AMERICAN ASSOCIATION LOBBIES KEY DECISION-MAKERS
Promoting Croatian Interests in US Congress
During its 13th Annual Croatian Days on the Hill, May 4 – May 6, a national
CAA delegation met with White
House National Security Council Advisor on Croatia, Lisa Tepper, and
several key Members of Congress including Henry
Hyde (R-IL) to provide expertise and advice on important U.S.
foreign policy issues:
assets of the former Yugoslavia;
The inequity of
debt forgiveness to Serbia;
The necessity of
transparency of U.S. A.I.D. funding in the region;
The dangers of
the “command responsibility” promoted by the The Hague’s
International Criminal Court;
political and economic stability in Bosnia-Herzegovina (B-H).
B-H, the CAA promoted the issue of refugee return in the region based on
“dual exchange,” the elimination of government duplication, and a
long-term proposal for economic development. The CAA additionally
recommended that the U.S. State Department and international electoral
organizations should not be involved in the next election in Croatia.
On May 6, Lisa
Tepper, Director for Southeastern European Affairs at the National
Security Council, briefed a select group of CAA members in the Old
Executive Office Building on U.S. policy toward Croatia and the region.
During this briefing, the CAA was able to identify disparities and risks
inherent in current U.S. policy, which conflicts with several CAA
- CAA presented
compelling reasoning to Tepper why the Adriatic Charter Partnership
Initiative could be detrimental to Croatia’s candidacy to NATO and the
EU, and free trade development in the region.
- CAA pointed out
that while the liabilities of the former Yugoslavia have been evenly
distributed, the assets have been stripped of millions of dollars and
are not being evenly or fairly divided.
- In response to
Tepper’s appeal for Croatia to be a “team player” in the region
– and her focus on Serb refugee return, pensions and multiethnic
development – the CAA pressed for Croatia to be considered on its own
merits, and for reciprocity between Croatia and B-H on refugee return.
- The CAA also
encouraged support for Bishop Komarica, the Pope’s upcoming visit to
Banja Luka on June 22, and the rebuilding of Catholic Churches in B-H.
additional days of lobbying, members expressed CAA policy and exchanged
ideas in meetings with Congressman
Henry Hyde (R-IL), Congressman Denis Kucinich (D-OH), Congressman Peter Viscloskey (R-IN), and Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D-PA),
all of whom pledged their support to issues affecting Croatia. In a new
format, selected officials addressed CAA in a Hearing Room on Capitol
Hill, during which CAA members discussed constructive action on these
issues with a key adviser to
the House International Relations
Committee, several Congressional staffers, and Consular
Representatives from the Embassy
of the Republic of Croatia and the
Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
At a CAA
reception, the esteemed Jeffrey
Kuhner, Assistant National Editor at The Washington Times,
addressed CAA members. Mr. Kuhner shared compelling and cogent arguments
on the perils of international justice at The Hague and how Croatia’s
future existence could be at stake if the international legal issue of
command responsibility, the country’s economic development and other
key matters are left unresolved.
During the CAA’s
Annual Board Meeting, consensus was reached on future objectives; and
General Elections continued a trend of promoting younger members to
leadership positions. George
Rudman was re-elected as CAA National President.
issues, CAA’s 13th Annual Croatian
Days on the Hill will build on Congressional support to promote the
following policies and positions in the coming year:
- The U.S. should
remain in Bosnia to prevent an outbreak of hostilities and work with
Bosnian Croat leader Dragan Covic, who assumes the Chairmanship of the
Presidency on June 1st.
- Oppose the
overstretched theory of "command responsibility" against
Croatian General Ante Gotovina, since it will be used in a case against
U.S. General Tommy Franks.
financial and political favoring of Serbia at the expense of Croatia,
since Serbia provided military arms to Iraq and initiated the war in the
- Monitor the
State Department Authorization Bill to avoid future funding of anti-American
organizations in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Although many CAA
positions are contrary to views of the current government in Croatia,
the CAA looks forward to working with U.S. government officials, and
individuals and organizations in the region that remain true to the goal
of preserving Croatian heritage and promoting the interests of Croats
information on CAA activities visit www.caausa.org