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Csáky says EU talks with Croatia should get green light

CROATIA has improved its cooperation with the UN war crime tribunal (ICTY) since March. So it would only be fair for European Union foreign ministers to decide to start accession talks with Zagreb when they meet on October 3, according to according to Deputy Prime Minister Pál Csáky.

Speaking after his meeting with Croatian officials on September 29 in Zagreb, the Slovak vice-premier for European integration, human rights and minorities said he had met Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, Deputy Prime Minister Jadranka Kosorova, Foreign Affairs Ministry State Secretary for European Integration Hid Biscevic and chairman of the parliamentary committee for European Integration, Neven Mimic.

Zagreb is keyed up regarding ICTY chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte visit and, above all, her report concerning Croatia's co-operation with the tribunal. The report will have a major impact on whether the future EU enlargement includes Croatia. Earlier this month del Ponte accused Croatia of hiding war criminal general Ante Gotovina in a monastery.

In March the EU delayed the start of accession talks because of Croatia's alleged insufficient co-operation with the ICTY.

Csaky also spoke about the results of a recent poll showing Croatian support for EU entry falling from 80 percent in March to its current 36 percent.

But according to Csáky, there is a real chance that foreign ministers will say that Croatia has made progress. However, no one is able to predict whether the EU will approve the start of accession talks with Croatia.

Britain, which currently chairs the EU, The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, are among the opponents of Croatian entry. On the other hand Austria and its neighbours, including Slovakia, support Croatia's entry if Zagreb puts to bed the question of fugitive general Gotovina.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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