wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03ZAGREB337 2003-02-12 17:19:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Zagreb
Cable title:  

GOC PUSHING BACK ON IC CRITICISM ON RETURNS

Tags:   PREF PREL ECON HR OSCE EUN UNHCR 
pdf how-to read a cable
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 SECTION 01 OF 04 ZAGREB 000337 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/12/2013
TAGS: PREF PREL ECON PREL ECON PREL ECON PREL ECON HR HRPREF OSCE EUN UNHCR
SUBJECT: GOC PUSHING BACK ON IC CRITICISM ON RETURNS
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ZAGREB 00337 01 OF 04 121720Z

REF: A. ZAGREB 94

B. ZAGREB 167

CLASSIFIED BY: POLITICAL OFFICER DARREN TAYLOR FOR REASONS 1.5 B AND D

SUMMARY
-------



1. (C) THE GOC IS REACTING TO IC PRESSURE ON REFUGEE RETURNS.
MINISTER FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND RECONSTRUCTION AND BUILDING,
RADIMIR CACIC, HELD A HASTILY ARRANGED MEETING ON FEBRUARY 4
WITH THE DIPLOMATIC COMMUNITY TO PRESENT HIS MINISTRY,S
PROGRAM ON REFUGEE RETURN. THE EVENT AT THE SHERATON HOTEL
WAS HEAVILY ATTENDED BY TELEVISION AND PRINT MEDIA. THE
MINISTER WAS COMBATIVE. MUCH OF WHAT CACIC SAID WAS OLD NEWS
AND FILLED WITH QUESTIONABLE FIGURES ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT,S
EFFORTS THUS FAR. HE DID, HOWEVER, ANNOUNCE A NEW INITIATIVE
AIMED AT RESTORING LOST OCCUPANCY AND TENANCY RIGHTS. HE
CHASTISED THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY FOR ITS LACK OF
FINANCIAL SUPPORT WHILE, AT THE SAME TIME, CRITICIZED THE GOC
AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY FOR ITS SHORTCOMINGS ON RETURN-RELATED
ISSUES.



2. (C) MANY IC OFFICIALS AGREED THAT CACIC,S PRESENTATION
WAS LONG ON STYLE BUT SHORT ON SUBSTANCE. THE HASTY EVENT
OBVIOUSLY WAS DESIGNED TO PUSH BACK STRONGER IC PRESSURE ON
THE GOC ON RETURNS. THE GOC MISSED ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO
CONVINCE THE IC THAT IT IS WILLING TO MAKE MEANINGFUL
PROGRESS ON RETURNS AND TO WORK WITH THE IC IN DOING SO. THAT
SAID, THE GOC'S PUSHING BACK IS SOFTENING SOME IC RESOLVE,
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 ZAGREB 00337 01 OF 04 121720Z
NOTABLY THE OSCE HOM AND PERHAPS LOCAL COMMISSION REPS. END
SUMMARY.

GOC LAYS OUT RED CARPET TREATMENT


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





3. (C) IN WHAT MANY IC OFFICIALS CONSIDERED AN UNUSUAL VENUE
TO HOLD A MEETING ON REFUGEE RETURNS, GOC OFFICIALS, LED BY
CACIC, HOSTED ALMOST ONE HUNDRED REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE
DIPLOMATIC COMMUNITY AT THE SHERATON HOTEL. TELEVISION AND
PRINT MEDIA PRESENCE WAS EXTENSIVE. CACIC USED THE OCCASION
TO REVIEW THE GOVERNMENT,S PERFORMANCE ON REFUGEE-RELATED
ISSUES SINCE COMING TO POWER IN 2000 AND TO HIGHLIGHT NEW GOC
PLANS TO ACCELERATE THE RETURN OF REFUGEES. HE WANTED THIS
EVENT TO BE UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL AND ACTED MORE LIKE A
LECTURER THAN MINISTER. HIS GOAL WAS TO SHOW THAT THE GOC
REGARDED THE ISSUE OF RETURNS WITH GREAT IMPORTANCE.

