US embassy cable - 03ZAGREB1796

CROATIA OPPOSES TIRANA'S ADRIATIC CHARTER MOU

Identifier: 03ZAGREB1796
Wikileaks: View 03ZAGREB1796 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Zagreb
Created: 2003-08-13 15:21:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL AL MK HR NATO Defense Reform
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
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 ZAGREB 001796 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/SCE-MNARDI 
DOD/OSD FOR SHOEMAKER 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2008 
TAGS: PREL, AL, MK, HR, NATO, Defense Reform (Mil & NATO) 
SUBJECT: CROATIA OPPOSES TIRANA'S ADRIATIC CHARTER MOU 
 
REF: TIRANA 01195 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: POLOFF JUSTIN FRIEDMAN FOR REASONS 1.5 B & D 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY:  CROATIA IS OPPOSED TO SIGNING THE 
ALBANIAN-PROPOSED MOU (REFTEL) ON IMPLEMENTING THE ADRIATIC 
CHARTER IN ITS PRESENT FORM.  MFA AND MOD INTERLOCUTORS ASKED 
FOR U.S. VIEWS ON THE DRAFT MOU BEFORE CROATIA TAKES A FIRM 
POSITION, BUT THEIR INITIAL READ OF THE MOU IS THAT IT GOES 
BEYOND THE INTENT AND SCOPE OF THE CHARTER.  MOD TOLD US THAT 
THE GOC VIEWED THE CHARTER AS A POLITICAL DOCUMENT, AND ITS 
PREFERENCE WAS TO FOCUS INDIVIDUAL PREPARATIONS FOR NATO OVER 
BILATERAL OR MULTILATERAL EXERCISES WITH CHARTER PARTNERS. 
 
2. (C) POST BELIEVES WE SHOULD ENCOURAGE THE CHARTER PARTNERS 
TO WORK OUT AMONG THEMSELVES HOW BEST TO IMPLEMENT THE 
CHARTER.  WE WILL BE ASKED TO PROVIDE LOGISTICAL OR OTHER 
DIRECT SUPPORT IF OUR INTENTION IS TO ENCOURAGE JOINT OR 
BILATERAL EXERCISES UNDER THE CHARTER. END SUMMARY. 
 
3. (C) IN RESPONSE TO REFTEL, POLOFF AND NAVY ATTACHE MET 
SEPARATELY WITH MFA ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE NORTH AMERICA DESK 
ANDREA BEKIC AND ASSISTANT MINISTER OF DEFENSE JELENA 
GRCIC-POLIC ON AUGUST 12.  BOTH INTERLOCUTORS ASKED FOR THE 
U.S. POSITION BEFORE RESPONDING FORMALLY TO THE ALBANIAN 
PROPOSAL.  WE STATED THAT WHILE WE ENCOURAGED REGIONAL 
    COOPERATION, WE WANTED TO HEAR CROATIA,S VIEWS ON THE MOU 
BEFORE COMING TO A POSITION OURSELVES. 
 
4. (C) ASSISTANT MINISTER GRCIC-POLIC TOLD US THAT CROATIA 
VIEWS THE CHARTER PRIMARILY AS A POLITICAL DOCUMENT, AND NOT 
A MILITARY INSTRUMENT.  IN A FOLLOW UP CONVERSATION WITH NAVY 
ATTACHE AUGUST 13, GRCIC-POLIC SHARPENED HER POINTS, 
EMPHASIZING THAT WHILE SHE WAS STILL LOOKING FOR USG VIEWS, 
THE MOD FOUND THE PROPOSED MOU &UNACCEPTABLE IN ITS PRESENT 
FORM, AS IT WOULD TAKE THE RELATIONSHIP TO A DIFFERENT 
LEVEL.8  EARLIER, SHE TOLD US CROATIAN POLICY WAS TO FOCUS 
ITS LIMITED RESOURCES ON REGIONAL MULTILATERAL MILITARY 
COOPERATION WITH MEMBERS OF THE QUADRILATERALE (ITALY, 
SLOVENIA, HUNGARY AND CROATIA), SPECIFICALLY THE 
MULTINATIONAL LAND FORCE (MLF), RATHER THAN CHARTER PARTNERS. 
 SHE NOTED THAT CROATIAN FORCES COULD LEARN MORE FROM THESE 
ACTIVITIES THAN FROM EXERCISES WITH NON-CONTIGUOUS, LESS 
MILITARILY ADVANCED REGIONAL PARTNERS.  GRCIC-POLIC STRESSED 
THAT THE CHARTER EMPHASIZED INDIVIDUAL PARTNERS' PREPARATIONS 
FOR NATO AND POINTED OUT THE CROATIA WOULD BE BETTER 
POSITIONED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ACTIVITIES PROPOSED IN THE 
MOU ONCE IT HAD MOVED CLOSER TO NATO.  SHE UNDERSCORED THE 
U.S. HAD A KEY ROLE IN THE "U.S.-ADRIATIC CHARTER" AND THAT 
GIVEN THE REGION'S GEOGRAPHY, A U.S. SUPPORT ROLE WAS 
ESSENTIAL TO MAKING ANY PROPOSED MULTILATERAL EXERCISE 
HAPPEN. 
 
5. (C) WITH KEY MFA SUBSTANTIVE EXPERTS ON VACATION, MFA,S 
BEKIC WAS RELUCTANT TO PROVIDE ANY VIEWS ON THE MATTER, BUT 
DID STATE THAT THE MFA,S INITIAL REACTION WAS THAT THE 
ALBANIAN PROPOSAL WENT BEYOND THE INTENT OF THE CHARTER.  SHE 
    ADDED THAT IN GENERAL, CROATIA WANTED TO KEEP TO THE CHARTER 
IN ITS CURRENT FORM AND DID NOT WANT TO OVEREMPHASIZE THE 
PROCESS. 
 
6. (C) COMMENT:  WE BELIEVE THAT, DESPITE OUR INTERLOCUTORS, 
INITIAL NEGATIVE COMMENTS, CROATIA WOULD BE WILLING TO SIGN 
SOMETHING LESS THAN AN MOU TO AVOID GENERATING ILL-WILL WITH 
THE U.S.  AS A PRACTICAL MATTER, THE PECULIARITIES OF 
CROATIAN LAW WOULD ULTIMATELY REQUIRE THAT THE SABOR RATIFY 
ANY MOU, MAKING A LESS FORMAL "MILITARY COOPERATION PLAN" 
POLITICALLY MORE DESIRABLE.  GRCIC-POLIC,S COMMENTS ON THE 
NEED FOR U.S. LOGISTICAL SUPPORT FOR ANY CHARTER-LINKED 
EXERCISES SHOULD BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY.  WITHOUT SUCH ASSISTANCE 
ONLY BILATERAL CROATIAN-ALBANIAN NAVAL EXERCISES WOULD BE 
PRACTICAL GIVEN CHARTER MEMBERS LACK OF TRANSPORT ASSETS FOR 
GROUND FORCES.  WE BELIEVE THE U.S. SHOULD CONTINUE TO 
ENCOURAGE COOPERATION, BUT LEAVE IT TO THE CHARTER PARTNERS 
TO WORK OUT WHAT FORMS THIS SHOULD TAKE. 
FRANK 
 
NNNN 

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