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Croatian, Macedonian foreign ministers hold talks March 18, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Macedonia.
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Croatian-Macedonian political relations are excellent and without outstanding issues, but both countries should work on strengthening their economic cooperation, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic said in Zagreb on Tuesday after talks with his Macedonian counterpart Antonio Milososki.

Jandrokovic said this was a return visit which would contribute to the development of better and more substantial bilateral relations.

Jandrokovic said he and his colleague concluded that there were certain problems hampering the economic cooperation, adding that a joint task force would be formed soon to define those problems and ways of resolving them.

Croatia supports Macedonia’s bid to join NATO as soon as possible because of Macedonia’s internal achievements and hopes that Macedonia will find a solution to its dispute with Greece in the near future, said Jandrokovic.

Croatia feels that Macedonia should start negotiating European Union membership as soon as possible and supports it in that regard, just as it does every country in the region when it comes to EU accession, he added.

Croatia asks that several principles be respected, from an individual approach to each country and an evaluation of their own achievements to the fact that the accession negotiations must be fair and that each country must meet the requirements, Jandrokovic said, adding that it was especially important that bilateral issues should in no way disrupt the negotiating process but be resolved outside the accession negotiations.

He added that he and Milososki agreed on closer cooperation and the harmonisation of positions on succession to the former Yugoslavia so that the process could be wrapped up.

Milososki confirmed that political relations were good and stressed the need to advance economic cooperation, voicing confidence that a good year was ahead for Croatia and Macedonia in which Croatia could make the final step forward in the EU accession process and Macedonia begin accession negotiations.

Milososki said Macedonia was ready for that, and that he fully agreed with Jandrokovic that bilateral disputes between EU countries and accession candidates should not disrupt European integration, damaging the credibility of the process and the EU itself.

Milososki told reporters Macedonia did not see Croatia only as a friend in NATO but also as an advocate of the region’s interests that could help Macedonia a lot.

“Although Macedonia de jure still isn’t a NATO member, it is de facto a country which fully meets conditions and takes on major commitments in NATO missions,” he said, adding that Macedonia would augment its contingent in Afghanistan from 180 to 260 troops this year.

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