US embassy cable - 03ZAGREB1278

COMMITTING CROATIA'S FY-2003 FMF BUDGET

Identifier: 03ZAGREB1278
Wikileaks: View 03ZAGREB1278 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Zagreb
Created: 2003-06-05 14:02:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: MARR PREL KTIA ABUD MASS HR KICC 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 001278 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
STATE FOR EUR (BOGUE) AND PM (LINO) 
DEFENSE FOR OSD/DASD-EURASIA (RICARDEL), OSD-P (RIGGENBERG) 
AND DSCA-ERASA 
    USEUCOM FOR J4 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/05/2013 
TAGS: MARR, PREL, KTIA, ABUD, MASS, HR, KICC, Defense Reform (Mil & NATO) 
SUBJECT: COMMITTING CROATIA'S FY-2003 FMF BUDGET 
 
REF: A. STATE 139892 
     B. ZAGREB 1238 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: POLOFF A.F.GODFREY FOR REASONS 1.5 (B,D) 
 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1.  (C) IF CROATIA ACTS QUICKLY, IT CAN COMMIT THE FY2003 
FUNDS AT RISK OF SUSPENSION UNDER THE AMERICAN 
SERVICEMEMBER'S PROTECTION ACT BEFORE CUTOFF DATE.  AS 
INSTRUCTED (REFTEL A), ON JUNE 4 WE INFORMED THE GOC HOW IT 
CAN COMMIT THE USD 5.5 MILLION ALLOCATED FOR FY2003 TO AN 
EXISTING FMF CASE IN TIME FOR THESE FUNDS TO BE OBLIGATED BY 
JULY 1.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (C) CROATIA IS UNLIKELY TO SIGN AN ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENT 
BEFORE UNOBLIGATED FMF AND IMET FUNDS ARE SUSPENDED ON JULY 
1.  AS INSTRUCTED IN REF A, DEFENSE ATTACHE, ODC CHIEF AND 
POLOFF MET ON JUNE 4 WITH DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER ZLATKO 
GARELJIC TO INFORM HIM THAT THE USD 5.5 MILLION ALLOCATED TO 
CROATIA IN FMF FUNDING COULD BE OBLIGATED BEFORE SUSPENSION 
ON JULY 1.  WE UNDERSCORED TO GARELJIC THAT THE FAILURE OF 
CROATIA TO CONCLUDE AN ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENT WOULD STILL HAVE 
A STRONG NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THE BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP; 
    NEARLY USD 6 MILLION IN FMF AND IMET SUPPORT ANTICIPATED IN 
FY 2004 WOULD CERTAINLY BE SUSPENDED.  MORE IMPORTANTLY, WE 
ADDED, CROATIA'S UNWILLINGNESS TO CONCLUDE AN AGREEMENT WOULD 
BE A BLOW TO THE BROADER BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP. 
 
3.  (C) AS DESCRIBED IN REF B, WE EXPLAINED TO DEPUTY DEFMIN 
GARELJIC THAT, DUE TO THE SHORT TIME REMAINING BEFORE THE 
JULY 1 CUTOFF, THE ONLY WAY CROATIA CAN COMMIT THE FY2003 FMF 
FUNDS IS TO COMMIT THEM TO AN EXISTING CASE.  THE ONLY "OPEN" 
CASE WHICH COULD BE MODIFIED IN TIME IS FOR COMMUNICATIONS 
EQUIPMENT.  AS ADDITIONAL VHF RADIO EQUIPMENT HAS BEEN 
IDENTIFIED AS A PRIORITY, CROATIA SHOULD ACT QUICKLY TO 
MODIFY THIS CASE.  WE TOLD GARELJIC CROATIA MUST SEND A 
LETTER OF REQUEST TO MODIFY THE EXISTING FMF CASE BY FRIDAY, 
JUNE 6, IN ORDER FOR EXPERTS IN WASHINGTON TO OBLIGATE THE 
FUNDS IN TIME TO PREVENT THEM FROM BEING SUSPENDED.  ODC 
PROVIDED GARELJIC WITH A DRAFT LETTER, PROPOSING A MIX OF 
AVAILABLE VHF RADIO EQUIPMENT WHICH WOULD MEET NEEDS 
IDENTIFIED BY MOD PLANNERS.  THE MOD HAS FLEXIBILITY WITHIN 
THIS FMF CASE TO CHANGE THE MIX OF EQUIPMENT, BUT MAY NOT 
APPLY FY 2003 FUNDS TO ANY OTHER CASE. 
 
4.  (C) IN A SEPARATE MEETINGS ON JUNE 4 WITH ASSISTANT 
DEFENSE MINISTER (POLICY) JELENA GRCIC POLIC AND WITH MFA 
NORTH AMERICA DEPARTMENT HEAD MIROSLAV KOVACIC, WE 
UNDERSCORED THAT THE DECISION ON HOW TO IMPLEMENT PROVISION 
OF THE ASPA WAS MADE IN WASHINGTON AND APPLIES EQUALLY TO ALL 
COUNTRIES WHICH ARE RECIPIENTS OF FMF AND IMET FUNDING AND 
ARE SUBJECT TO THE JULY 1 CUTOFF.  NEVERTHELESS, BOTH KOVACIC 
AND GRCIC POLIC WERE GRATEFUL, AND SAID THAT THE FMF 
ASSISTANCE IS VITAL TO CROATIA'S PROGRESS TOWARD NATO 
    MEMBERSHIP. 
 
5.  (C) UPON HEARING THAT CROATIA MIGHT YET BE ABLE TO TAKE 
ADVANTAGE OF FY 2003 FUNDS, GARELJIC, GRCIC POLIC AND KOVACIC 
ALL EXPRESSED GRATITUDE, STATING THEIR ASSUMPTION THAT THE 
USG'S DECISION WAS BASED ON RECOGNITION OF CROATIA'S CURRENT 
REQUEST FOR EXEMPTION FROM ASPA PROVISIONS DUE TO ITS 
PURPORTED "UNIQUE CIRCUMSTANCES."  IN ORDER TO MINIMIZE OUR 
FMF REPROGRAMMING EFFORT, THUS UNDERCUTTING OUR DIPLOMACY FOR 
AN ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENT, WE MADE CLEAR TO ALL THREE THAT THIS 
SAME INTERPRETATION OF U.S. LAW IS BEING APPLIED TO ALL 
COUNTRIES SUBJECT TO SUSPENSION OF MILITARY ASSISTANCE UNDER 
ASPA AND REPEATED OUR REQUEST THAT THE GOC ENGAGE SERIOUSLY 
IN UPCOMING DISCUSSIONS ABOUT A POSSIBLE ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENT 
WHEN PM/B'S AMBASSADOR LINO VISITS ZAGREB NEXT WEEK.  THEY 
WERE A BIT DEFLATED BY OUR RESPONSE. 
ROSSIN 
 
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