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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
01PRISTINA1593
2001-09-11 07:06:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Pristina
Cable title:  

THACI SCENESETTER: LEADER LOOKING FOR APPROVAL

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  PHUM  KDEM  EAID  ECON  NATO  SR 
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O 110706Z SEP 01
FM USOFFICE PRISTINA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6775
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY ZAGREB 
AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO 
AMEMBASSY SKOPJE 
AMEMBASSY SOFIA 
AMEMBASSY TIRANA 
AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 
NATO EU COLLECTIVE
SKOPJEBETA
USCINCEUR VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ2/POLAD//
USNMR SHAPE BE//INTAF//
SECDEF WASHDC//ISA/BTF//
JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
DIA WASHDC//DH-10//
CDR TASK FORCE FALCON//POLAD/G2//
USMISSION USOSCE 
USDOCO SOUTH NAPLES IT//INTAF//
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRISTINA 001593 

DEPT FOR EUR/SCE, NSC FOR SCHULTE, USOSCE FOR ODLUM

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/09/2006
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM EAID ECON NATO SR
SUBJECT: THACI SCENESETTER: LEADER LOOKING FOR APPROVAL



1. (U) CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR JOHN K. MENZIES, COM, FOR
REASONS 1.5 (B&D)


SUMMARY


--------------------------





2. (C) DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF KOSOVO (PDK) PRESIDENT HASHIM
THACI IS CONCERNED THAT WASHINGTON IS NEITHER MUCH INTERESTED
IN NOR FRIENDLY TOWARDS HIM, AND WILL SEEK DEMONSTRATIONS OF
APPROVAL, LARGELY TO BOLSTER HIS IMAGE IN KOSOVO, BUT ALSO
BECAUSE HE WANTS THE RECOGNITION. HIS POLITICAL STRENGTH IN
KOSOVO A BIT RAGGED, THACI MAY BE MORE OPEN TO ENCOURAGEMENT
TO BE MORE CONSTRUCTIVE, PARTICULARLY IN REACHING OUT TO
KOSOVO SERBS. IN HIS MEETINGS IN WASHINGTON, WE SHOULD ALSO
PUSH HIM TO DO HIS PART BEFORE AND AFTER THE NOVEMBER
ELECTIONS TO CONSOLIDATE DEMOCRACY IN KOSOVO. END SUMMARY.


POLITICIAN IN SEARCH OF...


--------------------------





3. (C) AS PDK PRESIDENT THACI LEAVES KOSOVO FOR THE U.S.
SEPTEMBER 11, HE IS A POLITICIAN WHOSE RHYTHM HAS BEEN BROKEN
BOTH BY HIS COMPATRIOTS' PREFERENCE FOR MOVING PAST THE WAR
AND FOR POLITICAL MODERATION, AND BY AN ACUTE AWARENESS OF
POLITICAL CHANGES IN WASHINGTON. NEVER ONE TO LOOK TO OTHER
EUROPEAN CAPITALS, THACI NOW FEARS THAT HIS STOCK HAS FALLEN
IN U.S. POLICY CIRCLES. A MAJOR REASON FOR HIS TRIP, HE HAS
IMPLIED, IS TO GAUGE JUST HOW DEEP THE DISENCHANTMENT WITH
HIM GOES THERE.


...APPROVAL


--------------------------





4. (C) SOMEWHAT COUNTER-INTUITIVELY PERHAPS, IT IS THACI WHO
HAS MOST RELIED ON A PRESUMED "ALLIANCE" WITH THE U.S. TO
BOLSTER HIS POLITICAL FORTUNES. HIS POLITICAL FORTUNES IN
KOSOVO HAVE SAGGED. DEMOCRATIC LEAGUE OF KOSOVO (LDK)
PRESIDENT RUGOVA HAS SOME 12 YEARS OF POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT
AND LEADERSHIP IN KOSOVO, AS WELL AS STILL VERY STRONG
POPULAR SENTIMENT IN HIS FAVOR. THACI WILL ALWAYS FALL SHORT
OF RUGOVA,S STATURE AS A FATHER FIGURE FOR THE K-ALBANIANS.
AT A PRISTINA CULTURAL EVENT SEPTEMBER 8, RUGOVA APPEARED
RELAXED AND CONNECTED WELL WITH THE AUDIENCE. IN CONTRAST,
THACI FELL FLAT IN HIS SPEECH.



