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Cablegate: Croatian Parliamentarian Nato Tour to Bratislava

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

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000923

SIPDIS


FOR AMBASSADOR WEISER FROM AMBASSADOR FRANK

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL HR NATO
SUBJECT: CROATIAN PARLIAMENTARIAN NATO TOUR TO BRATISLAVA

1. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU AND YOUR TEAM FOR THE
OUTSTANDING SUPPORT PROVIDED DURING THE MAY 4 - 5 VISIT OF
FOUR CROATIAN PARLIAMENTARIANS TO BRATISLAVA. THIS TRIP MADE
AN IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION TO THE UNDERSTANDING BY THESE
LAWMAKERS OF HOW TO HELP MOVE CROATIA FORWARD TOWARD NATO
MEMBERSHIP. I VERY MUCH APPRECIATE THE TIME AND COMMITMENT
OF DCM SCOTT THAYER AS WELL AS THAT OF YOUR DEFENSE ATTACHE,
YOUR POL COUNSELOR AND YOUR PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER. I WOULD
LIKE TO SINGLE OUT POLOFF KASSIE KOHLER, WHO PUT TOGETHER AN
OUTSTANDING PROGRAM AND MADE INSIGHTFUL CONTRIBUTIONS TO
DISCUSSIONS.

2. WHILE I UNDERSTAND THE VISIT CAME DURING A BUSY PERIOD
FOR YOUR EMBASSY, FROM A POLICY STANDPOINT THE TIMING COULD
NOT HAVE BEEN BETTER. CROATIA'S TOP POLICY PRIORITIES ARE TO
JOIN THE EU AND NATO, AND THE VISITING CROATIAN MPS WERE
EAGER TO LEARN FROM SLOVAKIA'S RECENT SUCCESS.

3. THE CROATIAN DELEGATION LEARNED THAT IN ORDER TO REACH
ITS GOAL, SLOVAKIA HAD TO OVERCOME THE LEGACY OF THE MECIAR
GOVERNMENT, WORK STEADILY ON REFORM ISSUES WITHIN NATO'S MAP
PROGRAM AND ENGAGE WITH NGOS AND OPINION LEADERS TO BUILD
PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORT FOR INTEGRATION. PERHAPS
THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON LEARNED WAS THE UNDERSTANDING THAT
IF IT FOLLOWS SLOVAKIA'S LEAD, CROATIA CAN OVERCOME THE LATE
START BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY'S
OSTRACISM OF THE TUDJMAN REGIME.

4. IN EACH MEETING, THE CROATIAN MP'S WERE GIVEN THE
OVERWHELMING IMPRESSION THAT SLOVAKIA BACKS FURTHER EXPANSION
OF THE EU AND NATO AND STANDS READY TO HELP CROATIA SUCCEED.
AT THE MOD AND MFA, EXPERTS SHARED COPIES OF LEGISLATION, PR
STRATEGY DOCUMENTS AND ADVICE ON HOW SLOVAKIA QUALIFIED FOR
NATO MEMBERSHIP. AT THE PARLIAMENT, MEMBERS OF THE FOREIGN
AFFAIRS AND NATIONAL DEFENSE COMMITTEES DISCUSSED THE
ACTIVIST ROLE THAT PARLIAMENTARIANS MUST PLAY TO HELP THEIR
NATION MOUNT A SUCCESSFUL BID FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE EU AND
NATO. THE SLOVAK MPS MADE A CLEAR COMMITMENT TO SUPPORT
CROATIA'S EFFORTS.

5. AGAIN, I'D LIKE TO THANK YOU AND YOUR TEAM FOR MAKING
THIS SUCH A SUCCESSFUL VISIT; IT WAS A CLEAR CONTRIBUTION TO
OUR TOP MISSION GOALS.
FRANK

NNNN

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