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Cablegate: Zagreb Weekly Activity Report - December 17, 2008

VZCZCXRO9480
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVB #0864 3531019
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181019Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8860
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000864

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV HR
SUBJECT: ZAGREB WEEKLY ACTIVITY REPORT - DECEMBER 17, 2008

1. (SBU) CROATIAN TROOPS DEPLOYED TO ISAF RECEIVE ADDITIONAL
150 IMPROVED FIRST AID KITS FROM U.S.:
On December 11 Croatian troops deployed to Afghanistan
received another 150 Improved First Aid Kits (IFAK) from U.S.
forces. When used in trained hands, the kits give soldiers a
greatly improved chance of survival of combat injuries. The
kit is a vast improvement over previous individual first-aid
packs, and focuses on quickly treating the two most urgent
medical crises faced on the battlefield in the case of an
injury - severe bleeding from a wound to an extremity and a
blocked airway. Acquiring more of the kits was Post's
highest priority, both to protect the lives of our partner's
soldiers and, in the case of loss of life, to know that every
effort had been made to obtain the best equipment possible;
and ultimately, to strengthen Croatia's commitment to ISAF.
(CDavis)

2. (SBU) U.S. BRIEFING ON MILITARY INTELLIGENCE IN
PEACE-KEEPING OPERATIONS:
The U.S. Army Southern European Task Force in Vicenza, Italy
provided Croatia with a particularly well received team of
briefers from their Military Intelligence (MI) Detachment.
The team presented a familiarization event on Intelligence in
Peacekeeping Operations. The audience, mainly Croatian
military officers in the field of intelligence, soaked up the
presentations, which focused on recent Afghanistan
experiences. The best indicator of the relevancy and
currency of the topic was a request by a Colonel representing
the Croatian MOD Intelligence Department (J2) that, before
the team returned home, a portion of the talk on a 15-month
deployment to an Afghan province be presented again to a
select senior audience assembled from the J2. (CDavis)

3. (U) GOLF LAW CREATES CONTROVERSY:
On December 15, the Croatian parliament adopted two laws, one
on management of arable land, and the other on development of
golf courses. Opposition members walked out of the session,
deeming the laws unacceptable. The walk-out also included
members of the Croatian Serb SDSS party, which belongs to the
ruling coaltion. Whether the walk out over these laws will
shake the ruling coalition is still unclear. The opposition
does not support the two laws because they enable investors
to expropriate land from private owners and local governments
in order to build golf courses. Some also object to higher
fees imposed for the conversion of agricultural plots into
commercial land. The largest oppostion party, the Social
Democrats, argues that the two laws offer excellent grounds
for corrupt acts because of a lack of transparency for
decisions to change the zoning of land. Three prominent NGOs
have announced that they will file a complaint with the
Constitutional Court to investigate the constitutionality of
the laws. (DMatijas-Venger)

4. (U) GOC AND EC AGREE ON TERMS OF SHIPBUILDING
PRIVATIZATION; UNIONS DISPLEASED:
In a meeting with union leaders on December 15, Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of Economy Damir Polancec said the GOC
had achieved its main goals in negotiations with the European
Commission (EC) over shipyard privatization: survival of the
shipbuilding industry and maintaining as many jobs as
possible. He said the GOC and EC agreed private investors
should accept at least 40 percent of restructuring costs and
that capacity for each shipyard should be reduced 25 percent
from its best results in the past three years. The unions,
however, have threatened to strike because the tenders will
not prohibit potential investors from closing the shipyards
and using the property for other activities. Meanwhile,
press reports indicate the industry needs to repay 4.5
billion HRK ($850 million) in debts by the end of the year
and requires an additional 1.5 billion ($280 million) in
loans for sufficient liquidity to maintain production. With
three of the shipyards reportedly on the verge of bankruptcy,
Polancec suggested the unions should direct their energy
toward finding a way to keep the industry operating until
restructuring can be completed. The GOC expects the EC to
finish analyzing the proposed tenders by January 9. It will
then invite bids beginning January 20. (SLitke)
BRADTKE

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