Croatia

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Overview
<p>Ruled for centuries under the Hapsburg Empire, Croatia is a Southern Slavic state that formed part of the former Yugoslavia until its disintegration at the end of the Cold War. The delicate balance of power binding diverse ethnic and religious groups with historical animosities collapsed as aggressive nationalist politics resurged. In Croatia, ethnic violence between Serbs and Croats over the disputed Krajina territory erupted in a civil war promptly after Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Bosnia-Herzegovina followed suit in 1992, setting off the bloodiest conflict on European soil since WWII. High-ranking Croat, Bosnian and especially Serb officials have been indicted and tried for war crimes.</p> <div>Croatia joined the World Trade Organization in 2000, signed an association agreement with the European Union in 2001 and applied for membership in 2003. It is expected to become a member of the EU between 2009 and 2010. Additionally, Croatia officially became a member of NATO in April 2009.</div>
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Basic Information
<p><b>Lay of the Land</b>:</p> <div>On land, Croatia is bordered by Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, but also has a vast Adriatic coastline with more than a thousand islands and islets. The terrain is marked by mountains and highlands, plains, rugged coastline and islands. Hot summers bolster the tourist industry. Winters are cold.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Population</b>: 4.5 million, about the size of West Virginia (CIA World Factbook 2008)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Religions</b>: Roman Catholic 87.8%, Serbian Orthodox Christian 4.4%, Muslim 1.3%, other Christian 0.4%, other and unspecified 0.9%, non-religious 5.2%.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Ethnic Groups</b>: Croat 89.6%, Serb 4.5%, other (including Bosniak, Hungarian, Slovene, Czech and Roma) 5.9%.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Languages</b>: Croatian (official) 96.6%, Venetian 2.0%, Italian (official) 1.4%, Istriot 0.02%, Istro Romanian 0.01%.</div>
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History
<p>Once claimed by the Romans and coveted as a trading crossroads, Croatia was settled by Slavic peoples who migrated from the Ukraine around the 6thor 7th century. After it was briefly subsumed in the Ottoman Empire, Croatia was ruled by the Hapsburg monarchy for centuries, finally gaining autonomy in 1868, but remaining under Hungarian authority.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Following WWI, President Woodrow Wilson pushed for the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, championing self-determination and democracy for the various territories. In 1918, Croatia joined the Kingdom of the Serbs, unifying the Southern Slavs. The new state recognized the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, but largely ignored others like the Montenegrans and Macedonians, and was dominated by Serbian institutions. Many saw this pro-Serbian bias reflected in the U.S. State Department and foreign policy.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 1929 the Kingdom became Yugoslavia. In 1939 Croatia gained autonomy, and joined the Axis Powers in 1941. After a military coup put <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavko_Kvaternik" title="Slavko Kvaternik"><font color="#0000ff">Slavko Kvaternik</font></a>, the Ustashe leader, in control of Croatia, Germany invaded Yugoslavia and granted Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia, which became a Nazi puppet government. Thousands of Serbs were reportedly killed under Ustashe leadership.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 1944 the Nazis withdrew and Croatia was reintegrated into the Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia under Tito&rsquo;s Communist rule. Seeing the potential threat posed by a unified Serb power, Tito divided Serbia, the largest of the republics, into two provinces.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>During the Cold War, Tito&rsquo;s Yugoslavia was of great importance to the U.S., which invested billions in development funds to keep the country&rsquo;s institutions and infrastructure separate from the Soviet Union.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span style="font-size: larger">After the death of Tito in 1980 Yugoslavia began to unravel, and the disintegration of the Soviet Union gave way to fractured nationalist movements. Building on historic ethnic animosities, real and imagined disparities and widespread economic strife, nationalist leaders like Slobodan Milo&scaron;ević &nbsp;pushed separatist agendas. <br /> </span><b><font size="6"><br /> </font></b></div> <div>Croatia held its first multi-party elections in 1990, and along with Slovenia, declared independence from the Serb-dominated government in Yugoslavia a year later. Mounting conflict between Serbs and Croats resulted in civil war just a month after independence (Serbs claimed they were relegated to minority status in the new constitution, building on centuries of historic ethnic and religious strife).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>After ten days of fighting in Slovenia the Yugoslav army turned its attention to Croatia, where it supported rebel Serb forces in aggressions that resulted in a flood of refugees and displaced persons in Croatia and Western Europe. Non-Serbs, including an estimated 80,000 Croats, were driven from the disputed Krajina region. Bombardments left the cities Vukovar, Dubrovnik and Osijek in ruins.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>A U.N.-mediated cease-fire didn&rsquo;t last long, and a second cease-fire was enacted the following year, followed by a joint declaration between Croatia and Yugoslavia. In 1993, the Croatian army led an offensive against the disputed Serb-held Republic of Krajina, and another ceasefire (1994) was broken in 1995 when Croatian forces reclaimed large portions of Krajina in Operation Flash. After Serbs in Krajina rejected a peace deal that would have put them under Zagreb&rsquo;s authority, Croatia launched Operation Storm, recapturing all of Krajina in a few days.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Croatian offensive resulted in an exodus of 250,000 Serbs, and, arguably, the Dayton peace agreement, which called for a permanent cease-fire and return of all refugees. Croatia agreed to reintegrate Eastern Slovenia, Baranja and Western Sirmium under the Erdut Agreement, re-establishing political and legal authority over these territories in 1998.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3166.htm"><font color="#0000ff">Croatia &ndash; U.S. State Department</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/1997/bosnia/history/"><font color="#0000ff">Brief History of the Balkan Crisis (CNN</font></a>)</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Croatia"><font color="#0000ff">History of Croatia (Wikipedia)</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.hr/croatia/history"><font color="#0000ff">Croatia: History and Homeland War</font></a></div>
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Croatia's Newspapers
<p><a href="http://www.24sata.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">24 Sata</font></a></p> <div><a href="http://www.corner.hr/index.asp"><font color="#0000ff">Corner</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.croatiantimes.com/"><font color="#0000ff">Croatian Times</font></a> (In English)</div> <div><a href="http://dnevnik.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Dnevnik &ndash; Zagbreb</font></a><br /> <a href="http://feral.audiolinux.com/"><font color="#0000ff">Feral Tribune</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.glasistre.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Glas Istre - Istra</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.glas-koncila.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Glas Koncila</font></a> (Religious News)</div> <div><a href="http://www.glas-slavonije.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Glas Slavonije</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.hic.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">HIC</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://websrv2.hina.hr/hina/web/index.action"><font color="#0000ff">Hina</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.hbk.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Hrvatska Bikupska Konferencija (Croatian Conference of Bishops)</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.matis.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Hrvatska Matica Iseljenika</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.javno.com/"><font color="#0000ff">Javno</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.jutarnji.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Jutarnji List</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.edit.hr/lavoce/"><font color="#0000ff">La Voce del Populo</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.medjimurje.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Medjimurje</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.monitor.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Monitor</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.nacional.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Nacional</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.novilist.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Novo List</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.sbiportal.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Sbiportal (Slavonski Brod)</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.sbonline.net/"><font color="#0000ff">Slavonski Brod (Slavonski Brod)</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.slobodnadalmacija.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Slobodna Dalmacija</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.vjesnik.com/html/2009/11/03/"><font color="#0000ff">Vjesnik</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.zadarskilist.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Zadarski List (Zadar)</font></a></div>
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History of U.S. Relations with Croatia
<p>During the late 1980s and early 1990s, many saw a pro-Serb bias continue in the West&rsquo;s policy toward the former Yugoslavia.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The U.S. recognized Croatia&rsquo;s independence and opened its Zagreb embassy in 2002, some time after European powers.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>However, Croatia became an important ally for the U.S. when conflicts escalated. The Clinton administration is criticized for its role in assisting Croatia, and in the later NATO bombings of Yugoslavia. Days before U.S. and NATO air strikes, ICTY investigators at the Hague concluded that Croatian officials had carried out &ldquo;summary executions, indiscriminate shelling of civilian populations and &lsquo;ethnic cleansing&rsquo; during a 1995 assault that was a turning point in the Balkan wars, according to tribunal documents.&rdquo; (NYT). However, the subsequent 1995 Croatian offensive, which drove out an estimated 200,000 Serbs, was carried out with the support of the U.S. government &ndash; although, the extent of that support (training, arms) still remains in question (See &ldquo;Private Military Companies&rdquo; in Controversies Section).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The U.S. seeks to integrate a remodeled Croatia into its NATO alliance, but both Europe and the U.S. have made relations contingent on the country&rsquo;s cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. After a few years of resulting tensions, Croatia was granted EU candidate status and allowed to enter membership negotiations with the European Union. It is expected to join sometime in 2009.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>U.S. and EU relations also focus on implementing the Dayton Accords and Erdut Agreement, addressing ethnic reconciliation, refugee returns and democratic reforms.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>According to the U.S. State Department, the U.S. has given Croatia more than $13.4 million in humanitarian demining assistance since 1998, in efforts to removed remaining mines by 2010. The U.S. also provides assistance through the Southeastern European Economic Development Program (SEED), mostly managed by USAID, for democracy programs and financial sector development. Most SEED programs are set to conclude in 2008. Of the $23.25 million in SEED funds for Croatia in 1998, the majority was directed to refugee and displaced person efforts, about a third went to democratic reforms and a smaller percentage to financial sector reforms.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 2008, the U.S. gave $900,000 to Croatia under our Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance. This was divided into Peace and Security, Governing Justly and Democratically, and Economic Growth. Peace and Security focuses on police and prosecutorial capacities to combat crime, provide funding to de-mine war-affected areas, and military education. According to the State Department, Governing Justly and Democratically entails increasing &ldquo;civil society's ability to advocate for and contribute to Croatia's democratic, economic and community development.&rdquo; Lastly, Economic Growth funding is allocated to assisting 4,000 enterprises that create 20,000 jobs for Croatians.</div>
