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Cablegate: Croatian Sabor Approves Supplemental Sofa

VZCZCXRO7398
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVB #0523 1971445
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151445Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8480
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000523

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR, EUR/SCE, PM, PM/SNA, L/PM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR PGOV HR
SUBJECT: CROATIAN SABOR APPROVES SUPPLEMENTAL SOFA

REF: ZAGREB 244

(U) SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.

1. (U) By a vote of 121-1,the Croatian Sabor (Parliament)
approved on July 15 the Supplemental Status of Forces
Agreement with the United States, which was signed in April
of this year. The Sabor approved the agreement under a
procedure requiring a two-thirds majority, after a
determination by the Sabor's Consitutional Committee that the
agreement raised legal issues within the purview of the
Constitution. The opposition Social Democratic Party had
insisted on passage by a two-thirds majority, and with that
concession by the government, supported the agreement.

2. (SBU) Immediately following the vote, Prime Minister
Sanader telephoned the Ambassador to inform him of the
Sabor's action. The Prime Minister described the vote as a
strong endorsement of closer cooperation with the United
States and a sign of the excellent relations between the
United States and Croatia. The Prime Minister also
reiterated his hope that the Senate would act before the
November elections to give its advice and consent to
ratification of Croatia's accession to NATO.

3. (SBU) The Ambassador expressed his appreciation for the
government's successful efforts to gain Sabor approval of the
SOFA. The Sabor vote, with the support of the opposition
SPD, was evidence of Croatia's reliability and credibility as
an ally and partner. The Ambassador said he would convey's
the Prime Minister's desire for early ratification of
Croatia's NATO accession to Washington, and would work with
Washington and Croatian Ambassador Grabar-Kitarovic to
encourage action by the Senate.

4 (SBU) Comment and Action Requested. In the run-up to the
Sabor vote, the SOFA had come under attack in the Croatian
press, including on Croatia's state-owned television network,
as going too far in granting privileges and immunities to
American forces. The strong vote in favor of the agreement
reflects the importance both the government and the
opposition attach to developing bilateral military relations
with the U.S. With the Sabor action completed, Embassy
requests the Department's guidance on the next steps to bring
the agreement into force.
Bradtke

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