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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03ZAGREB1722
2003-08-01 10:58:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Zagreb
Cable title:  

CROATIA USING "UNCOMFORTABLE" BACK-CHANNEL TO

Tags:   PREL  KAWC  PGOV  UK  HR  ICTY 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L  ZAGREB 001722 

SIPDIS


THE HAGUE FOR JOHNSON/KAYE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/01/2013
TAGS: PREL KAWC PGOV UK HR ICTY
SUBJECT: CROATIA USING "UNCOMFORTABLE" BACK-CHANNEL TO
CONVINCE GOTOVINA TO SURRENDER

REF: ZAGREB 1579 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: DCM Patrick S. Moon for reasons 1.5 (b) and (d)

Summary
-------

C O N F I D E N T I A L ZAGREB 001722

SIPDIS


THE HAGUE FOR JOHNSON/KAYE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/01/2013
TAGS: PREL KAWC PGOV UK HR ICTY
SUBJECT: CROATIA USING "UNCOMFORTABLE" BACK-CHANNEL TO
CONVINCE GOTOVINA TO SURRENDER

REF: ZAGREB 1579 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: DCM Patrick S. Moon for reasons 1.5 (b) and (d)

Summary
--------------


1. (C) The Croatian government is using an unusual
back-channel in an attempt to create conditions in which
PIFWC Ante Gotovina would surrender for transfer to ICTY.
The GoC's urgency and unorthodox approach is derived from the
UK's refusal to ratify Croatia's Stabilization and
Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU unless Croatia
demonstrates its commitment to cooperate with ICTY. Unless
the SAA is ratified soon, Croatia will miss a key deadline in
its application for EU membership. ICTY is showing some
flexibility in its approach to the Gotovina case, but the
likelihood that this particular effort will bring about
Gotovina's surrender is uncertain. End Summary.


2. (C) UK Ambassador in Croatia Nicholas Jarrold has kept us
closely informed of an unusual GoC back-channel effort to
broker the surrender of ICTY PIFWC Ante Gotovina. The key
players in the effort are:

- Zeljko Bagic, one of President Mesic's top National
Security Advisors (Mesic has been seeking a way for Gotovina
to "tell his side of the story" before giving himself up -
ref);

- Ivo Pukanic, editor of the sensationalist newsweekly
"Nacional," which on June 10 ran Gotovina's first interview
after two years in hiding (in the interview, Gotovina said he
recognized the authority of the ICTY, widely interpreted as a
signal he was ready to talk about surrendering);

- Thomas Osorio, ICTY representative in Zagreb; and

- UK Ambassador Nicholas Jarrold, a hesitant participant, but
evidently selected by the GoC because the UK is the EU
country Croatia needs most to convince that they are serious
about transferring Gotovina to the Hague.


3. (C) On July 30, Pukanic approached Amb. Jarrold (at the
urging of Bagic) and said that Gotovina offered to make
himself available in Zagreb for an interview with ICTY

representatives. Gotovina was prepared to agree to fly to
The Hague and surrender five days later. Pukanic said that
Gotovina is seeking a scenario which would retain his "honor
as a Croatian general." Amb. Jarrold rejected this scheme
and held firm: Gotovina must go to The Hague -- no detours.
Nonetheless, Jarrold said that he saw no problem with
Gotovina making himself "available" to the ICTY.


4. (C) Amb. Jarrold instructed his DCM to brief local ICTY
representative Osorio, who apparently consulted with The
Hague and came back with a proposal for Gotovina: Osorio and
several of his investigators would meet Gotovina in Bosnia
for a period of hours for an interview, giving Gotovina the
opportunity to make the statement to investigators that he
seeks. SFOR would provide "security" for the meeting, and
Gotovina would surrender to SFOR afterwards. Having Gotovina
surrender in Bosnia would also spare GOC officials all the
angst related to having to send their "war hero" off to The
Hague.


5. (C) Amb. Jarrold told us that he delivered this offer to
Nacional editor Pukanic on July 31. Pukanic responded that
such a meeting was not possible since Gotovina was "5,000 to
10,000" kilometers away. Pukanic suggested a meeting in
Mexico City. Amb. Jarrold immediately rejected such an
arrangement pointing out the obvious complications of
involving Mexican and possibly American authorities.
Jarrold also reported that UK contacts with del Ponte's staff
in The Hague suggested that she might be backtracking from
the offer Osorio made here. He pointed to the difficulties
in dealing with individuals on her staff and del Ponte's poor
relations with other parts of the Tribunal.


6. (C) Amb. Jarrold said that his involvement has run its
course, and he is ending his role, with which he was clearly
uncomfortable. Jarrold said EC officials told him that for
Croatia to stay on their desired timeline in the EU
application process, they need all the ratifications of
Croatia's SAA by late December or early January. The UK
would require three months for the Parliament, government and
Queen to act. The Dutch are the other holdout, but The Hague
needs only a week or so to act since the Dutch parliament has
already approved the SAA; the government is holding the
ratification pending sufficient GOC action on ICTY issues.



7. (C) Unlike the previous interactions with Gotovina, these
talks have not yet surfaced in the press. We will have to
wait until early next week when the next issue of Nacional
appears to see whether Pukanic will make public his latest
intermediary services.

Comment
--------------


8. (C) The ball is again in Gotovina's court with the GOC
watching anxiously and no doubt praying that Gotovina will
take up the ICTY's offer. While Gotovina's surrender is a
necessary step for British ratification of the SAA, it will
not likely be sufficient. London will probably also want to
see that the GOC acts appropriately when it receives new
indictments, rumored for September. The GOC has said it will
be responsive and act quickly, but we -- like the British --
will want to see that they do so and not merely accept their
word.
FRANK


NNNN