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Current U.S. Relations with Croatia
<p><b>Noted Croatian-Americans</b></p> <div><b>Politics</b></div> <div><b>Dennis Kucinich</b>: member of the House of Representatives from Ohio. He was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President in the 2004 and 2008 elections. From 1977 to 1979 he served as mayor of Cleveland.</div> <div><b>Mark P. Begich</b>: junior United States Senator from Alaska. He was mayor of Anchorage and served on the Anchorage Assembly for 10 years before being elected mayor in 2003.&nbsp;His paternal grandfather emigrated from Croatia.</div> <div><b>Michael Bilandic</b>: he served as the mayor of Chicago, Illinois from 1976 to 1979. He was also Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court.</div> <div><b>John Bonacic</b>: a Republican New York State Senator since 1998. He currently serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing, Construction &amp; Community Development. He is the Co-Chair of the Senate Task Force on Health &amp; Wellness.</div> <div><b>George Radanovich</b>: since 1995, he has been a Republican member of the House of Representatives from California&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Paul William Bucha</b>: a recipient of a Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War, he served as a&nbsp;foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama&rsquo;s 2008 presidential campaign. His paternal grandfather emigrated from Croatia.</div> <div><b>John Kasich</b>: former Republican United States Representative. He has often guest hosted <i>The O&rsquo;Reilly Factor</i>. As of June 1, 2009 he is running for governor of Ohio.</div> <div><b>Richard Kauzlarich</b>: diplomat, writer, and intelligence analyst. He served at the United States Embassies in Ethiopia, Israel, and Togo. He served as Ambassador to Azerbaijan and to Bosnia and Herzegovina.</div> <div><b>Mary Joe Matalin</b>: political consultant for the Republican Party. She was an assistant to President George W. Bush and a counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Science/Academia</b></div> <div><b>William Feller</b>: mathematician who specialized in probability. The following topics relating to probability are named after him: the Feller processes, Feller&rsquo;s explosion test, Feller-Brown movement, and the Lindberg-Feller theorem.&nbsp;</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div><b>Arts/Entertainment/Media</b></div> <div><b>John Malkovich</b>: actor, producer, and director who has appeared in over 70 motion pictures. His film credits include <i>Death of a Salesman, Dangerous Liaisons, In the Line of Fire, Con Air, The Man in the Iron Mask, Of Mice and Men, Rounders, Changeling, Johnny English, Being John Malkovich, </i>and <i>Burn After Reading</i>. He produced the film <i>Juno. </i>He is of Croatian, Scottish, and German ancestry.</div> <div><b>Jenna Elfman</b>: born Jennifer Mary Butala, she is most famous for her starring role on the television show <i>Dharma and Greg</i>. She won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for two Emmy Awards for this role. She is the niece of Tony Butala (see below).</div> <div><b>Denise Richards</b>: actress and model most known for her roles in <i>Starship Troopers, Wild Things, </i>and <i>The World is Not Enough</i>. She currently has her own E! television series entitled <i>Denise Richards: It&rsquo;s Complicated</i>. She is of Croatian and Welsh descent.</div> <div><b>Jason Smliovic</b>: writer of the movie <i>Lucky Number Slevin</i></div> <div><b>Scott Bakula</b>: actor most known for his role in the television series <i>Quantum Leap</i> and in <i>Star Trek: Enterprise</i>. He also had a recurring role in the sitcom <i>Murphy Brown</i>.</div> <div><b>Frank John Gorshin, Jr.</b>: actor and comedian best known for his many guest appearances on <i>The Ed Sullivan Show</i> and <i>The Tonight Show</i> (with host Steve Allen). He is also famous for his roles in <i>The Munsters</i>, as The Riddler in <i>Batman</i>, in <i>Star Trek: The Original Series</i>, and <i>12 Monkeys</i></div> <div><b>Johnny Mercer</b>: songwriter, singer, and lyricist who was popular from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s. He wrote the lyrics to more than a thousand songs, including compositions for movies and Broadway shows. For his work he received nineteen Academy Award nominations. He was also a co-founder of Capitol Records. His mother was of Croatian-Irish descent.</div> <div><span style="font-size: larger">Ivana Miličević: actress born in Sarajevo but who is ethnically Croatian. She has appeared in the films <i>Casino Royale, In Her Shoes, Charmed, Love Actually, </i>and <i>Vanilla Sky</i>. </span></div> <div><b>Lidia Matticchio Bastianich</b>: chef who specializes in Italian-American cuisine. She has been a regular contributor to the PBS cooking show lineups since 1998. She also owns four Italian restaurants throughout the country.</div> <div><b>Vanna White</b>: Born Vanna Marie Rosich, she is the puzzle-board presenter and co-host of <i>Wheel of Fortune</i></div> <div><b>Adrian Belic</b>: in 2000 he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary for his film <i>Genghis Blues</i>.</div> <div><b>Tony Butala</b>: one of the founding members of the 1960s American pop group The Lettermen.</div> <div><b>Krist Novoselic</b>: bassist and co-founder of the grunge band Nirvana</div> <div><b>Amber Brikich Mariano</b>; winner of <i>Survivor: All-Stars</i> after participating in <i>Survivor: The Australian Outback</i>. She married fellow competitor Rob Mariano.</div> <div><b>Mark Matkevich</b>; actor best known for appearing in 17 episodes of the television show <i>Dawson&rsquo;s Creek</i>. He has also had recurring roles on <i>Ed</i> and <i>Joan of Arcadia</i>.</div> <div><b>Patrick Muldoon</b>: actor who has appeared on <i>Days of Our Lives, Saved By the Bell, </i>and <i>Melrose Place.</i></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Athletes</b></div> <div><b>Bill Belichick</b>: headcoach of the New England Patriots. He has coached the Patriots to four Super Bowls and was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2007. His paternal grandparents immigrated from Karlovac, Croatia.</div> <div><b>Fred Couples</b>: professional golfer who competes on the PGA Tour. He is a former World Number 1 and his most notable win is the Masters Tournament in 1992. His father is Italian and his mother is Croatian.</div> <div><b>Frank Hejduk</b>: soccer player for the United States national team. He represented the United States in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics and the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cup Finals tournaments.</div> <div><b>Kevin McHale</b>: professional basketball player who starred for 13 seasons for the Boston Celtics. He also worked as the Minnesota Timberwolves&rsquo; general manager and head coach before being fired in June 2009.</div> <div><b>Rudy Tomjanovich</b>: basketball player and coach who led the Houston Rockets to two NBA championships. He is currently a scout for the Los Angeles Lakers.</div> <div><b>Mark Pavelich</b>: professional ice hockey forward who played for the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars, and San Joe Sharks. He was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that won gold in what has been called &ldquo;the miracle on ice.&rdquo;</div> <div><b>Roger Maris</b>: American Major League baseball player who is most known for hitting 61 home runs for the New York Yankees in the 1961 season. This broke Babe Ruth&rsquo;s single-season record and his record stood for 37 years.</div> <div><b>Gary Beban</b>: 1967 Heisman Trophy winner as the quarterback for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins. His mother was born in Italy and his father was first-generation Croatian-American.</div> <div><b>Fritzie Zivic</b>: Born Ferdinand Zivcich, he was a boxer who was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993. His father was Croatian and his mother was Slovenian.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Miscellaneous</b></div> <div><b>Terry Hart</b>: Lieutenant Colonel and former NASA astronaut who has logged a total of 168 hours in space.</div> <div><b>Anthony Lucas</b>: Born Antun Lučić, he was the mechanical engineer responsible for the first successful oil well in Texas which led to the earliest massive exploitation of oil and petroleum and the start of the Liquid Fuel Age.</div> <div><b>Anthony Maglica</b>: Born Ante Maglica, he is the owner and founder of Mag Instrument Inc, the company that manufactures the Maglite flashlight.</div> <div><b>George Skurla</b>: aeronautical engineer responsible for the production of Lunar Modules for the Apollo Program.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Croatian-Americans, Americans in Croatia</b></div> <div>374,241 people identified themselves as Croatian in the 2000 U.S. census.&nbsp;Sailors from the Adriatic city-state of Ragusa (modern day Dubrovnik) were among the first Europeans in the New World, and may have been part of Columbus's historic voyage.&nbsp;Ragusa rivaled Venice for primacy international maritime trade in the 15<sup>th</sup> and 16<sup>th</sup> century; although Ragusa traded heavily with Spanish colonies in America, the city refused to traffic in humans as they had banned slavery in 1416.&nbsp;By 1600, the Ragusan government wrote to inform Spain that &ldquo;many Ragusans&rdquo; were living in America.&nbsp;These included men like Baron Ivan Ratkay, who renounced his noble title and became a Jesuit missionary in America.&nbsp;His attempts to proselytize the natives were less than well received &ndash; he died in 1683 at the age of 36, supposedly poisoned by his prospective converts because he forbade drinking and dancing as unchristian activities.&nbsp;Another particularly colorful Croatian was Captain John Dominus, who was lost at sea while attempting to reach China from Hawaii.&nbsp;The Captain left quite a legacy in Hawaii: his palatial residence eventually became the Governor's mansion, and his son, John Owen Dominus, married Lydia Kamekaha Kapaaka, the last reigning queen of Hawaii.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>By the 1880's 20,000 Croatians lived in America, mainly in the West and South.&nbsp;The period between 1880 and 1914 saw the greatest ingress of Croatians, along with a flood of other European immigrants.&nbsp;Because the census records grouped many of these new arrivals together as &ldquo;Yugoslavs&rdquo;, accurate figures are impossible to find.&nbsp;Croatian historians estimate that approximately half a million Croats were living in the U.S. during the 1930's, although more than half of these ultimately returned home with their hard-earned savings.&nbsp;Immigration nearly slowed to a halt with the passage of the strict quota-based Immigration Act of 1924, and remained frozen until the Refugee Relief Act of 1953 and the Refugee Escape Act of 1960 once again opened America's shores to Croatians.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Today the most Croatians live in Pennsylvania (50,350), Illinois (42,613), Ohio (41,812), California (39,071), and New York (23,650).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>154,289 Americans visited Croatia in 2006.&nbsp;Tourism has exploded since 2002, when 58,529 Americans traveled to Croatia.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>12,290 Croatians visited the U.S. in 2006.&nbsp;The number of tourists has increased consistently every year since 2002, when 9,676 Croatians came to America.</div>
