Cablegate: Zagreb Daily Report - November 30, 2009

DE RUEHVB #0695 3350818
P 010818Z DEC 09



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Zagreb Daily Report - November 30, 2009

1. (U) New Corruption Scandal Erupts - Transport Minister Under
Fire: Croatian authorities on November 26 arrested five executives
suspected of involvement in shady dealings at the state-owned
Croatian Highways company (HAC). The five are suspected of
manipulating public tenders and overbilling for road projects. All
suspects denied the accusations brought against them. Over the
weekend, the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) requested a
parliamentary vote of no confidence against Minister of Transport
and Maritime Affairs Bozidar Kalmeta, demanding that he resign from
his post due to a number of scandals in state-owned companies in his
portfolio. Minister Kalmeta has denied any knowledge of the alleged
corrupt activities.

2. (SBU) Croatia Closes Three More EU Accession Chapters: At a
sub-ministerial level Intergovernmental Conference in Brussels on
November 27, Croatia closed three new chapters in its EU
negotiations, covering Financial Services, Energy, and Consumer and
Health Protection. This brings the total of provisionally closed
chapters to 15. Croatia has another 13 chapters currently open in
negotiations, and just five remaining to be opened. Of the five yet
to open, three (Environment; Fisheries; and Foreign, Security and
Defense Policy) are awaiting Slovenian consent to open, while the
other two (Judiciary and Fundamental Rights, and Competition Policy)
are the most substantively challenging. The GoC hopes that the
former three chapters could open and one or two more chapters be
closed by the end of 2009. EU sources in Zagreb, however, report
that Slovene representatives in the Council showed some reluctance
to closure of at least one of the chapters on November 27, only
giving in after pressure from other EU Member States.

3. (U) Ambassador Rapp Discusses Efforts to Locate Documents:
Special Envoy for War Crimes Ambassador Stephen Rapp met with Prime
Minister Kosor and other high Croatian officials on November 27 and
discussed Croatia's latest efforts to search for the missing
artillery documents sought by the International Criminal Tribunal
for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The Prime Minister pledged to
continue the investigation and Croatia's cooperation with the ICTY.
A more detailed report on the issue is being sent septel.

4. (U) Mesic to Visit Kosovo in January: President Mesic plans to
visit Kosovo on January 7. Media note that Serbian President Tadic
has allegedly put off a visit to Croatia three times this year, and
speculated that Mesic's announcement of the visit to Kosovo
indicates no Tadic visit will occur prior to the end of Mesic's
final term in office in February. In recent weeks Mesic has been
critical of Belgrade's policy towards BiH and Dodik, particularly
how the return of convicted war criminal Biljana Plavsic was

5. (U) Ambassador Foley Gives First Comprehensive Interview to
Croatian Daily: On November 28th, Croatian daily newspaper, Novi
List, published an interview with Ambassador Foley covering Croatian
contributions to ISAF, the Arbitration agreement between Croatia and
Slovenia, cooperation with the ICTY, anti-corruption efforts and
shipyard privatization.

6. (U) Embassy Zagreb Supports Green Building Council: The Green
Building Council of Croatia (GBC) launched its first symposium this
week at the Zagreb Architectural Society with the help of Embassy
Zagreb's public diplomacy and management sections, including a small
supporting grant. Embassy Zagreb is a co-founder of the nascent GBC
( ), which works to
promote environmentally beneficial and sustainable building
practices in Croatia.


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