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Cablegate: Tfiz01: Top Officials Comment On War in Iraq

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

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000664

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM HR IZ
SUBJECT: TFIZ01: TOP OFFICIALS COMMENT ON WAR IN IRAQ


PM RACAN: GOC COMMENTS FOLLOW AGREED LINE ...
---------------------------------------------

1. IN AN INTERVIEW PUBLISHED ON MARCH 22 IN THE MASS
MARKET DAILY "JUTARNJI LIST," PRIME MINISTER IVICA RACAN
REITERATED HIS GOVERNMENT'S POSITION "REGRETTING" THE LACK
OF UNSC UNITY OVER THE DECISION TO USE FORCE TO COMPEL IRAQ
TO DISARM. HE SAID THAT ALL OF THE GOVERNMENT'S STATEMENTS
FOLLOWED THE AGREED POLICY LINE, BUT HE CLAIMED THAT
PRESIDENT MESIC DID NOT CONSULT WITH THE GOVERNMENT BEFORE
DELIVERING HIS SPEECH TO THE CROATIAN PEOPLE ON MARCH 20.
(IN THAT ADDRESS, MESIC SAID USG MILITARY ACTION "LACKED
LEGITIMACY" WITHOUT UNSC APPROVAL.)

2. RACAN SAID CROATIA COULD NOT "SELECTIVELY IGNORE"
SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS, AND ASKED RHETORICALLY WHAT
WOULD HAVE HAPPENED "HAD WE IGNORED, FOR INSTANCE, SECURITY
COUNCIL DECISIONS ON ICTY AND STOPPED COOPERATION." RACAN
POINTED OUT THAT CROATIA HAD GRANTED OVERFLIGHT APPROVAL TO
U.S. CIVILIAN AIRCRAFT CARRYING MILITARY PERSONNEL AND
EQUIPMENT. IN ADDITION, THE U.S. COULD USE CROATIAN
AIRPORTS FOR FUELING, WHICH WAS "MORE THAN OFFERED BY SOME
OF THE COUNTRIES THAT WERE FORMALLY ALLIED WITH THE U.S.,"
THE PM SAID.

--------------------------------------------- --------------
MESIC AND TOMCIC SAY STATE LEADERSHIP UNITED ON WAR IN IRAQ
--------------------------------------------- --------------

3. PRESIDENT STJEPAN MESIC RESPONDED TO RACAN'S MARCH 22
INTERVIEW BY DENYING THE EXISTENCE OF ANY MISUNDERSTANDING
BETWEEN HIM AND THE GOVERNMENT ON THE IRAQI CRISIS. HE SAID
THAT THE FOREIGN POLICY LEADERSHIP AGREED ON A SINGLE
STANCE; HIS SPEECH SIMPLY CAME AT THE SAME POSITION FROM A
DIFFERENT ANGLE.

4. PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ZLATKO TOMCIC (WHO IS ALSO PRESIDENT
OF THE HSS, THE SECOND LARGEST COALITION PARTY) TOLD THE
PRESS THERE WAS NO DIFFERENCE IN VIEW ON IRAQ AMONG THE
PRESIDENT, THE PRIME MINISTER AND THE SPEAKER. TOMCIC
EXPRESSED THE BELIEF THAT A UNILATERAL MILITARY ACTION
ENDANGERED THE FUNCTIONING OF A WHOLE SERIES OF WORLD
INSTITUTIONS, INCLUDING THE UN, NATO AND THE EU. "IF THE
ACTION ENDS SOON, WE WILL ALL COME OUT OF THIS LESS
DAMAGED; IF IT TAKES LONG, CONSEQUENCES FOR THE WORLD'S
LEGAL SYSTEM WILL BE HARSH," TOMCIC SAID.

--------------------------------------------- ---
DEPUTY PM GORAN GRANIC CHALLENGES U.S. CRITICISM
--------------------------------------------- ---

5. THE LOCAL PRESS QUOTED ON MARCH 23 DEPUTY PM GORAN
GRANIC AS SAYING THAT "IT IS TRAGIC TO SEE HOW MUCH
AMBASSADOR ROSSIN GOT LOST IN TIME AND SPACE," EXPLAINING
HE MEANT THIS IN THE CONTEXT OF "ALL THOSE IN THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY WHO ALLOWED THEMSELVES MUCH GREATER
RIGHTS THAN ARE USUAL IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, BOTH WITH
REGARD TO THIS AND THE FORMER GOVERNMENT." GRANIC ADDED
THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS NOT SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING ANY FORM
OF POSSIBLE U.S. "PUNISHMENT," AS THE TITLE OF AMBASSADOR'S
INTERVIEW HAD SUGGESTED.

-------
COMMENT
-------

6. THE AMBASSADOR MET MARCH 24 WITH PM RACAN TO CALM THE
RHETORIC IN THE LOCAL MEDIA REGARDING THE GOC'S POSITION ON
THE IRAQ CRISIS. THE ACCOUNT OF THIS MEETING IS BEING
PROVIDED SEPTEL.

ROSSIN

NNNN

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