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STATE FOR ISN/CB, VCI/CCA, L/NPV, IO/MPR, SECDEF FOR OSD/GSA/CN,CP> JOINT STAFF FOR DD PMA-A FOR WTC COMMERCE FOR BIS (ROBERTS) NSC FOR SMITH WINPAC FOR WALTER
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PARM, PREL, CWC SUBJECT: CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION (CWC): WRAP UP FOR WEEK ENDING FEBRUARY 1, 2008
This is CWC-05-07.
1. (U) During the week of January 28, the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) began to tackle the draft text of the Review Conference report but spent more time debating the provisional agenda than examining the text. The German delegation has begun informal discussion of industry inspection issues. A video- conference between the Technical Secretariat and the U.S. National Authority addressed logistical issues in the first sampling and analysis exercise in the United States.
2. (SBU) On January 28, the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) met immediately prior to the meeting of the Open Ended Working Group. Few WEOG members were prepared to comment on Block 2 of the RevCon text. Of note was a recommendation from the UK to include a reference (in the context of the General Purpose Criterion) to the future possibility of amending the schedules of chemicals. Italy expressed support for this initiative and approached the Del after the meeting to solicit U.S. support. Del explained that the U.S. is not currently in a position to support this. (Del request: Del understands guidance on this topic has not been finalized, but requests background information and talking points on the U.S. position be provided as soon as possible.)
3. (U) Kimmo Laukkanen (Finland), the Article VII facilitator, announced his departure from The Hague in May and noted the need for a new facilitator. Laukkanen plans to organize a consultation before EC- 52 to discuss any activities since CSP-12, as well as possible report language for EC-52. -- appoint a qualified replacement. Croatian Ambassador to NATO Davor Bozinovic, who spearheaded efforts to bring support up from a historic low of 30 percent in late 2006 to the current figures over 50 percent, will continue to play a key role in public outreach, according to Jandrokovic.
4. (U) Two recent polls, neither commissioned by the GoC, show a continuing upward trend in public support. Leading polling agencies PULS and Promocija Plus have both released results in February showing more than 51 percent of Croatians in favor of NATO membership. Earlier results from PULS had lagged behind government-sponsored polling, making this the first time this agency has shown support above 50 percent.
COMMITTED TO RESOLVING PROPERTY RESTITUTION ISSUE
5. (C) The Ambassador stressed to PM Sanader that NATO membership depended on ratification after an invitation, and they agreed on the need to resolve WW II and communist-era property restitution claims of non-Croatian citizens. FM Jandrokovic told the Ambassador that the GoC was "completely committed" to moving ahead with amendments to the property restitution law to give non-Croatians the same legal remedies as citizens, and Speaker Bebic indicated that the Sabor was prepared to consider such legislation.
SOFA SIGNATURE ON HORIZON
6. (C) The PM told the Ambassador on Jan 21 that the
government would approve the final SOFA text within a week or two, so Post expects movement soon on this issue within days. He was amenable to a signing ceremony in Washington on the margins of the A-3 Defense Ministerial Feb 18 to 20.
REFUGEE RETURNS: BRINGING ETHNIC SERBS INTO GOC
7. (C) With respect to refugee returns, PM Sanader pointed to his extensive governing coalition agreement with the SDSS (Independent Democratic Serbian Party), which he said will ensure progress on the refugee housing issue beyond the benchmarks achieved in 2007 (ref F). He also highlighted the fact that he had brought a member of the Serb minority into the government for the first time in Croatia's history to serve as a Deputy Prime Minister with responsibility for refugee returns.
BEYOND BUCHAREST: BECOMING THE BEST POSSIBLE ALLY
8. (C) In all of the Ambassador's meetings, Croatian leaders demonstrated a clear understanding that an invitation in Bucharest was merely another stepping stone on a long path of reforms aimed at making Croatia a capable and committed ally. PM Sanader promised to continue work "beyond Bucharest," while President Mesic said that Croatia wants to finish what NATO SGY Scheffer calls the marathon to membership at "the same pace we started."
9. (C) DefMin Vukelic, who has already made one creditable appearance on a national TV talk show to promote NATO accession, also acknowledged the long-term nature of many reforms. He highlighted the GoC's commitment to its 10-year restructuring and modernization plan for their military, which will continue many years after Croatia's expected entry into the Alliance. BRADTKE