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Oman 2014 | DIPLOMACY | GUEST SPEAKER

Ivo Josipović, President of the Republic of Croatia, on the strong relations between Croatia and Oman, which go far beyond trade.

HE Ivo Josipović
BIOGRAPHY
Ivo Josipović graduated from the Faculty of Law, went on to complete a Master’s, and obtained a PhD with the thesis “Law on Arrest and Pre-trial Detention in Criminal Procedure Law” from Zagreb University. Prior to his election to the office of President, Ivo Josipović was a Professor at the Law School of the University of Zagreb. He has published several books and a total of 85 scholarly and expert papers in journals and magazines in the country and abroad. Between 2005 and 2009 he was a member of the City Council of the City of Zagreb, and a member of the Croatian Parliament between 2003 and 2010, before he was elected President.

Croatia is a European country whose geostrategic position, natural resources, and human capital represent a good basis for the development of a society that appreciates work, knowledge, and creativity. Croatia's accession to the EU on July 1, 2013 marked the most important stage in the process of Croatia's political, economic, and social internationalization. We have become part of a market of 500 million people. This is a position that can bring Croatia and its partners outside the EU a significant benefit since this adds the capacities of different markets and creates opportunities that Croatia, realistically speaking, could not have up to now. Now is the right time to use this leeway, together with our friends and partners in the world—Oman certainly being one of them—for the further development and advancement of our relations.

In addition to easier access to the European and global markets, we offer a modern transport infrastructure, safe business environment, encouraging investment climate, educated labor force, and high quality of life.

Croatian companies have enormous and relevant experience in the construction of infrastructural facilities, which has been confirmed in a number of successfully realized projects worldwide. To all those who have visited Croatia in recent years at least once, it is clear that we have one of the most modern motorway networks in Europe. Croatia's construction industry has proved its expertise in civil engineering and building construction, and I am confident that it can meet the demands of the Omani market.

“ Our two countries share good geographic positions, favorable climate, a long seafaring tradition, rich cultural heritage, and an ecological conscience. "

I am aware that the Omani side has, several times, expressed its interest in the use of Croatia's air and seaports. A project of modernization and development of the port of Rijeka is underway. This includes development of the port's transshipment and commercial facilities, a passenger port, a boating center, and accompanying commercial and tourist facilities. Opportunities for investment are arising as well as for some other ways of using the capacities of the port of Rijeka and its entire transport direction. It is possible to use the benefits of a free zone there.

In relation to this, it is necessary to refer to Osijek Airport and its opportunities for the development of cargo transport. Here, as well as in other areas, Croatia expects Omani entrepreneurs and Omani capital, with its doors being wide open.

Croatia can be an interesting partner to Oman in the sector of energy transport and the energy trade. Croatia has plans for the construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal on the island of Krk—Omani investors and suppliers are welcome.

Our two countries share good geographic positions, favorable climate, a long seafaring tradition, rich cultural heritage, and an ecological conscience; all these elements are integrated in the development of Croatia's tourism sector. To its Omani partners, Croatia offers opportunities for investments in its tourism infrastructure. We remain open for exchanges of experience and know-how, in particular in the area of medical tourism, in which our Omani friends have earlier expressed their interest.

I am acquainted with Oman's policy of providing its citizens with the opportunity to acquire knowledge abroad. Croatia has quality programs, in particular in the field of medicine and engineering, which are open to foreign students. Personally, I would like if students from Oman were among them. In our previous contacts, Oman expressed its need for experts in archaeology, in particular underwater research. In this sense, still unexplored archaeological sites in Oman represent a major opportunity for cooperation with our archaeological experts.

During earlier bilateral talks and contacts, we could identify the areas of interest of both countries, ranging from the development of infrastructure, energy, and tourism to cooperation in science and education. Now is the time to identify the concrete projects that we want to develop within these areas. The initiated dialogue between Croatia and Oman can be moved to a new strategic level. All future efforts focused on this will enjoy my full support.

Finally, I am very pleased that Omani tourists have discovered Croatia and that they visit Croatia in increasing numbers—their visits are appreciated.