Stalemate in Slovenia-Croatia EU accession row after premiers meet

Ljubljana  - The prime ministers of Slovenia and Croatia met on Tuesday for the first time since Ljubljana blocked Croatia's accession talks with the European Union, but made no progress on the ongoing border dispute.

Slovenian Premier Borut Pahor and his Croatian counterpart Ivo Sanader gave only brief statements after a one-hour meeting in the Slovenian town of Mokrice.

The row dates back more than 15 years, to 1991 when both Slovenia and Croatia ceded from the then Yugoslavia, and centres on the mutual border at the harbour town of Piran, and with it access rights to the Adriatic Sea.

EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn had earlier expressed his hopes that the meeting would contribute to the end of a row.

Slovenia-Croatia border row stokes NATO worries in Albania

SloveniaTirana - A border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia is stoking fears in Albania that its own accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) may be slowed as a result, local reports said Monday.

Slovenia and Croatia are at loggerheads over their border at the Bay of Piran, and with it access rights to the Adriatic Sea.

As a result, nationalist parties in Slovenia, which as a member of NATO is required to approve new accession, are attempting to force a referendum on Croatia's imminent membership of NATO.

EU expects "clarity" on Slovenia-Croatia row in weeks, Rehn says

SloveniaBrussels - The European Union expects "clarity" on how to solve a border row between Slovenia and Croatia within weeks, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said Friday.

The prime ministers of the embattled countries are set to meet on Tuesday, and "I expect clarity ... in the first week of March at the latest" on the question of whether both sides would accept EU mediation, he said.

Germany calls for end to border dispute of Slovenia and Croatia

Slovenia and Croatia Berlin - Germany hopes for a solution to the border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia, to enable Croatia to join NATO and the European Union (EU), German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Friday.

After a meeting in Berlin with his Slovenian counterpart Samuel Zbogar, Steinmeier referred to the offers made by EU Commissioner Olli Rehn and former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari to mediate in the dispute over a bay on the Adriatic coast.

Slovenia and Croatioa should approach each other with a constructive and flexible mindset, Steinmeier said.

ICTY releases ex-Yugoslav general who shelled Dubrovnik

CroatiaThe Hague - A former Yugoslav army general, sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for the 1991 shelling of Dubrovnik in Croatia, was released Friday because of poor health, ICTY said.

The now defunct Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) General Pavle Strugar, 75, had served just over two-thirds of the sentence ICTY handed to him on January 31, 2005.

Strugar was charged as the commanding officer in the JNA siege of Dubrovnik in the early days of the violent disintegration of Yugoslavia. His troops shelled Dubrovnik, a UNESCO-protected Adriatic port in late 1991, following Croatia's independence.

Croatian rescuers find airplane wreckage after six-day hunt

Zagreb mapZagreb - Croatian rescuers on Tuesday discovered the wreckage of a small passenger aircraft which disappeared in rugged terrain six days earlier.

The Cessna aircraft, thought to have had four instructors from a pilot school onboard, was flying from Zagreb to Zadar, some 220 kilometres south on the Adriatic Coast.

The people from the plane have not yet been found, the head of the Alpine rescue service, Zeljko Prizmic, told national television.