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Cablegate: Zagreb Weekly Activity Report - April 16, 2008

VZCZCXRO0698
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVB #0317 1081212
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171212Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8827
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000317

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 - APRIL 16, 2008


1. (U) CROATIA FORMALLY ACCEPTS NATO MEMBERSHIP
NEGOTIATIONS: Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic
on April 14 forwarded a letter to NATO Secretary-General Jaap
de Hoop Scheffer informing him that Croatia has accepted the
invitation to launch negotiations on NATO membership.
Jandrokovic's letter said NATO membership was one of the
fundamental priorities of Croatia's foreign policy and that
he was confident the accession negotiations would affirm
Croatia's readiness and ability to assume the political and
military responsibility based on the North Atlantic Treaty.
(RHoltzapple)

2. (U) INFLATION LIVES UP TO EXPECTATIONS IN FIRST QUARTER:
As forecast, Croatia has started 2008 with inflation about
double the 2007 average annual rate of 2.9%. Compared to the
same months of 2007, prices this year were 6.2% higher in
January, 5.8% higher in February and 5.7% higher in March.
Rises in food and fuel prices continue to drive the overall
rise. Food prices in March were 10.2% higher than in March
2007, with fruits seeing the steepest rise at 28.7%. Liquid
fuel prices were 34.0% higher than in March 2007. (SLitke)

3. (U) ZAGREB'S BEAR MARKET: Croatia,s stock index fell 5.7
percent on April 14, bringing its six month decline to 40%.
Monday's sell-off was prompted in part by the Government's
decision to allow Croatian veterans to sell shares in the
state-held Veterans' Fund, as well as an alleged sell
recommendation for Croatia's main oil and gas company INA by
INGBank analysts. The Veterans' Fund was created from
Government-held shares in Croatian Telecom and INA several
years ago. Together, these two companies account for a large
percentage of trading volume on the Zagreb exchange, so the
sale of Fund shares and any impact of the INGBank analysis
was reflected quickly in the overall index. The total
turnover in Veterans' Fund shares was apparently less than
some analysts had expected, and the market appeared to
stabilize somewhat on April 15, clawing back around 2.5%.
Although sowing fear among some investors, the recent losses
have yet to erase the 60 percent gain the Zagreb index posted
in 2007. (NBerliner)

4. (U) ZAGREB HOSTS DVC ON EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK AT
AMERICAN CORNERS: U.S. Embassy Zagreb recently sponsored a
digital video conference (DVC) featuring Mr. Larry Perez, a
U.S. National Park Service Ranger in charge of Science
Communications Outreach at Everglades National Park. Mr.
Perez spoke to secondary school students at the American
Corners in Zagreb, the capital, and in Zadar, a city on
Croatia's Dalmatian coast. The audience also included
representatives from the Croatian State Institute for the
Protection of Nature, the Croatian Environmental Protection
Agency, Medvednice Nature Park (two park rangers), and the
Croatian Ministry of Tourism. Using humor and audience
participation to connect with the group, Mr. Perez's
presentation provided an engaging overview of the U.S.
National Park System and an in-depth discussion of the
ecology and wildlife of the Everglades. The research Mr.
Perez conducted on Croatia and its national park system
helped establish rapport with the students and Croatian park
rangers taking part in the event. (KWetzel)
Bradtke

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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