Central Europe Review: politics, society and culture in Central and Eastern Europe
Vol 2, No 8
28 February 2000

Croatia news review C E N T R A L   E U R O P E A N    N E W S:
News Round-up for Croatia
News from Croatia since 21 February 2000

Saša Cvijetić

President Stipe Mesić on Monday appointed Tomislav Karamarko as the new head of the Office for National Security (UNS). At the same time Karamarko will be Mesić's advisor for national security, while the new advisor on military issues will be General Imra Agotić. Stjepan Zdunić was appointed advisor on the economy and Stanko Nick advisor on foreign affairs. Damir Vargek will be the head of the President's Cabinet and Vjera Šuman his spokesperson.

The Constitutional Court declared three articles of the Law on Internal Affairs related to the tapping of phone calls null and void. The minister of internal affairs is thus no longer allowed to order such measures and courts are the only authorised institution that can issue special court orders. The Court explained this decision by stating that the legislature had not envisaged any situation in which it would be necessary to protect national security by violating human rights.

There has been a wave of arrests and investigations of persons accused of financial crime continues. One of the richest businessmen in Slavonia, Antun Novalić, and four associates were arrested on Wednesday under accusation of financial crime amounting to 35 million kuna (DEM nine million). Two days earlier, Stipe Gabrić-Jambo, mayor of Metković, was investigated by Dubrovnik police together with three other persons in connection with the financial crime in the company Razvitak from Metković.

Peter Palmer, Spokesperson of the OSCE Mission to Croatia, stated that the OSCE was very satisfied with the Croatian Government's plan on returning of 16,500 Serb refugees to Croatia. This project should be carried out within next six months and will cost USD 55.6 million, announced Palmer.

At a conference in Zagreb on Wednesday, the US Ambassador to Croatia, William Montgomery, spoke about the assistance that the US is planning to provide to the new Croatian authorities. He announced improvements in military co-operation, larger amount of financial aid, the opening of the Office for Trade Development Assistance and assistance the United States would provide in order to help Croatia join the Partnership for Peace and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). "The United States wants Croatia to be its strategic partner in the region," Montgomery said, stating that he expects Croatia to become a member of the EU in ten years and a leading economic power in the region. "Croatia should assume the leading role in the Pact of Stability, because if Croatia does not, I do not know who will," he said. He added that the United States was never against the Croatian people, but rather against the former regime.

The Lower House of Parliament passed a new law according to which the salaries of state officials would decrease on average by 27%. This departs from the pre-electoral promises that the salaries would be reduced by 40%. The trade unions already reacted to this fresh law, accusing the government of betraying its promises issued two months ago.

The High Representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina, Wolfgang Petritsch, visited Zagreb and discussed the implementation of the Dayton Agreement with President Stipe Mesić and Prime Minister Ivica Račan. They expressed somewhat dissonant views on the issue. Whereas Mesić stated that the Dayton Agreement must be fully implemented and that he did not support cantonisation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Prime Minister Račan said that "as far as he was concerned, he saw very good prospects in dividing Bosnia-Herzegovina into cantons," adding that "refusing cantonisation in the name of implementing the Dayton agreement can turn against both the Dayton Agreement and Bosnia's future." "Life requires new solutions," believed Račan. Commenting on Croatia's financial support to Bosnia-Herzegovina Croats, Račan said that Croatia would continue to provide such support, however, within a strictly defined framework.

Saša Cvijetić, 25 February 2000

Links to further news and information resources in/on Croatia:

HINA - Croatian Information and News Agency

HRT - Croatian Radio and Television News

News compiled by the HIC - Croatian Information Centre

Croatia Weekly, published by the HIKZ - Croatian Institute for Culture and Information

HIDRA - Croatian Information and Documentation Referral Agency

Croatian Government Bulletin

News released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Vlast.net - E-zine on Croatian politics

Vjesnik daily

Večernji list daily

Slobodna Dalmacija daily

Feral Tribune weekly

Nacional weekly

Arkzin monthly

Voice of America in Croatian

Real Audio recording of the radio programme Weekreport



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