INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: New Hdz Ambassador to Washington

Published: Wed 31 Mar 2004 04:23 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
310423Z Mar 04
UNCLAS ZAGREB 000543
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/SCE (KABUMOTO)
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINR PGOV PREL HR
SUBJECT: NEW HDZ AMBASSADOR TO WASHINGTON
1. (SBU) CROATIA'S NEXT AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S. WILL LIKELY
BE NEVEN JURICA, CURRENTLY CHAIRMAN OF THE PARLIAMENT'S
FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE. NEWS OF JURICA'S LIKELY
APPOINTMENT WAS LEAKED TO THE PRESS ON MARCH 28, AFTER HIS
CANDIDACY HAD BEEN APPROVED BY WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A
CONFIDENTIAL HEARING IN THE PARLIAMENT. WHEN WE MET WITH HIM
SIPDIS
ON MARCH 30 TO DISCUSS OTHER MATTERS, JURICA CONFIRMED HIS
NOMINATION AND EXPRESSED EMBARRASSMENT AT ITS BEING MADE
PUBLIC BEFORE RECEIVING AGREMENT. JURICA SAID THAT IF HIS
APPOINTMENT IS APPROVED BY PRESIDENT MESIC AND BY THE USG, HE
WOULD HOPE TO BE IN PLACE IN WASHINGTON BY JUNE 2004.
2. (SBU) JURICA WAS ONE OF THE ORIGINAL FOUNDERS OF THE HDZ
AND IS ONE OF ONLY TWO SUCH FOUNDERS WHO REMAIN INFLUENTIAL
IN FORMING PARTY POLICY. A CLOSE ASSOCIATE OF PARTY
PRESIDENT (NOW PM) IVO SANADER THROUGHOUT SANADER'S
SUCCESSFUL EFFORT TO GAIN CONTROL OF THE HDZ, JURICA WAS
"POLITICAL SECRETARY" OF THE PARTY THROUGHOUT THE
PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION CAMPAIGN. HIS TASK WAS TO KEEP
LOWER-LEVEL CANDIDATES "ON MESSAGE" AND HIS WORK WAS AN
IMPORTANT FACTOR IN THE HDZ'S ELECTION VICTORY. WHILE JURICA
IS NOT A MEMBER OF THE VERY SMALL CIRCLE OF SANADER'S CLOSEST
ADVISERS, HE HAS DIRECT ACCESS TO BOTH THE PM AND FM ZUZUL.
3. (SBU) DURING THE TUDJMAN ERA, JURICA SERVED AS CROATIA'S
AMBASSADOR TO AUSTRALIA, BULGARIA AND NORWAY AND SERVED A
BRIEF STINT AS THE GOVERNMENT'S SPOKESMAN. CROATIA'S PRESS
IS REPORTING THAT HIS ASSIGNMENTS TO CANBERRA AND OSLO WERE
TAINTED BY FINANCIAL "SCANDALS." DIASPORA GROUPS IN
AUSTRALIA COMPLAINED ABOUT THE COST OF BUILDING CROATIA'S
CHANCERY, AND THE RACAN GOVERNMENT USED REPORTS THAT JURICA
OVERSPENT HIS REPRESENTATIONAL ACCOUNT AS A PRETEXT TO RECALL
HIM FROM NORWAY. AS SPOKESMAN OF THE TUDJMAN GOVERNMENT,
JURICA OBJECTED TO THE 1998 U.S. HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT'S
CRITICISM OF CROATIA'S POOR RECORD UNDER TUDJMAN.
4. (U) NOW THAT JURICA'S APPOINTMENT HAS BEEN APPROVED BY
THE PARLIAMENT, FM ZUZUL WILL SEND IT TO PRESIDENT MESIC FOR
CONCURRENCE. SHOULD MESIC AGREE (AND HE HAS TOLD THE PRESS
THAT HE WILL), THE MFA WILL INSTRUCT THE CROATIAN EMBASSY IN
WASHINGTON TO SEEK AGREMENT FROM THE USG.
FRANK
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