Friday, March 04, 2005

Lost Causes

Miomir Žužul (Miomir Zuzul) was regarded as one of the best and the most effective of all Croatian diplomats, even by those who never forgave him privatisation shenanigans and (for most of Croatians) unacceptably pro-American and pro-Israeli views. But, once his stature was reduced from the second most powerful man in Croatia to mere Sabor representative, he ceased to see any benefit in using diplomatic language when discussing European and Croatian matters.

In one of recent interviews he was asked to comment on EU Commission’s apparent decision to slap Ivo Sanader’s government in the face by postponing EU accession negotiations on March 17th.

Žužul found very convenient explanation in presidential elections. During one of the debates President Stipe Mesić (Stipe Mesic) and his rival and Sanader’s favourite Jadranka Kosor were asked what they would do if they, by some chance, see Ante Gotovina on the street.

Kosor – who desperately needed veterans’ and right-wing vote - replied that she simply couldn’t recognise Gotovina and repeated the same answer despite the moderator’s attempt to clarify her position. Mesić was more ingenious and effective – he said that he would invite Gotovina for a cup of coffee and try convincing him to surrender himself in his own and his country’s interest.

While Mesić’s answer was more effective in terms of political debate, both were wrong. Both candidates failed to endorse something that any Croatian citizen – whether running or office or not – is legally obligated to do, in other words, informing authorities about whereabouts of known fugitive.

Žužul claims that those answers convinced EU diplomats and bureaucrats that Croatia wasn’t serious about its obligations towards Hague Tribunal. Two top state officials – president and cabinet minister – publicly chose pandering to country’s nationalist sentiments over obligations towards Europe. Asking EU to tolerate such public mockery of its own demands is too much.

Of course, Žužul is very qualified to talk about these issues because he used the very same evasive tactics in BBC interview one year ago.

But his choice of presidential elections as the main culprit for EU fiasco is motivated by some personal reason. Ivo Sanader, to whom he had shown such loyalty and who publicly defended him when everyone screamed for his resignation, chose to betray him and force his fall from grace over such lost cause as Kosor’s presidential run.


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