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Cablegate: Zagreb Daily Activity Report: January 20, 2010

VZCZCXYZ0005
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVB #0043 0201335
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201335Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9836
INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000043

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV HR
SUBJECT: ZAGREB DAILY ACTIVITY REPORT: JANUARY 20, 2010

1. (SBU) PRESIDENT MESIC'S COMMENTS ON OPPOSING RS SECESSION
WITH MILITARY ACTION: According to local media, in an
informal chat with reporters on January 18, President Mesic
said that, if Republika Srpska (RS) in Bosnia-Herzegovina
(BiH) voted in a referendum to secede from BiH, then the RS
"would cease to exist immediately and I would resort to
military means to (shut off the Brcko corridor)." Pressed by
reporters in a subsequent encounter to explain his comments,
Mesic said that he was stressing that those who are
guarantors of the Dayton Accords cannot let BiH fall apart.
Mesic's comments drew sharp reactions from RS President
Milorad Dodik and other Serb politicians. Many media
commentators in Croatia have described Mseic's comments as
"crossing the line" and note that Mesic, who in any case has
less than one month remaining in office, would not have the
authority to make such a decision on his own. The Croatian
government has declined to comment on Mesic's statements.
(COMMENT: Mesic has made similar remarks in private for at
least a year, whenever Dodik ratchets up his own threats to
dismember BiH. Such comments have never before been made
public. It is extremely unlikely there is any real plan for
a military response to RS secession, but Mesic's comments do
underline how Croatia would be under pressure to respond in
some way to the possibility of RS seceding from BiH. END
COMMENT)

2. (U) CROATIAN AUTHORITIES EXPAND BIOMETRIC PASSPORT
ISSUANCE TO ALL CITIZENS: From January 18, Croatian citizens
will receive biometric passports for almost all approved
passport applications, according to a statement from the
Ministry of the Interior. Beginning on July 1, 2009,
biometric passports were issued to diplomatic personnel and
were available as a choice to regular citizens applying for
passports in Zagreb. Biometric passports will not be
mandatory for all applicants applying in Croatia and at
nearly all embassies abroad. According to the GoC, only a
handful of Croatian embassies without the proper equipment
will be issuing the non-biometric version; these will be
updated shortly. Previously issued passports will still
remain valid until their expiration date.
FOLEY

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