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Cablegate: Ambassador Foley Presents Credentials to President

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVB #0576 2611233
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181233Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9540
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000576

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL HR
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR FOLEY PRESENTS CREDENTIALS TO PRESIDENT
MESIC

1. (U) Ambassador Foley presented his credentials to Croatian
President Stjepan Mesic on Sept. 15. In his remarks,
Ambassador Foley said he was "proud to be representing the
United States in a country that has so recently become our
ally within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization." The
Ambassador emphasized the US was taking seriously its
responsibilities toward Croatia as a NATO ally, and saluted
Croatia,s contributions to operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo
and elsewhere. Noting that both Croatia and the United States
were facing serious economic challenges, Ambassador Foley
pledged to "make every effort in order to strengthen our
economic relationship." Similarly, he strongly supported
Croatia,s aspirations to membership in the EU, and the
implementation of all the reforms required in the process.

2. (U) In his remarks, President Mesic said Croatia "salutes
with enthusiasm the new highlights in American foreign
policies" that President Obama has introduced. Mesic said he
especially valued the fact that the U.S. today was "open to
dialogue with all and honors the specificities of individual
nations and regions." President Mesic said that, because of
its own recent war, Croatia particularly valued peace, and
remained committed to the global fight against terrorism.
Mesic told the Ambassador he planned to stay active in
politics even after the end of his second and final term in
February 2010. He said he would continue to promote the
importance for Croatia of a democratic system based on
antifascism.
3. (U) Following the prepared remarks, the President sat down
with the Ambassador for fifteen minutes and provided a tour
d'horizon of the region, focusing on Kosovo and how the issue
complicates better relations with Serbia, and on Bosnia,
where he reaffirmed GoC support for Dayton even in the
context of deepening problems there. Mesic expressed
satisfaction with the agreement lifting Slovenia's blockade
of Croatia's accession bid, but noted that eventual
arbitration of the maritime border dispute must be based on
international law. Ambassador stressed that each side must
accommodate the other's needs in order to reach an
arbitration agreement, and that Slovenia must believe that
junction or contact with the High Sea is explicitly a
possible, though not foreordained, outcome.
4. (U) Mesic said he would invite the Ambassador for dinner
following his trip to UNGA in order to have a substantive
discussion of these and other issues.
5. (SBU) COMMENT: Mesic's remarks indicate that, during his
final months in office, he will remain a constructive voice
on regional issues. But his most interesting comments were
those directed at the domestic political audience.
Speculation continues that Mesic hopes to lead a "third
block" of small and regional parties that could subsequently
form a post-electoral coalition with the SDP. Mesic has
publicly denied these specific stories, but his remarks on
September 15 clearly indicate he wants to remain active
politically in some fashion. END COMMENT.
FOLEY

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