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Cablegate: Zagreb Weekly Activity Report - March 20, 2008

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P 211019Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8775
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ZAGREB 000271

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV HR
SUBJECT: ZAGREB WEEKLY ACTIVITY REPORT - MARCH 20, 2008

1. (U) A/S SILVERBERG VISITS CROATIA
The U.S. Assistant Secretary for International Organizations
Kristen Silverberg visited Croatia 17-18 March to discuss
United Nations Security Council issues. The A/S met with
senior officials from the MFA and the Offices of the
President and Prime Minister, as well as representatives from
Croatia's academic community. The visit highlighted the
strong cooperation thus far between the U.S. and the GoC, and
Croatian officials expressed their commitment to work closely
with the U.S. and EU to address the difficult issues facing
the Council in the coming months. The GoC identified Kosovo
and Iran as among the most pressing issues on the Council's
agenda. Both countries also hope to re-energize the UN's
Counterterrorism Committee, which Croatia currently leads.
The A/S concluded her visit by hosting a roundtable with
students from Croatia's Diplomatic Academy. Approximately 45
young diplomats participated in the presentation/Q-and-A
session focused on U.S. foreign policy and priorities at the
UN. A more detailed report will be sent septel. (CRhoton)

2. (U) U.S. DOJ ABLE TO FACILITATE TESTIMONY IN CROATIAN WAR
CRIMES TRIAL
Recently, a Croatian County Court Judge requested US
Department of Justice assistance in obtaining testimony from
four witnesses in the United States for the high profile war
crimes trial of two Croatian generals, Rahim Ademi and Mirko
Norac. U.S. authorities were able to locate the witnesses.
The first testified via videolink on March 18. The second is
scheduled to testify on March 28, while the third has yet to
be contacted, but is expected to testify on March 27. The
final witness located by U.S. authorities is unwilling to
testify and has been deemed an endangered witness. Given the
witness' protected status and safety concerns, Croatian and
U.S. authorities agreed that it is not necessary, nor
appropriate, to attempt further compulsory measures to obtain
his testimony. This case illustrates the excellent
cooperation and successful international legal assistance
between the Croatian judiciary and the U.S. Department of
Justice. (VDjukic)

3. (U) ZAGREB CONTINUES VISA PROCESSING FOR SERBIANS AND
MONTENEGRINS
The Consular Section continues to process visa applications
for Serbian and Montenegrin citizens on behalf of Embassy
Belgrade. Since the closure of Embassy Belgrade's consular
section on February 21 after the attack on the Embassy by
Serbians protesting Kosovo's declaration of independence,
Zagreb has processed nearly 500 nonimmigrant visa
applications for Serbians and Montegrins, as well as a number
of immigrant visas and U.S. passports for customers normally
served by Belgrade. The consular section continues to
provide its normal level of service to Croatian citizens
while handling this additional caseload. Visa appointment
wait times remain under three days. Embassy Zagreb's prompt
designation as an alternative visa processing site during
Embassy Belgrade's closure was noted favorably by both the
Serbian and Montenegrin press, which both credit the USG for
pushing the German Embassy in Belgrade, also damaged during
the protests, to make similar arrangements for emergency
service. Embassy Belgrade's consular section is expected to
reopen in early April. (RElvikis)

4. (U) NEW SYNAGOGUE OPENS IN ZAGREB - 67 YEARS AFTER WWII
On Sunday, March 16, Croatia's Bet Israel Jewish community
celebrated the opening of Zagreb's new synagogue. With
speeches by Bet Israel's Rabbi Kotel Dadon, Dr. Ivo Goldstein
(president of Bet Israel), and numerous rabbis from across
Europe and the United States, the event was a major step for
the Bet Israel community, which was registered in 2006 after
splitting from the larger and older Jewish Community of
Zagreb (or ZOZ - Zidovska Opcina Zagreba). The donation of
the synagogue's Torah by Jewish communities based in both
Chicago and Los Angeles continued unofficial ties between
Jewish religious communities on both sides of the Atlantic.
In attendance at the event were President Mesic, Deputy-Prime
Minister Jadranka Kosor, Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic, and
Ministers from the GOC Ministry of Culture and the Ministry
of Science, Education, and Sport, reflecting the strong
political will to promote religious tolerance in Croatia.
Although the reconstruction of the central synagogue on the
original 1941 site is still a key goal for the ZOZ, the
opening of the new Bet Israel temple is a step in the right
direction towards continuing the promotion of international
religious freedom in Croatia. (DFisk)

5. (U) U.S. AND CROATIA REACH OPEN SKIES AGREEMENT
A State-DOT delegation initialed an Open Skies agreement with
Croatia on March 13 after two days of talks in Zagreb. This

ZAGREB 00000271 002 OF 002


was the second round of negotiations on Open Skies, the first
being held in
Washington from Sept 27-28, 2007. Conclusion of this
agreement caps two years of steady efforts to secure GOC
support and achieves a key goal of post's Mission Strategic
Plan. This agreement lays the
foundation for the further development of our civil aviation
relationship with Croatia. Post will remain actively engaged
in these issues with the GOC to help make sure that the
traveling
publics of both of our countries can reap the benefits of
this agreement. (See Zagreb 254 for more details) (NBerliner)
Bradtke

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