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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03ZAGREB167 2003-01-23 18:26:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Zagreb
Cable title:  

REFUGEE RETURNS: RATCHETING UP IC PRESSURE ON

Tags:   PREF PHUM PREL HR EUN UN NATO UNHCR 
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 04 OF 04 ZAGREB 000167

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR (DAS BOGUE), EUR/SCE, EUR/ERA AND PRM
USNATO FOR MOELLER AND DEHART
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PAGE 02 ZAGREB 00167 04 OF 04 231842Z

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/23/2013
TAGS: PREF PHUM PREL HR EUN UN NATO UNHCR
SUBJECT: REFUGEE RETURNS: RATCHETING UP IC PRESSURE ON
CROATIA

ON 9 OCTOBER 2002, WE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF MEETING AS A GROUP
WITH YOU TO SHARE OUR CONCERNS ABOUT ISSUES RELATING TO SOME
OF CROATIA'S INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS WHERE WE BELIEVED
FURTHER DECISIONS HAD TO BE TAKEN OR IMPLEMENTATION
STRENGTHENED IN ORDER TO ENSURE PROGRESS TOWARDS
EURO-ATLANTIC INTEGRATION. WE STRESSED OUR COMMITMENT TO A
COLLABORATIVE EFFORT THAT WOULD USE OUR INSTITUTIONS'
RESOURCES TO ASSIST YOUR GOVERNMENT IN ENSURING THAT
LEGISLATION AND IMPLEMENTATION WOULD FURTHER THAT IMPORTANT
OBJECTIVE. WE APPRECIATED YOUR POSITIVE RESPONSE ON THAT
OCCASION, PARTICULARLY YOUR STATED DESIRE TO MEET FOR
THEMATIC DISCUSSIONS WITH US SOON AFTERWARDS.

WE FOLLOWED UP BY A LETTER ON 14 NOVEMBER, PROPOSING A
SUBSTANTIVE ACTION-ORIENTED MEETING ON A CORE ISSUE, REFUGEE
RETURN AND REINTEGRATION. IN THE POSITIVE SPIRIT OF OUR
OCTOBER DISCUSSION, WE SUGGESTED FRAMING THAT
DISCUSSION IN THE CONTEXT OF A TOP-LEVEL PUSH TO REINVIGORATE
THE JOINED LEGAL WORKING GROUP (JLWG). SUCH AN IMPETUS WAS
NEEDED BECAUSE THE GROUP HAD SUFFERED FROM INADEQUATE
HIGH-LEVEL ENDORSEMENT. SINCE WE HAVE NOT RECEIVED ANY
RESPONSE MORE THAN TWO MONTHS LATER, WE FEEL COMPELLED TO
PRESENT SOME FURTHER THOUGHTS
IN THE FORM OF THIS LETTER. EACH OF US HAS ATTRIBUTED GREAT
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PAGE 03 ZAGREB 00167 04 OF 04 231842Z
SIGNIFICANCE TO THE JLWG. USED PROPERLY, THE
GROUP COULD BE INSTRUMENTAL IN ESTABLISHING A COMMON VIEW,
CATALYZING ACTIONS OF YOUR GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND THE
SUPPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, THEREBY MOVING
CROATIA'S EURO-ATLANTIC ASPIRATIONS FORWARD MORE QUICKLY. THE
JLWG HAS BEEN CITED POSITIVELY FOR THE LAST 18 MONTHS IN
VARIOUS ASSESSMENTS OF CROATIA'S EFFORTS IN THE RETURN AND
REINTEGRATION AREA. THAT IS ONLY MERITED, HOWEVER, IF THE
GROUP IS GIVEN A REAL OPPORTUNITY TO WORK ON RELEVANT
LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS.

YOUR GOVERNMENT GAVE A NEGATIVE SIGNAL IN THE MEANTIME, WHEN
IT RECENTLY ADOPTED THREE DRAFT LAWS ON STATE COMPENSATION
FOR DAMAGES, INCLUDING A PROPOSAL INTENDED TO ADDRESS THE
ISSUE OF PARLIAMENT'S 1996 RETROACTIVE
SUSPENSION OF PENDING JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS UNDER ARTICLE 180
OF THE LAW ON OBLIGATIONS, WITHOUT ENGAGING THE JLWG. THESE
MATTERS HAD BEEN ON THE JLWG'S AGENDA SINCE ITS INCEPTION IN
MID-2001, AND THEY WERE LISTED AS ISSUES OF CONCERN IN OUR
LETTER OF 14 NOVEMBER. WE CANNOT ENDORSE YOUR GOVERNMENT'S
PROPOSAL, SINCE THE DRAFT LEGISLATION DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY
REMEDY FOR PERSONS WITH SUSPENDED AND PENDING CLAIMS FOR
DESTROYED PROPERTY. PRIOR DISCUSSION IN THE JLWG COULD HAVE
ENSURED THAT THE DRAFT LAWS WOULD HAVE MET INTERNATIONAL
STANDARDS.

WE REGRET THE FAILURE OF THE CROATIAN SIDE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE
OF THE POSSIBILITIES OFFERED BY THE JLWG. PENDING RENEWAL OF
A CLEAR GOVERNMENT COMMITMENT TO THE JLWG ALONG THE LINES
THAT WE HAVE SUGGESTED, WE THEREFORE DO NOT FIND IT USEFUL TO
CONVENE FURTHER MEETINGS OF THE GROUP. MEANWHILE, WE WILL
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PAGE 04 ZAGREB 00167 04 OF 04 231842Z
CONTINUE TO SEEK CONSTRUCTIVE WAYS TO SHARE OUR VIEWS WITH
YOUR OFFICIALS.

WE WILL REPORT TO OUR CAPITALS AND HEADQUARTERS OF OUR
INABILITY TO BRING ABOUT A FRUITFUL DIALOGUE AND MEANINGFUL
PROGRESS ON THE LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE IMPEDIMENTS TO
RETURN AND REINTEGRATION. THIS WILL BE REFLECTED IN
FORTHCOMING ASSESSMENTS OF CROATIA'S PROGRESS WITHIN THE
STABILIZATION AND ASSOCIATION PROCESS WITH THE EU AND THE
MEMBERSHIP ACTION PLAN WITH NATO, AS WELL AS IN REPORTING BY
THE OSCE, AND WILL SHAPE OUR PUBLIC COMMENTS ON RETURN AND
REINTEGRATION IN CROATIA.

CROATIA'S PROGRESS TOWARDS ACHIEVING EU AND NATO MEMBERSHIP
WILL BE CONDITIONED BY ITS ENACTMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF
LAWS AND REGULATIONS THAT FACILITATE RETURN AND REINTEGRATION
AND MEET INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS, AS WELL AS OTHER ISSUES
ENCOMPASSED IN THE OSCE MANDATE. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO SEIZE
THE INITIATIVE IN ORDER TO MEET THOSE OBJECTIVES. END TEXT.

ROSSIN

CONFIDENTIAL

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