Search

 

Cablegate: Croatia Committed to Nato Reform Recommendations

VZCZCXRO8325
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVB #0618/01 1791332
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281332Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7862
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ZAGREB 000618

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EUR, EUR/SCE
USNATO FOR JONES, UNDERWOOD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPAO MOPS MARR NATO HR DEFENSE REFORM
SUBJECT: CROATIA COMMITTED TO NATO REFORM RECOMMENDATIONS

REF: A. STATE 83552
B. ZAGREB 593
C. ZAGREB 395 AND PREVIOUS

(U) Sensitive, but unclassified; please handle accordingly.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY AND COMMENT: Ambassador, DCM, and PolOff
delivered ref A points during week of June 18 to FM Kolinda
Grabar-Kitarovic, Asst DefMin Igor Pokaz, and MFA NATO Office
Director Neven Mikec respectively. GoC representatives were
grateful for USG support and guidance and emphasized
commitment to continued progress in reforms in run-up to
NATO's Bucharest Summit. On June 20, Ambassador also
discussed the POTUS Tirana A-3 lunch with PM Sanader, who
stressed that the GoC is addressing all issues raised by
President Bush. While the GoC is visibly confident about a
NATO invitation in 2008, they are clearly taking nothing for
granted and continue to push ahead on reforms. END SUMMARY
AND COMMENT.

COMMITMENT TO DEMOCRATIC VALUES
-------------------------------

2. (SBU) The GoC has focused particular effort on democratic
reforms, as they also have a significant impact on EU
accession and eventual OSCE mission closure. Croatia has
achieved concrete progress in all key areas, though refugee
return issues and judicial reform remain key areas to watch.
According to Mikec, property restitution will likely remain
unaddressed at least until after parliamentary elections
expected in November. Post has raised this at the highest
levels and will continue to press for some kind of progress,
particularly after parliamentary elections.

3. (SBU) On refugee returns, the GoC has agreed to meet by
the end of 2007 specific benchmarks set in consultation with
the international community, including construction of
apartments and resolution of issues related to pension credit
for years worked under the Serb administration and housing
for former occupants of socialized housing. We are hopeful
that the GoC has finally gained traction on dealing with
these issues. Post and its partners in the international
community will continue to press for sustainable solutions.

4. (SBU) Judicial reform remains a key area of concern,
though Post has witnessed significant progress. The judicial
backlog is shrinking, and high profile war crimes cases
against ethnic Croatians are proceeding without noticeable
protest, including the Ademi-Norac case transferred from the
Hague Tribunal.

5. (SBU) In the fight against corruption, the GoC recently
made dramatic progress with the arrest of six employees of
the Croatian Privatization Fund, three of whom were vice
presidents (ref B). While it is not yet clear if these
arrests will lead to convictions and what the political
implications will be for the four government ministers who
sit on the Fund's supervisory board, the GoC has clearly
given the Chief State Prosecutor full latitude to pursue the
case despite any potential damage to the ruling party
(septel).

6. (SBU) In combating trafficking in persons, the GoC
continues to improve its cooperation with NGOs to identify
and assist victims of trafficking and has increased its
efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes.
Post is still waiting to see convictions.

7. (SBU) Croatia's constructive engagement in the region
continues to be one of its greatest contributions to
stability. In addition to active participation in A-3
structures, the GoC maintains vigorous and positive bilateral
relations with every country in the region. Croatia just
concluded its successful chairmanship of the South East
European Cooperation Process with the formation of a
permanent Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), the successor
to the Stability Pact initiative. Croatian leaders have made
helpful contributions And on the final status of Kosovo and
can be counted on to do more in the future.

CONTRIBUTING TO ALLIANCE SECURITY
---------------------------------

8. (SBU) Croatia's self-financed and caveat-free ISAF
contingent, currently 172 troops, continues to be its
greatest contribution to NATO operations, with plans to raise
the number to 200 by the end of 2007 and to 300 in 2008. Of
note, the contribution includes trainers embedded with the
Afghan National Army, an operational role no other non-member

ZAGREB 00000618 002 OF 002


has taken on. Croatia is also contributing to NATO readiness
by hosting training exercises, including IDASSA '07 in May,
the largest NATO civilian disaster response exercise ever
held in a non-member state. The GoC is preparing to host a
large-scale NATO maritime exercise in October. The GoC has
also offered a variety of military training to Iraqi soldiers
and may begin courses in Croatia this fall.

