Cablegate: Zagreb Daily Report - February 11, 2010

DE RUEHVB #0094 0421400
P 111400Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Zagreb Daily Report - February 11, 2010

1. (U) Ambassador Foley Visits Vukovar and Marks the Beginning of
Student Dormitory Renovation: Ambassador Foley visited Vukovar
February 9-10 to mark the start of a $430,000 renovation of the
Student Dormitory in the Vukovar neighborhood of Borovo Naselje.
This U.S. financed Humanitarian Civic Assistance Project was a
combined achievement of the U.S. military's European Command
(EUCOM), the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC), Embassy Zagreb,
and the city of Vukovar. Ambassador Foley also visited Vukovar
General Hospital and provided a donation of medical textbooks worth
approximately $10,000. The Director of Vukovar General Hospital,
Vesna Bosanac, greeted the Ambassador and led him on a tour of the
hospital museum, which tells the story of the fall of Vukovar. The
trip concluded with a private visit to the Ovcara Memorial and the
laying of a wreath at the location of the mass grave.

2. (U) Unemployment Expected to Reach 17% in 2010: Croatia's
unemployment rate is expected to climb as high as 17%, according to
Croatian government labor analysts. Analysts at the Croatian
Employment Bureau reported February 10 that they expect unemployment
could rise to as many as 300,000 out of the country's 1.7 million
workers by the end of 2010. Economists and private analysts concur
with the figure and attribute the unemployment rise to a forecasted
2010 GDP decline of 0.7% and further declines in domestic consumer

3. (U) Police Arrest Protesters in Downtown Zagreb: Around 4000
people gathered in Zagreb city center on February 10 protesting the
construction of a new shopping center driveway through a pedestrian
square. Zagreb police arrested about 20 activists of the NGO,
"Zelena akcija" (Green Action) and the civil initiative, "Pravo na
grad" (Right to the City), for refusing to leave the construction
site. This rally was the culmination of a years-old conflict between
these civic groups and principal project investor Tomislav
Horvatincic, who is a close friend of Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic.

4. (U) Croatia and Bosnia Sign Deal on Serving Convictions: The
Croatian and Bosnia-Herzegovina justice ministers, Ivan Simonovic
and Barisa Colak, signed an amended agreement yesterday on
implementation of court decisions in criminal cases. The agreement
is envisaged to prevent cases of convicted criminals and war
criminals escaping detention by fleeing one country to the other
when they hold dual citizenship, therefore avoiding extradition
under current constitutional guarantees. The previous law required
the consent of the convicted person in order to serve the sentence
in the country to which they fled. The new agreement applies only
to final, rather than first-instance verdicts [Note: this agreement
will not yet be tested in the celebrated case of war crimes fugitive
Branimir Glavas, as he has not yet exhausted all his appeals in
Croatian courts].


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