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Croatia banking on continued economic cooperation with Russia

April 04, 2018, 16:28 UTC+3 SOFIA

The Croatian president says Zagreb is counting on further political dialogue and economic cooperation with Russia

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Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic

© EPA-EFE/Pablo Ramon

SOFIA, April 4. /TASS/. Zagreb is counting on further political dialogue and economic cooperation with Russia, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic stated at a press conference following talks with her Bulgarian counterpart Rumen Radev.

"It is necessary to continue political dialogue. Our economic interests are another important part of cooperation. We support the development of new markets for Croatia’s economy and Croatian companies. Of course, Croatia adheres to all European regulations as well as the sanctions system but we are working on a broad field and Russia is a strong player in particular in south-eastern Europe," she said.

"We have some issues under discussion. In particular, this is the Agrokor case and Russian banks <…> I don’t doubt that Russia will demonstrate [its] willingness to continue this dialogue," she added.

Agrokor is Croatia’s largest private company, with its main operations being food production and retail. The company is facing a debt crisis and it is indebted to Russian banks alone to the tune of roughly 1.3 bln euro or 30% of its total debt. In April 2017, the government of Croatia began bailout procedures for the company and initiated a restructuring scheme. Agrokor founder Ivica Todoric was put on international wanted list.

In November 2017, Agrokor disputed Sberbank’s debt claims and excluded the Russian bank from the council of its creditors. In late 2017, during talks between Grabar-Kitarovic and President Vladimir Putin the situation with Agrokor’s debt to Sberbank was discussed.

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