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Croatia Asks Slovenia to Retry BIS Mediation Over Banking Row

Croatia asked Slovenia to jointly approach the Bank for International Settlements to settle a banking dispute, almost two years after the BIS declined to mediate over money owed to Croat savers by the predecessor of Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d.

“We are suggesting that both countries, once again, turn to BIS over the issue,” Danijela Barisic, a spokeswoman at the Foreign Ministry in Zagreb, said by phone.

Croatia, which needs Slovenia to ratify its European Union membership to enter the bloc in July 2013, has barred NLB from operating in neighboring Croatia while the dispute remains unsettled. The Ljubljana-based debt is estimated at 312 million deutsche marks ($204 million), the former German currency that was widely used in former Yugoslavia.

The Basel-based BIS in 2010 rejected a moderator’s role, saying it could not bring any added value to negotiations.

An EU member since 2004, Slovenia blocked its neighbor’s EU accession talks for 10 months in 2009 over a border issue. The two countries in January agreed on a panel of legal experts to work out a resolution. Slovenia’s France Arhar and Croatia’s Zdenko Rogic met twice in recent weeks.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jasmina Kuzmanovic at jkuzmanovic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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