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Cablegate: Zagreb Weekly Activity Report - July 2, 2008

VZCZCXRO9156
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVB #0492 1851114
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031114Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8450
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000492

SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR PHUM KPAO PGOV HR
SUBJECT: ZAGREB WEEKLY ACTIVITY REPORT - JULY 2, 2008

1. (U) INTERNATIONAL MILITARY EXERCISE DEMONSTRATES CROATIA'S
READINESS FOR NATO:
On June 26 approximately 1800 troops from Croatia, the US,
Macedonia and Albania took part in a complex military
exercise, "Adriatic Aurora," at the Croatian military's
Gasinci base in eastern Slavonia. The troops, some of whom
will be rotating soon to ISAF in Afghanistan, took part in
simulations of terrorist attacks on military convoys, battles
in built-up areas, and other operations that soldiers might
face in peacekeeping missions. Politicians, diplomats and
military leadership from the participating countries observed
the exercises. Croatia's President Stipe Mesic noted that
"this was the most complex exercise ever undertaken in
Croatia (and it demonstrated) the soldiers...can operate in
line with NATO standards. (BMcAloon)

2. (U) EXERCISE ACCOMPANIED BY HUMANITARIAN PROJECT FOR LOCAL
FIRE HOUSE AND PLAYGROUND:
In conjunction with the military exercise, troops from the
U.S. National Guard units, joined with Croatian and Albanian
colleagues to refurbish a local fire station and children's
playground. Ambassador Bradtke and Croatian officials cut
the ribbon for the projects before an appreciative local
audience. (RHoltzapple)

3. (U) ZAGREB GAY PRIDE MARCH GOES SMOOTHLY, BUT FIVE
ACTIVISTS ASSAULTED AFTER THE EVENT:
Zagreb's annual Gay Pride parade was held in Zagreb on
Saturday, June 28. The event, which in previous years had
seen violent attacks from by-standers, proceeded peacefully.
An estimated 200 marchers, including at least one
parliamentarian, the Croatian government's ombudsperson for
gender issues, and several foreign guests, received
protection from some 400 Croatian police. Reporters at the
scene noted that passers-by were more "tolerant" than in
previous years, with some supportive comments, and only a few
instances of verbal abuse, which were quickly addressed by
police. After the march ended, however, five activists (two
Croatian and three from Kosovo), were attacked and robbed
outside their NGO's offices, and required medical attention,
with one victim suffering a borken nose. Police are still
looking for the culprits. (MJelenc)

4. (U) EMBASSY OUTREACH IN EASTERN SLAVONIA:
Embassy PAO and IRC Director visited Osijek and Vukovar, two
cities heavily damaged during the 1990's war in Croatia, on
June 26-27. The lingering legacy of the conflict was
underlined when plans to visit the memorial site at Ovcara,
where some 200 Croats were buried in a mass grave, had to be
postponed due to demining along the access road. In both
cities, the PAO met with local officials, educators, and
librarians to discuss potential for future collaboration.
The Embassy provided donations of books, computors and
posters on American themes, with local media coverage
featuring the PAO speaking in Croatian about the donations.
(KWetzel)
Bradtke

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