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Slovenes End Vote On Border Deal With Croatia


The dispute, which dates back to the 1991 breakup of the former Yugoslavia, concerns a strip of land and territorial water around Piran Bay.

Polls have closed in Slovenia in a national referendum on whether to accept a deal under which the country will resolve a border dispute with Croatia through international arbitration.

Turnout among the country's 1.7 million registered voters was around 50 percent.

Latest opinion polls suggest a tight outcome as the political opposition is strongly against the agreement, which was signed last November and has already been ratified in Croatia.

A positive referendum would send Slovenia's border dispute with Croatia to an European Union-led arbitration commission and pave the way for Croatia to join the EU.

EU member Slovenia has previously blocked Croatia's talks toward membership in the bloc over the border issue, which dates back to both countries' independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991.

The dispute concerns a strip of land and territorial water around Piran Bay. Slovenia is demanding direct access to international waters -- something that could force Croatia to cede some sea it has regarded as its own.

compiled from agency reports