CACIC: I,M IN CHARGE


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





4. (C) CACIC,S DEMEANOR THROUGHOUT THE PRESENTATION WAS
INTENDED TO DISPEL ANY NOTION THAT ANYONE ELSE BESIDE HIMSELF
WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR REFUGEE-RELATED MATTERS. CACIC PRESENTED
HIS DEPUTY AND ASSISTANT MINISTERS DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR
REFUGEE RETURNS, BUT DID MOST OF THE TALKING. HE ASSUMED
DIRECT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE GOC,S RECORD ON RETURNS OVER
THE PAST THREE YEARS. HE REMINDED THE AUDIENCE THAT HIS
MINISTRY WAS HAMPERED BY LEGISLATION PASSED BY THE PREVIOUS
GOVERNMENT. ONLY LAST FALL WERE THE MOST CRUCIAL PARTS OF
THIS LEGISLATION AMENDED, WHICH, HE SAID, HELPED REMOVE ALL
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 ZAGREB 00337 01 OF 04 121720Z
OF THE LEGISLATIVE BARRIERS TO RETURN. HE SAID HE WAS NOT
SATISFIED WITH RESULTS TO DATE; HE QUESTIONED HIS ASSISTANT
MINISTERS ABOUT THE LACK OF PROGRESS AND FOUND MANY OF THEIR
RESPONSES TO BE UNACCEPTABLE. ON THE OTHER HAND, SOME OF
THEIR "JUSTIFICATIONS," AS HE REFERRED TO THEM, DEALT WITH
FINANCIAL AND RESOURCE CONSTRAINTS OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT
WERE OUT OF THEIR CONTROL.
EU MEMBERSHIP AT STAKE


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





5. (C) CACIC INSISTED THAT THE DISCONTENT IN THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY REFLECTED A LACK OF INFORMATION. HE
SAID HE INTENDS TO HAVE A SERIES OF MEETINGS WITH THE IC TO
SHARE INFORMATION AND AVOID FUTURE MISUNDERSTANDINGS. THIS
IS IMPORTANT, HE SAID, BECAUSE CROATIA WILL SOON SUBMIT ITS
APPLICATION TO JOIN THE EU AND CROATIA IS HELPED BY GETTING
MORE INFORMATION OUT. HIS TOP PRIORITIES ARE RECONSTRUCTION
AND PROPERTY RETURNS. SINCE 2000 THERE HAS BEEN A CHANGE IN
THE GOC,S ATTITUDE COMPARED TO THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT,
CACIC SAID: THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT HELPED ONLY ETHNIC CROATS
WHILE THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT HELPS ALL OF ITS CITIZENS.

COOPERATION WITH IC PRODUCES MIXED RESULTS


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





6. (C) THE QUALITY OF COOPERATION WITH SOME IN THE

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ9811

PAGE 01 ZAGREB 00337 02 OF 04 121721Z
ACTION PRM-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AF-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 CEA-01 CIAE-00
COME-00 CTME-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EAP-00
EB-00 EUR-00 EXIM-01 OIGO-00 E-00 FAAE-00 FBIE-00
VC-00 FRB-00 HHS-01 H-01 SSA-01 TEDE-00 INR-00
IO-00 ITC-01 L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00
OIC-02 OMB-01 DHS-00 OPIC-01 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00
ACE-00 P-00 SCT-00 SP-00 SSO-00 SS-00 STR-00
TRSE-00 T-00 USIE-00 EPAE-00 ECA-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00
DRL-01 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 SWCI-00 /012W


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

352A9B 121738Z /38
R 121719Z FEB 03
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9449
INFO AMEMBASSY ATHENS
AMEMBASSY BELGRADE
AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA
AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO
USMISSION GENEVA
USMISSION USNATO
USMISSION USOSCE
USEU BRUSSELS

