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Cablegate: Zagreb Activity Report - July 25

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PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVB #0556/01 2070900
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 250900Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8515
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ZAGREB 000556

DEPT FOR EUR/SCE, EUR/RPM, EUR/PPD, PRM AND S/WCI LAVINE
OSD FOR POPOVICH

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ECON PGOV MARR HR
SUBJECT: ZAGREB ACTIVITY REPORT - JULY 25

1. (U) ONE MORE CHAPTER CLOSED, ONE MORE OPENED IN EU ACCESSION
TALKS:
At its first negotiating session under the French EU Presidency in
Brussels, on July 25, Croatia will close the negotiating chapter on
Enterprise and Industrial Policy, and open negotiations on the Free
Movement of Goods chapter. This means Croatia has opened 21, and
closed three, out of a total of 35 negotiating chapters. Croatia
had gone nineteen months, since December 2006, without closing a
single negotiating chapter. Some weeks ago Croatian negotiators had
ambitiously forecast that the first session with the French
Presidency could see as many as five new chapters opened. They now
say that the EU Council was unable to get agreement from all 27
Member States quickly enough to achieve that, but that they still
aspire to opening all remaining substantive negotiating chapters by
the end of 2008.

2. (SBU) CROATIAN HIJACKER DEPORTED TO CROATIA:
Zvonko Busic, who in 1976 led a team of Croatians that hijacked a
TWA airliner and planted a bomb in a train station that killed a New
York policeman, arrived in Zagreb the evening of July 24. Busic,
who was paroled after serving more than thirty years of a life
sentence on the condition that he depart the U.S. and never return,
was escorted on his commercial flight from the U.S. by three ICE
agents. Croatian police cooperated in arranging a hand-off away
from the press at the airport. Busic was greeted at the airport by
his U.S. citizen wife, as well as some 300 to 500 well-wishers and
media, but no representatives of the government. When some of the
welcoming party began singing Ustasha songs and slogans, Busic
quickly silenced them, saying he wanted none of that. Croatian
police did fingerprint him on arrival, given his status as a
released felon, but we understand he will be allowed to live in his
hometown Dalmatia without restrictions.

3. (U) CROATIAN OFFICIALS WELCOME KARADZIC ARREST:
President Mesic, Deputy PM Kosor and a range of opposition
politicians all made statements welcoming Radovan Karadzic's arrest
in Belgrade this week. Statements generally included three other
points: it should have happened years ago, it was a strong sign of
the new Serbian government's interest in moving toward EU accession,
and Serbia's ICTY cooperation will only be complete when there is
similar action on the two remaining fugitives Ratko Mladic and Goran
Hadzic, the latter indicted for crimes committed in Croatia.

4. (U) CROATIAN INTEREST IN U.S.-SEE TRADE AND INVESTMENT CONFERENCE
STRONG AND GROWING:
U.S. Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs
Frank Mermoud visited Zagreb July 22-23. He met with State Secretary
Tamara Obradovic Mazal at the Ministry of Economy, Assistant
Minister of Tourism Robert Pende, Vice President of the Croatian
Chamber of Economy Dunja Konjevod, and several leaders of the
business community. At all of the meetings, the Croatian
representatives confirmed their interest in the U.S.-South East
Europe Trade and Investment Conference scheduled for October in
Vienna. More broadly, they expressed their interest in continuing
and expanding the U.S.-Croatian business relationships. In the areas
of tourism and energy in particular, the ministry and business
representatives outlined Croatia's plans and suggested possible
opportunities for U.S. business and investment opportunities.
(SLitke)

5. (U) CROATIAN CITIES LAGGING IN BUSINESS REFORMS:
In mid-July, the World Bank released its report "Doing Business in
South East Europe 2008," which compares 22 cities in regard to four
"Doing Business" topics: starting a business, dealing with licenses,
registering a property, and enforcing contracts. Croatia ranked
among the top-10 reformers worldwide in "Doing Business 2008,"
issued in September 2007. The new World Bank report, however, finds
Croatian cities lag behind others in the region in regard to ease of
doing business. The top Croatian city, Osijek, ranked 7th, while
Zagreb ranked 19th overall. The study found wide variations within
the region and within Croatia. For example, to get a construction
license, Osijek is most efficient in the region with 13 procedures,
and Zagreb is most burdensome with 24 procedures. Zagreb leads the
region in two metrics considered in the report: the number of
procedures required for registering property is lowest in Zagreb (5
procedures), as is the average cost of enforcing a contract (14% of
the claim, compared to a regional average of 30%). Despite requiring
the fewest procedures, however, Zagreb ranked near the bottom
regarding how many days it takes (170) and how much it costs (5% of
property value) to register property. (SLitke)

6. (U) DONATION SUPPORTS FIGHT AGAINST ORGANIZED CRIME:
On July 22, ICITAP and Embassy Zagreb donated 14 laptop computers
and one flat-screen monitor to Croatia's Office for Combating
Organized Crime and Corruption (USKOK). The laptop computers will
be assigned to each of the organized crime prosecutors in USKOK, a
special national unit within the Office of the Croatian Attorney
General. These prosecutors handle all cases involving organized
crime including human trafficking, narcotics trafficking, money

ZAGREB 00000556 002 OF 002


laundering, and official corruption. They are required to travel to
courts and police stations throughout the Republic to conduct
interviews, review evidence, and prosecute high-profile defendants.
The donation will make it possible for each prosecutor to accomplish
his or her extremely vital jobs. The flat screen monitor will be
utilized for reviewing evidence and video conferencing. (CZimmer)

7. (U) WWII JASENOVAC CONCENTRATION CAMP COMMANDER DIES:
Dinko Sakic, the last known living commander of a World War II
concentration camp, died in a Zagreb hospital the evening of July
21, while serving a prison sentence for war crimes. Sakic had been
convicted and sentenced to twenty-years, the maximum available
sentence, by a Zagreb court in 1999, after being extradited from
Argentina. His body, reportedly dressed in a Ustasha uniform, was
cremated at Zagreb's main cemetery on July 24, and a service
attended by some 300 mourners was held. State prosecutors told the
media that as the Ustasha uniform had been seen only in private,
there were no charges that could be pressed.

BRADTKE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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