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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03ZAGREB1796
2003-08-13 15:21:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Zagreb
Cable title:  

CROATIA OPPOSES TIRANA'S ADRIATIC CHARTER MOU

Tags:   PREL  AL  MK  HR  NATO 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L ZAGREB 001796 

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR EUR/SCE-MNARDI
DOD/OSD FOR SHOEMAKER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2008
TAGS: PREL AL MK HR NATO NATO
SUBJECT: CROATIA OPPOSES TIRANA'S ADRIATIC CHARTER MOU

REF: TIRANA 01195

CLASSIFIED BY: POLOFF JUSTIN FRIEDMAN FOR REASONS 1.5 B & D

C O N F I D E N T I A L ZAGREB 001796

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR EUR/SCE-MNARDI
DOD/OSD FOR SHOEMAKER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2008
TAGS: PREL AL MK HR NATO NATO
SUBJECT: CROATIA OPPOSES TIRANA'S ADRIATIC CHARTER MOU

REF: TIRANA 01195

CLASSIFIED BY: POLOFF JUSTIN FRIEDMAN FOR REASONS 1.5 B & D


1. (C) SUMMARY: CROATIA IS OPPOSED TO SIGNING THE
ALBANIAN-PROPOSED MOU (REFTEL) ON IMPLEMENTING THE ADRIATIC
CHARTER IN ITS PRESENT FORM. MFA AND MOD INTERLOCUTORS ASKED
FOR U.S. VIEWS ON THE DRAFT MOU BEFORE CROATIA TAKES A FIRM
POSITION, BUT THEIR INITIAL READ OF THE MOU IS THAT IT GOES
BEYOND THE INTENT AND SCOPE OF THE CHARTER. MOD TOLD US THAT
THE GOC VIEWED THE CHARTER AS A POLITICAL DOCUMENT, AND ITS
PREFERENCE WAS TO FOCUS INDIVIDUAL PREPARATIONS FOR NATO OVER
BILATERAL OR MULTILATERAL EXERCISES WITH CHARTER PARTNERS.


2. (C) POST BELIEVES WE SHOULD ENCOURAGE THE CHARTER PARTNERS
TO WORK OUT AMONG THEMSELVES HOW BEST TO IMPLEMENT THE
CHARTER. WE WILL BE ASKED TO PROVIDE LOGISTICAL OR OTHER
DIRECT SUPPORT IF OUR INTENTION IS TO ENCOURAGE JOINT OR
BILATERAL EXERCISES UNDER THE CHARTER. END SUMMARY.


3. (C) IN RESPONSE TO REFTEL, POLOFF AND NAVY ATTACHE MET
SEPARATELY WITH MFA ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE NORTH AMERICA DESK
ANDREA BEKIC AND ASSISTANT MINISTER OF DEFENSE JELENA
GRCIC-POLIC ON AUGUST 12. BOTH INTERLOCUTORS ASKED FOR THE
U.S. POSITION BEFORE RESPONDING FORMALLY TO THE ALBANIAN
PROPOSAL. WE STATED THAT WHILE WE ENCOURAGED REGIONAL
COOPERATION, WE WANTED TO HEAR CROATIA,S VIEWS ON THE MOU
BEFORE COMING TO A POSITION OURSELVES.


4. (C) ASSISTANT MINISTER GRCIC-POLIC TOLD US THAT CROATIA
VIEWS THE CHARTER PRIMARILY AS A POLITICAL DOCUMENT, AND NOT
A MILITARY INSTRUMENT. IN A FOLLOW UP CONVERSATION WITH NAVY
ATTACHE AUGUST 13, GRCIC-POLIC SHARPENED HER POINTS,
EMPHASIZING THAT WHILE SHE WAS STILL LOOKING FOR USG VIEWS,
THE MOD FOUND THE PROPOSED MOU &UNACCEPTABLE IN ITS PRESENT
FORM, AS IT WOULD TAKE THE RELATIONSHIP TO A DIFFERENT
LEVEL.8 EARLIER, SHE TOLD US CROATIAN POLICY WAS TO FOCUS
ITS LIMITED RESOURCES ON REGIONAL MULTILATERAL MILITARY
COOPERATION WITH MEMBERS OF THE QUADRILATERALE (ITALY,
SLOVENIA, HUNGARY AND CROATIA), SPECIFICALLY THE
MULTINATIONAL LAND FORCE (MLF), RATHER THAN CHARTER PARTNERS.
SHE NOTED THAT CROATIAN FORCES COULD LEARN MORE FROM THESE
ACTIVITIES THAN FROM EXERCISES WITH NON-CONTIGUOUS, LESS
MILITARILY ADVANCED REGIONAL PARTNERS. GRCIC-POLIC STRESSED
THAT THE CHARTER EMPHASIZED INDIVIDUAL PARTNERS' PREPARATIONS
FOR NATO AND POINTED OUT THE CROATIA WOULD BE BETTER
POSITIONED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ACTIVITIES PROPOSED IN THE
MOU ONCE IT HAD MOVED CLOSER TO NATO. SHE UNDERSCORED THE
U.S. HAD A KEY ROLE IN THE "U.S.-ADRIATIC CHARTER" AND THAT
GIVEN THE REGION'S GEOGRAPHY, A U.S. SUPPORT ROLE WAS
ESSENTIAL TO MAKING ANY PROPOSED MULTILATERAL EXERCISE
HAPPEN.


5. (C) WITH KEY MFA SUBSTANTIVE EXPERTS ON VACATION, MFA,S
BEKIC WAS RELUCTANT TO PROVIDE ANY VIEWS ON THE MATTER, BUT
DID STATE THAT THE MFA,S INITIAL REACTION WAS THAT THE
ALBANIAN PROPOSAL WENT BEYOND THE INTENT OF THE CHARTER. SHE
ADDED THAT IN GENERAL, CROATIA WANTED TO KEEP TO THE CHARTER
IN ITS CURRENT FORM AND DID NOT WANT TO OVEREMPHASIZE THE
PROCESS.


6. (C) COMMENT: WE BELIEVE THAT, DESPITE OUR INTERLOCUTORS,
INITIAL NEGATIVE COMMENTS, CROATIA WOULD BE WILLING TO SIGN
SOMETHING LESS THAN AN MOU TO AVOID GENERATING ILL-WILL WITH
THE U.S. AS A PRACTICAL MATTER, THE PECULIARITIES OF
CROATIAN LAW WOULD ULTIMATELY REQUIRE THAT THE SABOR RATIFY
ANY MOU, MAKING A LESS FORMAL "MILITARY COOPERATION PLAN"
POLITICALLY MORE DESIRABLE. GRCIC-POLIC,S COMMENTS ON THE
NEED FOR U.S. LOGISTICAL SUPPORT FOR ANY CHARTER-LINKED
EXERCISES SHOULD BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY. WITHOUT SUCH ASSISTANCE
ONLY BILATERAL CROATIAN-ALBANIAN NAVAL EXERCISES WOULD BE
PRACTICAL GIVEN CHARTER MEMBERS LACK OF TRANSPORT ASSETS FOR
GROUND FORCES. WE BELIEVE THE U.S. SHOULD CONTINUE TO
ENCOURAGE COOPERATION, BUT LEAVE IT TO THE CHARTER PARTNERS
TO WORK OUT WHAT FORMS THIS SHOULD TAKE.
FRANK

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