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Cablegate: Croatians Accept U.S. Sofa Proposal

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVB #0688 2001300
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 191300Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7943
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 3452

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000688

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR, EUR/SCE, PM, PM/SNA, L/PM
DEFENSE FOR OSD:WINTERNITZ AND MITCHELL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR HR DEFENSE REFORM
SUBJECT: CROATIANS ACCEPT U.S. SOFA PROPOSAL

REF: LOFTIS-BRADTKE E-MAIL OF 6/27/07

(U) Sensitive but unclassified; please handle accordingly.

1. (SBU) Ministry of Foreign Affairs State Secretary
Biscevic informed Ambassador July 19 that the Croatian
Government accepted the U.S. compromise proposal on custody
(ref e-mail), resolving the last outstanding issue in the
U.S.-Croatian negotiations on a bilateral status of forces
agreement. Biscevic said that the draft text had been
presented to Croatian President Mesic on July 18 and Mesic
had given his approval. The next step in the process,
Biscevic said, would be approval by the Cabinet, most likely
within the next week. With the prior approval of both the
President and Prime Minister, Biscevic was confident that
Cabinet approval would be a mere formality.

2. (SBU) The Ambassador proposed that Washington provide a
clean text of the entire agreement to ensure that both sides
had incorporated all of the most recent changes. Biscevic
believed that the Croatian Government text included all the
changes made in recent rounds of negotiations.

3. (SBU) Raising the question of a signing ceremony,
Biscevic asked whether the U.S. had ideas on this point. The
Ambassador said that he had not discussed this with
Washington, but offered his personal opinion that the signing
could take place in Washington and could be done by Croatian
Ambassador Jurica and perhaps Under Secretary of State for
Political Affairs Burns. Biscevic agreed that a higher level
signing ceremony was not necessary and said that he would
raise the Ambassador's suggestion with the Prime Minister.

4. (SBU) COMMENT AND ACTION REQUEST: Despite Biscevic's
confidence that the Croatians have a clean text of the draft
agreement, we would like to be certain all of the changes
that were negotiated in the last several months have been
incorporated in the Croatian text. Embassy therefore
requests that Washington provide as soon as possible a clean
draft to present to the Croatians before the Cabinet gives
its final approval.

5. (SBU) While it may be premature to make decisions about a
signing ceremony, Embassy would also appreciate Washington
guidance on whether a signing ceremony with Under Secretary
Burns and Ambassador Jurica is acceptable.
BRADTKE

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