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Cablegate: Croatian Media Interviews with S/Wci Ambassador

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000048

SIPDIS

STATE FOR S/WCI (PROSPER), EUR/PA/PD (HORNUBCKLE);
INR/R/MR, PA-R/MR, EUR/SCE (NARDI), DRL
BELGRADE AND SARAJEVO FOR POL AND PAO
THE HAGUE FOR JOHNSON/KAYE/WHEATON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: HR KPAO KAWC PREL PGOV KMDR
SUBJECT: CROATIAN MEDIA INTERVIEWS WITH S/WCI AMBASSADOR
PIERRE RICHARD PROSPER

REF: ZAGREB 00014

1. PER REFTEL, ZAGREB REPORTED ON REACTIONS IN THE
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 ZAGREB 00048 091550Z
CROATIAN PRESS ON THE JANUARY 2 ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE
UPCOMING VISIT OF S/WCI AMBASSADOR PIERRE RICHARD
PROSPER'S VISIT TO THE REGION. TWO MAJOR CROATIAN
DAILIES ON JANUARY 9 CARRIED INTERVIEWS WITH AMBASSADOR
PROSPER.

2. ZAGREB-BASED GOVERNMENT-OWNED "VJESNIK" CARRIED THE
INTERVIEW BY FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT BRUNO LOPANDIC ON
PAGE 3 UNDER THE HEADLINE "AMERICA WILL ASSIST CROATIAN
JUDICIARY ONCE THE 'BOBETKO CASE' IS RESOLVED." IN THE
INTERVIEW, AMBASSADOR PROSPER STATED THAT HE STILL
DIDN'T KNOW THE EXACT DATE OF HIS TRIP TO THE REGION,
BUT THAT HE THOUGHT IT WOULD OCCUR IN THE "LAST TWO
WEEKS IN JANUARY." HE ALSO COMMENTED THAT "WHEN ONE
LOOKS AT THE SITUATION IN THE REGION, ONE HAS TO
CONCLUDE THAT CROATIA IS THE LEADER IN FULFILLING ITS
INTERNATIONAL COMMITMENTS. I REALLY BELIEVE THAT.
HOWEVER, WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO STRESS IS THAT THERE ARE
STILL A FEW OBSTACLES. I'M TALKING ABOUT THE ARREST OF
ANTE GOTOVINA AND HIS TRANSFER TO THE HAGUE, AND THE
'BOBETKO CASE.' ... THE KEY MESSAGE WOULD BE THAT
CROATIA HAS UP UNTIL NOW BEEN THE REGIONAL LEADER, AND
IT SHOULD REMAIN THAT WAY. LET'S WORK TOGETHER IN
RESOLVING THE REMAINING ISSUES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, AND
LEAVING THE ISSUE OF WAR CRIMES BEHIND US." ASKED TO
COMMENT ON SUSPENSION OF U.S. ASSISTANCE TO THE CROATIAN
JUDICIARY, AMBASSADOR PROSPER NOTED THAT "ONCE THE
'BOBETKO CASE' IS RESOLVED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE
PRINCIPLES AND SPIRIT OF COOPERATION WITH THE HAGUE
TRIBUNAL, WE WILL ONCE AGAIN GET INVOLVED IN WHAT WE HAD
ANNOUNCED."
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 ZAGREB 00048 091550Z

3. ZAGREB-BASED MASS-CIRCULATION "VECERNJI LIST," ON
THE OTHER HAND, CARRIED THE INTERVIEW AS ITS FRONT-PAGE
HEADLINE "BOBETKO AND GOTOVINA MUST GO TO THE HAGUE."
THE INTERVIEW BY "VECERNJI LIST" U.S. CORRESPONDENT,
JADRANKA JURESKO-KERO, APPEARS ON PAGE 3. AMBASSADOR
PROSPER STATED FOR "VECERNJI LIST" THAT HE IS "COMING TO
ZAGREB WITH SINCERE INTENTIONS TO, TOGETHER WITH THE
CROATIAN GOVERNMENT AND ALL THOSE WHO ARE CONNECTED TO
THE HAGUE TRIBUNAL, TRY TO FINALLY RESOLVE ALL THE
PROBLEMS WHICH HAVE PILED UP, AND THUS ONCE AND FOR ALL
LEAVE THE STORY BEHIND US. I CLAIM THAT THE PROBLEMS
CAN BE RESOLVED QUICKLY, IF WE ALL WANT (THEM TO BE
RESOLVED). ... MY COMMENTARY IN CONNECTION WITH
GENERALS BOBETKO AND GOTOVINA IS UNAMBIGUOUS, AND I WILL
PERSONALLY PASS IT ON TO THE CROATIAN GOVERNMENT AND THE
CROATIAN PEOPLE, AND IT IS THE FOLLOWING: LET'S RESOLVE
THIS PROBLEM, BECAUSE WE ASSESS THAT THE WAITING PERIOD
HAS EXPIRED, AND THAT'S WHY WE JOINTLY HAVE TO FIND A
FAVORABLE SOLUTION BEFORE THIS STORY HURTS CROATIA EVEN
MORE.." ASKED TO COMMENT ON WHETHER THE FACT THAT
CROATIA IS IN AN ELECTION YEAR HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH
THE U.S. INSISTING ON RESOLVING THE BOBETKO AND GOTOVINA
CASES, AMBASSADOR PROSPER SAID: "WE KNOW THAT THE
POSSIBILITY EXISTS FOR ELECTIONS TO BE HELD DURING THIS
YEAR OR AT THE BEGINNING OF NEXT YEAR, BUT IT'S NOT AN
ISSUE I CAN TALK ABOUT, OR SOMETHING MY COUNTRY MAKES
DECISIONS ABOUT. OUR STANDPOINT IS THAT THE PROSECUTION
SHOULD FINISH WITH ITS ACTIVITIES IN 2003, AND START
BRINGING ALL OPEN ISSUES TO CONCLUSION." IN AN INSERT,
AMBASSADOR PROSPER COMMENTS ON U.S.-CROATIAN BILATERAL
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 ZAGREB 00048 091550Z
RELATIONS AND SAYS THAT ALL HIS COMMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE
"IN GOOD SPIRIT AND WITH THE WISH TO HELP CROATIA IN ITS
DEMOCRACY BUILDING PATH TOWARDS BECOMING A STABLE
PARTNER IN THE REGION."

4. "VECERNJI LIST" ALSO REPORTED THAT AMBASSADOR
PROSPER SPOKE TO THE BELGRADE-BASED "TANJUG" NEWS AGENCY
AND STATED THAT HE DIDN'T REVEAL "WHETHER HE WILL,
DURING HIS VISITS TO BELGRADE, ZAGREB, AND SARAJEVO,
ONCE AGAIN INSIST ON THE SIGNING OF BILATERAL AGREEMENTS
ON NON-EXTRADITION OF AMERICAN SOLDIERS TO THE PERMANENT
WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL."
MOON

UNCLASSIFIED

>

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