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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06ZAGREB1168 2006-09-27 11:05:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Zagreb
Cable title:  

AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH HSP ADVISOR MATE GRANIC

Tags:   PGOV PREL HR 
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DE RUEHVB #1168 2701105
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FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
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INFO RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 1906
RUEHLJ/AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA 6358
RUEHVJ/AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO 0180
RUEHSQ/AMEMBASSY SKOPJE 2561
RUEHTI/AMEMBASSY TIRANA 0801
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L ZAGREB 001168 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR EUR/SCE SAINZ AND BALIAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/27/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL HR
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH HSP ADVISOR MATE GRANIC


Classified By: Ambassador Robert A. Bradtke for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary: Ambassador met September 22 with former
foreign minister and "strategic advisor" to the Croatian
Party of Rights (HSP) Mate Granic at the latter's request.
Granic described the recent evolution of the HSP's world view
as it sought to shed its nationalistic image and become a
mainstream center-right political party. He pressed for a
meeting between the Ambassador and HSP leader Anto Dapic.
The Ambassador demurred for the present, noting that contact
with the HSP could continue with the political section until
the HSP had provided more evidence it had moderated its
policy. End Summary.



2. (C) Granic described his effort to help the HSP project
the more moderate image of a traditional European
center-right party: party leader Anto Dapic has visited
Israel's Yad Vashem to atone for his party's Nazi
collaboration during WWII; Dapic has established good
relations with the Serbian Orthodox church and visited
Serbia; and HSP has fully "normalized relations" with the
ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ); in fact, PM Sanader
will support HSP to become an observer in the European
Peoples' Party next spring, per Granic. The HSP has now
become a "mainstream" center-right political party, Granic
noted. He added that, during the fall 2007 parliamentary
election the HSP will not campaign against Croatian Serbs or
Serbia. A key element of HSP's philosophy is closer
relations with the U.S., Granic said, noting that the party
was ready to accept policy suggestions from the USG. He
concluded by asking the Ambassador to meet with Dapic, whose
contacts with Embassy Zagreb have been limited to the
political section for several years.



3. (C) Thanking Granic for his views, the Ambassador noted
that he would follow the elections next year, but would not
take sides. He said that the Embassy had good contacts with
HSP party officials via the political section, and had
included HSP parliamentarians in Embassy events such as the
annual NATO tour for MPs. He welcomed Granic's comment that
HSP had become a party of tolerance, and a mainstream
European center-right party. However, he continued,
nationalism has been a problem with the HSP in recent memory,
and it is necessary to measure today's HSP aspirations
against its provocative statements in the recent past.



4. (C) The Ambassador concluded that the time was not yet
right for him to meet with Dapic, but he wanted Embassy
contacts with the HSP to continue at other levels. He
emphasized that "not now" did not mean "not ever," adding
that he would like to see more progress on moderating HSP's
positions.



5. (C) Comment: The sophisticated and scripted Granic must
wince in apprehension every time his protege Dapic goes out
on his own. Dapic's latest outrageous statement was that
convicted terrorist Zvonko Busic, soon to be deported from
the U.S. to Croatia following his release from prison related
to a 1976 airplane hijacking, should be "given a hero's
welcome." Granic believes that a meeting with the Ambassador
would give Dapic the "seal of approval" he needs to boost his
party's 10% rating in the polls. Due both to his effort to
include the USG in his election strategy and his continued
unregenerate outbursts we believe it is best to keep Dapic at
arm's length from the Ambassador for now. However, we will
have to consider our equities carefully in coming months
since an HSP role in a future HDZ-led government following
the 2007 elections is not out of the question.
BRADTKE