Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09ZAGREB40
2009-01-23 13:59:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Zagreb
Cable title:  

CROATIA'S VIEWS ON THE NATO RATIFICATION PROCESS

Tags:  PGOV PREL NATO HR 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVB #0040/01 0231359
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231359Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8947
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 3479
C O N F I D E N T I A L ZAGREB 000040 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/SCE AND EUR/RPM

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/22/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL NATO HR
SUBJECT: CROATIA'S VIEWS ON THE NATO RATIFICATION PROCESS

REF: ZAGREB 15

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

Summary
--------

C O N F I D E N T I A L ZAGREB 000040

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/SCE AND EUR/RPM

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/22/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL NATO HR
SUBJECT: CROATIA'S VIEWS ON THE NATO RATIFICATION PROCESS

REF: ZAGREB 15

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

Summary
--------------


1. (C) On January 21 Croatia held a State Council meeting
on NATO, which focused on progress toward ratification of
Croatia's Accession Protocol among NATO allies and
domestically. Following the State Council's meeting, PM
Sanader expressed cautious optimism that the process will be
complete before the April NATO Summit, despite the recent
disagreements with Slovenia over the border. The GoC has
started its own domestic ratification process and was not
expecting any serious complications. By the MFA's count
(para 5 below),as of January 21 nine allies had deposited,
eight had ratified but not yet deposited, and nine had not
officially completed ratification. Of the nine that have not
yet completed ratification the GoC is closely watching
Portugal, Iceland, and Slovenia. Despite some earlier
concerns about Greece and Luxembourg the GoC was reassured
that both would ratify in a timely manner after Sanader spoke
with PMs Karamanlis and Junker. End Summary.

Sanader Expresses Cautious Optimism
--------------


2. (C) Following the State Council's meeting, PM Sanader
stated to the press that despite the current dispute with
Ljubljana over the border he expected that Slovenia would
ratify the accession protocol in time for the summit. In a
conversation with the Ambassador on January 21 the Croatian
Ambassador to NATO Igor Pokaz said that Sanader has also
expressed privately that he believes Slovenia will ratify the
accession protocols in time, but given the problems over the
border no one could be certain until the ratification process
was finished. (Note: On January 23 the Croatian press
reported that the Slovenian parliament's foreign policy
committee delayed discussions on the ratification of
Croatia,s NATO accession protocol until January 26.
However, the Croatian media portrayed this latest development
as a minor delay and reported that Slovenia was expected to
ratify by the end of January. End Note.)

Croatian Ratification
--------------


3. (C) Marko Horvat, Director of the MFA's NATO Department,

said that his ministry was scheduled to send the draft
legislation for the ratification of the NATO accession
protocols to other ministries on January 26 for comments, as
required by Croatian law. The office of the President, the
office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Defense, the
Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of
Internal Affairs, the Council for National Security, and the
legislative office of the GoC would all be consulted about
the draft. After that process is complete the GoC would be
ready to put the draft before the Sabor. Sabor President,
Luka Bebic, stated after the State Council meeting that once
the accession protocols are ratified by all the NATO allies
the Sabor would vote on the instrument of ratification.


4. (C) Once submitted to the Sabor, Horvat did not anticipate
any problems with obtaining approval. Croatia's NATO
membership enjoys broad support among all political parties
and the Sabor leadership would be prepared to move quickly on
ratification. Horvat said that one point of debate might be
whether ratification requires a two-thirds or simple majority
vote. According to Article 139 of the Croatian Constitution,
treaties that transfer aspects of Croatian sovereignty to
another institution require a two-thirds vote to pass. The
MFA is making the case that membership in NATO (as a
consensus organization) does not require Croatia to
relinquish any sovereignty, so only a simple majority is
needed. In any case, the vote to approve the instrument of
ratification in the Sabor is expected to be overwhelming,
since both the government and opposition support Croatia's
NATO membership. After the Sabor has approved the instrument
of ratification, the President must then sign it. When that
is completed Croatia would be ready to deposit its instrument
of accession.

Allies' Ratification
--------------


5. (C) The MFA has been monitoring the ratification process
in NATO allied countries on a daily basis, and has had its
Ambassadors out urging passage of the Accession Protocol. As
of January 21, the MFA had received notification that the
following nine countries have deposited ratifications:

- Hungary
- Latvia
- The United States
- Lithuania
- Poland
- Bulgaria
- Slovakia
- Canada
- UK

As of January 21, the MFA counted the following eight
countries as having completed the ratification process, but
not yet having deposited their instruments of ratification:

- Romania
- Turkey
- Norway
- Estonia
- Denmark
- Czech Republic
- Spain
- Italy


6. (C) The GoC has reached out to several countries where
they have been concerned about the ratification process. In
addition to watching closely the developments in Slovenia,
Sanader recently spoke with his counterparts in Greece and
Luxembourg to discuss the ratification process. The GoC is
also trying to step up its efforts in Lisbon, due to concerns
about the pace of ratification there. Additionally, the GoC
is monitoring the situation in Iceland since it worries that
the internal instability caused by the economic crisis could
delay the GoI's efforts to ratify quickly.


7. (C) The MFA, as of January 21, had the following
information on the countries it understands have not yet
completed the ratification process:

Belgium: The MFA reported that the Foreign Affairs Committee
in the Belgian Parliament held a hearing on the issue on
January 20 and that the full parliament was expected to vote
on Protocol the by the end of January.

France: The Foreign Affairs Committee in the French
Parliament was expected to vote on January 28, and the full
parliament by the end of February.

Germany: Horvat noted that the Croatian MFA considered the
ratification process to be practically finished, but that
German President Koehler's signature was required to complete
the process.

Greece: Amb. Pokaz told the Ambassador that following a
phone call from Sanader to PM Konstandinos Karamanlis
regarding possible delays in the Greek ratification process
(reftel),the GoC now believed that Greece would ratify soon.
Based on the latest information from the Croatian Ambassador
in Athens, the Croatian MFA anticipates a vote in the Greek
parliament in mid-February.

Iceland: Horvat said that the Croatian Ambassador to
Denmark, who also covers Iceland, was in Reykjavik on January
21 to further access the situation.

Luxembourg: Pokaz also told the Ambassador that Sanader also
called PM Jean-Claude Junker and came away reassured that
Luxembourg would ratify in time. The Croatian MFA anticipated
that Luxembourg would hold a vote in mid-February.

The Netherlands: The lower house of parliament approved the
protocols in December and the Croatian MFA expected the upper
house to vote before the end of January.

Portugal: According to the latest information, a vote in the
Portuguese parliament would likely take place in either
February or March.

Slovenia: Horvat said that the vote in the Slovenian
parliament was scheduled towards the end of January. Despite
the efforts of smaller opposition parties to link NATO
ratification with the border dispute, Horvat expects the main
opposition party to vote with the GoS to approve the
accession protocol with the required two-thirds majority.
BRADTKE