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Where Does the Money Flow
<p>Privatization efforts begun in 1991 were interrupted by the war, which severely damaged the economic infrastructure, including the country&rsquo;s lucrative tourism industry. GDP fell 40.5% between 1989 and 1993, but after 1995 the tourism industry recovered slightly, and then rebounded in 2000. In recent years, foreign investment has grown, and is expected to continue with prospects of EU and NATO membership.</p> <div>According to the U.S. Commercial Service, Croatia is also known for ship and boat building industries, and recently, niche manufacturing industries. The country&rsquo;s distribution network is considered among the best in the region, as road construction and air links continue to develop. Investors would also be interested in improving food and manufacturing standards as the country nears EU membership.</div> <div>In 2007 two new U.S. investors entered the market:&nbsp; Commercial Metals purchased a steel firm in Sisak from the Croatian Privatization Fund and Applied Ceramics opened an advanced manufacturing facility, also in Sisak.&nbsp; The USCS says &ldquo;additional U.S. investment is contemplated.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>And while the Business Monitor International&rsquo;s Q108 Business Environment Ranking for Central and Eastern European markets places Croatia 12th (tied with Lithuania and just ahead of Ukraine and Serbia) out of 15, the Office of U.S. Trade Report removed Croatia from its &ldquo;Special 301&rdquo; Report showing countries in violation of Intellectual Property Rights in 2007.</div> <div><a href="http://www.worldbank.hr/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/ECAEXT/CROATIAEXTN/0,,contentMDK:20150212~menuPK:301252~pagePK:141137~piPK:141127~theSitePK:301245,00.html"><font color="#0000ff">Country Brief 2009 - Croatia</font></a> (World Bank)</div> <div><a href="http://www.buyusa.gov/croatia/en/doingbusinessincroatia.html"><font color="#0000ff">Doing Business in <span>Croatia -- U.S. Commercial Service <strong>Croatia</strong></span></font></a> (buyusa.gov)</div> <div><span style="font-size: x-small"><a href="http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/ECAEXT/0,,contentMDK:21127753~menuPK:258612~pagePK:2865106~piPK:2865128~theSitePK:258599,00.html"><font color="#0000ff">Croatia: Key International Croatian Port and Trade Corridor to Develop Further with Assistance from World Bank</font></a></span><span style="font-size: x-small"> (World Bank)</span></div> <div><a href="http://www.adriaticinstitute.org/?action=croatia_in_the_news"><font color="#0000ff">Croatia in the News</font></a> (Adriatic Institute for Public Policy &ndash; mostly financial/economic articles from the press)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>U.S. imports of Croatian manufacturing goods have gone up in recent years as practices and standards increasingly conform to European standards in aspiration of EU membership.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Over the last several years U.S. imports from Croatia steadily increased to a total of $332.5 million in 2007, before falling to $271 million in 2008. In 2008, the greatest amounts of importing were of medicinal, dental and pharmaceutical preparations ($78 million); &nbsp;jewelry such as watches and rings ($39 million); followed by toys, shooting and sporting goods, and bicycles ($38.7 million million); measuring, testing, and control instruments ($14 million);,and stone, sand, cement, and lime ($10.4 million).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 2008, the United States exported $467 million of goods to Croatia, a general rise in recent years. The most profitable exports were metallurgical grade coal ($188 million); petroleum products ($37 million); coal and fuels ($32.4 million); passenger cars,, new and used ($21 million); telecommunications equipment ($21 million); and civilian aircraft, engines, equipment, and parts ($14 million).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The U.S. gave $2 million in aid to Croatia in 2009 and will give an estimated $4.4 million in 2010. This aid is divided between Stabilization Operations and Security Sector Reform ($3.9 million); Military Financing ($3 million); International Military Education and Training ($900,000); Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs ($450,000) and Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction ($450,000).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/imports/c4791.html"><font color="#0000ff">Imports from Croatia</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/exports/c4791.html"><font color="#0000ff">Exports to Croatia</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/137937.pdf"><font color="#0000ff">Congressional Budget for Foreign Operations (pages 367-369)</font></a> (pdf)</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/fs/106207.htm"><font color="#0000ff">Foreign Operations Assistance - Croatia</font></a> (U.S. Department of State)</div>
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Controversies
<p><b>U.S. Private Military Contractors </b></p> <div>In keeping with the continuing trend of privatization of the United States&rsquo; foreign policy (outsourcing military and defense operations to private companies, essentially mercenaries), a Defense Department contractor authorized to arm foreign states and conduct para-military operations abroad, Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI), signed one of the first training contracts between a modern private military company (PMC) and a foreign government with Croatia in 1994. Interested in containing Serb-led Yugoslavia without the escalation that would elicit U.S. military operations, the state department allowed MPRI to arm the Croatian military. A year after the contract was signed, the Croatian army launched an offensive against the Serbs that would have been practically impossible before the MPRI contract. Additionally, a U.S. congressional subcommittee report found that the Clinton administration had encouraged arms trades from Iran and others to Croatia in order to support Bosnian forces. Congressional investigators responded accusations that the government provided direct military assistance to the Bosnian army but found no evidence to support such claims. Following news reports that weapons in the PMC&rsquo;s Bosnia program were going to Muslim guerillas in Kosovo and Sandzak, the U.S. State Department suspended MPRI&rsquo;s contract to equip and train the Bosnian army.</div> <div><a href="http://projects.publicintegrity.org/bow/report.aspx?aid=148"><font color="#0000ff">Privatizing Combat, the New World Order</font></a> (by Laura Peterson, Center for Public Integrity)</div>
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Human Rights
<p>According to Amnesty International, the main concerns for Croatia concerning human rights have to do with justice for war criminals. Croatia has been urged to end impunity for war crimes by fully cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The Human Rights Committee has noted that authorities fail to provide records related to Operation Storm in 1995. They have also left many war crime cases unsolved, with a disproportionate number of these cases relating to Croatian Serbs.&nbsp;The Human Rights Committee has also called on authorities to &ldquo;prevent and investigate attacks and intimidation of journalists in the country.&rdquo;</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Human Rights Watch has named the following issues regarding human rights in Croatia: the situation of Serbs returnees, the slow pace and perceived lack of fairness of domestic war crimes trials, and attacks against intimidation of journalists. Human Rights Watch asks the Croatian government to take preventative measures to counteract discrimination against the Serbian minority population in terms of housing and property rights. On the same note as the Amnesty International reports, Human Rights Watch mentions especially the war crimes trials and the protection of journalists as key human rights issues in Croatia.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>According to the U.S. State Department, Croatia has &ldquo;generally respected the human rights of its citizens&rdquo; with problems in some areas. Judicial courts suffer from backlog of current crimes as well as war crimes. Intimidation of witnesses of these trials is not uncommon. Discrimination against Serbian and Roma minorities have remained a problem since the dissolution of Yugoslavia. There are also cases of missing persons, violence and discrimination against homosexuals, and against persons with HIV/AIDS.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In its report, the State Department&nbsp;reports that the predominantly Roman Catholic government has extended agreements with other religious communities like the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Communities in Croatia (CCJCC) that gives funding and tax benefits if they meet certain criteria. The government, though, has made little progress in the restitution of lands seized from religious communities during the World War II period. There have been reports of violent acts committed against minority religious groups like Jewish and Serbian Orthodox communities.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The State Department also reports that authorities have taken an inconsistent approach to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) which hampers their return to home lands. Most of these IDPs,1,638, are ethnic Serbs.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eur/136025.htm"><font color="#0000ff">U.S. State Department</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.hrw.org/en/europecentral-asia/croatia"><font color="#0000ff">Human Rights Watch</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/europe-and-central-asia/balkans/croatia"><font color="#0000ff">Amnesty International</font></a></div>
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors
<p>Note: The United States recognized the independence of Croatia on Apr 7, 1992, and established diplomatic relations on Aug 6, 1992. Embassy Zagreb was opened Aug 25, 1992, with Ronald Nietzke as Charg&eacute; d'Affaires ad interim</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Mara M. Letica</div> <div>Nominated Sep 25, 1992; not acted upon by the Senate</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Peter W. Galbraith</div> <div>Appointment: Jun 17, 1993</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Jun 28, 1993</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post Jan 3, 1998</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>William Dale Montgomery</div> <div>Appointment: Nov 18, 1997</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Jan 8, 1998</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Lawrence George Rossin</div> <div>Appointment: Dec 28, 2000</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Jan 19, 2001</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 27, 2003</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Ralph Frank</div> <div>Appointment: April 16, 2003</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: July 2, 2003</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Robert Anthony Bradtke</div> <div>Appointment: May 30, 2006</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: July 7, 2006</div> <div>Termination of Mission: August 2009</div>
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Croatia's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Grabar-Kitarović, Kolinda

