Everything started with questions about beautiful and adequately expensive men’s watches. These prestigious parts of the male accessories became an interesting and popular media message both for spectators interested in watches, and even more for those who wondered how they were purchased. The selected collection of watches became a first-class political topic. It was not unusual because their owner, who was able to wear them in a notable way, was Dr. Ivo Sanader, President of the Croatian Government. Sanader began to search for the culprit, the one from his environment who was not loyal to him or even tried to shake his power. He was afraid of intrigues, at least starting from the days when the competitors within the largest government party successfully discredited him and pulled out of the working vicinity of Dr. Franjo Tuđman. In spite of the public swearing that she never even noticed his watches, that is, that she could not report the selected journalists on them, Sanader fired the foreign minister in his government, Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, at the beginning of 2008, sending her away from his eyes, to Washington. Already a former minister learned then that, if you want to be successful in politics, you must first have a great power, and then the right to react in a very cautious manner to the individual problems of the state that could reduce your popularity in the public.
On Thursday, July 5, Grabar Kitarović took part in the regular meeting of the presidents of the states of Austria, Croatia and Slovenia. President Borut Pahor reopened the unresolved issue between Croatia and the International Arbitral Tribunal at this meeting, which he provides with the necessary recognition with much diplomatic care.
I talked to the president several days later. Pahor explained to me the circumstances of the meeting held in the Goriška Brda and primarily the response to his messages that the sea border between Slovenia and Croatia was determined and that Slovenia was prepared to do everything to protect its territorial integrity. In addition, he mentioned a new incident, the Croatian expansion of mussel plant in the Slovenian sea. The expected response from the Croatian president followed. That the judgment of the arbitral tribunal does not exist for her or Croatia, because the new Slovenian and Croatian governments will immediately initiate new border talks. However, this was followed by a surprise. That she does not know anything about mussel plants and the appropriation of the Slovenian sea. As if that did not happen or, if it happened, it had nothing to do with the relations between Slovenia and Croatia.
Grabar Kitarović has learned from the affair with Sanader’s watches that it is necessary to have political power. She is now before the decision on a re-run, which, among other things, depends on the support of the ruling party and its president, Andrej Plenković.
She is not in the best relations with him. Her such an unusual answer for foreign policy and presidential meetings, that she does not know anything about violating the territorial integrity of the neighbouring state, could be explained precisely by her decision on the new presidential term. That she is not interested in foreign political responses, that only the response of domestic public opinion is relevant to her. We can similarly interpret her unusual dance during a football match between Russia and Croatia, therefore, only with the desire to be appealing to domestic public opinion.
The president wants to run again, but not with the uncertain support of the ruling party, but with the help of great public support. Therefore, she is ready to break all reasonable political and diplomatic expectations.
However, with this explanation we would only enter into the sphere of political speculation about the interesting things and consequences of the conflict between Grabar Kitarović and Plenković, without the right answer as to why the president is completely ignorant of the Croatian encroachment into the Slovenian sea, about the point of conversation in Brda, on which she was specifically warned at least a few days before it.
I have to return to Sanader again, namely, we can find the right answer right at the time of his government.
In 2005, today’s Croatian president was elected minister of foreign affairs. She knew the whole history of open issues with Slovenia and a decade of various negotiations between ministers, senior officials and experts. She knew that all the agreements reached between the states were soon recalled by Croatia or marked as a major mistake. Since, first of all, all the issues of the sea border line are primarily the consequence of the misleading Slovenian position that those borders in the former Yugoslavia were not determined. For the sake of scientific support to the political thesis, they made a comprehensive study and similarly as in the case of the sea border with Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, they equipped with the great Atlas of Yugoslavia, prepared at the Military Geographic Institute in Belgrade. Namely, this Atlas had the sea borders on the Adriatic drawn.
In 2005, the Slovenian Parliament adopted the Law on the Designation of a Protected Ecological Zone and an Epicontinental Zone, precisely in response to the intention of the neighbouring state to impose itself as an exclusive successor to the Yugoslav sea.
Immediately after that, on October 5, 2005, Dr. Sanader repeated the historical sentence of Josip Broz in the Croatian Parliament. What’s ours we don’t give, what’s other we don’t want and announced that Croatia will end the Slovenian playing around the borders and propose a definitive solution. He added that the foreign minister had already sent an important letter to Dr Dimitrij Rupel.
And exactly in that letter she wrote everything that she wants to hide today, as the Croatian president.
Namely, Kolinda Grabar Kitarović first promoted the proposal on the arbitration court as the only possibility where the border between the two countries can be determined.
She became the formal owner of both the proposal on arbitration and the obligation to unconditionally accept the judgment of the arbitrators.
But this is not the news that would help her in the way of obtaining the so much desired support of Croatian voters.
Surprise at the meeting in Goriška Brda was expected.