Joint Press Statement By; The Foreign Ministers Of The Republic Of Croatia And The Republic Of Turkey March13, 1998

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, His Excellency Dr. Mate Granic paid an official visit to the Republic of Turkey on 12-13 March 1998, at the invitation of His Excellency İsmail Cem, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey.

During his visit, Minister Granic was received by the President of the Republic of Turkey His Excellency Süleyman Demirel, Speaker of the Grand National Assembly His Excellency Hikmet Çetin and Deputy and Acting Prime Minister His Excellency Bülent Ecevit.

Heading their respective delegations, the two Ministers held discussions on matters of mutual interest and reviewed progress in the relations between Turkey and Croatia. The two Ministers expressed their satisfaction with the good course of the political relations and the fruitful high level visits between the two countries. They confirmed their determination to further develop and especially diversify the cooperation existing between the two countries.

The two Ministers agreed to continue their political consultations between themselves as well as between the high officials of their respective Ministries on a regular basis. To this end, they signed a protocol to institutionalize the consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries. They also signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation Between the Foreign Service Training Centers of the two Ministries.

The two Ministers also agreed that time has come to attach special importance to enhance their economic and trade relations. They noted that bilateral trade, although substantially increased during the past few years, is still below the potential of the two countries. They agreed to work through existing governmental as well as non-governmental mechanisms to promote trade relations and find new areas of cooperation. In this context, the two Ministers noted that Turkish contractors are becoming interested in the infrastructure projects in Croatia. Minister Granic stated that the Croatian Government welcomes the involvement of Turkish contractors in Croatian infrastructure projects through regular bidding procedures.

Minister Cem thanked the Croatian Government for inviting Turkey to participate in the International Zagreb Fair as a "partner country" in 1999 and informed Minister Granic of the preparations.

Having stated that the cultural relations between the two countries should also be promoted, the two Ministers pointed to the significance of the exhibition of a famous Croatian artist which is being displayed on the occasion of this visit in Turkey and the Dubrovnik Festival which is to be attended by the Minister of Culture of Turkey in summer 1998.

As to the regional and international issues, they noted with satisfaction that their views continue to be close and that this mutual understanding constitutes a good basis to further develop their cooperation.

In discussing the situation in South-Eastern Europe, the two Ministers reviewed the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreements. They reaffirmed that full and comprehensive implementation of the Dayton Agreement is vital for the preservation of peace and strengthening of the constitutional order in Bosnia-Herzegovina. They noted with satisfaction the political changes in the Republika Srpska, expressing the expectation that they will contribute to the accelerated implementation of the Dayton Agreements.

The two Ministers discussed various issues concerning cooperation between Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats and urged both sides to continue vigorously the process of building the Federation at all levels. They called for the resolution of outstanding issues, through the implementation of the decisions adopted earlier between the federal partners, wherever required.

Minister Granic expressed appreciation for Turkey's past contributions to the Federation, as well as for its present role in the "Train and Equip Programme".

In reviewing the developments in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, the two Ministers considered that mutual recognition and full post-war normalization of relations among all countries in the region on the basis of sovereign equality and good neighborliness policy is of vital importance for stability and prosperity in this part of Europe. Minister Cem expressed satisfaction that Croatia has achieved its territorial integrity through the peaceful reintegration of the Croatian Danubian region with the Republic of Croatia on January 15 1998.

The two Ministers exchanged their views on the rapidly deteriorating situtation in Kosovo. They expressed their deep concern about the recent violent incidents and the possibility that the turmoil could spread to the rest of the region. They strongly and unreservedly condemned the terrorist actions to achieve political goals as well as suppression of peaceful demonstrations with violence. They called on parties to take immediate steps to reach a solution through dialogue, with strict adherence to the principles of the OSCE and within the framework of the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The two Ministers also decided to cooperate in international organizations and to consider each others requests of support favorably.In this respect, Minister Granic stated that Croatia would consider Turkey's application for membership of the United Nations Security Council for the period of 2001-2002 positively.

Minister Granic invited Minister Cem to pay an official visit to Croatia in the near future. The invitation was accepted with pleasure.