Selective and temporary suspension of sanctions against Iran

First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Vesna Pusic attended in Brussels a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, which after a confirmation by the International Atomic Energy Agency reached a decision on selective and temporary suspension of certain sanctions against Iran. The meeting discussed the Southern Mediterranean, a topic Pusic said was important to Croatia as it concerns Syria and preparations for Geneva II, a conference to be held in Montreux and which Iran has been invited to attend as well. “We talked about Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, which has just seen a constitutional referendum, as well as about the Middle East Peace Process and Europe’s support for US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts,” Pusic said. Discussing the Central African Republic, the participants praised France for intervening and now preparations are under way for a donors" conference in Addis Ababa on 1 February. Asked about Croatia’s engagement in a military mission there, Pusic said that “we do not intend to deploy our troops for the time being, unless there is an extraordinary situation. Our soldiers are deployed at several locations that we are concentrated on, such as Afghanistan or our wider neighbourhood, primarily the Southern Mediterranean.” In regard to the Pelješac bridge, the minister said that “the preliminary feasibility study confirms that the construction of a bridge between the Pelješac peninsula and the mainland is the best solution for connecting Croatian as well as European territory, and meets the financial, phytosanitary, Schengen and other criteria,” adding that the study did not differ from the previously published draft. As for the financial aspect, Pusic said that the preliminary feasibility study alone was not enough for the bridge to be financed by the EU funds. “The fact that the study has shown that the Pelješac bridge is the best option means that this is a necessary but insufficient requirement. A feasibility study is now being made and it"s very important that it is done well, so that the project can apply for European funding,” said the minister, adding that the project could be drawn up by autumn and presented to the European Commission that would take office on 1 November. Pusic underlined that Croatia had and would continue to cooperate with Bosnia and Herzegovina on the issues surrounding the bridge. Asked about the start of EU-Serbia entry talks on Tuesday, Pusic said that was “excellent and important news not only for Serbia but, in my and Croatia"s deep belief, for the whole region as well. To show the importance of that, I will attend the accession conference tomorrow," she added. In regard to a possible withdrawal of genocide suit against Serbia at the International Court of Justice, Pusic said that the conditions to withdraw the suit had not been met, because Serbia had not provided information on people gone missing during the war. "We have received information on only 13 of the 900 missing persons," she said, adding that she had discussed the withdrawal of the suit and Serbia"s countersuit four times over the last 18 months with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkic and Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic. Pusic said it looked "quite certain" now that the information would not be provided, which was why the two parties would go to court. As for a letter from the people of the Jabuka village concerning problems with cross-border traffic, the minister said “the villagers could not be experiencing any problems as cross-border regime does apply to them. I have not yet received the letter, but I assume it’s from people born in those villages, but not living there. That is a different matter. The cross-border regime only applies to people living along the border.” Commenting on the European Arrest Warrants, Pusic said that there was no pressure from the executive branch on the judiciary. “The judiciary is doing its job, as evidenced by the fact that two persons were served with the EAW and two courts delivered two different rulings. If ever the judiciary made decisions autonomously, it is in these two cases," Pusic said.

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