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 accepted Rehn's offer for the Finnish Nobel Peace Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari to mediate, but Croatia dismissed it in favour of the issue being handled by the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Last December, Slovenia blocked Croatia's talks with the EU because of the dispute. Croatia had hoped to complete accession talks by the end of the year.

The row could also potentially hold back progress on Croatia's entry into NATO. dpa