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The Role of the International Community

After years of conditioning improved relations on progress in Croatia's human rights record, the international community moved quickly to reward the new authorities in Zagreb for their reform agenda with closer political and economic ties. Croatia was granted admission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Partnership for Peace on May 25 and to the World Trade Organization on July 18, and its U.S. $55 million refugee return proposal was fully funded through the Stability Pact in March.

United Nations

At its annual review of human rights in the former Yugoslavia on April 18, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution recommending that Croatia be dropped from the mandate of its special rapporteur provided that it made continued progress by its next session. The U.N. high commissioner for human rights maintained her field office in Croatia. The mandate of the U.N. observer mission in the disputed Prevlaka region was renewed by the Security Council until January 2001.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

Croatia's greatly improved relations with the OSCE were evidenced by the request of its foreign minister on March 23 that the mandate of the OSCE mission to Croatia be extended until the end of 2000, and by the positive tone of the mission's July 3 progress report, as well as the upbeat assessment of the OSCE high commissioner on national minorities during his May 25 visit. At time of this writing, the OSCE police monitoring group in the Danube region in Croatia was to cease operations on October 31.

Council of Europe

During a June 21 visit to Zagreb, Lord Russell-Johnston, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) indicated that Croatia had now met most of its outstanding membership requirements. On September 26, PACE voted to terminate the monitoring procedure for Croatia.

European Union

The European Union signaled its major support for the Croatian government's efforts in March by upgrading its office in Zagreb into a permanent delegation. Even more significant was its decision in June opening the way for negotiations on a stabilization and association agreement with Croatia in October, with a view to eventual integration into the E.U. Croatia also received 23 million euro (approximately U.S. $23.2 million) in E.U. financial assistance, including 13.5 million euro (U.S. $16.6 million) to support refugee return.

United States

The United States moved to strengthen its already close ties to Zagreb following the elections, supporting Croatia's admission to the Partnership for Peace (PFP) and sponsoring the resolution at the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, following visits to Croatia by U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in January and February. In a long awaited move, U.S. President Bill Clinton invited the Croatian president and prime minister to Washington on August 9, announcing U.S. $30 million of support, including U.S.$5 million pledged earlier to support return.

Relevant Human Rights Watch


Croatia's Democracy Deficit: A Pre-Electoral Assessment, 12/99

Human Rights Watch World Report 2000

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