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Cablegate: Most Croatian Political Parties Disapprove of the Military Action

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

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000657

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM HR
SUBJECT: MOST CROATIAN POLITICAL PARTIES DISAPPROVE OF THE MILITARY ACTION


1. MEDIA COVERAGE OF IRAQ IN CROATIA IN THE LAST 24 HOURS
HAS BEEN UNIFORMLY HOSTILE TO THE U.S. POSITION. MUCH OF
IT HAS FOCUSED ON CRITICISM OF THE IRAQ CAMPAIGN BY MEMBERS
OF PARLIAMENT. MPS REPRESENTING THE RULING COALITION AND
JOINED BY SOME OF THE MARGINAL PARTIES IN THE OPPOSITION
HAVE ECHOED THE VIEWS AIRED BY THE GOVERNMENT -- THEY
REGRET THE ATTACK ON IRAQ AND PURPORT TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT
THE FUTURE OF THE INTERNATIONAL ORDER. ONLY THE CHIEF
OPPOSITION HDZ PARTY DECLINED TO OFFER COMMENTS, POINTING
OUT ITS VIEWS HAD BEEN PRESENTED EARLIER. ON THE EVE OF
THE WAR, THE HDZ WAS THE ONLY CROATIAN POLITICAL PARTY TO
SUPPORT THE U.S. POLICY ON IRAQ, INCLUDING IN A BROADLY
SUPPORTIVE OP-ED PIECE IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL LAST WEEK
BY PARTY LEADER IVO SANADER.

2. PEOPLES PARTY PRESIDENT VESNA PUSIC (HNS) TOOK THE
GLASS AS HALF FULL PERSPECTIVE OF THE CONFLICT. SHE WISHED
THE WAR, FOR THE SAKE OF BOTH ALLIED FORCES AND THE IRAQI
PEOPLE, WOULD BE OVER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, WITH SADDAM
HUSSEIN GONE. SHE LOOKED FORWARD TO REBUILDING DEMOCRATIC
INSTITUTIONS. OTHERS WERE LESS OPTIMISTIC. ZDRAVKO TOMAC
(SDP), WHO CHAIRS THE PARLIAMENTARY FOREIGN AFFAIRS
COMMITTEE, SAID THAT THE U.N. SHOULD HAVE BEEN GIVEN MORE
TIME AS "IRAQ AT THE MOMENT POSED NO THREAT TO WORLD
PEACE." THE PRESIDENT OF THE LIBRA PARTY, JOZO RADOS,
CONDEMNED THE DECISION TO ATTACK IRAQ WITHOUT A SECURITY
COUNCIL RESOLUTION. HE TOLD REPORTERS THE DECISION
"PROBABLY MEANT SOWING THE SEEDS OF TERRORISM FOR THE
FUTURE." THE LIBERAL PARTY PRESIDENT, IVO BANAC, SAID
THAT, WITHOUT UNSC APPROVAL, THE WAR WAS A "DANGEROUS
OPERATION WITH UNCLEAR RESULTS." HE ADDED THAT THE "U.S.
GOVERNMENT WOULD BEAR ALL CONSEQUENCES" FOR THE DECISION.

3. EXCEPT FOR HDZ, CROATIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES AIRED
SIMILAR NEGATIVE VIEWS. THE SOCIAL LIBERAL PRESIDENT
DRAZEN BUDISA (HSLS) SAID THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE WAR WOULD
BE GRAVE FOR HUMANITARIAN REASONS, FOR INTERNATIONAL LAW,
FOR THE ROLE OF THE UN AND FOR RELATIONS AMONG ALLIES IN
THE EURO-ATLANTIC PROCESS. DEMOCRATIC CENTER PRESIDENT
MATE GRANIC (DC) SUPPORTED THE PRINCIPLE OF MILITARY
INTERVENTIONS WITHIN THE UNSC FRAMEWORK, RATHER THAN
"PLAYING ON THE CARD OF DIVISIONS" BETWEEN THE U.S. AND THE
EU, OR EVEN WITHIN THE EU. CROATIAN BLOC LEADER IVIC
PASALIC (HB) HOPED THE ACTION WOULD BE OVER AS SOON AS
POSSIBLE AND CASUALTIES KEPT TO A MINIMUM. ANTO DJAPIC OF
THE RIGHT WING CROATIAN PARTY OF RIGHTS (HSP) DESCRIBED THE
MILITARY ACTION AS POSING THE "BIGGEST CRISIS FOR THE
INTERNATIONAL ORDER IN THE LAST 40 YEARS."

ROSSIN

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