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Cablegate: Zagreb Energy Summit: All Talk, No Substance

Published: Fri 29 Jun 2007 09:13 AM
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RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVB #0620 1800913
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 290913Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7865
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS ZAGREB 000620
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ENRG PREL HR
SUBJECT: ZAGREB ENERGY SUMMIT: ALL TALK, NO SUBSTANCE
(U) Sensitive but unclassified; please handle accordingly.
1. (SBU) Summary and Comment: The Zagreb Energy Summit, held on
June 24 and attended by Russian President Putin and South East
European leaders garnered substantial media attention here, but
brought little new to the discussion of regional energy supply. The
Summit, organized by Croatian President Mesic, proved an opportunity
to reiterate well-known positions, but an effort to draft an agreed
Summit statement failed, leaving the organizers to issue a
chairman's statement at the event's conclusion. Likewise, Mesic's
bilateral discussions with Putin seem not to have brought anything
new to the table on economic or political issues. End Summary.
2. (SBU) The June 24 Zagreb Energy Summit, the purpose of which
many observers here could never quite fathom, lived up to its low
expectations. The star of the show (and likely raison d'etre of the
event itself), Vladimir Putin, arrived late to deliver remarks to
the forum reiterating Russia's unbroken record as an energy supplier
and pushing for greater Russian participation in energy
infrastructure projects across South East Europe. Putin said that
Russia was prepared to continue negotiations on the sale of gas to
the region (Croatia has sought greater volumes, which Gazprom has
not yet agreed to supply) and the construction of gas storage
facilities. He went on to say that Russia was ready to cooperate,
particularly in gas and oil, emphasizing that Russia in return
expected greater access to regional markets.
3. (SBU) Other participants (presidents of Albania, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia
plus reps of Slovenia, Greece and the EU) emphasized the importance
of an uninterrupted supply of energy and the need for the countries
of the region to cooperate on energy issues. Serbian President
Tadic also used the occasion to reiterate his position on Kosovo.
4. (SBU) On the bilateral meeting between Putin and Mesic, we
learned that little new ground was broken. Putin complained about
the perceived discrimination against Russian business interests in
Croatia. The Croatian side had anticipated a strong push from Putin
on the Druzhba Adria oil pipeline that apparently did not come. The
two presidents also discussed Kosovo, reiterating known positions on
that issue. Contrary to some Croatian press reporting, there was no
substantive discussion on Bosnia.
BRADTKE
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