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Cablegate: Zagreb Daily Report - December 2, 2009

VZCZCXRO5414
PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHVB #0703 3361517
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 021517Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9693
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000703

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON ENRG AF HR
SUBJECT: ZAGREB DAILY REPORT - DECEMBER 2, 2009

1. (SBU) Initial Croatian Media Coverage of President,s
Policy on Afghanistan: Major dailies gave
significant coverage to President Obama,s speech, although
primarily based on reports from senior
officials, pre-briefs, given the time difference. All media
note that the Croatian government remains
committed to its current deployment of 300 troops. Several
articles note that the GoC is considering a
potential increase of 5 percent, to 315 troops. (NOTE:
High-level government sources have confirmed
to us Croatia,s intent to implement that increase, but that
no final decision will be made until after the end
of the current presidential election campaign. Prime
Minister Kosor has just issued a statement
confirming full GoC support for President Obama,s policy;
post will report on this separately.)

2. (U) Ruling Coalition to meet over Fate of Transport
Minister Kalmeta: Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor
called a meeting of coalition partners for December 2 to
discuss the future of Bozidar Kalmeta, the
Minister of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure over the
continuing corruption scandal at Croatian
Highways. Following that meeting, Kosor,s government must
address a formal demand for Kalmeta,s
resignation by December 4 which the primary opposition,
Social Democratic Party (SDP), has forwarded
to the Parliament.

3. (SBU) Croatia Deliberating on South Stream: The Ministry
of Economy released a statement to Reuters
early this week announcing Croatia,s interest in joining the
Russian South Stream gas pipeline, and
stating they are in intense discussions with the Russian
side. Prime Minister Kosor will reportedly visit
Moscow in January, although no plans or dates have been
finalized. Privately, an INA oil company
executive, who is also advising the Prime Minister informally
on energy issues, told us that there is
confusion within the government on all the gas supply
projects under consideration, including South
Stream and a planned LNG terminal on the Adriatic coast. He
also said, though, that given forecasted
gas needs, Croatia is not in a position to reject outright
any potential new sources.

4. (U) Embassy Donates Narcotics Field Test Kits: On Monday,
November 30, the Embassy donated 80
narcotics test kits to the Croatian Customs Service. The
donation, valued at $21,000 was funded by
EUCOM,s Counternarcotics and Terrorism office. The kits
will be used by customs officers at major
border crossings to immediately identify suspected
substances. Croatia is a transit point along the
"Balkan Route" for drugs moving between Asia and Europe.
FOLEY

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