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 04 ZAGREB 000337

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/12/2013
TAGS: PREF PREL ECON PREL ECON PREL ECON PREL ECON HR HRPREF OSCE EUN UNHCR
SUBJECT: GOC PUSHING BACK ON IC CRITICISM ON RETURNS
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ZAGREB 00337 02 OF 04 121721Z

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY WAS A SORE POINT FOR CACIC, AND AT
TIMES HE CONVEYED HIS FRUSTRATION. HE EXPRESSED GRATITUDE
FOR THE EU-SPONSORED HOUSING PROGRAM BEING IMPLEMENTED BY THE
GERMAN NGO ARBEITER-SAMARITER-BUND (ASB) AS HIS MINISTRY,S
KEY PARTNER IN HOUSING RECONSTRUCTION EFFORTS. UNDER THIS
PROGRAM, ASB WILL RECONSTRUCT 1000 HOUSES. HE NOTED THAT
OTHER ORGANIZATIONS AND COUNTRIES, INCLUDING UNHCR, THE EU,
AND U.S., ARE PROVIDING IMMEDIATE RELIEF TO RETURNING
REFUGEES THROUGH THEIR VARIOUS PROGRAMS. LOANS FROM
INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS HAVE ENABLED THE GOC TO
MAKE PROGRESS OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS. YET, WHILE CACIC
ACKNOWLEDGED THAT INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT HAS HAD A DIRECT
IMPACT, HE CLAIMED THE IC HAS SPENT ONLY ABOUT SEVEN PERCENT
OF THE TOTAL AMOUNT SPENT ON RECONSTRUCTION SINCE 1996.



7. (C) CACIC SAID HE EXPECTED GREATER UNHCR INVOLVEMENT
DURING WHAT HE SAID WOULD BE A CRITICAL YEAR FOR RETURNS (REF
A). THIS WAS BECAUSE THREE-FOURTHS OF THE GOVERNMENT,S
RECONSTRUCTION EFFORTS WILL BENEFIT RETURNING SERBS. HE SAID
HE REGRETTED THAT IT TOOK SO LONG FOR THE PROGRAMS TO HAVE A
DIRECT IMPACT ON THE SERB POPULATION. THE GOC PLANS TO ISSUE
7,500 DECISIONS FOR RECONSTRUCTION THIS YEAR, WHICH WILL MAKE
IT POSSIBLE FOR AT LEAST 20,000 PEOPLE TO RETURN IF THEY
CHOOSE TO DO SO ONCE THEIR HOUSES HAVE BEEN COMPLETED. HE
CLAIMED THAT SINCE SEPTEMBER 2002, ALMOST 940 PROPERTIES HAVE
BEEN REPOSSESSED. THE GOC PLANS TO RETURN ALL HOMES TO THEIR
RIGHTFUL OWNERS BY THE END OF 2003.

NEW INITIATIVE TO RESTORE TENANCY RIGHTS
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 ZAGREB 00337 02 OF 04 121721Z


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





8. (C) CACIC,S DECLARATION THAT THE GOC WOULD SEEK TO
RESTORE LOST OCCUPANCY AND TENANCY RIGHTS SPARKED THE
GREATEST ATTENTION FROM HIS AUDIENCE. HE SAID THAT IN THE
AREAS OF SPECIAL STATE CONCERN ("ASSC" -- WAR-AFFECTED AREAS)
ALL CITIZENS WERE VICTIMS OF THE WAR AND HAVE A RIGHT TO
RETURN, TO QUALIFY FOR HOUSING CARE AND TO PURCHASE THEIR
FORMER RIGHTS. FOR PEOPLE WHO LIVED OUTSIDE THE ASSC (THAT
IS MOST FORMER OTR HOLDERS), THEY WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE
GOC,S PROGRAM ON PUBLICLY FUNDED HOUSING CONSTRUCTION. A
NEW LAW WILL BE ENACTED THAT WILL CALL FOR THE FORMULATION OF
LISTS TO RESOLVE THE ISSUE OF WHO CAN QUALIFY FOR SUCH
ASSISTANCE.



