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Cablegate: Racviac: Croatia Asks U.S. To Remain in Advisory

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

UNCLAS ZAGREB 001553

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR AC/CAC (JYOUNG), EUR/AGS AND EUR/SCE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PARM PREL MARR HR
SUBJECT: RACVIAC: CROATIA ASKS U.S. TO REMAIN IN ADVISORY
GROUP

REF: A. STATE 168583
B. BERLIN 2394

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: CROATIA BELIEVES THE U.S. IS
UNDERESTIMATING THE VALUE OF RACVIAC AS A TOOL FOR DEVELOPING
REGIONAL STABILITY AND ASKS THAT WE RECONSIDER THE CENTER'S
BENEFITS BEFORE REDUCING OUR ENGAGEMENT IN THE ADVISORY
GROUP. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) ON JUNE 18, WE DELIVERED REF A TALKING POINTS TO
VICE SKRACIC, HEAD OF THE MFA'S INTERNATIONAL SECURITY
DEPARTMENT. DUE TO ONGOING REORGANIZATION OF THE MFA,
SKRACIC PROVIDED A DEFINITIVE RESPONSE TO OUR POSITION ONLY
ON JULY 2. SKRACIC ASKED THAT WE CONSIDER CAREFULLY BEFORE
DISENGAGING FROM THE MULTINATIONAL ADVISORY GROUP (MAG).
DESPITE WHAT COULD APPEAR TO BE A PROLIFERATION OF REGIONAL
ARMS CONTROL "TALK SHOPS," RACVIAC PROVIDES UNIQUE VALUE, HE
ARGUED. ACCORDING TO SKRACIC, RACVIAC IS INCREASINGLY USEFUL
AS A VENUE TO PROVIDE TRAINING TO WORKING-LEVEL OFFICIALS ON
IMPLEMENTATION OF COMPLEX REGIONAL ARMS CONTROL ARRANGEMENTS.
HE CLAIMED RACVIAC IS RELATIVELY EASY TO GET TO AND
INEXPENSIVE. SKRACIC DECLARED THAT RACVIAC HAS NO PRETENSION
TO BE ANYTHING OTHER THAN A LEARNING CENTER; ITS EFFORTS TO
FORM RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE CLEARINGHOUSE
FOR THE CONTROL OF SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS (SEESAC) AND
THE SHAPE SCHOOL AT OBERAMMERGAU ARE ATTEMPTS TO MAKE BETTER
USE OF THE FACILITIES IN CROATIA.

3. (SBU) SKRACIC AGREED THAT THE PROPOSED BUDGET OF 900,000
EURO IS HIGH, BUT POINTED OUT THAT TWO-THIRDS OF THAT AMOUNT
HAVE ALREADY BEEN PLEDGED BY FRANCE AND GERMANY. HE
SUGGESTED THAT EVEN IF THE U.S. CHOOSE NOT TO CONTRIBUTE
FINANCIALLY, IT SHOULD CONSIDER REMAINING IN RACVIAC'S
MULTINATIONAL ADVISORY GROUP. THE LOSS OF U.S. PARTICIPATION
WOULD BE A BLOW TO THE ORGANIZATION'S CREDIBILITY, SAID
SKRACIC.

COMMENT
-------

4. (SBU) OUR ABILITY TO SHAPE RACVIAC'S AGENDA HAS BEEN
LIMITED. IF WE REMAINED IN THE MAG WITHOUT CONTRIBUTING TO
RACVIAC'S BUDGET, WE WOULD HAVE EVEN LESS LEVERAGE THAN WE DO
NOW. WHILE SKRACIC IS PROBABLY CORRECT THAT THE RACVIAC WILL
LOSE CREDIBILITY WITHOUT OUR ENGAGEMENT, WE AGREE WITH
EMBASSY BERLIN'S CONCLUSION (REF B) THAT A CAREFUL, CORDIAL
FAREWELL TO THE MAG WITH NO RECRIMINATIONS WOULD BEST SERVE
OUR INTERESTS IN THE REGION.
FRANK

NNNN

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