede Croatia's EU accession in July.
After a meeting at Otocec ob Krki, in Slovenia, Vesna Pusic and Karl Erjavec, the Foreign Ministers of Croatia and Slovenia, expressed hopes that both their governments would accept the long overdue agreement.
The ministers said they hoped their next meeting on February 19 would mark a definitive deal, enabling the Slovenian parliament to ratify Croatia's EU accession treaty in time for Croatia to join the EU on July 1.
EU member Slovenia was threatening to delay Croatia's ratification until a deal was reached on the fate of the bank in which many Croats lost their savings after the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia.
The solution has "several different variations", Pusic said. "Our job was to find a politically viable solution, acceptable to both sides, and we did that," she said.
Erjavec expressed hopes that "Slovenia would reach its goals with this deal", adding that if so, there was no need for Slovenia to be the last country to ratify Croatia's accession treaty.
The row over the former bank has dogged relations between Zagreb and Ljubljana now for two decades now.
Several lawsuits against Ljubljanska have been filed in the courts in Croatia, and are backed by the Croatian government.
Slovenia wants Croatia to withdraw those government guarantees as a precondition for Slovenia's ratification of Croatian EU accession.
Croatia maintained that it had already fulfilled all its obligations from the EU negotiations, and Slovenia should ratify the accession agreement without extra preconditions.
Slovenia is the last EU member not to have started the ratification process yet. So far, 22 of the 27 EU member states have already ratified Croatia's accession treaty.
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