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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03ZAGREB2487 2003-11-25 13:49:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Zagreb
Cable title:  

SANADER'S HDZ REACHING OUT EARLY TO IMPROVE

Tags:   PGOV PREL PHUM HR 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L ZAGREB 002487 

SIPDIS


DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/SCE (KABUMOTO)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/25/2013
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM HR
SUBJECT: SANADER'S HDZ REACHING OUT EARLY TO IMPROVE
CROATIA'S RELATIONS WITH THE U.S.

CLASSIFIED BY: DCM PATRICK S. MOON FOR REASON 1.5 (B) AND (D)

SUMMARY
-------



1. (C) MIOMIR ZUZUL, CERTAIN TO BE HDZ'S NOMINEE AS
CROATIA'S NEXT FOREIGN MINISTER, TOLD THE AMBASSADOR ON
NOVEMBER 24 THAT THE HDZ IS SEEKING TO FORM A COALITION WITH
THE CROATIAN PEASANTS' PARTY (HSS) AND THE ETHNIC SERB PARTY
TO AVOID HAVING TO BRING THE EXTREME RIGHT-WING CROATIAN
PARTY OF RIGHTS (HSP) INTO GOVERNMENT. AN HDZ GOVERNMENT
WOULD BE PREPARED TO SIGN AN ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENT AND WOULD
SUPPORT DEPLOYING CROATIAN TROOPS TO JOIN COALITION FORCES IN
IRAQ. THE AMBASSADOR CONGRATULATED THE HDZ ON ITS WIN AND
COMMENDED VOTERS' EXPRESSION OF SUPPORT FOR INTEGRATION INTO
EURO-ATLANTIC INSTITUTIONS. HE PRAISED THE HDZ'S CAMPAIGN
STATEMENTS ON MOVING FORWARD WITH WAR LEGACY ISSUES,
INCLUDING ICTY. THE AMBASSADOR SAID THE U.S. WOULD MAKE
JUDGMENTS BASED ON THE NEW GOVERNMENT'S ACTIONS, NOT ITS
STATEMENTS. ZUZUL LOOKED FORWARD TO A SERIES OF REGULAR
CONSULTATIONS. END SUMMARY.



2. (C) ON NOVEMBER 24, THE AMBASSADOR PHONED HDZ PRESIDENT
IVO SANADER TO CONGRATULATE HIM FOR HIS PARTY'S STRONG
SHOWING IN THE NOVEMBER 23 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. SANADER
WAS QUICK TO RETURN THE CALL, AND ASKED THAT THE AMBASSADOR
MEET RIGHT AWAY WITH MIOMIR ZUZUL, WHO WOULD BE THE HDZ'S
NOMINEE AS CROATIA'S FOREIGN MINISTER. THE AMBASSADOR
AGREED, AND MET WITH ZUZUL ONE-ON-ONE ON THE EVENING OF
NOVEMBER 24.



3. (C) ZUZUL WAS CLEARLY PLEASED WITH THE HDZ'S RESULT, BUT
WAS QUICK TO POINT OUT THAT THE HDZ IS STILL WORKING ON
PUTTING TOGETHER A COALITION WITH ENOUGH VOTES TO SEAT A
GOVERNMENT. HE TOLD THE AMBASSADOR THAT THE HDZ'S FIRST
CHOICE IS TO GIVE THE HSS A CHANCE TO FORM A GOVERNMENT. THE
HDZ WOULD BE WILLING TO MAKE A GENEROUS OFFER TO THE HSS,
ZUZUL EXPLAINED, IN ORDER TO FORM A GOVERNMENT WITHOUT THE
HSP. (NOTE: ZUZUL KNOWS WELL THAT THE INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITY WOULD BE HESITANT TO ENGAGE WITH THE NATIONALIST
HSP. END NOTE.) DESPITE THE HSS' POOR SHOWING IN THE POLLS,
THE HDZ WOULD BE WILLING TO OFFER HSS PRESIDENT TOMCIC THE
CHANCE TO RETURN AS SPEAKER OF CROATIA'S PARLIAMENT (A POST
HE HELD FOR THE DURATION OF THE RACAN GOVERNMENT). FAILING
THAT, THE HDZ WILL OFFER TOMCIC A SPOT AS DEPUTY PRIME
MINISTER OR PERHAPS ONE OR MORE "NON-KEY" MINISTRIES IN THE
NEXT GOVERNMENT.



4. (C) ZUZUL SAID THAT THE HDZ WOULD SEEK THE SUPPORT OF
CROATIA'S ETHNIC SERB PARTY, WHICH, THANKS TO CROATIA'S
PROGRESSIVE NEW CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ON NATIONAL MINORITIES,
NOW HAS THREE SEATS IN THE PARLIAMENT. THE HDZ WOULD BE
WILLING TO OFFER THE SDSS A POSITION AS DEPUTY SPEAKER, SAID
ZUZUL, WHICH WOULD BE A STRONG SIGNAL OF THE SANADER
GOVERNMENT'S INTENTION TO MOVE FORWARD ON REFUGEE ISSUES.



5. (C) ZUZUL SAID THAT RELATIONS WITH THE U.S. WILL BE A
PRIORITY FOR THE SANADER GOVERNMENT. THE HDZ WOULD SUPPORT
SIGNING AN ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENT AND WOULD MOVE FORWARD WITH
DEPLOYING A CROATIAN CONTINGENT OF TROOPS TO JOIN COALITION
FORCES IN IRAQ. ONCE THE COALITION IS LOCKED IN PLACE, BUT
BEFORE THE FIRST MEETING OF THE PARLIAMENT, SANADER PLANS TO
TRAVEL TO ROME (WHERE HE WOULD SEEK A MEETING WITH PM
BERLUSCONI AND AN AUDIENCE WITH THE POPE) AND ALSO TO
WASHINGTON TO DESCRIBE HIS NEW GOVERNMENT'S PLANS. ZUZUL
SAID SANADER WOULD HOPE FOR A MEETING IN WASHINGTON WITH
NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER DR. RICE.



6. (C) THE AMBASSADOR THANKED ZUZUL FOR HIS OPENNESS AND HIS
READINESS TO MEET WITH US ON A REGULAR BASIS; THE U.S.
BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP WITH CROATIA HAS BECOME MUCH MORE
BROAD IN THE NEARLY FOUR YEARS SINCE THE HDZ WAS LAST IN
GOVERNMENT. THE AMBASSADOR CONGRATULATED THE HDZ ON ITS
STRONG SHOWING IN THE POLLS AND POINTED OUT THAT ELECTION
RESULTS SHOWED THAT VOTERS OVERWHELMINGLY BACKED PARTIES
WHICH SUPPORT CROATIA'S INTEGRATION INTO EURO-ATLANTIC
INSTITUTIONS. THE AMBASSADOR URGED THE HDZ TO CAPITALIZE ON
ITS STRONG MANDATE AND MOVE FORWARD ON THE TOUGHEST ISSUES,
LIKE ICTY COOPERATION AND REFUGEE RETURN, EARLY IN ITS
TENURE. HE WELCOMED SANADER'S PROGRESSIVE STATEMENTS DURING
THE CAMPAIGN, BUT WARNED THAT THE USG WOULD MAKE JUDGMENTS
BASED ONLY ON POLICY IMPLEMENTATION.



7. (C) THE AMBASSADOR SUGGESTED IT WOULD BE EASIER TO
ADVOCATE FOR SENIOR-LEVEL MEETINGS IN WASHINGTON ONCE SANADER
HAD ACTUALLY TAKEN OFFICE AND HAD A POSITIVE TRACK RECORD.
FRANK

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