5. (C) ALLIANCE FOR THE FUTURE OF KOSOVO (AAK) PRESIDENT
RAMUSH HARADINAJ CAN POINT TO HIS OWN WAR RECORD WHEN HE
NEEDS TO, BUT HAS NOT SAT ON HIS LAURELS, INSTEAD
ENERGETICALLY PURSUING A RANGE OF POLITICAL ALLIANCES AND
BROADENING THE APPEAL OF HIS COALITION. SPECULATION IS RIFE
THAT THE AAK WILL SURPASS THE PDK ON NOVEMBER 17 AND BECOME
KOSOVO,S SECOND POLITICAL FORCE AND REAL OPPOSITION. AS THE
BRITISH COM PUT IT RECENTLY, THACI COULD BECOME "YESTERDAY,S
MAN" IN KOSOVO.



6. (C) BOTH RUGOVA AND HARADINAJ ARE EAGER TO COOPERATE AND
MAINTAIN GOOD RELATIONS WITH THE U.S., OF COURSE, BUT NEITHER
NEEDS US IN THE WAY THACI, WHO REMAINS PERSONALLY VESTED IN
HAVING "LIBERATED" KOSOVO, SEEMS TO DO. HE WILL BE ANXIOUS,
AS THE CAMPAIGN SEASON STARTS IN KOSOVO, TO PORTRAY HIMSELF
AS PLUGGED INTO THE USG IN WASHINGTON AND UN IN NEW YORK. HE
WILL SEEK A PUBLIC POLITICAL EMBRACE FROM U.S. OFFICIALS.


...SUPPORT


--------------------------





7. (C) THACI AND OTHER PDK LEADERS HAVE NOT DONE MUCH EITHER
TO REDEFINE THEMSELVES IDEOLOGICALLY OR TO RE-ENERGIZE THE
PARTY ORGANIZATION FOLLOWING THEIR DISAPPOINTING, BUT NOT
WHOLLY UNEXPECTED, SHOWING LAST OCTOBER. RUMORS OF
INFIGHTING HAVE INCREASED DURING THE YEAR (ALTHOUGH THACI WAS
ABLE IN DECEMBER AND JANUARY TO DISAPPEAR TO THE U.S. FOR 6
WEEKS WITHOUT APPARENT CONCERN OVER A COUP D'ETAT). MORE
THAN ONCE, THE PRESS STATEMENTS AND PUBLIC POSITIONS OF PDK
OFFICIALS HAVE BEEN AT VARIANCE, HIGHLIGHTING SHAKY CENTRAL
CONTROL. MOREOVER, THE PDK HAS SEVERAL WELL-KNOWN AND MEDIA
SAVVY HIGH OFFICERS, MORE THAN ONE OF WHOM MAY SEEK AN EVEN
HIGHER PROFILE IN THE PARTY. ANOTHER DISAPPOINTING SHOWING
IN THE NOVEMBER ELECTIONS COULD SHARPEN THE INTERNAL
CHALLENGE TO THACI.


...ENCOURAGEMENT TO DO RIGHT


--------------------------





8. (C) DESPITE HIS POLITICAL WOES, HOWEVER, THACI IS SHOWING
SOME OPENNESS TO POSITIVE STEPS ON THE KOSOVO SCENE. FOR
EXAMPLE, IN A RECENT DISCUSSION WITH THE COM, HE AGREED TO
MEET WITH THE K-SERB LEADER MOMCILO TRAJKOVIC, PROVIDED USOP
ASSISTED IN FACILITATING AND PROVIDING A VENUE. THE KOSOVAR
PRESS IS REPORTING ON THE INVITATION OF SERBIAN PM DJINDJIC
FOR THACI TO VISIT BELGRADE. EARLIER THIS SUMMER, WHEN
DJINDJIC SUGGESTED ORALLY THAT HE WOULD LIKE TO MET WITH BOTH
THACI AND KOSOVO PROTECTION CORPS (KPC) COMMANDER AGIM CEKU,
THACI EXPRESSED SOME WILLINGNESS TO CONSIDER A MEETING ON
NEUTRAL GROUND. WE DO NOT KNOW IF HE WILL GO TO BELGRADE (HE
MAY SUSPECT A POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL TRAP), BUT HE HAS
ACKNOWLEDGED RECEIVING THE SERBIAN PM'S LATEST, AND MORE
OFFICIAL, INVITATION.



