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Cablegate: Zagreb Weekly Activity Report - November 14, 2008

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ZAGREB 000792

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV HR
SUBJECT: ZAGREB WEEKLY ACTIVITY REPORT - NOVEMBER 14, 2008

REF: ZAGREB 778

1. (SBU) ICTY PROSECUTOR EXPRESSES CONTINUED DISAPPOINTMENT
WITH GOC DOCUMENT SEARCH:
ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz visited Zagreb on Nov.
10-11 at the beginning of a tour of regional capitals in
advance of the next periodic report from the ICTY to the UN
Security Council on December 12. In his briefing to the
local diplomatic corps, Brammertz noted that the GoC had been
required by the Court to provide either a whole series of
documents including military logs from 1995's Operation
Storm, or convincing results from a comprehensive
investigation in to how the documents had disappeared.
Brammertz said the GoC had made a voluminous submission on
October 20 that included a limited number of relevant
documents, such as some police logs, but none of the missing
military documents. While the full submission was still
being translated, Brammertz said his staff was "disappointed"
with the quality of the Croatian investigation into the
allegedly missing documents. Brammertz said he believed the
GoC understood that the Court was unlikely to be satisfied,
and that the GoC was considering undertaking further efforts.
While ICTY was willing to give the GoC more time, Brammertz
also noted that the Prosecution's case against Ante Gotovina
and other officers involved in Operation Storm is scheduled
to conclude in the first half of 2009. (RHoltzapple)

2. (U) FORMER UN SRSG KLEIN VISITS CROATIA:
Jacques Paul Klein, a retired FSO and USAF Reserve Major
General, who served as chief of the UN Transitional
Administration for Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES) in 1996-1998,
was invited to Croatia on November 10 to 15 for a conference
in Vukovar to discuss how Eastern Slavonia had been
peacefully reintegrated into Croatia at the end of conflict.
Klein met with PM Sanader, FM Jandrokovic and was given a
state decoration by President Mesic. In those meetings, as
well as at the conference, Croatian officials highly praised
the work of the UN mission at restoring Croatian sovereignty
over the territory without armed conflict, and in a manner
that permitted both the remaining Serb and returned Croatian
populace to co-exist. Ten years after the return of the
Croatian population and Croatian authorities, conditions in
the area are secure and a sizeable Serb population remains
and is politically active. While the Consul General from the
Serbian Consulate in Vukovar attended, the fact that no local
Serbs spoke at the conference symbolized the continued need
for greater ethnic reconciliation in the region.
(RHoltzapple)

3. (SBU) RHETORICAL EXCHANGES ABOUT RELATIONS BETWEEN SERBIA
AND CROATIA CONTINUE:
Despite the return of the Serbian Ambassador to Zagreb
(reftel), President Mesic stated in a regional conference on
November 8 that bilateral relations between Serbia and
Croatia were still rather stagnant. Serbian FM Jeremic
responded via the media that Zagreb was responsible for the
current state of the relations, and repeated accusations that
Croatia had ethnically cleansed its Serbian population.
Jeremic also listed the GoC's decision to recognize Kosovo
and Croatia's case against Serbia at the International Court
of Justice (ICJ) as further obstacles to good relations. The
Croatian Foreign Ministry on November 10 rejected Jeremic's
comments about ethnic cleansing, and argued that Jeremic's
comments demonstrated that Belgrade had not yet come to terms
with the role it played in the breakup of Yugoslavia. The
MFA's statement concluded by noting that Croatia would
continue to support Serbia along its European path. On
November 13 the back and forth continued when Jeremic
responded to the reactions from Zagreb by repeating his claim
that Croatia ethnically cleansed 250,000 Serbs in the 1990s.
On a more positive note, Mesic and Serbian President Tadic
agreed in meeting in Warsaw earlier in the week that a new
dimension needed to be introduced in the bilateral relations
to change the current stalemate. (PD'Amico)

