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Slovenians Narrowly Support Deal With Croatia

The dispute involves land and sea territory around Piran Bay.
Slovenia's voters have narrowly approved a deal to resolve a border dispute with Croatia via arbitration.

According to near-complete referendum results, 51.5 percent of Slovenes approved the agreement, which was signed last November and has already been ratified in Croatia.

Under the border arbitration deal, an international team is to settle a dispute over the land and sea border. The ruling would be binding for both countries.

Slovenia's Prime Minister Borut Pahor called the vote results a "big success for Slovenia," while Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor said she foresaw no further Slovenian action to bar Zagreb's path towards joining the EU.

EU member Slovenia has previously blocked Croatia's talks toward membership in the bloc over the issue, which dates from the 1991 break-up of Yugoslavia.

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 waters it has regarded as its own.

compiled from agency reports