Treaty of Osimo
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The Treaty of Osimo was signed on 10 November 1975 by the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Italian Republic in Osimo, Italy, to definitely divide the Free Territory of Trieste between the two states. The treaty was written in French and became effective on 11 October 1977.
The treaty was based on the memorandum of understanding signed in London in 1954, which had handed over the provisional civil administration of Zone A to Italy, and of Zone B to Yugoslavia. The Treaty of Osimo merely made this situation definite. Zone A, including the city of Trieste, became the Italian Province of Trieste, but Yugoslavia was granted free access to the port of Trieste.
The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was never involved in the negotiation, which was carried on almost single-handedly by Eugenio Carbone, then Director General of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, who also signed the Treaty on behalf of the Italian government. For Yugoslavia the treaty was signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Miloš Minić.
Criticism in Italy
The Italian government was criticized harshly for signing the treaty, particularly for the secretive way in which negotiations were carried out, skipping the traditional diplomatic channels. Italian nationalists rejected the idea of giving up Istria, since Istria had been an ancient Italian region together with the Venetian region (Venetia et Histria). The antique Italian eastern border line lies in Istria and is defined as the river Arsia (today Raša). Furthermore Istria had belonged to Italy for the 25 (1919–1943) years between World War I and the end of World War II, and the west coast of Istria had long had a largely Italian population. Some even called for the prosecution of the then Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the crime of treason, as stated in Article 241 of the Italian Criminal Code, which mandates a life sentence for anybody found guilty of aiding and abetting a foreign power to exert its sovereignty on the national territory. Furthermore, the treaty did not guarantee the protection of the Italian minority in the Yugoslav zone - while it also did not do this for the Slovenian minority in the Italian zone. The question of protection of minorities was to be taken care of later through the signing of separate protocols.
Slovenia declared its independence in 1991 and was recognized internationally in 1992. Italy was quick to recognise Slovenian independence, and accept the accession of the new Slovenia to treaties concluded with Yugoslavia. Though the treaty's applicability was now in question, Slovenia then released a declaration on 31 July 1992, saying it would recognize the treaty. Both it and Croatia have opposed any changes to the treaty. Slovenia claimed that all debts owing to Italy (for property transferred to Yugoslav sovereignty after 1947) had now been paid. By 1993, however, 35,000 Italians still claimed money was owed to them. In 1994 the Italian government, led by premier Silvio Berlusconi, demanded that adequate compensation be paid, else efforts to integrate Slovenia into western Europe would be halted. To this effect, it prevented talks for Slovenia to enter the European Union until March 1995, when the new government under Lamberto Dini retracted such a demand. Instead, a co-operation pact was signed (led by Spain), with the effect of allowing Italian nationals who had resided in Slovenia for three years to purchase property there for up to four years after the pact was signed. It came into force during Slovenia's attempts to join the EU.
No similar declaration was made by the Croatian government, although the Parliament of Croatia on 25 June 1991 accepted the borders of Croatia as part of Yugoslavia. However, Italy did not insist on a declaration by Croatia, and the treaty was never questioned by Croatia, which considers it to be a valid treaty.
- Ronald Haly Linden. Norms and nannies: the impact of international organizations on the central and east European states. p. 104.
- Valussi, Ressmann (1861). Trieste e l'Istria nelle quistione italiana. p. 62.
- Tullio Scovazzi. Marine specially protected areas. p. 49.
- Taylor & Francis Group (2004). Europa World Year Book 2 2. p. 3796.