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Cablegate: Zagreb Weekly Activity Report - January 9, 2008

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PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVB #0010 0091502
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 091502Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8459
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000010

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR EUR/SCE, EUR/PPD, EUR/RPM AND EUR/ERA
OSD FOR WINTERNITZ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV HR
SUBJECT: ZAGREB WEEKLY ACTIVITY REPORT - JANUARY 9, 2008

1. (U) PM TO PRESENT NEW GOVERNMENT ON JANUARY 12: PM
Sanader has now signed coalition agreements with the Peasants
Party (HSS), the Social Liberals (HSLS) and five minority
representatives, giving him a 79-seat majority in the Sabor.
He expects to conclude another agreement with the leading
Serb party (SDSS) to add three additional seats by the end of
the week. Discussions of ministerial positions are ongoing,
sparking widespread media speculation regarding who will take
which portfolio. A clear picture of the new cabinet may not
emerge until Sanader presents his government to an
extraordinary session of parliament on January 12. (TSelinger)

2. (U) NO REFERENDUM ON NATO: During coalition negotiations
with PM Sanader, the HSS and HSLS agreed to
give up pursuit of a NATO referendum. Commenting on the
coalition agreement, HSS leader Josip Friscic
explained that he called for a NATO plebiscite during the
election campaign only in the case of
widespread public opposition to membership, but Croatians now
support NATO in public polls. Friscic also
stressed that HSS has never opposed NATO membership but only
wanted to ensure a climate of support among
citizens. A poll released on January 8 showed 49 percent of
citizens supporting membership while about
40 percent were opposed and 11 percent remained undecided.
(TSelinger)

3. (U) US-SUPPORTED PILOT TASK FORCE BREAKS ORGANIZED CRIME
RING: With long-term Post support and
ICITAP guidance, Croatian prosecutors established a pilot
regional task force to investigate and
break-up a suspected trafficking ring. The innovative
project brought together Serbian, Slovenian, and
Montenegrin counterparts, and IOM (International Organization
for Migration) along with the EU/Spain
twinning advisor. After a year-long investigation by police
and prosecutors, in December authorities
arrested 25 persons in the four countries on charges
including human trafficking, illegal smuggling of
persons, illegal possession of firearms, and counterfeiting.
Among the arrested include one individual
wanted for murder from a notorious organized crime group.
The project began with a successful
investigation and trafficking conviction in Serbia, which
provided testimony and evidence for further
investigation. The task force intercepted a total of 105,000
telephone calls on 61 different phones that
were being utilized by the group. Croatian police identified
two trafficking victims and prevented the
sale of one victim when they intercepted a call that involved
negotiations for her sale. Post and ICITAP
advocated for the employment of a task force structure, which
is common practice in US law enforcement,
but a new concept to Croatian officials. As a result of the
success of this operation and a related
US-sponsored study visit of police and prosecutors, Croatian
police are establishing a permanent
fugitive-tracking task force. (KSelinger)

4. (U) INDICTEE GLAVAS TO REMAIN IN CUSTODY, FOR NOW:
Political-judicial wrangling over the detention of war crimes
indictee Branimir Glavas has intensified in the run-up to the
January 11 opening session of the new parliament. Glavas was
re-elected to parliament during the November election and
believes that a new term will restore his parliamentary
immunity stripped during the last session to pave the way for
his ongoing trial for crimes against Serb civilians in 1991.
Legal experts are divided on the issue of whether the new
parliament will have to remove his immunity again, and the
presiding judge will undoubtedly be soon faced with the
decision of whether Glavas' detention and trial can continue
without additional parliamentary action. The Zagreb County
Court denied his request for temporary release on January 8
to prepare for the opening of parliament but will rule again
on Friday whether he may be released that day to actually
attend the session (Croatian law allows for brief releases
for "special events"). PM Sanader also weighed in earlier
the same day, announcing that Glavas would in fact appear in
Parliament. One daily attacked the PM's comment, calling it
indirect pressure on the Court. (KSelinger)


WALKER

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