9. (C) UNDER THE PROGRAM, THE MINISTER EXPLAINED, THERE WOULD
BE TWO POSSIBILITIES: OWNERSHIP AND RENT. UNDER THE
OWNERSHIP PROGRAM, LOANS WILL BE OFFERED WHICH THE OWNERS
WILL HAVE TO REPAY OVER A CERTAIN TIME PERIOD. THE RENT
PROGRAM WILL INCLUDE PROVISIONS THAT WILL ALLOW THE PERSON TO
PAY RENT FOR A REQUIRED PERIOD OF TIME, AFTER WHICH HE WILL
BECOME THE OWNER OF THE PROPERTY. CACIC ENVISIONED A 4-YEAR
PERIOD TO IMPLEMENT THE PROGRAM. FORMER TENANCY RIGHT
HOLDERS WILL BE GIVEN A ONE-YEAR DEADLINE TO APPLY AND 2 TO 3
YEARS FOR THE PROPERTIES TO BE BUILT. THE GOC WILL EARMARK
FUNDS FOR THE PROGRAM BY THE END OF THE YEAR, AND CACIC SAID
IT EXPECTS THE PROGRAM WILL BE COMPLETED BY 2006.



10. (C) CACIC PREDICTED THAT THERE WOULD NOT BE A HIGH NUMBER
OF APPLICATIONS FROM SERBS CURRENTLY LIVING IN
SERBIA-MONTENEGRO AND BIH. THESE ARE THE POPULATIONS THE IC
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 ZAGREB 00337 02 OF 04 121721Z
WANTED TO RETURN TO CROATIA. MANY OF THE SERBS THAT WOULD
QUALIFY FOR THE PROGRAM DO NOT WANT TO RETURN TO CROATIA BUT
WANT THE OPPORTUNITY TO SELL ANY PROPERTY PROVIDED TO THEM,
AN OUTCOME STRONGLY OPPOSED BY THE GOC. THE PROGRAM AS
OUTLINED BY CACIC IS DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR THOSE WHO
REALLY WANT TO RETURN. HE STATED THAT THE GOC DID NOT
CURRENTLY HAVE THE MONEY TO INITIATE THE PROGRAM BUT WOULD
RESOLVE THE FUNDING ISSUE SOON. IT HAD TO IN ORDER TO
RESOLVE THE ISSUE OF OCCUPANCY AND TENANCY RIGHTS ONCE AND
FOR ALL. HE STRESSED THAT PEOPLE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SELL
THE PROPERTIES OBTAINED THROUGH THE PROGRAM.

CONTENTIOUS QUESTION AND ANSWER PERIOD


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





11. (C) A BRIEF QUESTION AND ANSWER PERIOD FOLLOWED CACIC,S
REMARKS. THE MINISTER BECAME IRRITATED AND CONFRONTATIONAL
WHEN OSCE HEAD PETER SEMNEBY ASKED FOR SPECIFIC INFORMATION
ABOUT THE TENANCY RIGHTS INITIATIVE, NOTABLY WHEN WOULD THE
ONE-YEAR DEADLINE BEGIN FOR FORMER TENANCY RIGHTS HOLDERS.
CACIC RESPONDED THAT HE WOULD WAIT FOR THE INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITY TO TELL HIM WHAT TO DO. THIS WAY, THE IC COULD NOT
SAY THAT THE GOC SET A SHORT DEADLINE THAT WAS DISCRIMINATORY
AGAINST SERBS WHO DID NOT RESIDE IN CROATIA. CACIC SAID HE
WOULD SIGN ANY PROPOSAL THE IC SUBMITTED TO HIM, BUT THEN HE
DID NOT WANT TO HEAR COMPLAINTS AFTERWARDS.

