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Cablegate: Bosnia- Hdz-1990 Party Congress Calls for "Ethnic

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVJ #2490/01 3201412
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161412Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7378
INFO RUEHVB/AMEMBASSY ZAGREB PRIORITY 0472
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JCS WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SARAJEVO 002490

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

EUR FOR DICARLO; EUR/SCE (HOH, FOOKS, STINCHCOMB); NSC FOR
BRAUN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV HR BK
SUBJECT: BOSNIA- HDZ-1990 PARTY CONGRESS CALLS FOR "ETHNIC
FEDERALISM"

REF: A. SARAJEVO 2057
B. SARAJOEVO 2415

1. (SBU) Summary. On November 10 in Mostar, the Croatian
Democratic Union 1990 (HDZ-1990) held its first party
congress since its founding in April 2006. Delegates
re-elected the senior party leadership, including Chairman
Bozo Ljubic and Deputy Chairman Martin Raguz. The
participation of Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader
illustrates the intensity of the ongoing competition for the
Bosnian Croat diaspora vote in Croatian parliamentary
elections. Sanader expressed his strong support for Ljubic
and also took the opportunity to campaign for HDZ-Croatia in
the upcoming Croatian elections. Ljubic also unveiled a
proposal for constitutional reform which built on the Bosnian
Croat Kresevo Declaration but constituted a more explicit
call for the creation of ethnically-based federal units in
Bosnia. End Summary.

Ljubic's speech
---------------

2. (SBU) Chairman Bozo Ljubic opened the inaugural HDZ-1990
congress with a speech focusing on the party's main
accomplishments since its founding in April 2006. Ljubic
emphasized the key role the party had played in blocking the
April 2006 package of constitutional reforms noting it was
part of a larger commitment to protect and defend Croat
interests in Bosnia. Ljubic said that the Federation was
becoming increasingly dominated by Bosniak interests, and
that future reforms must provide greater protections for
Bosnian Croats. Ljubic also devoted significant time to the
current political crisis, stating, as he did at the September
session of the Peace Implementation Council, that its real
cause was not the Lajcak measures. Ljubic voiced HDZ 1990's
support for the High Representative and his use of the Bonn
Powers, and said that both should remain in place until
Bosnia has a new and functional constitution in place.

Sanader
-------

3. (SBU) Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader also had a
prominent speaking role at the convention. Sanader predicted
that HDZ-Croatia will remain in power after the November 25
elections and Bosnian Croats can continue to count on the
party's support. He emphasized that the current political
crisis must be resolved separately from the resolution of
Kosovo's status. Sanader expressed support for the High
Representative and his use of the Bonn Powers, but stressed
that long-term change can only be achieved through consensus
among all three constituent peoples with the support of the
United States and EU. Sanader also urged HDZ-1990 and
HDZ-BiH to bridge their differences. He stressed, however,
Croatia will not exert any pressure to achieve a
reunification of the two Bosnian HDZs. Sanader also used the
opportunity to campaign for his party and attack his domestic
political opponents, particularly SDP-Croatia.

HDZ 1990's Constitutional View
------------------------------

4. (SBU) Bozo Ljubic also unveiled HDZ-1990 proposals for a
constitutional reform package. Building on the Kresevo
Declaration from September (ref A), the HDZ-1990 proposal
seeks to enhance Croat influence at the federal and local
levels of government through "ethnically-based institutions."
The HDZ-1990 plan would create at least three
ethnically-based federal units. The state-level government
would have clearly defined competencies limited to
establishing a state capable of Euro-Atlantic integration.
Under the HDZ-1990 proposal, the Prime Minister, President,
Parliament Speaker) would be divided among the ethnic groups
and national groups in the House of Peoples would retain veto
power. All competencies not strictly granted to the state
government would be handled by entity or local governments.
HDZ 1990 also announced its support for incorporating the
ethnic divisions and protections existing at the state-level
into the federal units.

Comment
-------


5. (SBU) The HDZ 1990 constitutional proposal takes one step
closer to an open call for the establishment of a third,
Croat, entity. Nonetheless, Ljubic and Raguz were clearly
mindful of managing public opinion and scrupulously avoided
explicit references to such an entity. Instead, HDZ 1990
used its congress to paint a picture of Bosnian Croat
electorate that is prepared to cooperate with the
international community in supporting the Lajcak measures and
eventual EU membership for Bosnia. Although Sanader
successfully convinced both Bosnian HDZ's to join his
diaspora candidate list for Croatian parliamentary elections,
this has not translated into any realistic prospect that the
two parties will reunite in the near future. End comment.
ENGLISH

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