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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06SARAJEVO1194 2006-05-26 15:27:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Sarajevo
Cable title:  

BOSNIA: MUTED REACTION TO MONTENEGRO REFERENDUM

Tags:   PGOV PREL BK 
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VZCZCXRO9355
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHVJ #1194 1461527
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 261527Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3596
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC
RUFOAOA/USNIC SARAJEVO
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SARAJEVO 001194 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR D (SMITH), P (BAME), EUR (DICARLO), EUR/SCE
(ENGLISH, FOOKS, MITCHELL, SAINZ), NSC FOR BRAUN, OSD FOR
FLORY, USNIC FOR WEBER AND GREGORIAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/26/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL BK
SUBJECT: BOSNIA: MUTED REACTION TO MONTENEGRO REFERENDUM

Classified By: Ambassador Douglas McElhaney for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).



1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Initial reactions by BiH politicians to
the results of the Montenegrin independence referendum,
announced May 23, have been largely positive and calm in both
entities. As Montenegro was one of the six quasi-autonomous
constituent republics of the former Yugoslavia, virtually all
commentators felt that its citizens had the legal right to
choose independence--in contrast with the people of Kosovo
and the RS, which are and were parts of former republics.
Concerns that some political leaders in the Republika Srpska
(RS) might be inspired to renew calls for an "independent" RS
appear to be unfounded; RS leaders consider Kosovo a much
closer analogy to their situation and will be watching the
negotiations there closely. Bosniak and Croat politicians
generally welcomed the result of the referendum and expressed
their desire for continued positive bilateral relations with
an independent Montenegro. END SUMMARY.

THE RS REACTION



2. (SBU) Igor Radojcic, the Speaker of the RS National
Assembly (RSNA), met with Ranko Krivokapic, the Speaker of
the Montenegro Assembly, on May 23. Radojcic (an ethnic
Montenegrin) congratulated the Montenegrins on their
independence and emphasized that the goals of the RS remain
open borders and full cooperation with their neighbors. Many
politicians in the RS noted that the referendum was merely
formal recognition of the fact that the state of Serbia and
Montenegro existed more on paper than in reality. Dragan
Cavic, RS President and President of the Serb Democratic
Party, praised the outcome of the vote, citing it as an
important reminder that decisions about independence can and
should be made through democratic processes and without
violence. A few far-right organizations equated the RS and
Montenegro and claimed that they would push the international
community to allow a referendum in the RS regarding whether
it wants independence from Bosnia and Herzegovina, but these
voices were not representative of public opinion generally.

THE PRESIDENCY IS SUPPORTIVE



3. (SBU) At the state level, Bosniak member of the BiH
tri-presidency Sulejman Tihic and Chairman of the Council of
Ministers Adnan Terzic both called the referendum "a victory
for Montenegro" and expressed their full support for
Montenegro as an independent state on the road to
Euro-Atlantic integration. Croat tri-presidency member Ivo
Miro Jovic also congratulated Montenegrins and rejected the
suggestion that the results of the referendum could fuel
separatist ambitions of either Kosovar Albanians or Serbs in
the RS.



4. (C) COMMENT: The official BiH response was carefully
tailored to follow the EU's lead. The muted reaction from
the RS (both politicians and public) reflects a paradox:
while they might welcome the validity of a referendum on
status, the Montenegrins voted to sever links to Serbia (and
other Serbs). Meanwhile, nervous Bosniaks are underscoring
that Montenegro's republic status in the former Yugoslavia
means there can be no parallel model for the RS, an integral
part of BiH.

MCELHANEY