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ9815

PAGE 01 ZAGREB 00337 03 OF 04 121721Z
ACTION PRM-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AF-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 CEA-01 CIAE-00
COME-00 CTME-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EAP-00
EB-00 EUR-00 EXIM-01 OIGO-00 E-00 FAAE-00 FBIE-00
VC-00 FRB-00 HHS-01 H-01 SSA-01 TEDE-00 INR-00
IO-00 ITC-01 L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00
OIC-02 OMB-01 DHS-00 OPIC-01 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00
ACE-00 P-00 SCT-00 SP-00 IRM-00 SSO-00 SS-00
STR-00 TRSE-00 T-00 USIE-00 EPAE-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00
DRL-01 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 SWCI-00 /012W


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

352AB9 121739Z /38
R 121719Z FEB 03
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9450
INFO AMEMBASSY ATHENS
AMEMBASSY BELGRADE
AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA
AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO
USMISSION GENEVA
USMISSION USNATO
USMISSION USOSCE
USEU BRUSSELS

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 04 ZAGREB 000337

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/12/2013
TAGS: PREF PREL ECON PREL ECON PREL ECON PREL ECON HR HRPREF OSCE EUN UNHCR
SUBJECT: GOC PUSHING BACK ON IC CRITICISM ON RETURNS
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ZAGREB 00337 03 OF 04 121721Z



12. (C) OTHER LEADING IC REPS RAISED QUESTIONS ABOUT RENTAL
COMPENSATION FOR CURRENT OWNERS WHO ARE NOT OCCUPYING THEIR
PROPERTIES AND FOR DAMAGE RESULTING FROM THE LOOTING OF
PROPERTIES BY TEMPORARY OCCUPANTS AS THEY VACATE THEM. CACIC
REPLIED THAT THE GOC WILL PROVIDE RENTAL COMPENSATION TO
THOSE WHO QUALIFY UNDER THE LAW BUT HE DID NOT SAY WHEN IT
WOULD BEGIN. AS FOR LOOTING, CACIC SAID THE GOC DID NOT HAVE
THE MONEY TO COMPENSATE EVERYONE WHOSE PROPERTY HAD BEEN
LOOTED. HE EXPRESSED SURPRISE THAT CROATIA WAS BEING ASKED
TO PROVIDE SUCH COMPENSATION WHEN NO OTHER COUNTRY IN THE
REGION WAS ASKED TO DO SO.

INCREASING THE STAKES


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





13. (C) IC PRESSURE ON THE GOC TO STEP UP TO THE RETURNS
ISSUE HAS INCREASED RECENTLY IN WAYS IT APPARENTLY CANNOT
IGNORE. WE NEED TO JUDGE THE GOC BY ITS ACTIONS AND BY
RESULTS ON THE GROUND, NOT BY RHETORIC OR DECLARATIONS. SO
FAR, WHAT IS CLEAR -- CACIC'S PERSONAL LEAD MADE THIS CLEAR
-- IS THAT MORE CAREFULLY "MANAGING" THE RETURNS ISSUE WITH
THE IC IS PART OF THE GOC'S EFFORT TO MAINTAIN MOMENTUM
TOWARD THE EU AND NATO. IT WAS LESS OBVIOUS THAT ACTUALLY
SOLVING THIS BIG PROBLEM IS ON THE GOC'S AGENDA -- MOST OF
WHAT CACIC TALKED ABOUT WAS EITHER OLD HAT TO THOSE WHO WORK
THESE ISSUES OR INSUFFICIENTLY DETAILED TO BE GROUNDS FOR
CONFIDENCE THAT THE GOC IS TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF.



14. (C) THIS EVENT WAS ONLY THE LATEST SIGN THAT THE
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 ZAGREB 00337 03 OF 04 121721Z
INCREASED IC PRESSURE IS REACHING AND RESONATING AT THE
HIGHEST GOC LEVELS, AND THAT THE GOC KNOWS THE STAKES HAVE
INCREASED. THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE PLAN TO ADDRESS THE
OCCUPANCY AND TENANCY RIGHTS PROBLEM IS PROOF OF THAT; THE
ISSUE HAS LANGUISHED SINCE THE IC RAISED IT, TO LITTLE
EFFECT, WITH PM RACAN IN DECEMBER 2001. ON ITS FACE, CACIC'S
PLAN WOULD REPRESENT A REAL STEP FORWARD, BUT THE SHORTFALL
HERE ALWAYS IS IMPLEMENTATION AND WE WILL BE WATCHING
CAREFULLY. CACIC'S PRESENTATION LEFT US NO MORE CONVINCED
THAN BEFORE THAT THE GOC HAS ANY REAL DESIRE, WILL OR INTENT
TO ACT ON RETURNS ISSUES ESPECIALLY IN THIS ELECTION YEAR.