9. (SBU) The Croatian military is clearly serious about
drawing from their Afghanistan experience to increase their
interoperability and develop lessons-learned for future
NATO-led stability operations. It is increasing its number
of deployable units through a self-evaluation system under
the Operational Capabilities Concept (OCC). A Military
Police Platoon has been certified as deployable, while an
Engineering Platoon (Demining) and Light Infantry Company
(Motorized) have self-evaluated as deployable and are
awaiting NATO certification. A Special Operations Platoon,
NBC platoon, and helicopter detachment are planned for
self-evaluation in the next two years.

10. (SBU) The GoC appears to be on track to reach 2 percent
of GDP target for defense spending in 2010, assuming normal
economic growth. Lowering personnel costs is an ongoing and
long-term challenge. On hardware acquisitions, Mikec said
the GoC is unlikely to back away from plans to buy 12 fighter
jets despite Allied recommendations to focus on rotary wing
assets.

11. (SBU) Mikec noted that constitutional changes are being
prepared to modify Croatia's deployment approval process to
allow direct implementation of Article 5. These changes,
however, which are part of an interministerial constitutional
review, will not be considered until 2008.

12. (SBU) With assistance from Post's EXBS program and other
donor nations, the GoC continues to make concrete progress in
improving border security. Customs seizures of contraband
are up, in part thanks to USG-donated equipment, and
Croatia's non-proliferation regime is becoming increasingly
effective. The GoC recently approved deployment of two
officers to Naples to participate in Operation Active
Endeavor.

SUCCESS IN BUILDING BROAD PUBLIC SUPPORT
----------------------------------------

13. (SBU) The GoC's efforts to build public support for NATO
membership have produced impressive results, with a poll
published June 27 showing public support at 52 percent with
only 23 percent opposition. This is steady with results from
mid-May, showing that any bump from earlier events in the
Serbian parliament appears to have stuck for the moment.
Leaders have not missed an opportunity to preach the benefits
of NATO. It was a central theme in all speeches in the June
25 Statehood Day celebration, which included a NATO public
information booth on Zagreb's main square.

PROTECTING NATO CLASSIFIED - UNFINISHED BUSINESS
--------------------------------------------- ---

14. (SBU) The protection of NATO classified information
remains an area where the GoC has unfinished homework. The
GoC's original draft legislation ran into problems with human
rights groups who feared overly broad classification
authority. A new draft expected in July may address these
concerns and bring rapid progress on this issue.

STATUS OF FORCES AGREEMENT
---------------------------

15. (SBU) The long saga of supplemental SOFA negotiations may
be nearing a close, though the issue of detention of service
members accused of crimes and the duration of the USG's
obligation to produce them for trial remains contentious.
The GoC has struggled to compromise on this issue, while
protecting what they perceive as an issue of the independence
of their judiciary and the danger of impunity. We will
continue to discuss this issue based on a recent exchange of
proposals between Zagreb and Washington.
BRADTKE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

New IPCC Report: ‘Unprecedented Changes’ Needed To Limit Global Warming

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require “far-reaching and unprecedented changes,” such as ditching coal for electricity to slash carbon emissions, says a special report that finds some of the actions needed are already under way, but the world must move faster… More>>

ALSO:

Jamal Khashoggi: UK, France, Germany Join Calls For Credible Investigation

Germany, the United Kingdom and France share the grave concern expressed by others including HRVP Mogherini and UNSG Guterres, and are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness. More>>

ALSO:

MSF Not Wanted: Nauru Government Shows Continued Callousness

The Nauruan Government’s decision to ask Doctors Without Borders to immediately leave shows continued callousness towards asylum seekers desperately seeking a safe place to call home, Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said today. More>>

ALSO:

Sulawesi Quake, Tsunami: Aid Response Begins

Oxfam and its local partners are standing by to deploy emergency staff and resources to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, as an estimated 1.5 million people are thought to be affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit on Friday. More>>

ALSO:

Decriminalising Same-Sex Relationships: UN Rights Chief Applauds Indian Decision

“This is a great day for India and for all those who believe in the universality of human rights," Bachelet said. "With this landmark decision, the Indian Supreme Court has taken a big step forward for freedom and equality...” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC