Vote backs border deal

Slovenia has narrowly approved a border arbitration deal with Croatia in a referendum, clearing an obstacle to Croatia's bid for EU membership, according to preliminary results.

With 98 per cent of votes counted, 51.6 per cent of Slovenes approved the deal, the state electoral commission said. The vote should boost Croatia's chances of joining the EU in 2012. Under the deal, an international team will settle definitively a dispute over the land and sea border that dates from the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991. Slovenia joined the EU in 2004.