It could be anticipated that something would happen. Those small signs were systematically collected and analysed by Prime Minister Borut Pahor’s consultant and key negotiator in the preparation of the arbitration agreement, Marko Makovec. Therefore, he could not foresee only „one more appearance“ of a renowned international lawyer, the then consultant to Croatia’s Foreign Minister Goran Jandroković and the co-president of the Commission for the Preparation of Draft Agreement on Solution of Border Dispute with Slovenia, academician PhD Davorin Rudolf.
It was a protest, as could have been understood from the academician’s conversation with journalists in Split in mid-September 2009. And that was much more. PhD Rudolf on the same day, only a few hours earlier, informed the Prime Minister of Croatian Government Jadranka Kosor, that he would cancel all tasks he performed for Croatian Government or personally for her. It was already known on that day that Kosor led secret talks with Pahor on the conclusion of the agreement on arbitration.
And not only that.
A reliable information came from Zagreb that Kosor accepted also the request that the arbitration court solves the issue of Slovenia’s contact with open sea.
PhD Rudolf, who was also Minister during PhD Franjo Tuđman’s rule, and his assistants knew that it was a dangerous experiment, very different from all which have been allowed by then.
Long-lasting talks of government led by PMs PhD Janez Drnovšek and Nikica Valentić, as well as the concluded agreements, verified by signatures of Drnovšek and Croatia’s new PM at the time PhD Ivica Račan.
The first was interrupted literally at the final meeting in Maribor, by Croatian Ambassador in Slovenia announcing that PhD Tuđman informed him that the negotiations were finished and that he would dismiss the government and the second finished with the visit of renowned and politically influential Croatia’s legal experts for maritime issues in Račan’s cabinet and the information that there are only two possibilities: either to forget about the agreement with Drnovšek and deny it, or his government would face serious problems. It was known at the time that the withdrawal of the agreement of arbitration would have been much more difficult, because it would be the first time for Croatia to conclude an international and legally binding agreement on solving the issue of the sea border. The plan was, namely, quite different.
And no one did not even think that Kosor, who was literally appointed as president of the strongest ruling party and Prime Minister by PhD Ivo Sanader soon after his surprising and unusual withdrawal in July 2009, would take it seriously and, even more than that, get out of the planned framework of relations with Slovenia.
And it was pretty simple.
To convince the Slovenian politicians that any negotiations on the border before Croatia’s full EU membership were not necessary, because Slovenia allegedly had firm guarantees that the two countries would easily reach an agreement as EU member states.
It was on that September day in 2009 that PhD Rudolf resigned as a sign of protest. And the careful consultant and negotiator Marko Makovec defined a new point at which attempt would be made to prevent the conclusion of the arbitration agreement, or, as PhD Rudolf picturesquely described to journalists in talks at the Split shore, the request for the Court to solve the issue of Slovenia’s contact with the open sea meant that Croatia had to leave the corridor, that is the part of the sea that is called the chimney. »And if we yield now, we will open,« he used exactly that term, »constant source of misunderstandings and threat that other states would seek similar solutions.
And, indeed, Croatia adopted a unilateral statement soon after, excluding precisely that chimney, or the contact with open sea from the arbitration. They were explaining that it was only an internal legal act that was required because of the opposition. Yet, almost at the same time, signals started coming that Kosor had requests on her table to try and do all that was required for the statement to be enclosed with the agreement.
The text of such a statement was signed with an additional text, witnessed by USA and Sweden.
When the statement was factually submitted on the day of the signing of the arbitration agreement, Sweden as country presiding the EU and USA, primarily thanks to the then chargé d’affaires at the Embassy in Slovenia Brad Freden, distanced from the statement.
The statement slowly paled into insignificance.
The agreement could then be signed.