Croatia’s current ambassador to the United States, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović was born in Rijeka, Croatia, but attended high school in Los Alamos, New Mexico, before earning her BA in English and Spanish languages and literature at the University of Zagreb, Croatia in 1993. From September 1995 to June 1996 she pursued postgraduate studies in diplomacy, international law, economics and European integration and training at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, Austria. She earned her MA in political science from the University of Zagreb in 2000, and attended George Washington University as a Fulbright scholar from 2002-2003.

 
From 1992-1993, Grabar Kitarović was assistant and then advisor in the Department for International Cooperation of Croatia’s Ministry of Science and Technology. She served as advisor and then senior advisor to Croatia’s deputy minister of foreign affairs (1993-1995), and headed the Department for North America in Croatia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1995-1997). At Croatia’s Embassy in Ottowa, Canada, she was Diplomatic Counselor (1997-1998) and Minister Counselor (1998-2000), in which position she next served at Croatia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2001-2003).
 
She was elected to the Croatian Parliament’s 7th Electoral District in 2003, and served several positions in government, including Minister for European Integration (2003); National Aid Coordinator (2004); Head, Delegation Enlargement Protocol Negotiations (2004); Chairman, Interim Committee for Trade matters between the European Community and Croatia (2004); Head, Delegation for Negotiations on EU Accession (2005) and was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration in 2005.
 
She was appointed to her current post in March 2008.
 
In addition to Croatian, Grabar-Kitarović has “excellent command” of English, Spanish and Portuguese, and “passive knowledge” of Italian, German and French.
 

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Croatia's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
<p><a href="http://www.croatiaemb.org/"><font color="#0000ff">Croatia's Embassy in the U.S.</font></a></p>
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U.S. Ambassador to Croatia

Merten, Kenneth
ambassador-image

The Balkan nation of Croatia, known to most Americans as the homeland of NBA stars like Toni Kukoč and Dražen Petrović, will soon have a new ambassador from the U.S. President Barack Obama nominated career diplomat and current ambassador to Haiti Kenneth H. Merten to be Washington’s next man in Zagreb on February 10, 2012.

 
Born in St. Louis in April or May 1961, to mother Edryne A. Merten and father Helmut L. Merten, at age twelve Kenneth Merten and family moved to Hudson, Ohio, about 20 miles southeast of Cleveland. He attended Hudson Junior High School and graduated from Walsh Jesuit, a Catholic prep school in Cuyahoga Falls, in 1979. “He really wanted to go into foreign service,” recalled classmate Rob McCarty, who later became a magistrate in Summit County, Ohio. “Not a lot of people know what they want to do at 16 or 17 or 18, but he knew.” Merten himself credited that interest to his Austrian-born father, a chemist with a number of patents to his name, “We always had foreigners, family members, parading through the house.”
 
Merten earned a B.A in Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs at Miami University of Ohio in 1983, and a Masters in Public Administration at American University in 1986. He has also studied at the Université d’Aix-Marseille in France and at Karl Franzens Universität in Austria.
 
Merten joined the Foreign Service in 1987. His work for the State Department has been divided between assignments in Washington, DC, and those overseas. His previous foreign postings include serving as the economic counselor at the embassy in Paris, France, followed by his first tour in Haiti as vice consul from 1988 to 1990, providing assistance to Americans in distress and interviewing Haitians seeking green cards and tourist visas. He was the economic officer at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium, and then did the same job at the embassy in Bonn, Germany. Merten turned down a position in London, U.K., to return to Haiti in 1998 to serve as economic counselor at the embassy in Port-au-Prince until 2000. 
 
His Washington assignments have included two tours in the State Department Operations Center, service in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs and on the Cuba Desk, as well as a year as special assistant to the Special Advisors on Haiti.
 
Merten was serving as deputy executive secretary to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (and earlier to Secretary Condoleezza Rice) when President Barack Obama nominated him in June 2009 to be ambassador to Haiti, where he began serving on August 24, 2009. Present during the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, Merten was relaxing before an evening reception and ran out to the back yard, screaming for his wife and daughters to get out. “I had this vision of this 80-year-old house, with its foot-thick cement walls collapsing on them,” he recalled. Unhurt, his family soon left the country, and Merten began supervising U.S. relief efforts.
 
Kenneth Merten is married to Susan Greenman Merten and has two daughters, Caryl and Elisabeth. He speaks French, Haitian Creole and German.
-Matt Bewig
 
Kenneth Merten's Official Biography
 
 

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Croatia

Foley, James
ambassador-image

James B. Foley was born in Buffalo, New York. He received his B.A. in 1979 from the State University of New York at Fredonia and M.A.L.D. (Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy) in 1984 from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He joined the Foreign Service in 1983 and served as vice consul and political officer in Manila, Philippines, and as political officer in Algiers, Algeria. He was a speechwriter and advisor to former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger from 1989 to 1993 and Deputy Director of the Private Office of the NATO Secretary General in Brussels, Belgium, from 1993 to 1996. From 1997 to 2000 he was special assistant to the late Senator Paul Coverdell and served as State Department Deputy Spokesman. He served as Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva from 2000 to 2003 and he was United States Ambassador to Haiti from 2003 to 2005. His previous post from 2007 to 2009 was as Senior Coordinator for Iraqi Refugee Issues. He has held his current post as Ambassador to Croatia since September 15, 2009.

