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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06PRISTINA507 2006-06-13 16:01:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Pristina
Cable title:  

KOSOVO: PROTOCOL ON RETURN WITH SERBIA SIGNED AND

Tags:   PREF PGOV PREL UNMIK YI 
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FM USOFFICE PRISTINA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6209
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0724
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 000507 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DRL, INL, EUR/SCE, AND EUR/SSA, NSC FOR BRAUN,
USUN FOR DREW SCHUFLETOWSKI, USOSCE FOR STEVE STEGER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PGOV PREL UNMIK YI
SUBJECT: KOSOVO: PROTOCOL ON RETURN WITH SERBIA SIGNED AND
SEALED, BUT RETURNS REMAIN IN DOUBT


PRISTINA 00000507 001.2 OF 002


Sensitive, But Unclassified; Please Protect Accordingly



1. (SBU) SUMMARY: After almost two years of negotiations,
the Provisional Institutions of Self Government in Kosovo
(PISG), the Government of Serbia and UNMIK signed a Protocol
on Voluntary and Sustainable Return on June 6, 2006. UNMIK
pressed hard to get the protocol signed before SRSG Soren
Jessen-Petersen's June 20 report to the U.N. Security
Council. Despite the relatively low official ranks of the
signatories, the protocol is significant because it marks the
first PISG agreement to facilitate resettlement in places
other than place of origin. The final document contains
language safeguarding against the creation of new
politically-motivated ethnic enclaves. END SUMMARY.



2. (U) On June 6, SRSG Soren Jessen-Petersen joined Belgrade
and Pristina representatives in signing a Protocol on
Voluntary and Sustainable Return. The protocol, negotiated
over the past two years, was finally hammered out on the
margins of the May 23 meeting in Vienna on cultural heritage
and approved by the Kosovo government on May 31. The two
main sticking points had always been what kind of provision
would be made for returns by Serbs to other than their place
of origin in Kosovo and what entity would sign the agreement
(UNMIK or the PISG) and at what level.



3. (SBU) Kosovo chief negotiator Dardan Gashi, an advisor to
Deputy Prime Minister Lutfi Haziri, told visiting RefCoord on
June 5 that the protocol breaks new ground by committing the
PISG to providing assistance for the return of Serbs and
other minorities currently in Serbia to other than their
place of origin in Kosovo. Gashi signed the document on
behalf of the PISG and Milorad Todorovic -- the former PISG
returns advisor who is now deputy head of the Belgrade-based
Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohija (CCK) -- signed
on behalf of the Government of Serbia. Minister for
Communities and Returns Slavisa Petkovic was critical of both
Pristina and Belgrade officials for having the protocol's
negotiators sign on behalf of the two governments. He told
RefCoord on June 1 that as the Kosovo government minister
responsible for returns, he should sign the protocol or it
would be a "worthless political document," and was reportedly
annoyed Gashi and Todorovic eventually signed it.



4. (SBU) The six-page agreement does include language on
which Pristina insisted that could prevent large, organized
returns to Serb enclaves that could otherwise be orchestrated
by the CCK to concentrate Kosovo's Serb minority. The
protocol provides that internally displaced persons may
settle or locally integrate in "freely chosen alternative
places within Kosovo" but that the decision to pursue
alternative solutions to return must be "taken truly
voluntarily, on an individual basis and without any
pressure." It also contains a provision whereby the parties
to the protocol (UNMIK and the governments of both Kosovo and
Serbia) "will not impact negatively on efforts to create
conditions for allowing those internally displaced who
continue to wish to return voluntarily to their homes to do
so." While aimed primarily at the Kosovo government, this
provision could also be construed as a restriction on CCK
efforts to convince returnees to eschew return to their place
of origin in favor of majority Serb areas.



5. (SBU) COMMENT: The signing of the protocol, even by
working-level officials, is a step forward in coordination
between the two governments. It occurred in the midst of
difficult final status talks and is certainly a plus for SRSG
Jessen-Petersen as he prepares to brief the UNSC on Kosovo
June 20. Jessen-Petersen noted in his June 12 press
conference, at which he announced his resignation as SRSG
effective June 30, that he regretted not having been able to
do enough to return internally displaced Serbs to Kosovo, but
hoped that the new protocol will result in progress.
Although the protocol allows for return to other than place
of origin, the Kosovo government has already included
provisions in its proposed returns strategy that would limit

PRISTINA 00000507 002.2 OF 002


its assistance to returns to secondary residences or to land
owned before January 1, 2006. The Kosovo government is
betting that Belgrade does not have the staying-power or the
money to engineer the type of organized returns to contiguous
Serb enclaves that Pristina fears. END COMMENT.



6. (U) U.S. Office Pristina clears this cable for release in
its entirety to U.S. Special Envoy for Kosovo Martti
Ahtisaari.
GOLDBERG