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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06PRISTINA232
2006-03-15 18:19:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Pristina
Cable title:  

SCENESETTER FOR MARCH 24 VISIT OF CODEL VOINOVICH

Tags:   PREL  KCRM  PGOV  PINR  KDEM  UNMIK  YI 
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VZCZCXRO9936
OO RUEHAG RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ
RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHPS #0232/01 0741819
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151819Z MAR 06
FM USOFFICE PRISTINA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5913
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0614
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHFMIUU/AFSOUTH NAPLES IT
RHMFIUU/CDR TF FALCON
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEPGEA/CDR650THMIGP SHAPE BE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUFOANA/USNIC PRISTINA SR
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PRISTINA 000232 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DRL, INL, EUR/SCE
NSC FOR BRAUN
USUN FOR DREW SCHUFLETOWSKI
DEPT FOR H - PLEASE PASS TO OFFICES OF SENATOR VOINOVICH
AND SENATOR DODD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KCRM PGOV PINR KDEM UNMIK YI
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR MARCH 24 VISIT OF CODEL VOINOVICH


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PRISTINA 000232

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DRL, INL, EUR/SCE
NSC FOR BRAUN
USUN FOR DREW SCHUFLETOWSKI
DEPT FOR H - PLEASE PASS TO OFFICES OF SENATOR VOINOVICH
AND SENATOR DODD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KCRM PGOV PINR KDEM UNMIK YI
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR MARCH 24 VISIT OF CODEL VOINOVICH


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, PROTECT ACCORDINGLY


1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Kosovo has a new, stronger government,
and is starting to get serious about the compromises needed
to ensure that status negotiations result in the independence
they so desire. The Kosovo Albanian negotiating team has
made a well-received proposal on decentralization, but needs
to go further in advance of the next round of status
negotiations scheduled for March 17 in Vienna. Kosovo's
moderate Serb political coalition led by Oliver Ivanovic
keeps talking about rejoining the government, but remains
reluctant to do so without Belgrade's acquiescence. END
SUMMARY.


2. (SBU) Kosovo has strengthened its democratic credentials
by ensuring a peaceful political transition after the death
of President Ibrahim Rugova on January 21. Constitutional
lawyer Fatmir Sejdiu was sworn in as the new President of
Kosovo on February 10. Under pressure from the governing
coalition of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and the
Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), Prime Minister
Bajram Kosumi resigned on March 1, and was replaced by former
Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) Commander Agim Ceku on March

10. Controversial Assembly President Nexhat Daci resigned on
March 9, and was replaced by Kole Berisha on March 10.
Berisha, a member of Kosovo's Catholic community, is a
respected and low-key veteran of the LDK.


3. (SBU) While Belgrade opposed the selection of Ceku as
Prime Minister based on his history as a wartime commander in
Croatia and Kosovo and his subsequent indictment in Serbia on
war crimes charges, those credentials are exactly what most
observers believe will allow Ceku to make strong concessions
to Kosovo Serbs without being questioned by Kosovo war
veterans and other hard line nationalists. In his acceptance

speech, Ceku addressed Kosovo Serbs in Serbian, a rare
occurrence here, telling them that there is a place for them
in Kosovo society and institutions. He urged them to fight
for their rights together with all other citizens of Kosovo
by taking part in government institutions and by
participating in everyday life in Kosovo.


4. (SBU) The change in government, combined with the recent
creation of the new ministries of justice and interior,
created the possibility of further changes in the cabinet and
created new high level positions. After much speculation,
Ceku decided to keep all ministers for now, saying that he
will evaluate their work over the next several months. In
his acceptance speech, Ceku promised concrete results in the
implementation of standards. The "Six Plus" coalition of
Prizren-based Bosniak and Turkish parties (also part of the
LDK/AAK coalition) successfully lobbied to have a Turk
installed as deputy justice minister; and Dejan Jankovic, a
high ranking Kosovo Serb from the Kosovo Police Service
(KPS), injured in a shooting incident in September 2005, has
been offered the position of deputy minister of internal
affairs.


5. (SBU) Despite overtures from Ceku, moderate Kosovo Serb
politicians from the Serb List for Kosovo and Metohija (SLKM)
caucus continue to boycott the government. SLKM members
never took up the eight set-aside seats they have held since
the 2004 election, but keep their options open by
participating in assembly committees. SLKM leader Oliver
Ivanovic talks more and more frequently about returning to
the assembly, but pressure from Belgrade combined with a
perceived lack of effectiveness during their initial
participation in the Provisional Institutions of Self
Government (PISG) in 2001 keeps them away.


6. (SBU) The only Kosovo Serbs who actively participate in
the PISG are Returns Minister Slavisa Petkovic and his two
MP's from the Serb Democratic Party (SDS). Petkovic is
widely reviled by other Kosovo Serb leaders, who consider him

PRISTINA 00000232 002 OF 002


a traitor for participating in the government; and by Kosovo
Serbs and Albanians alike who consider him corrupt and
ineffective. In February his party split into three
factions, two of which are now urging Ceku and UNMIK to
replace him as Returns Minister. However, the SRSG Soren
Jessen-Peterson is reported to support Petkovic to stay on as
minister, at least until more representative Kosovo Serbs are
willing to take part.


7. (SBU) The first round of status negotiations took place
in Vienna on the topic of decentralization on February 20/21.
Under pressure from the Contact Group to make a generous
offer to Kosovo Serbs, the Kosovo negotiating team has
adopted a front-loaded proposal on decentralization. The
next meeting takes place in Vienna on March 17. Meanwhile,
the Kosovo negotiating team will reflect its new membership
with PM Ceku and Assembly President Berisha replacing Bajram
Kosumi and Nexhat Daci. (NOTE. The negotiating team was
established by President Rugova last September with the
President as chairman and with the PM, Assembly President and
two opposition leaders as members. Newspaper publisher and
veteran activist Blerim Shala is the coordinator of the
team's work. END NOTE.) Non-Serb minority representative
and health minister Sadik Idrizi participated in the first
round, and the non-Serb minorities expect that they will
continue to be included in these and future talks,
particularly on the issues of decentralization, property
rights and cultural heritage.


8. (U) COMMENT. Kosovo Serb leaders should be reminded that
it is in their own interest to participate in the government.
Kosovo Albanians should be congratulated on their initial
proposal on decentralization, but also urged to go farther.
The key now is for the new leaders to create political space
for the negotiations by engaging in outreach and confidence
building measures to the Kosovo Serbs, particularly in
resolving property claims, solving outstanding inter-ethnic
criminal cases and implementing decentralization. In short,
Kosovo Albanians need to reach out to Serbs now, and show
them that there is a future for them in Kosovo. END COMMENT.


9. (U) Post clears this message in its entirety for release
to Special Envoy Ahtisaari.
GOLDBERG