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Cablegate: Zagreb Activity Report - August 8

VZCZCXRO6544
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVB #0590 2211256
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 081256Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8555
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 0014

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000590

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM EAID HR
SUBJECT: ZAGREB ACTIVITY REPORT - AUGUST 8

1. TRADING BARBS OVER OPERATION STORM: Croatia celebrated
Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day on August 5, the 13th
anniversary of Operation Storm, which liberated Serb-held
territories of Croatia. Criticism of the holiday from
Serbian and Bosnian-Serb leaders received extensive media
attention. Media reported that Serbian President Boris Tadic
said Serbs view Operation Storm as a day of grief and
unhappiness and called on Croatia to extend apologies for
crimes committed during the operation. President Mesic
responded, "I have already apologized to everybody on whom
members of my people inflicted evil. Being the President of
Croatia, I had to do so. I am surprised that advisors of Mr.
Tadic have failed to tell him about that." He suggested that
whenever Tadic comments on Operation Storm, he should
remember that the rebellion of Croatian Serbs was initiated
by Belgrade. Prime Minister Sanader said that Serbia should
face its own past and finally renounce the Greater Serbia
policy of Milosevic and added that "we shall not allow others
to write the history of the Croatian Homeland Defence War."

2. USAID-SUPPORTED NGO DEMONSTRATES HOW CROATIAN CIVIL
SOCIETY CAN SOAR: On August 6, econ officer and PD specialist
attended the 15th anniversary celebration of the
environmental NGO Caput Insulae Beli (CIB) on the Island of
Cres. Originally founded to preserve the island's griffon
vulture population, CIB, with support from USAID, has
expanded to include educational, biodiversity, cultural
heritage, and ecotourism programs. In many ways, CIB is a
model of success for other Croatian NGOS: they have achieved
tangible program successes, financial sustainability,
integration in the local community, and cooperation at the
international level. Through their core program, they have
rescued and returned to the wild 5-10 griffons each year and
tagged about 600 griffons, whose movements they track in
cooperation with scientists in Europe and Africa. To carry
out their work, they have enlisted the help of nearly 3000
Croatian and international volunteers over the years. Because
volunteer programs are still somewhat rare in Croatia, the
CIB program makes an important contribution to civil society
development. CIB has also developed a strong working
relationship with the communities on the island by seeking
and promoting ways in which CIB programs support agriculture
and tourism, the island's primary economic activities.

3. PRESS SPECULATION ON KARADZIC ARREST: EMBASSY CONFIRMS
THAT NO REWARD WAS PAID: Based on a report from the Banja
Luka-based web portal Press claiming that a 5 million USD
payment under the Rewards for Justice program had been made
in connection with the arrest of Radovan Karadzic, the
Croatian News Agency (HINA) contacted Embassy Zagreb for
comment. After coordinating with the Office of War Crimes
Issues (S/WCI), the Embassy responded that the State
Department did not/not receive any request or make any
payment under the Rewards for Justice program for Karadzic's
arrest. The Croatian News Agency and all major Croatian
media outlets subsequently carried short articles echoing our
statement with titles such as "No Reward Paid for Karadzic"
and "U.S. Embassy Says No Reward Paid for Information on
Karadzic." These articles and S/WCI's August 7 press
guidance should help to end press speculation on this issue.
Walker

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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