...BUT OSCE/EU WAVERING


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





15. (C) THAT SAID, GOC PUSH BACK FOLLOWING THE IC PRINCIPALS
JANUARY 23 LETTER TO PM RACAN SUSPENDING PARTICIPATING IN THE
JOINT LEGAL WORKING GROUP IS HAVING AN IMPACT. OSCE HOM
SEMNEBY WAS QUICK, AND AT PAINS, TO PUT OUT A BEST-CASE
LAUDATORY PRESS RELEASE ON CACIC'S ANNOUNCED OCCUPANCY AND
TENANCY RIGHTS PLAN. SEMNEBY ALSO PULLED EVERY CONCEIVABLE
PUNCH IN AN EXCESSIVELY POSITIVE BRIEFING ON THESE ISSUES TO
THE EU WESTERN BALKANS WORKING GROUP (COWEB) IN BRUSSELS
FEBRUARY 6. YET AGAIN IN AN IC PANEL BRIEFING FOR A VISITING
OSCE PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION FEBRUARY 10, SEMNEBY TOOK A
NOTABLY SOFTER LINE ON THE GOC THAN DID UNHCR, THE UN LIAISON
OFFICE OR OUR OWN EMBASSY PARTICIPANT. IT IS CLEAR TO US AND
TO SEMNEBY'S AMERICAN DEPUTY HOM (PROTECT) THAT SEMNEBY IS
GETTING COLD FEET OUT OF FEAR THAT THE OSCE-GOC RELATIONSHIP
WILL SOUR AND HE WILL END UP COLD-SHOULDERED AND VILIFIED
LIKE HIS PREDECESSOR BERNARD PONCET. THAT COULD HAPPEN, BUT
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 ZAGREB 00337 03 OF 04 121721Z
IF SO IT WOULD BE OF LIMITED IMPORT FOR REAL IC INTERESTS
HERE. THE OSCE MISSION IS LIKE UNMOVIC -- IF THE HOST
COUNTRY REJECTS AND OBSTRUCTS PEOPLE WHO CAN ONLY HELP IT
RESOLVE ISSUES OF INTERNATIONAL CONCERN, BUT NOT ENFORCE, ITS
VALUE DISAPPEARS AND IT COULD AS EASILY GO AWAY. WE ARE
CONVEYING TO THE OSCE MISSION AND TO SEMNEBY THAT WHILE WE
WANT THEM TO TRY TO MAINTAIN GOOD RELATIONS WITH THE GOC,
THEY WILL NOT HAVE OUR SUPPORT IF THEY LOSE FOCUS AND
SACRIFICE BASIC PRINCIPLES IN THE PROCESS.



16. (C) OF PERHAPS MORE CONCERN ARE INDICATIONS THAT EUROPEAN
COMMISSION PRESSURE ALSO PEAKED LAST MONTH WITH THEIR ACTIVE
SUPPORT FOR SUSPENDING THE JOINT LEGAL WORKING GROUP. THE
COMMISSION DEPUTY HEAD JOINED SEMNEBY IN SOFT-PEDALING
CRITICISM OF THE GOC AT THE OSCE PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION
BRIEFING. THE COMMISSION AND OSCE MISSIONS INCREASINGLY LINK
THEIR WORK AND OPERATE IN TANDEM; FOR EXAMPLE, SEMNEBY AND
THE COMMISSION DEPUTY MET TOGETHER WITH CACIC THE WEEK BEFORE
HIS PUBLIC BRIEFING, AND THE TWO INVARIABLY LINK THEIR
MANDATES AND POLICY AGENDAS IN PRIVATE AND PUBLIC STATEMENTS
HERE IN ZAGREB. TALKING TO MOST EU AMBASSADORS HERE, WE FIND
A BROAD MAJORITY CRITICAL OF GOC PERFORMANCE BUT NOT EAGER TO
DO ANYTHING THAT WOULD OBSTRUCT HANDLING OF CROATIA'S
IMMINENT EU APPLICATION IN ANY WAY OTHER THAN THE NORMAL
MANNER. THE GERMANS AND TO A LESSER EXTENT THE AUSTRIANS ARE
APOLOGISTS FOR THE GOC; THE BRITISH AND DUTCH ANCHOR THE

