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03ZAGREB297 2003-02-07 15:11:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Zagreb
Cable title:  

CROATIA: SABOR TO DEBATE POSITION ON IRAQ;

Tags:   PREL PGOV HR IZ 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ZAGREB 000297 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/SCE (NARDI)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/06/2013
TAGS: PREL PGOV HR PGOV HR IZ IZPREL
SUBJECT: CROATIA: SABOR TO DEBATE POSITION ON IRAQ;
POLITICS AS USUAL?

REF: A. SECSTATE 34169

B. ZAGREB 292
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ZAGREB 00297 01 OF 02 071534Z

CLASSIFIED BY: POLOFF A.F.GODFREY FOR REASONS 1.5 (B,D)

SUMMARY
-------



1. (C) THE NATIONAL SECURITY AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEES
OF THE CROATIAN PARLIAMENT WILL HOLD A JOINT HEARING ON
FEBRUARY 12 TO DISCUSS CROATIA'S POLICY TOWARD POTENTIAL
MILITARY ACTION IN IRAQ. SOME OF CROATIA'S LEADING
PARLIAMENTARIANS OBJECTED TO NOT BEING CONSULTED IN ADVANCE
OF THE GOVERNMENT TAKING A STRONG PUBLIC STANCE WITH OTHER
VILNIUS-10 STATES IN SUPPORT OF THE U.S. APPROACH ON IRAQ.
IN A MEETING WITH THE CHAIR OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY
COMMITTEE ON FEBRUARY 7, WE WARNED THAT THIS ISSUE MUST NOT
BE USED TO SCORE POLITICAL POINTS; PRESIDENT MESIC'S ADDRESS
AND THE V-10 STATEMENT SENT A STRONG POSITIVE MESSAGE; THE
SABOR SHOULD NOT SEEK TO DILUTE THIS. END SUMMARY.



2. (C) MOST OF CROATIA'S LEADING POLITICIANS, INCLUDING
PRESIDENT MESIC, LEARNED OF THE GOVERNMENT'S DECISION TO JOIN
V-10 COUNTRIES ON FEBRUARY 5 IN A STRONG DECLARATION OF
SUPPORT FOR THE U.S. POSITION ON IRAQ (REF A) FROM PRESS
REPORTING. SOME OF CROATIA'S POLITICIANS ARE OBJECTING TO
THE STATEMENT, WHICH THEY CLAIM WAS TAKEN WITHOUT APPROPRIATE
CONSULTATION. AS HE OFTEN DOES, PRESIDENT MESIC TOOK THE
HIGH ROAD, AND GAVE A TELEVISED ADDRESS ON FEBRUARY 6 (REF B)
URGING PEACEFUL RESOLUTION THROUGH SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION,
BUT STATED THAT "IF A WAR FOR WHAT IS RIGHT IS INEVITABLE,
THEN CROATIA KNOWS WHERE HER PLACE IS." OTHER POLITICIANS
HAVE BEEN LESS SUPPORTIVE, BUT MOST OBJECT MORE TO BEING
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PAGE 03 ZAGREB 00297 01 OF 02 071534Z
EXCLUDED FROM THE POLICY DECISION RATHER THAN TO THE MERITS
OF SUPPORTING THE U.S. POSITION.



3. (C) JOZO RADOS AND IVO BANAC, PRESIDENTS OF TWO OF THE
RULING COALITION'S THREE "JUNIOR PARTNER" PARTIES, ISSUED
STATEMENTS IN SUPPORT OF THE GOC POSITION ON IRAQ. IVO
SANADER, PRESIDENT OF CROATIA'S OPPOSITION HDZ, MADE A
STATEMENT ON FEBRUARY 6 THAT HIS PARTY "GIVES ITS FULL
SUPPORT TO PRESIDENT BUSH AND THE POLICY OF THE UNITED
STATES." (NOTE: THE HDZ DESPERATELY SEEKS INTERNATIONAL
VALIDATION FOR ITS INCOMPLETE INTERNAL REFORM PROCESS SO IT
CAN CONVINCE CROATIAN VOTERS IT IS NO LONGER THE CORRUPT,
EXTREMIST PARTY OF FORMER PRESIDENT TUDJMAN.) OPPOSITION
HSLS PRESIDENT DRAZEN BUDISA SAID THAT HIS PARTY (WHICH WAS
EJECTED FROM THE CURRENT COALITION IN JULY 2002) "FOUND THE
STAND OF THE COUNTRIES OF THE SO-CALLED OLD EUROPE MORE
REASONABLE AND ACCEPTABLE THAN THAT OF THE VILNIUS GROUP."