 

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Overview
<p>Ruled for centuries under the Hapsburg Empire, Croatia is a Southern Slavic state that formed part of the former Yugoslavia until its disintegration at the end of the Cold War. The delicate balance of power binding diverse ethnic and religious groups with historical animosities collapsed as aggressive nationalist politics resurged. In Croatia, ethnic violence between Serbs and Croats over the disputed Krajina territory erupted in a civil war promptly after Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Bosnia-Herzegovina followed suit in 1992, setting off the bloodiest conflict on European soil since WWII. High-ranking Croat, Bosnian and especially Serb officials have been indicted and tried for war crimes.</p> <div>Croatia joined the World Trade Organization in 2000, signed an association agreement with the European Union in 2001 and applied for membership in 2003. It is expected to become a member of the EU between 2009 and 2010. Additionally, Croatia officially became a member of NATO in April 2009.</div>
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Basic Information
<p><b>Lay of the Land</b>:</p> <div>On land, Croatia is bordered by Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, but also has a vast Adriatic coastline with more than a thousand islands and islets. The terrain is marked by mountains and highlands, plains, rugged coastline and islands. Hot summers bolster the tourist industry. Winters are cold.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Population</b>: 4.5 million, about the size of West Virginia (CIA World Factbook 2008)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Religions</b>: Roman Catholic 87.8%, Serbian Orthodox Christian 4.4%, Muslim 1.3%, other Christian 0.4%, other and unspecified 0.9%, non-religious 5.2%.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Ethnic Groups</b>: Croat 89.6%, Serb 4.5%, other (including Bosniak, Hungarian, Slovene, Czech and Roma) 5.9%.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Languages</b>: Croatian (official) 96.6%, Venetian 2.0%, Italian (official) 1.4%, Istriot 0.02%, Istro Romanian 0.01%.</div>
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History
<p>Once claimed by the Romans and coveted as a trading crossroads, Croatia was settled by Slavic peoples who migrated from the Ukraine around the 6thor 7th century. After it was briefly subsumed in the Ottoman Empire, Croatia was ruled by the Hapsburg monarchy for centuries, finally gaining autonomy in 1868, but remaining under Hungarian authority.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Following WWI, President Woodrow Wilson pushed for the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, championing self-determination and democracy for the various territories. In 1918, Croatia joined the Kingdom of the Serbs, unifying the Southern Slavs. The new state recognized the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, but largely ignored others like the Montenegrans and Macedonians, and was dominated by Serbian institutions. Many saw this pro-Serbian bias reflected in the U.S. State Department and foreign policy.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 1929 the Kingdom became Yugoslavia. In 1939 Croatia gained autonomy, and joined the Axis Powers in 1941. After a military coup put <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavko_Kvaternik" title="Slavko Kvaternik"><font color="#0000ff">Slavko Kvaternik</font></a>, the Ustashe leader, in control of Croatia, Germany invaded Yugoslavia and granted Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia, which became a Nazi puppet government. Thousands of Serbs were reportedly killed under Ustashe leadership.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 1944 the Nazis withdrew and Croatia was reintegrated into the Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia under Tito&rsquo;s Communist rule. Seeing the potential threat posed by a unified Serb power, Tito divided Serbia, the largest of the republics, into two provinces.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>During the Cold War, Tito&rsquo;s Yugoslavia was of great importance to the U.S., which invested billions in development funds to keep the country&rsquo;s institutions and infrastructure separate from the Soviet Union.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span style="font-size: larger">After the death of Tito in 1980 Yugoslavia began to unravel, and the disintegration of the Soviet Union gave way to fractured nationalist movements. Building on historic ethnic animosities, real and imagined disparities and widespread economic strife, nationalist leaders like Slobodan Milo&scaron;ević &nbsp;pushed separatist agendas. <br /> </span><b><font size="6"><br /> </font></b></div> <div>Croatia held its first multi-party elections in 1990, and along with Slovenia, declared independence from the Serb-dominated government in Yugoslavia a year later. Mounting conflict between Serbs and Croats resulted in civil war just a month after independence (Serbs claimed they were relegated to minority status in the new constitution, building on centuries of historic ethnic and religious strife).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>After ten days of fighting in Slovenia the Yugoslav army turned its attention to Croatia, where it supported rebel Serb forces in aggressions that resulted in a flood of refugees and displaced persons in Croatia and Western Europe. Non-Serbs, including an estimated 80,000 Croats, were driven from the disputed Krajina region. Bombardments left the cities Vukovar, Dubrovnik and Osijek in ruins.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>A U.N.-mediated cease-fire didn&rsquo;t last long, and a second cease-fire was enacted the following year, followed by a joint declaration between Croatia and Yugoslavia. In 1993, the Croatian army led an offensive against the disputed Serb-held Republic of Krajina, and another ceasefire (1994) was broken in 1995 when Croatian forces reclaimed large portions of Krajina in Operation Flash. After Serbs in Krajina rejected a peace deal that would have put them under Zagreb&rsquo;s authority, Croatia launched Operation Storm, recapturing all of Krajina in a few days.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Croatian offensive resulted in an exodus of 250,000 Serbs, and, arguably, the Dayton peace agreement, which called for a permanent cease-fire and return of all refugees. Croatia agreed to reintegrate Eastern Slovenia, Baranja and Western Sirmium under the Erdut Agreement, re-establishing political and legal authority over these territories in 1998.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3166.htm"><font color="#0000ff">Croatia &ndash; U.S. State Department</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/1997/bosnia/history/"><font color="#0000ff">Brief History of the Balkan Crisis (CNN</font></a>)</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Croatia"><font color="#0000ff">History of Croatia (Wikipedia)</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.hr/croatia/history"><font color="#0000ff">Croatia: History and Homeland War</font></a></div>
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Croatia's Newspapers
<p><a href="http://www.24sata.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">24 Sata</font></a></p> <div><a href="http://www.corner.hr/index.asp"><font color="#0000ff">Corner</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.croatiantimes.com/"><font color="#0000ff">Croatian Times</font></a> (In English)</div> <div><a href="http://dnevnik.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Dnevnik &ndash; Zagbreb</font></a><br /> <a href="http://feral.audiolinux.com/"><font color="#0000ff">Feral Tribune</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.glasistre.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Glas Istre - Istra</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.glas-koncila.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Glas Koncila</font></a> (Religious News)</div> <div><a href="http://www.glas-slavonije.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Glas Slavonije</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.hic.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">HIC</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://websrv2.hina.hr/hina/web/index.action"><font color="#0000ff">Hina</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.hbk.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Hrvatska Bikupska Konferencija (Croatian Conference of Bishops)</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.matis.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Hrvatska Matica Iseljenika</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.javno.com/"><font color="#0000ff">Javno</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.jutarnji.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Jutarnji List</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.edit.hr/lavoce/"><font color="#0000ff">La Voce del Populo</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.medjimurje.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Medjimurje</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.monitor.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Monitor</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.nacional.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Nacional</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.novilist.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Novo List</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.sbiportal.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Sbiportal (Slavonski Brod)</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.sbonline.net/"><font color="#0000ff">Slavonski Brod (Slavonski Brod)</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.slobodnadalmacija.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Slobodna Dalmacija</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.vjesnik.com/html/2009/11/03/"><font color="#0000ff">Vjesnik</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.zadarskilist.hr/"><font color="#0000ff">Zadarski List (Zadar)</font></a></div>
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History of U.S. Relations with Croatia
<p>During the late 1980s and early 1990s, many saw a pro-Serb bias continue in the West&rsquo;s policy toward the former Yugoslavia.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The U.S. recognized Croatia&rsquo;s independence and opened its Zagreb embassy in 2002, some time after European powers.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>However, Croatia became an important ally for the U.S. when conflicts escalated. The Clinton administration is criticized for its role in assisting Croatia, and in the later NATO bombings of Yugoslavia. Days before U.S. and NATO air strikes, ICTY investigators at the Hague concluded that Croatian officials had carried out &ldquo;summary executions, indiscriminate shelling of civilian populations and &lsquo;ethnic cleansing&rsquo; during a 1995 assault that was a turning point in the Balkan wars, according to tribunal documents.&rdquo; (NYT). However, the subsequent 1995 Croatian offensive, which drove out an estimated 200,000 Serbs, was carried out with the support of the U.S. government &ndash; although, the extent of that support (training, arms) still remains in question (See &ldquo;Private Military Companies&rdquo; in Controversies Section).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The U.S. seeks to integrate a remodeled Croatia into its NATO alliance, but both Europe and the U.S. have made relations contingent on the country&rsquo;s cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. After a few years of resulting tensions, Croatia was granted EU candidate status and allowed to enter membership negotiations with the European Union. It is expected to join sometime in 2009.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>U.S. and EU relations also focus on implementing the Dayton Accords and Erdut Agreement, addressing ethnic reconciliation, refugee returns and democratic reforms.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>According to the U.S. State Department, the U.S. has given Croatia more than $13.4 million in humanitarian demining assistance since 1998, in efforts to removed remaining mines by 2010. The U.S. also provides assistance through the Southeastern European Economic Development Program (SEED), mostly managed by USAID, for democracy programs and financial sector development. Most SEED programs are set to conclude in 2008. Of the $23.25 million in SEED funds for Croatia in 1998, the majority was directed to refugee and displaced person efforts, about a third went to democratic reforms and a smaller percentage to financial sector reforms.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 2008, the U.S. gave $900,000 to Croatia under our Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance. This was divided into Peace and Security, Governing Justly and Democratically, and Economic Growth. Peace and Security focuses on police and prosecutorial capacities to combat crime, provide funding to de-mine war-affected areas, and military education. According to the State Department, Governing Justly and Democratically entails increasing &ldquo;civil society's ability to advocate for and contribute to Croatia's democratic, economic and community development.&rdquo; Lastly, Economic Growth funding is allocated to assisting 4,000 enterprises that create 20,000 jobs for Croatians.</div>
