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Cablegate: Tfiz01: Croatian Parliament Debates Iraq: No

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

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000685

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL HR IZ
SUBJECT: TFIZ01: CROATIAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES IRAQ: NO
SURPRISES

REF: ZAGREB 669

1. ON MARCH 26, CROATIA'S PARLIAMENT DEBATED THE GOC
POSITION ON IRAQ. DEBATE WAS LIMITED BY A STRUCTURE AGREED
IN ADVANCE BY PARLIAMENT LEADERS ON MARCH 21. AT THE
BEGINNING OF "QUESTION TIME," PM RACAN DELIVERED A BRIEF
REPORT; PARTY LEADERS THEN HAD FIVE MINUTES EACH TO RESPOND.
PM RACAN'S "REPORT" TRACKED CLOSELY WITH THE POSITION HE
RELAYED PRIVATELY TO THE AMBASSADOR IN THEIR MARCH 24 MEETING
(REFTEL). RACAN REPEATED HIS EXPRESSION OF "REGRET" AT THE
LACK OF INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY UNITY OVER IRAQ. HE PUBLICLY
ANNOUNCED HIS GOVERNMENT'S READINESS TO SUPPORT INTERNATIONAL
EFFORTS IN HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE, PEACEKEEPING AND POST-WAR
RENEWAL OF IRAQ. RACAN CALLED FOR A "REVITALIZATION" OF UN
AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL BODIES AND SAID THAT THE UN SHOULD
HAVE THE LEAD IN REBUILDING IRAQ.

2. LEADERS OF COALITION PARTIES GENERALLY BACKED THE GOC.
VESNA PUSIC (HNS) SAID THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE PLEASED WITH
DEVELOPING AND THEN STICKING TO A CONSISTENT POSITION.
DIFFERENCES WITH THE USG HAVE BEEN EXAGGERATED; THE ONLY
IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE WAS CROATIA'S DECISION NOT TO BE LISTED
AS A MEMBER OF THE COALITION SUPPORTING MILITARY ACTION IN
IRAQ. JOZO RADOS (LIBRA) SAID THAT THE LOCAL MEDIA HAS
EXAGGERATED DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE AGREED GOC LINE AND
PRESIDENT MESIC'S SPEECH. ZLATKO KRAMARIC (LS) SAID
CROATIA'S POSITIONS ON THE EU AND THE U.S. MUST BE REDEFINED,
HOPED THAT THE U.N WOULD NOT REGRESS TO THE LEAGUE OF
NATIONS, AND HOPED THAT TERRORISM WOULD NOT SPILL OVER TO
"OUR REGION." LUKA TRCONIC (HSS) EXPRESSED CONCERN ABOUT
DAMAGE DONE TO THE UN, ON WHICH "SMALL NATIONS LIKE CROATIA"
RELY.

3. THE OPPOSITION REACTION TO THE PM'S REPORT WAS MIXED.
THE HDZ -- THE ONLY PARTY TO PUBLICLY SUPPORT THE USE OF
FORCE TO DISARM IRAQ -- DID NOT USE THEIR RIGHT OF REPLY.
HDZ WHIP VLADIMIR SEKS SAID HIS PARTY HAD "PUBLICLY SHARED
ITS VIEWS ON THE IRAQI CRISIS AND HAD NOTHING TO ADD TO ITS
POSITIONS." DC PRESIDENT MATE GRANIC CRITICIZED A LACK OF
COORDINATION BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND PRESIDENT MESIC ON
IRAQ, WONDERING WHY THE (STILL NOT ESTABLISHED) NATIONAL
SECURITY COUNCIL HAD NOT BEEN USED TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE.
GRANIC COMMENDED THE HIGH LEVEL OF UNITY THAT THE GOVERNMENT
AND MOST POLITICAL PARTIES REACHED ON THE NEED OF UNSC
APPROVAL OF THE MILITARY ACTION. IDS LEADER DAMIR KAJIN
ACCUSED PRESIDENT BUSH OF "LOSING TOUCH WITH REALITY" AND
STARTING A "UNILATERAL" ACTION THAT WILL PRODUCE MORE
ANTI-AMERICANISM.

4. DRAZEN BUDISA (HSLS) SAID THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD
RECONSIDER ITS FOREIGN POLICY GOALS IN THE LIGHT OF NEW
DIVISIONS. RESPONDING TO RACAN'S DECLARATION THAT CROATIA
WOULD SEEK TO PARTICIPATE IN POST-CONFLICT ACTIVITIES, BUDISA
SAID THAT "CROATIA SHOULD NOT BE JOINING THE COUNTRIES WHICH
WILL REBUILD IRAQ, BUT THOSE THAT ARE TRYING TO STOP THE
WAR." THE ONLY FIREWORKS OF THE "QUESTION TIME" SESSION WERE
PROVIDED BY THE HDZ RIGHT-WING EXTREMIST LJUBO CESIC ROJS,
WHO ON THREE SEPARATE OCCASIONS NOISILY INTERJECTED HIS
READINESS TO JOIN THE US-LED MILITARY ACTION IN IRAQ.
ROSSIN

NNNN

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