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Cablegate: Zagreb Weekly Activity Report--December 12, 2007

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PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVB #1072/01 3461512
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121512Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8414
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ZAGREB 001072

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR EUR/SCE, EUR/PPD, EUR/RPM AND EUR/ERA
OSD FOR WINTERNITZ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV HR
SUBJECT: ZAGREB WEEKLY ACTIVITY REPORT--DECEMBER 12, 2007

1. (SBU) COALITION NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE, FINAL ELECTION
RESULTS DUE DEC. 13:
Due to minor irregularities in the first round on November
25, a handful of polling stations around Croatia had to
re-run their vote on December 9. The number of voters was
too small to have any impact on final results. The final
results are now expected late on December 13. President
Mesic is therefore likely to decide on December 14 or 15 to
whom he will give a mandate to try and form a government, and
it is looking increasingly clear that the mandate will first
be given to HDZ leader and current PM Ivo Sanader. HDZ
negotiations with the key coalition partners of the HSS and
HSLS continued all of this week. Both press and private
reports indicate that the HDZ has decided to take its time
and pursue detailed negotiations over the terms of a
coalition government agreement. Ministerial level
negotiators on December 12 reported that they had reached
agreement on 25 out of 30 issues. At least some of the
remaining issues, including how to handle HSS calls for a
referendum on NATO membership and for full implementation of
the protected fishing zone in the Adriatic, will only be
settled at a final set of negotiations by Sanader with HSS
President Josip Friscic and HSLS President Djurdja Adlesic. A
final agreement on a coalition therefore appears likely next
week. (RHoltzapple)

2. (U) Embassy Sponsors DVC in Observation of World Aids Day:
Post sponsored a digital video conference on December 6 on
HIV/AIDS awareness for student audiences in Zagreb and Zadar.
The DVC featured Kevin Johnson, who is 24 years old, HIV
positive, and a full-time student working as a youth outreach
specialist with the AIDS partnership of Michigan. The
conference reached 16 students in Zagreb preparing for
careers as nurses and medical technicians and approximately
50 secondary school students from two schools in
traditionally conservative Zadar. Emphasizing the themes of
prevention and testing, Johnson made an impact on our young
audience by openly answering many difficult questions.
Attended by two journalists, the DVC received favorable
coverage from a local Zadar daily. The conference was
effective public diplomacy because the speaker communicated
with the audience on a human level, increasing awareness of
the need for HIV/AIDS prevention and testing as well as
providing a social perspective on living with the disease.
(KWetzel)

3. (U)Retired FSO Given Award as Part of Human Right's Day
Celebrations:
On the occasion of Human Right's Day, December 10th, the
Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights presented awards
to three "defenders of human rights". The "Miko Tripalo"
award for the protection and promotion of human rights was
presented to Ambassador Robert W. (Todd) Becker, a retired
FSO and for the last seven years the Deputy Head of the OSCE
Mission in Croatia. The Josko Kulusic award went to the
Croatian Television program for ethnic minorities "Prizma".
Peter Kuzmic, a prominent evangelical scholar, was also
awarded for his work in the promotion of inter-religious
dialogue. In addition, GOC officials, UNHCR, OSCE, Croatian
Red Cross, and numerous Croatian NGOs celebrated the December
10th Human Rights Day through a series of concerts,
ceremonies, and public outreach efforts on Zagreb's main
square. (DFisk)

4. (U) Croatians Perceive Judiciary and Health Care as Most
Corrupt:
On December 6, Transparency International (TI) released its
Global Corruption Barometer 2007, a public opinion survey
gauging ordinary Croatians' perceptions of corruption. As in
2005 and 2006, Croatians perceive the judiciary as the most
corrupt (4.3 on a scale of 5), followed by medical services
(4.2), businesses (4.0), political parties (4.0), and
parliament (3.9). Only 8% of 2007 Croatian survey
respondents reported having paid a bribe for services, while
the overall rate for Southeast Europe was 12%. About a
quarter (28%) of respondents think corruption will decrease
in the next three years, while 40% expect an increase. About
60% said the government's efforts to fight corruption are
ineffective. In his statement at the TI Croatia event to
release the Barometer, Croatian President Stepan Mesic also
said he was not satisfied with the past work of the
government on countering corruption. (SLitke)

5. (U) FAA Briefs Croatian Civil Aviation Authority:
Post hosted an FAA briefing on the International Aviation
Safety Assessments (IASA) process via
DVC on December 10 for the Croatian Civil Aviation Authority

ZAGREB 00001072 002 OF 002


and Foreign Ministry. The briefing
familiarized the Croatians with the IASA process, a necessary
precursor to approval of a pending
codeshare agreement between United Airlines and Croatia
Airlines. A formal assessment of
Croatia,s compliance with International Civil Aviation
Organization safety standards will
be made by an FAA team expected to visit Zagreb in the second
half of January, 2008. (NBerliner)

6. (U) Hanukkah Celebrated on Zagreb's Main Square:
Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic and Israeli Ambassador to Croatia,
Shmuel Meirom, marked the celebration of Hanukkah, the
Festival of Lights, by lighting candles on the capital's
central Ban Jelacic Square. In a culminating ceremony on
December 10th, religious leaders, politicians, diplomatic
representatives, and the general public, attended an evening
ceremony presided over by Tel Aviv head rabbi Ysraela Meir
Lau. In addition to lighting ceremonies on the main square,
individual Jewish community celebrations occurred throughout
the eight-day holiday. (DFisk)

7. (U) Weighing A Regional Warehouse:
Embassy Zagreb's Management Team just ran a competition to
model a regional warehouse to support Zagreb, Ljublijana,
Sarajevo and Belgrade. Two interdisciplinary teams, one
looking at complete outsourcing and the other at providing
the service in-house, probed and crunched the staffing,
customs, NEPA, transportation and other issues (including
cost). They presented their findings to the other team and a
panel of "judges" a month later. The analysis of both teams
concluded that a drastic loss in service standards, as well
as difficulties both in property accountability and in
clearing customs multiple times outweighed the cost savings.
Instead, Zagreb is moving forward with our consolidation plan
to eliminate a costly leased warehouse upon the departure of
AID. (TFavret)
BRADTKE

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