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Current U.S. Relations with Croatia
<p><b>Noted Croatian-Americans</b></p> <div><b>Politics</b></div> <div><b>Dennis Kucinich</b>: member of the House of Representatives from Ohio. He was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President in the 2004 and 2008 elections. From 1977 to 1979 he served as mayor of Cleveland.</div> <div><b>Mark P. Begich</b>: junior United States Senator from Alaska. He was mayor of Anchorage and served on the Anchorage Assembly for 10 years before being elected mayor in 2003.&nbsp;His paternal grandfather emigrated from Croatia.</div> <div><b>Michael Bilandic</b>: he served as the mayor of Chicago, Illinois from 1976 to 1979. He was also Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court.</div> <div><b>John Bonacic</b>: a Republican New York State Senator since 1998. He currently serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing, Construction &amp; Community Development. He is the Co-Chair of the Senate Task Force on Health &amp; Wellness.</div> <div><b>George Radanovich</b>: since 1995, he has been a Republican member of the House of Representatives from California&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Paul William Bucha</b>: a recipient of a Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War, he served as a&nbsp;foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama&rsquo;s 2008 presidential campaign. His paternal grandfather emigrated from Croatia.</div> <div><b>John Kasich</b>: former Republican United States Representative. He has often guest hosted <i>The O&rsquo;Reilly Factor</i>. As of June 1, 2009 he is running for governor of Ohio.</div> <div><b>Richard Kauzlarich</b>: diplomat, writer, and intelligence analyst. He served at the United States Embassies in Ethiopia, Israel, and Togo. He served as Ambassador to Azerbaijan and to Bosnia and Herzegovina.</div> <div><b>Mary Joe Matalin</b>: political consultant for the Republican Party. She was an assistant to President George W. Bush and a counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Science/Academia</b></div> <div><b>William Feller</b>: mathematician who specialized in probability. The following topics relating to probability are named after him: the Feller processes, Feller&rsquo;s explosion test, Feller-Brown movement, and the Lindberg-Feller theorem.&nbsp;</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div><b>Arts/Entertainment/Media</b></div> <div><b>John Malkovich</b>: actor, producer, and director who has appeared in over 70 motion pictures. His film credits include <i>Death of a Salesman, Dangerous Liaisons, In the Line of Fire, Con Air, The Man in the Iron Mask, Of Mice and Men, Rounders, Changeling, Johnny English, Being John Malkovich, </i>and <i>Burn After Reading</i>. He produced the film <i>Juno. </i>He is of Croatian, Scottish, and German ancestry.</div> <div><b>Jenna Elfman</b>: born Jennifer Mary Butala, she is most famous for her starring role on the television show <i>Dharma and Greg</i>. She won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for two Emmy Awards for this role. She is the niece of Tony Butala (see below).</div> <div><b>Denise Richards</b>: actress and model most known for her roles in <i>Starship Troopers, Wild Things, </i>and <i>The World is Not Enough</i>. She currently has her own E! television series entitled <i>Denise Richards: It&rsquo;s Complicated</i>. She is of Croatian and Welsh descent.</div> <div><b>Jason Smliovic</b>: writer of the movie <i>Lucky Number Slevin</i></div> <div><b>Scott Bakula</b>: actor most known for his role in the television series <i>Quantum Leap</i> and in <i>Star Trek: Enterprise</i>. He also had a recurring role in the sitcom <i>Murphy Brown</i>.</div> <div><b>Frank John Gorshin, Jr.</b>: actor and comedian best known for his many guest appearances on <i>The Ed Sullivan Show</i> and <i>The Tonight Show</i> (with host Steve Allen). He is also famous for his roles in <i>The Munsters</i>, as The Riddler in <i>Batman</i>, in <i>Star Trek: The Original Series</i>, and <i>12 Monkeys</i></div> <div><b>Johnny Mercer</b>: songwriter, singer, and lyricist who was popular from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s. He wrote the lyrics to more than a thousand songs, including compositions for movies and Broadway shows. For his work he received nineteen Academy Award nominations. He was also a co-founder of Capitol Records. His mother was of Croatian-Irish descent.</div> <div><span style="font-size: larger">Ivana Miličević: actress born in Sarajevo but who is ethnically Croatian. She has appeared in the films <i>Casino Royale, In Her Shoes, Charmed, Love Actually, </i>and <i>Vanilla Sky</i>. </span></div> <div><b>Lidia Matticchio Bastianich</b>: chef who specializes in Italian-American cuisine. She has been a regular contributor to the PBS cooking show lineups since 1998. She also owns four Italian restaurants throughout the country.</div> <div><b>Vanna White</b>: Born Vanna Marie Rosich, she is the puzzle-board presenter and co-host of <i>Wheel of Fortune</i></div> <div><b>Adrian Belic</b>: in 2000 he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary for his film <i>Genghis Blues</i>.</div> <div><b>Tony Butala</b>: one of the founding members of the 1960s American pop group The Lettermen.</div> <div><b>Krist Novoselic</b>: bassist and co-founder of the grunge band Nirvana</div> <div><b>Amber Brikich Mariano</b>; winner of <i>Survivor: All-Stars</i> after participating in <i>Survivor: The Australian Outback</i>. She married fellow competitor Rob Mariano.</div> <div><b>Mark Matkevich</b>; actor best known for appearing in 17 episodes of the television show <i>Dawson&rsquo;s Creek</i>. He has also had recurring roles on <i>Ed</i> and <i>Joan of Arcadia</i>.</div> <div><b>Patrick Muldoon</b>: actor who has appeared on <i>Days of Our Lives, Saved By the Bell, </i>and <i>Melrose Place.</i></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Athletes</b></div> <div><b>Bill Belichick</b>: headcoach of the New England Patriots. He has coached the Patriots to four Super Bowls and was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2007. His paternal grandparents immigrated from Karlovac, Croatia.</div> <div><b>Fred Couples</b>: professional golfer who competes on the PGA Tour. He is a former World Number 1 and his most notable win is the Masters Tournament in 1992. His father is Italian and his mother is Croatian.</div> <div><b>Frank Hejduk</b>: soccer player for the United States national team. He represented the United States in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics and the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cup Finals tournaments.</div> <div><b>Kevin McHale</b>: professional basketball player who starred for 13 seasons for the Boston Celtics. He also worked as the Minnesota Timberwolves&rsquo; general manager and head coach before being fired in June 2009.</div> <div><b>Rudy Tomjanovich</b>: basketball player and coach who led the Houston Rockets to two NBA championships. He is currently a scout for the Los Angeles Lakers.</div> <div><b>Mark Pavelich</b>: professional ice hockey forward who played for the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars, and San Joe Sharks. He was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that won gold in what has been called &ldquo;the miracle on ice.&rdquo;</div> <div><b>Roger Maris</b>: American Major League baseball player who is most known for hitting 61 home runs for the New York Yankees in the 1961 season. This broke Babe Ruth&rsquo;s single-season record and his record stood for 37 years.</div> <div><b>Gary Beban</b>: 1967 Heisman Trophy winner as the quarterback for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins. His mother was born in Italy and his father was first-generation Croatian-American.</div> <div><b>Fritzie Zivic</b>: Born Ferdinand Zivcich, he was a boxer who was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993. His father was Croatian and his mother was Slovenian.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Miscellaneous</b></div> <div><b>Terry Hart</b>: Lieutenant Colonel and former NASA astronaut who has logged a total of 168 hours in space.</div> <div><b>Anthony Lucas</b>: Born Antun Lučić, he was the mechanical engineer responsible for the first successful oil well in Texas which led to the earliest massive exploitation of oil and petroleum and the start of the Liquid Fuel Age.</div> <div><b>Anthony Maglica</b>: Born Ante Maglica, he is the owner and founder of Mag Instrument Inc, the company that manufactures the Maglite flashlight.</div> <div><b>George Skurla</b>: aeronautical engineer responsible for the production of Lunar Modules for the Apollo Program.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Croatian-Americans, Americans in Croatia</b></div> <div>374,241 people identified themselves as Croatian in the 2000 U.S. census.&nbsp;Sailors from the Adriatic city-state of Ragusa (modern day Dubrovnik) were among the first Europeans in the New World, and may have been part of Columbus's historic voyage.&nbsp;Ragusa rivaled Venice for primacy international maritime trade in the 15<sup>th</sup> and 16<sup>th</sup> century; although Ragusa traded heavily with Spanish colonies in America, the city refused to traffic in humans as they had banned slavery in 1416.&nbsp;By 1600, the Ragusan government wrote to inform Spain that &ldquo;many Ragusans&rdquo; were living in America.&nbsp;These included men like Baron Ivan Ratkay, who renounced his noble title and became a Jesuit missionary in America.&nbsp;His attempts to proselytize the natives were less than well received &ndash; he died in 1683 at the age of 36, supposedly poisoned by his prospective converts because he forbade drinking and dancing as unchristian activities.&nbsp;Another particularly colorful Croatian was Captain John Dominus, who was lost at sea while attempting to reach China from Hawaii.&nbsp;The Captain left quite a legacy in Hawaii: his palatial residence eventually became the Governor's mansion, and his son, John Owen Dominus, married Lydia Kamekaha Kapaaka, the last reigning queen of Hawaii.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>By the 1880's 20,000 Croatians lived in America, mainly in the West and South.&nbsp;The period between 1880 and 1914 saw the greatest ingress of Croatians, along with a flood of other European immigrants.&nbsp;Because the census records grouped many of these new arrivals together as &ldquo;Yugoslavs&rdquo;, accurate figures are impossible to find.&nbsp;Croatian historians estimate that approximately half a million Croats were living in the U.S. during the 1930's, although more than half of these ultimately returned home with their hard-earned savings.&nbsp;Immigration nearly slowed to a halt with the passage of the strict quota-based Immigration Act of 1924, and remained frozen until the Refugee Relief Act of 1953 and the Refugee Escape Act of 1960 once again opened America's shores to Croatians.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Today the most Croatians live in Pennsylvania (50,350), Illinois (42,613), Ohio (41,812), California (39,071), and New York (23,650).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>154,289 Americans visited Croatia in 2006.&nbsp;Tourism has exploded since 2002, when 58,529 Americans traveled to Croatia.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>12,290 Croatians visited the U.S. in 2006.&nbsp;The number of tourists has increased consistently every year since 2002, when 9,676 Croatians came to America.</div>
