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04ZAGREB208 2004-02-04 08:12:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Zagreb
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L  ZAGREB 000208 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/03/2014

REF: A. 2003 STATE 217907

B. 2003 ZAGREB 1795

C. 2003 ZAGREB 2643

Classified By: Poloff Mitch Benedict for Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d)


1. (SBU) On January 30, the Ambassador reviewed with Jadranka
Kosor, Deputy Prime Minister, Croatia's record on trafficking
in persons (TIP). Kosor acknowledged that Croatia will need
to address the issue better, but otherwise offered little in
substance other than to declare that she will be our point of
contact on TIP. The new GOC is still organizing itself on
this issue, but we have raised TIP at the highest levels to
highlight its importance to the USG, and the need for Croatia
to take action against trafficking. End Summary.

Ambassador Highlights Importance of Combating Trafficking



2. (SBU) On January 30, the Ambassador raised the issue of
TIP in his initial courtesy call with Jadranka Kosor, Deputy
Prime Minister, and Minister for Family, Veterans Affairs,
and Intergenerational Solidarity. Kosor has responsibility
for human rights issues in general, and trafficking in
persons in particular. The Ambassador made clear that the
issue is a priority for the USG, and that we have been
concerned about the Government's lack of implementation of
its National Action Plan to suppress trafficking in persons.
Kosor indicated her desire to work closely with us on
anti-trafficking programs and activities.

The MFA's New Found Interest


3. (SBU) On January 29, we met Andrea Bekic, MFA Desk Officer
for the US, to discuss Croatia's efforts, or lack thereof, to
combat TIP in Croatia. Bekic expressed concern that Croatia
may be moved from Tier 2 to Tier 3 on the annual TIP report.
She wanted to know our intentions, as well as what Croatia
must do to demonstrate that it is vigorously working to
eliminate all forms of TIP. We reviewed with Bekic the
benchmarks (Ref A) that we delivered to the MFA and
Government Human Rights Office in August 2003 (Ref B), and
discussed additional measures -- such as organizational
reforms, and additional funding -- that Croatia could take
now to begin much needed implementation of the National
Action Plan.

4. (C) We learned later from the local office of the
International Organization for Migration (IOM) that the MFA
is arguing within the government that the Government Office
for Human Rights should be disbanded. Presumably most of
what the Human Rights Office considers its "competencies" --
such as attending international conferences and "cooperating"
with the international community -- would fall to the MFA.
IOM also told us that the chair of the Croatian Helsinki
Committee met with Kosor immediately following her
appointment, and told her the Head of the Government Office
for Human Rights must be replaced. In our meetings with
Human Rights Office staff, there is clear unease and
uncertainty about the future of the office. We have made the
point in our meetings with GOC interlocutors that
coordination and cooperation is necessary and good, but the
new government must begin to take action soon to implement
anti-trafficking activities.



5. (C) The new government is still in the early stages of
filling positions and assigning responsibilities, but we have
focused the new Government early on TIP as an important USG
interest, and confirmed that we expect the GOC to implement
the former government's National Action Plan to combat
trafficking. The Ambassador raised TIP in his initial
meetings with the Prime Minister, who demonstrated a
familiarity with the issue and promised to provide us with a
point of contact for further discussion. The meeting with
Deputy Prime Minister Kosor focused almost exclusively on
TIP, and she twice told the Ambassador that she is our point
of contact on TIP-related issues, although she had little of
substance to say during the Ambassador's January 30 meeting
with her. Bekic's eagerness to meet on TIP may indicate an
expanded willingness on the part of the MFA to be involved on
the issue. Previously only the MFA's Department of Human
Rights engaged with us on TIP, and then mostly for the

purpose of challenging the basis on which Croatia was
included in the Department's annual TIP report (Ref C, para