Cablegate: Zagreb Daily Report - December 09, 2009

DE RUEHVB #0717 3431327
P 091327Z DEC 09



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Zagreb Daily Report - December 09, 2009

1. (SBU) Slovenia Still Blocking Three Chapters: Slovenian Foreign
Minister Samuel Zbogar said in Brussels after the EU General Affairs
and External Relations Council (GAERC) meeting on Tuesday that
Ljubljana would not be able to lift its blockade of three more
negotiating chapters at the accession conference scheduled for 21
December. Zbogar stated that there was not sufficient time for
Slovenia's relevant parliamentary committee to approve the opening
of the chapters on Fisheries, Environment, and Foreign, Security and
Defense Policy. Zbogar also made vague references to
"content-related" problems with these chapters, but pledged that
Slovene "ministries are seeking solutions to those issues" and that
he expected Ljubljana to act soon to approve them, so they would be
ready for opening at the first accession conference held in 2010.
The Croatian government has not responded publicly to Zbogar's
comments. Privately, officials have told us they are surprised that
Slovenia has not been willing to let these chapters open.

2. (U) Croatia Finances Construction of Health Center in
Afghanistan: The Croatian Foreign Ministry reported on December 8
that a Croatian official with the German-led PRT in Feyzabad
province participated in the opening ceremony of a health center in
the village of Layoba. The center was donated to the Afghan
Ministry of Public Health and its construction was entirely financed
by the GoC. The project cost $270,000 and was carried out in
cooperation with IOM.

3. (U) President Mesic Welcomes New Serbian Ambassador; Croatian
Press Reports on Statement of FM Jeremic: On December 7, President
Mesic received the credentials of the new Serbian Ambassador to
Croatia. In his remarks, Mesic expressed regret that bilateral
relations have "subsided" recently, since the stability of the
region depends on the relationship between Serbia and Croatia.
Mesic affirmed Croatian support for Serbia's path to the EU. In a
clear reference to Bosnia, he added that regional stability also
depends on both countries' relationships with their other neighbors.
Local media also reported Serbian FM Jeremic's comments on December
8 that, "Everything Mesic has said in the last few months simply
cannot contribute to our efforts to improve our relations."
Commenting on Croatia's presentation to the ICJ, also on December 7,
in support of Kosovo's independence, Jeremic said, "We want the best
possible relations with Croatia, but within the international
framework Croatia is continuing to act contrary to the fundamental
interests of Serbia."

4. (U) Public Distrustful of Politicians: In celebration of
International Anti-Corruption Day, Transparency International
Croatia provided an overview of current corruption issues in Croatia
and measures proposed to address them. In their opening remarks,
both President Mesic and Justice Minister Simunovic underscored the
Croatian government's commitment to the fight against corruption on
every level. The event also showcased the results of a recent poll
which surveyed the Croatian public's attitude toward campaign
financing and corruption in the current presidential campaign. If
the results are to be believed, the Croatian electorate has little
faith in their political leaders' integrity: 71.6% percent of the
respondents believed that presidential campaigns are conducted
illegally and 93.1% say that the government should regulate the
amount of money spent during presidential campaigns.


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