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ9816

PAGE 01 ZAGREB 00337 04 OF 04 121721Z
ACTION PRM-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AF-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 CEA-01 CIAE-00
COME-00 CTME-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 PERC-00 SRPP-00 DS-00
EAP-00 EB-00 EUR-00 EXIM-01 OIGO-00 E-00 FAAE-00
FBIE-00 VC-00 FRB-00 HHS-01 H-01 SSA-01 TEDE-00
INR-00 IO-00 ITC-01 L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00
NSCE-00 OIC-02 OMB-01 DHS-00 OPIC-01 PA-00 PM-00
PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SCT-00 SP-00 IRM-00 SSO-00
SS-00 STR-00 TRSE-00 T-00 USIE-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00
DRL-01 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 SWCI-00 /012W


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

352ABE 121739Z /38
R 121719Z FEB 03
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9451
INFO AMEMBASSY ATHENS
AMEMBASSY BELGRADE
AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA
AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO
USMISSION GENEVA
USMISSION USNATO
USMISSION USOSCE
USEU BRUSSELS

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 04 OF 04 ZAGREB 000337

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/12/2013
TAGS: PREF PREL ECON PREL ECON PREL ECON PREL ECON HR HRPREF OSCE EUN UNHCR
SUBJECT: GOC PUSHING BACK ON IC CRITICISM ON RETURNS
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ZAGREB 00337 04 OF 04 121721Z

HARSH END OF THE EU SPECTRUM; BUT THE MIDDLE MAJORITY
POSITION IS ONE THAT WILL PROBABLY URGE THE COMMISSION TO GO
EASIER ON THE GOC.

NEXT STEPS


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





17. (C) WE KNOW THERE IS AN INTENSE DEBATE WITHIN THE GOC ON
HOW TO HANDLE THE INCREASED IC PRESSURE. PM RACAN IS SAID TO
FAVOR SOME RESPONSIVENESS, BUT DPM GRANIC, THE MFA, CACIC'S
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR RETURNS AND A KEY RACAN AIDE ARE ALL
REPORTED TO BE ARGUING FOR THE GOC TO SHUT OUT MEANINGFUL IC
DIALOGUE AND GO ITS OWN WAY. THE RACAN AIDE MADE IT CLEAR
BOTH TO SEMNEBY AND THE AMBASSADOR THAT RACAN WILL NOT ENGAGE
ON IC CONCERNS ANYTIME SOON, IF EVER. RACAN IS NO LEADER;
THEREFORE, WE BELIEVE THAT THIS ANTI-COOPERATION
CONSTELLATION WILL PREVAIL ABSENT CONSTANT AND STRONG IC
PRESSURE. WE WILL WORK TO REINFORCE THE PRESSURE HERE. WE
URGE THAT THE USG PRESS THIS ISSUE IN BRUSSELS AND IN EU AND
NATO CAPITALS WHENEVER CROATIA IS ON THE AGENDA. UNLESS WE
PRESS THE GOC HARD AND CONSTANTLY, WE WILL NOT GET THE
FORCEFUL GOC ACTION NEEDED TO GET SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS OF
RETURNEES HOME, EVER.



18. (U) BELGRADE MINIMIZE CONSIDERED.

ROSSIN

CONFIDENTIAL

>