4. (SBU) WHILE PRELIMINARY ICJ RULING LOOMS....
PM Sanader, in a November 11 meeting with the Ambassador and
former UN Transitional Administrator for Easter Slavonija
Jacques Klein, said that the GoC wanted to improve ties with
Belgrade . Sanader noted, however, that the upcoming ICJ
ruling regarding Croatia's genocide case against Serbia might
temporarily increase bilateral tensions. (Note: The ICJ is
scheduled to rule on Serbia's preliminary objections to the
jurisdiction and admissibility of Croatia's case on November
18, which happens to be the 17th anniversary of the fall of
Vukovar. End Note.) (PD'Amico/ZTomic)


ZAGREB 00000792 002 OF 002


5. (U) GOVERNMENT RELEASES LONG AWAITED DRAFT ENERGY
STRATEGY:
Deputy Prime Minister Polancec announced the details of
Croatia's proposed national energy strategy on
November 10. The document foresees the need for 10 billion
euros of investment up to 2020 in a combination
of coal and gas fired power plants, renewables, energy
transportation projects, and nuclear energy. The
strategy presented three scenarios for power generation,
offering different combinations of coal, gas, and
nuclear. All scenarios also included the goal to achieve 20
percent renewables by 2020. DPM Polancec
indicated the preferred scenario is one which includes one
600 MW coal fired power plant and one 1,000 MW
nuclear power plant (although a gathering of the ruling HDZ
party recently favored a non-nuclear scenario).
Declining gas production will lead to increased reliance on
foreign sources, Polancec said. He called for
the liquefied natural gas terminal project on the island of
Krk to be accelerated in order to ensure a
diversity of gas supply away from Russian sources. He also
pointed to large potential for development
of renewable energy such as wind, biomass, geothermal, and
others. The strategy is now open for a
month-long public debate after which the final strategy will
be adopted and an action plan developed.
(DWestfall)

6. (U) PM SANADER PROPOSES BALANCING THE BUDGET AS DEBATE
SET TO BEGIN NOVEMBER 19:
At a November 12 meeting of government ministers and about
250 representatives from labor unions, employers
associations, local governments, and state-owned companies,
Prime Minister Sanader said the GoC would aim
for a balanced budget for 2009. He called for a consensus
on measures to help the government weather the
global financial crisis, including a one-year salary freeze
for government employees and union workers.
Sanader said infrastructure projects already underway would
continue, as will healthcare reform. The
proposal received initial approval from employers, but the
unions will respond only after further internal
discussions. The Ministry of Finance has not yet released the
proposed 2009 budget to the public.
Discussion on the budget is set to begin November 19, but
anticipating a difficult debate, Speaker of
Parliament Luka Bebic told the press the session could be
extended to December 15th or beyond. (SLitke)

7. (U) OREGON AND CROATIAN SUPREME COURT JUSTICES PARTICIPATE
IN MOCK TRIAL COMPETITION:
Over 100 students from six Croatian secondary schools
participated in a mock trial competition held at the Zagreb
County Court, trying identical cases under both the Croatian
and U.S. systems of jurisprudence. Presiding over the trials
were the Honorable Paul De Muniz, the Chief Justice of the
Oregon Supreme Court, and Marin Mrcela and Juro Sessa, both
members of Croatia's Supreme Court. The mock trials were
conducted by the Classroom Law Project, an Oregon NGO which
receives funding from the Department of Education under a
Civitas grant. The U.S. Embassy has supported the activities
of the Classroom Law Project since 1999. Assistant PAO
participated in the mock trials as a juror. The student's
demonstrated impressive English skills and knowledge of both
U.S. and Croatian trial procedures. In his closing remarks
to the wider audience, Chief Justice De Ruiz linked the
recent U.S. elections to the rule of law, discussing the
importance of the peaceful transference of power and of the
equality of opportunity which can only exist in a just
society. (KWetzel)
Bradtke

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