LB issue

Croatian, Slovenian ministers write to BIS over bank issue

05.07.2013 u 16:30


Foreign Ministers Vesna Pusic of Croatia and Karl Erjavec of Slovenia said after three-hour talks in Slovenia on Friday that they had signed a joint letter asking the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel to sponsor negotiations on transferred foreign currency savings in now-defunct Ljubljanska Banka's (LB) Zagreb branch.

"We sent a joint letter to the BIS asking that it get involved so that work can begin on solving this issue as part of succession (to the former Yugoslavia)," Pusic said, adding that this was another step confirming the constructive and friendly relations between the two states.

She said Croatia and Slovenia "are dealing with problems they didn't create but are participating and will participate in handling them."

Financial experts Zdravko Rogic of Croatia and France Arhar of Slovenia will take part in the talks on the transferred savings under the BIS' auspices.

Erjavec said he hoped the issue could be solved by the end of this or early next year.

Asked by the press if Croatia was honouring a memorandum of understanding on how to handle the LB savings issue which the two countries signed earlier this year, Pusic said the memorandum referred only to the transferred foreign currency savings.

Croatia has abided by "the letter and the spirit" of the memorandum so far, she said, adding that the memorandum spoke of a stay on court proceedings against LB under way in Croatia and not of withdrawing the actions launched by Privredna Banka Zagreb and Zagrebacka Banka.

Pusic said the Croatian government would not withdraw the power of attorney given to the two banks, but said the actions would be dropped if the issue of Croatian citizens' foreign currency savings in LB was solved under the BIS' auspices.

"If the issue of the transferred foreign currency savings is solved as part of the succession, and I believe it will be, those actions will become irrelevant," said Pusic.

Erjavec said he had sent a letter to the other successors to the former Yugoslavia inviting them to solve issues created by the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in accordance with a succession agreement which was signed in Vienna in 2001 and was ratified by all the successors. He said that was the only document envisaging ways of handling issues created by the break-up.

Erjavec congratulated Croatia on joining the European Union on July 1, saying he was pleased that Pusic had come to Slovenia only a few days after that event.

Responding to questions from the press, he said Slovenia's position was that the actions against LB in Croatian courts should "be inactive until a final solution" was reached.

Pusic said today's meeting showed that Croatia and Slovenia, through cooperation, were making their relations positive, constructive and friendly step by step.