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Cablegate: Ministers Assure U.S., Osce and Unhcr Refugee

VZCZCXRO7923
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVB #0851 2571510
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 141510Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8130
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 1978
RUEHVJ/AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO 0270

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000851

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

FOR EUR/SCE, EUR/RPM, PRM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: HR CROATIA OSCE PGOV PREF PREL REFUGEES
SUBJECT: MINISTERS ASSURE U.S., OSCE AND UNHCR REFUGEE
HOUSING ON TARGET

REF: ZAGREB 00642 AND PREVIOUS

1. (SBU) SUMMARY AND COMMENT: Two key Ministers with
responsibility for refugee return issues reconfirmed that the
Croatian Government will fulfill its commitments to the
international community on refugee housing. In a September
13th meeting attended by Ambassador Bradtke and the heads of
mission for the OSCE and the UNHCR, the international
community received strong assurances that the target goals of
providing 400 apartments outside areas of special state
concern (ASSC) and 1000 apartments inside ASSC would be met
by the end of the calendar year. While challenges remain
ranging from the feasibility of public private partnerships
in building new units to the high costs associated with
purchase of existing units, we believe that the Croatian
Government will make sufficient progress to enable the U.S.
to support closure of the OSCE Mssion in its current form.
END SUMMARY AND COMMENT

2. (SBU) In the meeting with Minister Kalmeta, (Ministry of
Sea, Tourism, Traffic, and Development) and Minister Dropulic
(Ministry for Environmental Protection, Physical Planning,
and Construction - MEPPC), representatives from the OSCE,
UNHCR, and relevant Croatian authorities, the international
community received personal assurances from both Kalmeta and
Dropulic that housing benchmarks would be met in time for
OSCE closure by the end of the year. In a detailed
presentation, Dropulic repeated that inside the Areas of
Special State Concern (ASSC) 700 apartments had already been
turned over to families, and 300 additional apartments, if
not slightly more, would be ready by year end. Outside the
ASSCs, the response to government tenders to purchase
apartments had produced roughly 300 acceptable offers.
Because of higher than anticipated costs, more money would be
required for the remaining apartments. Dropulic stressed that
she was "certain" the remaining apartments would be found.
Kalmeta stated that by the end of the year, all of the new
occupants would have the exact address and location of the
apartment they are to be allocated. In the longer term,
technical, legal, and financial constraints regarding the use
of public private partnerships to construct refugee
apartments still need to be overcome.

3. (SBU) Both the US Ambassador and OSCE Ambassador Fuentes
welcomed the GOC's reaffirmation of its commitment to reach
the 2007 benchmark of 1400 residences by the end of the year,
but stressed that the promised apartments must be delivered.
Fuentes noted that his staff would be personally checking the
names and address that will be provided by the GoC. Fuentes
further reminded Croatian officials that in the 2008-2009
period over 5600 more units must be built to remain on
target. Dropulic noted that meeting 2008-2009 benchmarks
would be part of the program of the next government,
following parliamentary elections in November.
BRADTKE

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