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Senior representatives for succession issues meet in Zagreb

The fifth meeting of the Standing Joint Committee of senior representatives of successor States to the former SFRY was convened in Zagreb today, four years – almost to the day – after their last meeting, held in Sarajevo on 11 and 12 November 2015. Headed by Senior Representative of the Republic of Slovenia for Succession Issues Mateja Vraničar Erman, the Slovenian delegation urged for consistent and effective implementation of the Agreement on Succession Issues, for the fulfilment of its obligations in good faith and for continuous dialogue among senior representatives to be continued.

Senior representatives for succession issues of successor States to the former SFRY

The Zagreb meeting was convened by Croatian Senior Representative Andreja Metelko-Zgombić to review the implementation status of the Agreement on Succession Issues, especially particulars regarding what progress has been achieved and what issues remain outstanding. The senior representatives reviewed all the annexes to the Agreement and concurred on the need for the continuous work of joint committees pursuant to individual annexes.

Regarding Annex A on movable and immovable property, the Slovenian Senior Representative emphasised that Slovenia will strive to convene the second meeting of the Joint Committee on Succession to Movable and Immovable Property by the end of the year. In the discussion concerning Annex B on diplomatic and consular properties, Slovenia urged to finalise the joint sales of the diplomatic properties of the former SFRY in New York and Bern, and to find a flexible approach to finalising the distribution of the remaining properties.

Regarding Annex C on financial assets and liabilities, the Slovenian delegation, which included Metka Prevc, Director of the Succession Fund of the Republic of Slovenia, who chairs the relevant committee, called for negotiations to be resumed on the distribution of guarantees for the SFRY’s hard currency savings among successor States.

With regard to archives, the subject of Annex D, Slovenia noted that all archival documents constituting common archives of all successor States should be incorporated in the Archives of Yugoslavia, with free and unhindered access to them being guaranteed. Slovenia also urged for the return of archival documents according to the principle of provenance. Paying particular attention to the digitisation of the archives, the Slovenian delegation proposed that all successor States strive to obtain international funding for this purpose. The proposal was upheld by all delegations.

Slovenia underlined that the provisions of Annex G (Private Property and Acquired Rights) were directly applicable, recognising title to movable or immovable property and rights in respect of that property of citizens and other legal persons of the SFRY.

Joint venture banks abroad were another item on the Zagreb agenda. In the discussion, the Slovenian delegation spoke in favour of the disclosure of all relevant information and of unhindered access to the archives of the National Bank of Yugoslavia.

Upholding Serbia’s proposal to discuss the war graves of the SFRY abroad as part of Annex F, Slovenia committed to sending other successor States all relevant information at its disposal and supported an agreement on the restoration and maintenance of these sites. Regarding the pavilion at the Venice Biennale, representing property of the SFRY abroad according to Slovenia, the Slovenian delegation proposed an agreement establishing property relationships in accordance with the principles of Annex F and an arrangement on usage by all successor States. It was agreed that the discussion of this issue would resume at the Standing Joint Committee’s next meeting.  

In light of the upcoming twentieth anniversary of the Agreement on Succession Issues, signed in Vienna on 29 June 2001, today’s meeting confirmed the commitment by all five successor States that the effective implementation of the Agreement continue and international legal obligations be upheld. According to the rotation principle, the next meeting of the Standing Joint Committee will be convened by North Macedonia by the end of June 2020.

For more information, visit the dedicated SFRY Succession webpage on the Slovenian Government’s website.