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News 04 Nov 14

Montenegro, Croatia, Spat Over Adriatic Oil Probes

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic has accused Montenegro of claiming a potentially oil and gas rich part of the Adratic that he says belongs to Croatia.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic on Monday said the two countries needed finally to resolve a long-standing border dispute in the Adriatic Sea, as continued arguments could deter potential investors in oil and gas fields.

"They have claimed some areas which in our profound conviction and by international law are not theirs," he said. "But, if we understand this as the beginning of some kind of arbitration between Croatia and Montenegro, it will be good," Milanovic said.

Both countries are offering public bids for the exploration of oil and gas finds in the Adratic and several foreign companies have expressed interest.

Last week, the government in Podgorica issued a new decision on the exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the Montenegrin part of the Adriatic.

In response to Milanovic's allegations, the Montenegrin government also stated that it sought only to protect its interests in the maritime area.
 
Montenegro said it was ready to start a dialogue on the engagement of proper international mediation and start the process of permanent demarcation of the maritime border with Croatia.

Montenegro has a long-standing dispute with Croatia over the strategically-located Prevlaka peninsula in the Adriatic south of Dubrovnik, which is claimed by both countries.

In 2002, an interim solution was agreed under which the Prevlaka peninsula remained Croatian territory while Montenegro was given some rights over the surrounding waters.

Both countries agreed in 2008 to let the International Court of Justice in The Hague decide on the issue, but a comprehensive settlement has yet to be made.

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