LAYING DOWN A MARKER: NO POLITICS ON IRAQ


--------------------------





4. (C) ON FEBRUARY 7, WE MET WITH ANTE MARKOV (HSS, THE
SECOND-LARGEST PARTY IN THE RULING COALITION), CHAIR OF THE
PARLIAMENT'S NATIONAL SECURITY COMMITTEE. A DAY EARLIER,
MARKOV WAS QUOTED IN THE PRESS AS REFUSING TO COMMENT ON THE
V-10 STATEMENT BECAUSE HE IS NOT CERTAIN "IF THE POSITION
EXPRESSED IS THE POSITION OF ALL CROATIA." WE TOLD HIM
BLUNTLY THAT THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE ON WHICH TO PLAY POLITICS.
MARKOV WAS QUICK TO EXPLAIN THAT HE AND ZDRAVKO TOMAC (SDP),
CHAIR OF THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE, TRIED WITHOUT SUCCESS
TO REACH FM PICULA BEFORE THE STATEMENT WAS RELEASED IN ORDER
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 ZAGREB 00297 01 OF 02 071534Z
TO DEVELOP A UNIFIED POSITION.



5. (C) MARKOV SAID THAT THERE WERE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE
POSITION EXPRESSED BY THE PRESIDENT IN HIS ADDRESS AND THE
POSITION PUT FORWARD IN THE V-10 STATEMENT. CROATIA SHOULD
HAVE A UNIFIED POSITION. THEREFORE, THE SABOR'S NATIONAL
SECURITY COMMITTEE AND THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE HAVE
AGREED TO HOLD A JOINT HEARING ON FEBRUARY 12 TO DEVELOP A
UNIFIED POSITION.



6. (C) WE TOLD MARKOV THAT WHILE WE WOULD WELCOME AN EVEN
BROADER CONSENSUS OF CROATIAN SUPPORT FOR OUR VIEW OF THE
DANGERS PRESENTED BY IRAQ, WE CAUTIONED AGAINST DILUTING THE
POWERFUL, POSITIVE MESSAGE THAT CROATIA HAS PUT INTO PLAY.
WE CAUTIONED MARKOV THAT PARLIAMENTARIANS MUST NOT VIEW THEIR
DECISION ON IRAQ AS CHOOSING BETWEEN THE U.S. AND THE EU;
WHILE THERE IS AS YET NO CONSENSUS WITHIN THE EU, SOME
LEADING MEMBERS HAVE ALREADY MADE THEIR DECISION. MARKOV
WELCOMED OUR OFFER TO PROVIDE THE COMMITTEE MEETING WITH
INFORMATION BASED ON SECRETARY POWELL'S INTERVENTION AT THE
UNSC.

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ5531

PAGE 01 ZAGREB 00297 02 OF 02 071534Z
ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AF-00 CIAE-00 INL-00 DS-00 FBIE-00
VC-00 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 LAB-01 VCE-00 NEA-00
NSAE-00 SSO-00 SS-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00 DRL-01 NFAT-00
SAS-00 SWCI-00 /002W


--------------------------

32B640 071534Z /38
O 071511Z FEB 03
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9411
INFO AMEMBASSY BELGRADE PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY SKOPJE PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY TIRANA PRIORITY
SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
DIA WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 ZAGREB 000297

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/SCE (NARDI)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/06/2013
TAGS: PREL PGOV HR PGOV HR IZ IZPREL
SUBJECT: CROATIA: SABOR TO DEBATE POSITION ON IRAQ;
POLITICS AS USUAL?

ROSSIN

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ZAGREB 00297 02 OF 02 071534Z

CONFIDENTIAL

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