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Cablegate: Defense Minister Renews Isaf Commitment

P 201236Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6421
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0031

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000867

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EUR/SCE - PFEUFFER

E.O. 12356: DECL: N/A
TAGS: PREL MOPS MARR AF HR
SUBJECT: DEFENSE MINISTER RENEWS ISAF COMMITMENT

REF: Zagreb 813

1. (SBU) SUMMARY AND COMMENT: In a July 14 introductory meeting
with Ambassador Bradtke, Minister of Defense Berislav Roncevic
reiterated the GoC's long-term commitment to keep troops in
Afghanistan. He said he will ask Parliament this fall for
authorization to increase Croatia's force contribution to ISAF.
We expect Parliament to approve raising the number of troops from
approximately 150 (reftel) to 300. END SUMMARY AND COMMENT.

RONCEVIC: WE UNDERSTAND THE NEED FOR EXTENDED ISAF PRESENCE
--------------------------------------------- --------------

2. (SBU) Minister Roncevic assured the Ambassador that the US was
Croatia's number one partner in defense and military cooperation
and that the GoC will remain a reliable partner in ISAF and other
international missions. After visiting troops in Afghanistan,
Roncevic said he is well aware of the reasons why foreign troops
will be needed for a long time.

3. (SBU) Roncevic highlighted the GoC's continued engagement with
its Adriatic-Three partners. He underlined the importance of
this cooperation on the path to NATO membership. Noting SecDef
Rumsfeld's upcoming visit to Albania, Roncevic said the GoC
intends to invite the SecDef to Dubrovnik.

BRADTKE

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