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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09LJUBLJANA10 2009-01-09 17:00:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ljubljana
Cable title:  

SLOVENE PM ADAMANT THAT CROATIA MUST COMPROMISE ON

Tags:   PREL PGOV ENRG NATO EUN HR SI 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LJUBLJANA 000010 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/09/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV ENRG NATO EUN HR SI
SUBJECT: SLOVENE PM ADAMANT THAT CROATIA MUST COMPROMISE ON
EU-ACCESSION ISSUE

Classified By: Ambassador Yousif B.Ghafari, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (C) SUMMARY. Prime Minister Borut Pahor told the
Ambassador January 8 that Slovenia would block Croatia's EU
accession negotiations again in February if Zagreb does not
demonstrate the will to resolve the issue of the allegedly
prejudicial documents submitted by Croatia as part of the
accession process. "There will be no change of our
position," Pahor said, "absolutely none." Slovenia must
receive "a strong confirmation from Croatia that the EU
documents in no way prejudge the border issue" if accession
negotiations are to move ahead. Pahor made a clear
distinction between NATO and the EU, saying that he was
optimistic the Slovenian National Assembly would ratify
Croatia and Albania's accession to NATO at the end of
January. He added that he hoped NATO ratification "would
send a strong signal to Brussels and Zagreb." He confirmed
that he would meet with Gazprom director Alexei Miller on
January 16 to discuss Slovenian participation in the
Southstream pipeline. He responded positively to our message
on intensified engagement in Afghanistan, but did not make
any new commitment. END SUMMARY.



2. (C) Prime Minister Pahor requested a meeting January 8
with Ambassador Ghafari to discuss Slovenia's position on the
dispute over Croatia's accession to the EU. Pahor made
reference to the non paper and explanatory documents sent to
us by the MFA on January 5 (forwarded to EUR/CE and EUR/SCE),
saying that Slovenia wants to show that the problem with
Croatia is specific and limited. Slovenia recognizes that
Croatia should -- and will -- be fully integrated into
European institutions. The government will submit Croatia's
NATO accession to the National Assembly January 27 for
ratification and will work to ensure that it gets the
necessary 2/3 majority. Pahor said he discussed the NATO
issue with leaders of the parliamentary opposition and he was
confident most would vote in favor. The PM said he would
likely address the National Assembly himself in order to
rally the necessary 61 votes in favor of the treaty. While
acknowledging that he will have to expend some political
capital, Pahor is optimistic that parliament will approve
Croatia's NATO membership by the end of the month. This,
Pahor said, "will be great news for everybody."



3. (C) Pahor expressed frustration that Croatian PM Sanader
had not responded to his offer to meet and discuss Croatia's
EU accession. "I have been waiting three weeks without an
answer," Pahor claimed; "Sanader must decide whether he wants
to keep up his image in the media or solve the problem."
Warming to his subject, Pahor leaned forward for emphasis,
saying, "Let me tell you, Mr. Ambassador, if there is not
enough will on the Croatian side to solve this problem, we
will block their accession again in February. There is no
doubt about this." He said he would tell Czech PM Topolanek,
the current EU president, the same thing when the two met
later that day. "I am trying to do my best," Pahor said,
"but I can't do Croatia's job."



4. (C) The Ambassador responded that our policy was to urge
both sides to reach an agreement on the immediate issue of
Croatia's EU accession, as well as the longer-term border
demarcation issue. He reiterated our view that Croatia is
part of Europe and should accede to European and
Euro-Atlantic institutions. Both sides should stop debating
in the media and cooperate to find a bilateral solution.
Pahor dismissed Sanader's call for the EU to be present at
any talks between Croatia and Slovenia, saying "the EU is not
a third party; we need to unblock the bilateral negotiating
process and move on."



5. (C) Pahor said Slovenia was very concerned about the
Russian gas cut-off, but not immediately threatened. (N.B.
Slovenia gets slightly more than half its gas from Russia and
has a 30-45 day cushion in storage in Austria.) He confirmed
that Gazprom chairman Alexei Miller is expected to be in
Ljubljana January 16 for long-planned meetings on Slovenia's
possible role in the Southstream pipeline. "We will have a
chat," Pahor said, "but not more than a chat." He said
Europe must find alternative sources of gas or it would
become a victim of the Russian-Ukrainian dispute every
January. He stated that as a result of the Russian cut-off
there was now renewed interest in the Nabucco pipeline.



6. (C) Noting the increasing concern about Afghanistan at
NATO and in Washington, the Ambassador urged Slovenia to

LJUBLJANA 00000010 002 OF 002


field an Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) in
addition to the company-sized unit it has stationed with the
Italians in Herat. Pahor said that he recognized the
importance of training the Afghan security forces. He noted
that he had already committed to a formal discussion of the
matter with the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, but
he did not explicitly commit to deploy an OMLT.



7. (C) COMMENT. Pahor is in no mood to compromise on
Croatia's EU accession. He made it clear that he fears a
referendum if his government is seen as backing away from its
position that Croatia's EU accession must not prejudice the
outcome of the border-demarcation dispute. If the maps we
were shown earlier by the MFA are in fact part of Croatia's
accession package, Slovenia has a right to be concerned. The
maps clearly show disputed border areas as Croatian
territory. On NATO, we believe that absent a sharp spike in
incendiary rhetoric from either side, Slovenia will ratify
Croatia's accession by the end of the month. This should
greatly improve the atmosphere for bilateral talks. Were we
in Sanader's shoes, we would use the opportunity to claim
victory and quietly climb down from the position Croatia has
staked out on the maps and other documents submitted as part
of its accession package. The U.S. can play a positive role
by quietly urging both sides to turn down the rhetorical heat
in the lead-up to the NATO vote. Beyond the role of discrete
matchmaker, however, there is little to be gained by
inserting ourselves into the details of this dispute.
GHAFARI