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Cablegate: Signing Ceremony for Croatian Sofa

UNCLAS ZAGREB 00061

SIPDIS
O 291402Z JAN 08

FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8520

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000061

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR U/S BURNS
OSD FOR U/S EDELMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR NATO HR
SUBJECT: SIGNING CEREMONY FOR CROATIAN SOFA


(U) SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.

1. (SBU) After two years of difficult negotiations and a
brief delay during the Croatian elections, the Croatian
Government finally appears ready to sign our bilateral Status
of Forces Agreement. I strongly recommend that the signing
ceremony take place during the visit of the new Croatian
Defense Minister Vukelic to the United States February 19-21
for the Adriatic Charter Defense Ministerial. I recognize
the tremendous demands on Secretary Gates' time, but I hope
that a few minutes can be found in his schedule for a very
brief signing ceremony. (Similar SOFA agreements with Serbia
and Montenegro were both signed at cabinet level on the U.S.
side.)

2. (SBU) If Secretary Gates should be unable to participate
in a signing ceremony, I would hope that one of you might be
able to do this. The successful conclusion of the SOFA was
the result of a personal commitment by Prime Minister Sanader
to resolve the last remaining issues in the agreement. A
high-level signing ceremony would be an opportunity to signal
our appreciation for the Prime Minister's efforts and to
highlight our closer military-to-military cooperation as
Croatia prepares to join NATO.
BRADTKE

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