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Where Does the Money Flow
<p>Privatization efforts begun in 1991 were interrupted by the war, which severely damaged the economic infrastructure, including the country&rsquo;s lucrative tourism industry. GDP fell 40.5% between 1989 and 1993, but after 1995 the tourism industry recovered slightly, and then rebounded in 2000. In recent years, foreign investment has grown, and is expected to continue with prospects of EU and NATO membership.</p> <div>According to the U.S. Commercial Service, Croatia is also known for ship and boat building industries, and recently, niche manufacturing industries. The country&rsquo;s distribution network is considered among the best in the region, as road construction and air links continue to develop. Investors would also be interested in improving food and manufacturing standards as the country nears EU membership.</div> <div>In 2007 two new U.S. investors entered the market:&nbsp; Commercial Metals purchased a steel firm in Sisak from the Croatian Privatization Fund and Applied Ceramics opened an advanced manufacturing facility, also in Sisak.&nbsp; The USCS says &ldquo;additional U.S. investment is contemplated.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>And while the Business Monitor International&rsquo;s Q108 Business Environment Ranking for Central and Eastern European markets places Croatia 12th (tied with Lithuania and just ahead of Ukraine and Serbia) out of 15, the Office of U.S. Trade Report removed Croatia from its &ldquo;Special 301&rdquo; Report showing countries in violation of Intellectual Property Rights in 2007.</div> <div><a href="http://www.worldbank.hr/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/ECAEXT/CROATIAEXTN/0,,contentMDK:20150212~menuPK:301252~pagePK:141137~piPK:141127~theSitePK:301245,00.html"><font color="#0000ff">Country Brief 2009 - Croatia</font></a> (World Bank)</div> <div><a href="http://www.buyusa.gov/croatia/en/doingbusinessincroatia.html"><font color="#0000ff">Doing Business in <span>Croatia -- U.S. Commercial Service <strong>Croatia</strong></span></font></a> (buyusa.gov)</div> <div><span style="font-size: x-small"><a href="http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/ECAEXT/0,,contentMDK:21127753~menuPK:258612~pagePK:2865106~piPK:2865128~theSitePK:258599,00.html"><font color="#0000ff">Croatia: Key International Croatian Port and Trade Corridor to Develop Further with Assistance from World Bank</font></a></span><span style="font-size: x-small"> (World Bank)</span></div> <div><a href="http://www.adriaticinstitute.org/?action=croatia_in_the_news"><font color="#0000ff">Croatia in the News</font></a> (Adriatic Institute for Public Policy &ndash; mostly financial/economic articles from the press)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>U.S. imports of Croatian manufacturing goods have gone up in recent years as practices and standards increasingly conform to European standards in aspiration of EU membership.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Over the last several years U.S. imports from Croatia steadily increased to a total of $332.5 million in 2007, before falling to $271 million in 2008. In 2008, the greatest amounts of importing were of medicinal, dental and pharmaceutical preparations ($78 million); &nbsp;jewelry such as watches and rings ($39 million); followed by toys, shooting and sporting goods, and bicycles ($38.7 million million); measuring, testing, and control instruments ($14 million);,and stone, sand, cement, and lime ($10.4 million).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 2008, the United States exported $467 million of goods to Croatia, a general rise in recent years. The most profitable exports were metallurgical grade coal ($188 million); petroleum products ($37 million); coal and fuels ($32.4 million); passenger cars,, new and used ($21 million); telecommunications equipment ($21 million); and civilian aircraft, engines, equipment, and parts ($14 million).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The U.S. gave $2 million in aid to Croatia in 2009 and will give an estimated $4.4 million in 2010. This aid is divided between Stabilization Operations and Security Sector Reform ($3.9 million); Military Financing ($3 million); International Military Education and Training ($900,000); Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs ($450,000) and Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction ($450,000).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/imports/c4791.html"><font color="#0000ff">Imports from Croatia</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/exports/c4791.html"><font color="#0000ff">Exports to Croatia</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/137937.pdf"><font color="#0000ff">Congressional Budget for Foreign Operations (pages 367-369)</font></a> (pdf)</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/fs/106207.htm"><font color="#0000ff">Foreign Operations Assistance - Croatia</font></a> (U.S. Department of State)</div>
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Controversies
<p><b>U.S. Private Military Contractors </b></p> <div>In keeping with the continuing trend of privatization of the United States&rsquo; foreign policy (outsourcing military and defense operations to private companies, essentially mercenaries), a Defense Department contractor authorized to arm foreign states and conduct para-military operations abroad, Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI), signed one of the first training contracts between a modern private military company (PMC) and a foreign government with Croatia in 1994. Interested in containing Serb-led Yugoslavia without the escalation that would elicit U.S. military operations, the state department allowed MPRI to arm the Croatian military. A year after the contract was signed, the Croatian army launched an offensive against the Serbs that would have been practically impossible before the MPRI contract. Additionally, a U.S. congressional subcommittee report found that the Clinton administration had encouraged arms trades from Iran and others to Croatia in order to support Bosnian forces. Congressional investigators responded accusations that the government provided direct military assistance to the Bosnian army but found no evidence to support such claims. Following news reports that weapons in the PMC&rsquo;s Bosnia program were going to Muslim guerillas in Kosovo and Sandzak, the U.S. State Department suspended MPRI&rsquo;s contract to equip and train the Bosnian army.</div> <div><a href="http://projects.publicintegrity.org/bow/report.aspx?aid=148"><font color="#0000ff">Privatizing Combat, the New World Order</font></a> (by Laura Peterson, Center for Public Integrity)</div>
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Human Rights
<p>According to Amnesty International, the main concerns for Croatia concerning human rights have to do with justice for war criminals. Croatia has been urged to end impunity for war crimes by fully cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The Human Rights Committee has noted that authorities fail to provide records related to Operation Storm in 1995. They have also left many war crime cases unsolved, with a disproportionate number of these cases relating to Croatian Serbs.&nbsp;The Human Rights Committee has also called on authorities to &ldquo;prevent and investigate attacks and intimidation of journalists in the country.&rdquo;</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Human Rights Watch has named the following issues regarding human rights in Croatia: the situation of Serbs returnees, the slow pace and perceived lack of fairness of domestic war crimes trials, and attacks against intimidation of journalists. Human Rights Watch asks the Croatian government to take preventative measures to counteract discrimination against the Serbian minority population in terms of housing and property rights. On the same note as the Amnesty International reports, Human Rights Watch mentions especially the war crimes trials and the protection of journalists as key human rights issues in Croatia.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>According to the U.S. State Department, Croatia has &ldquo;generally respected the human rights of its citizens&rdquo; with problems in some areas. Judicial courts suffer from backlog of current crimes as well as war crimes. Intimidation of witnesses of these trials is not uncommon. Discrimination against Serbian and Roma minorities have remained a problem since the dissolution of Yugoslavia. There are also cases of missing persons, violence and discrimination against homosexuals, and against persons with HIV/AIDS.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In its report, the State Department&nbsp;reports that the predominantly Roman Catholic government has extended agreements with other religious communities like the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Communities in Croatia (CCJCC) that gives funding and tax benefits if they meet certain criteria. The government, though, has made little progress in the restitution of lands seized from religious communities during the World War II period. There have been reports of violent acts committed against minority religious groups like Jewish and Serbian Orthodox communities.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The State Department also reports that authorities have taken an inconsistent approach to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) which hampers their return to home lands. Most of these IDPs,1,638, are ethnic Serbs.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eur/136025.htm"><font color="#0000ff">U.S. State Department</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.hrw.org/en/europecentral-asia/croatia"><font color="#0000ff">Human Rights Watch</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/europe-and-central-asia/balkans/croatia"><font color="#0000ff">Amnesty International</font></a></div>
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors
<p>Note: The United States recognized the independence of Croatia on Apr 7, 1992, and established diplomatic relations on Aug 6, 1992. Embassy Zagreb was opened Aug 25, 1992, with Ronald Nietzke as Charg&eacute; d'Affaires ad interim</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Mara M. Letica</div> <div>Nominated Sep 25, 1992; not acted upon by the Senate</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Peter W. Galbraith</div> <div>Appointment: Jun 17, 1993</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Jun 28, 1993</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post Jan 3, 1998</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>William Dale Montgomery</div> <div>Appointment: Nov 18, 1997</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Jan 8, 1998</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Lawrence George Rossin</div> <div>Appointment: Dec 28, 2000</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Jan 19, 2001</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 27, 2003</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Ralph Frank</div> <div>Appointment: April 16, 2003</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: July 2, 2003</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Robert Anthony Bradtke</div> <div>Appointment: May 30, 2006</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: July 7, 2006</div> <div>Termination of Mission: August 2009</div>
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Croatia's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Grabar-Kitarović, Kolinda

