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Croatian EU Accession Talks Clouded by Gotovina Issue

February 27, 2005


( Research Service)- Croatia’s EU accession talks, slated to start on the 17th of March, are in doubt, according to Reuters and the SE European Times, among others.

The website cites Stability Pact for Southeast Europe chief Erhard Busek, who told Austrian media on Saturday that he “doubts” Croatia will have turned over the goods – in the form of former Gen. Ante Gotovina – to the Hague by that time, meaning the talks may be delayed.

Busek’s statement had been preceded a week earlier by that of Polish Foreign Minister Adam Rotfeld, who threatened that without Gotovina, the EU “…will simply not open the discussions.” This remarkably strong statement comes from a country that has been an EU member for barely 9 months now.

Relaying the opinion of Hague inquisitor Carla Del Ponte that Gotovina is in Croatia, Reuters quoted an unnamed “Brussels diplomat” as saying, “…there has been a fundamental change of mood (in the EU) in the last month. A considerable bloc of member states has no choice but to believe Carla del Ponte rather than Croatia.” Unfortunately for the Croats, one of these is Germany, long time supporter and war enabler.

A recent opinion poll showed that over 50 percent of Croats disapprove of turning over Gotovina – and that over 80 percent consider him a national hero. As does the general’s supporter site, which reminds us to “continue to make sacrifices – for the freedom and honor of our homeland!”

In an alternative reminiscence, Reuters recalls Gotovina’s time as “…a former Foreign Legion veteran convicted by French courts for robbery, kidnap and extortion in the 1980s.”

While the recently re-elected Croatian President Stipe Mesic has stated that Gotovina “will be tracked down by March 17,” paradoxically “Zagreb continues to claim it has no knowledge of the fugitive’s whereabouts.” Is this just hocus pocus, or are we about to see a real magic trick?

If the man who served with such distinction in Operation Storm (among other nice displays of freedom and honor) is ever apprehended, it will be interesting to see how the US reacts. Wartime Croatia’s Clintonite sponsors are understandably quite anxious to see that their role in Gotovina’s ethnic cleansing – a role which arguably borders on “command responsibility” – remains swept under the carpet.

However, as the EU becomes more and more anti-American in outlook, Croatia may in a certain sense have to stop being Croatia in order to become (unionized) Croatia. It might be embarrassing for a while, but if they can pull off the first magic trick, they might be able to perform this one, too.

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