9. (C) INTERESTINGLY, THOSE WHO ATTEND MEETINGS OF THE
INTERIM ADVISORY COUNCIL (IAC) KNOW THAT IN PRIVATE, THACI IS
COMFORTABLE AND GETS ALONG WELL WITH SERB OBSERVER RADA
TRAJKOVIC, JOKING WITH HER EVEN IN SERBIAN. PRECISELY
BECAUSE OF HIS KLA LEADERSHIP DURING THE WAR, THACI IS
POLITICALLY SAFER IN REACHING OUT TO KOSOVO SERBS THAN IS
RUGOVA. THE LATTER WAS MORE THAN ONCE PORTRAYED AS "SOFT ON
SERBIA", AND FINDS THIS HIS MOST SIGNIFICANT POLITICAL
VULNERABILITY. THACI CANNOT BE ACCUSED OF COMPLICITY. WE
BELIEVE THAT HE RECOGNIZES THIS AND MAY SEEK TO USE DEALINGS
WITH THE SERBS TO RAISE HIS PROFILE -- AND GAIN OUR APPROVAL.
WE SHOULD ENCOURAGE HIM TO UNDERTAKE CONSTRUCTIVE MOVES IN
THIS DIRECTION, SINCE THIS IS AN AREA IN WHICH HE AND HIS
FOLLOWERS CAN DO A LOT TO IMPROVE THE CLIMATE FOR
RECONCILIATION AND RETURNS.



10. (C) IN THE REGIONAL CONTEXT, AS EVENTS IN THE FYROM
DEGENERATED DURING THE SPRING, THACI TOOK THE MOST
CONSTRUCTIVE PUBLIC LINE FOR SOME TIME (WHATEVER HE OR HIS
COHORTS MAY HAVE DONE LESS PUBLICLY), OFFERING POLITICAL
SUPPORT TO HIS OLD MENTOR ARBEN XHAFERI, PRESIDENT OF THE
ALBANIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDSH) IN FYROM AND MOST PROMINENT
OF THE ALBANIANS IN PARTICIPATING IN GOVERNMENT THERE. THACI
MAINTAINED THIS SUPPORT DESPITE CRITICISM FROM WITHIN HIS OWN
PARTY AS TO HIS LOYALTY TO THE ALBANIAN CAUSE.


...A FUTURE


--------------------------





11. (C) THACI TOLD THE COM RECENTLY THAT VIOLENCE HAS
TAPERED OFF IN KOSOVO. THERE ARE STILL OCCASIONAL REPORTS OF
ATTACKS OR INSTANCES OF INTIMIDATION AGAINST LDK ACTIVISTS IN
PARTICULAR, HOWEVER, AND THACI KNOWS WELL THAT PDK IS ALWAYS
THE FIRST SUSPECT. IN OUR PRIVATE DISCUSSIONS, THACI IS
ALREADY WARNING OF LDK POLITICAL DOMINANCE, WHICH HE FEARS
WILL BECOME "ONE-PARTY RULE." USG OFFICIALS MAY WISH TO
ENCOURAGE HIM TO ENCOURAGE CONTINUED REDUCTION OF VIOLENCE,
TO BEHAVE CONSTRUCTIVELY DURING THE CAMPAIGN, AND TO DO HIS
PART, NO MATTER WHAT THE ELECTORAL OUTCOME, TO CONSOLIDATE
DEMOCRACY IN KOSOVO.



12. (U) BELGRADE MINIMIZE CONSIDERED.


MENZIES