Croatia’s current ambassador to the United States, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović was born in Rijeka, Croatia, but attended high school in Los Alamos, New Mexico, before earning her BA in English and Spanish languages and literature at the University of Zagreb, Croatia in 1993. From September 1995 to June 1996 she pursued postgraduate studies in diplomacy, international law, economics and European integration and training at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, Austria. She earned her MA in political science from the University of Zagreb in 2000, and attended George Washington University as a Fulbright scholar from 2002-2003.

 
From 1992-1993, Grabar Kitarović was assistant and then advisor in the Department for International Cooperation of Croatia’s Ministry of Science and Technology. She served as advisor and then senior advisor to Croatia’s deputy minister of foreign affairs (1993-1995), and headed the Department for North America in Croatia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1995-1997). At Croatia’s Embassy in Ottowa, Canada, she was Diplomatic Counselor (1997-1998) and Minister Counselor (1998-2000), in which position she next served at Croatia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2001-2003).
 
She was elected to the Croatian Parliament’s 7th Electoral District in 2003, and served several positions in government, including Minister for European Integration (2003); National Aid Coordinator (2004); Head, Delegation Enlargement Protocol Negotiations (2004); Chairman, Interim Committee for Trade matters between the European Community and Croatia (2004); Head, Delegation for Negotiations on EU Accession (2005) and was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration in 2005.
 
She was appointed to her current post in March 2008.
 
In addition to Croatian, Grabar-Kitarović has “excellent command” of English, Spanish and Portuguese, and “passive knowledge” of Italian, German and French.
 

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Croatia's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
<p><a href="http://www.croatiaemb.org/"><font color="#0000ff">Croatia's Embassy in the U.S.</font></a></p>
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U.S. Ambassador to Croatia

Merten, Kenneth
ambassador-image

The Balkan nation of Croatia, known to most Americans as the homeland of NBA stars like Toni Kukoč and Dražen Petrović, will soon have a new ambassador from the U.S. President Barack Obama nominated career diplomat and current ambassador to Haiti Kenneth H. Merten to be Washington’s next man in Zagreb on February 10, 2012.

 
Born in St. Louis in April or May 1961, to mother Edryne A. Merten and father Helmut L. Merten, at age twelve Kenneth Merten and family moved to Hudson, Ohio, about 20 miles southeast of Cleveland. He attended Hudson Junior High School and graduated from Walsh Jesuit, a Catholic prep school in Cuyahoga Falls, in 1979. “He really wanted to go into foreign service,” recalled classmate Rob McCarty, who later became a magistrate in Summit County, Ohio. “Not a lot of people know what they want to do at 16 or 17 or 18, but he knew.” Merten himself credited that interest to his Austrian-born father, a chemist with a number of patents to his name, “We always had foreigners, family members, parading through the house.”
 
Merten earned a B.A in Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs at Miami University of Ohio in 1983, and a Masters in Public Administration at American University in 1986. He has also studied at the Université d’Aix-Marseille in France and at Karl Franzens Universität in Austria.
 
Merten joined the Foreign Service in 1987. His work for the State Department has been divided between assignments in Washington, DC, and those overseas. His previous foreign postings include serving as the economic counselor at the embassy in Paris, France, followed by his first tour in Haiti as vice consul from 1988 to 1990, providing assistance to Americans in distress and interviewing Haitians seeking green cards and tourist visas. He was the economic officer at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium, and then did the same job at the embassy in Bonn, Germany. Merten turned down a position in London, U.K., to return to Haiti in 1998 to serve as economic counselor at the embassy in Port-au-Prince until 2000. 
 
His Washington assignments have included two tours in the State Department Operations Center, service in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs and on the Cuba Desk, as well as a year as special assistant to the Special Advisors on Haiti.
 
Merten was serving as deputy executive secretary to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (and earlier to Secretary Condoleezza Rice) when President Barack Obama nominated him in June 2009 to be ambassador to Haiti, where he began serving on August 24, 2009. Present during the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, Merten was relaxing before an evening reception and ran out to the back yard, screaming for his wife and daughters to get out. “I had this vision of this 80-year-old house, with its foot-thick cement walls collapsing on them,” he recalled. Unhurt, his family soon left the country, and Merten began supervising U.S. relief efforts.
 
Kenneth Merten is married to Susan Greenman Merten and has two daughters, Caryl and Elisabeth. He speaks French, Haitian Creole and German.
-Matt Bewig
 
Kenneth Merten's Official Biography
 
 

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Croatia

Foley, James
ambassador-image

James B. Foley was born in Buffalo, New York. He received his B.A. in 1979 from the State University of New York at Fredonia and M.A.L.D. (Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy) in 1984 from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He joined the Foreign Service in 1983 and served as vice consul and political officer in Manila, Philippines, and as political officer in Algiers, Algeria. He was a speechwriter and advisor to former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger from 1989 to 1993 and Deputy Director of the Private Office of the NATO Secretary General in Brussels, Belgium, from 1993 to 1996. From 1997 to 2000 he was special assistant to the late Senator Paul Coverdell and served as State Department Deputy Spokesman. He served as Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva from 2000 to 2003 and he was United States Ambassador to Haiti from 2003 to 2005. His previous post from 2007 to 2009 was as Senior Coordinator for Iraqi Refugee Issues. He has held his current post as Ambassador to Croatia since September 15, 2009.

 

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