|07BELGRADE1181||2007-08-24 08:42:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Belgrade|
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BELGRADE 001181
1. (SBU) Summary: Dusan Prorokovic, State Secretary of Serbia's
Kosovo Ministry, told us that Kosovo Minister Slobodan Samardzic and
Foreign Minister Jeremic will participate in August 30 discussions
with the Kosovo Troika in Vienna and that the GOS will announce the
names of the others in the delegation once it better understands the
format for the talks. Raising the matter of public statements on
NATO and Kosovo security that various Serbian government officials
have made recently, Prorokovic downplayed their importance and
professed surprise that they had provoked concern in Kosovo or
foreign capitals. Prorokovic said that Belgrade will bring "fresh
ideas" to Vienna, likely outlining a Serbian definition of autonomy
for Kosovo within Serbia. End Summary.
2. (SBU) On August 21, Dusan Prorokovic, State Secretary for
Serbia's Ministry for Kosovo, told poloff that the GOS awaits the
Kosovo Troika's (KT) response to its inquiries about the format of
the upcoming talks in Vienna. Prorokovic said that the GOS has
formally asked about the format on two occasions, once during their
August 10 meeting in Belgrade and, later, directly of Ischinger's
office in Berlin. Prorokovic said that the GOS will make decisions
about the composition of the delegation based on the format, but
said that KosMin Samardzic and FM Jeremic will participate, in any
3. (SBU) Prorokovic said that the Troika's August 10 visit to Serbia
made a "good first impression" on the GOS and said that this new
round of negotiations provides a "new opportunity for Serbia," since
Ahtisaari "ignored" Belgrade during the UNOSEK process. He said it
was a "good sign" that the Troika "seemed ready to hear new ideas."
Prorokovic said that the GOS turned down a request from EU Envoy
Wolfgang Ischinger for a solo visit to Belgrade, subsequent to the
August 10 meeting, judging it appropriate only to meet with the
Troika, but might not object to Ischinger visiting in a non-Troika
capacity. Prorokovic reiterated that the GOS views the Troika's
December 10 report to the UN Secretary General as "only an interim
report" and not the conclusion of negotiations.
4. (SBU) Asked about possible new ideas from Belgrade, Prorokovic
said that the GOS has some but does not want to weaken its
negotiating position by publicizing them prior to the meeting. He
suggested, nonetheless, that the GOS is considering new definitions
of Kosovo autonomy including "independent relations" with
international financial institutions (IFIs). He cited as possible
models Taiwan's relations with the World Bank and IMF and Bosnia's
Brcko district regarding "issues of citizenship, relationships with
IFIs, and a territory without customs." (Note: A local UN
representative told us Prorokovic mentioned the same issues to him
in a different meeting, and he pressed Prorokovic further, asking if
Serbia would accept Kosovo having its own telephone, airport (ICAO)
or banking (SWIFT) codes. Prorokovic answered "no" to each. End
note.) Prorokovic hinted that the GOS has also looked at the Faroe
Islands' relationship to Denmark and the Basques' to Spain, and may
raise these examples at the Troika negotiations.
5. (SBU) Prorokovic said that the GOS is "concerned" that upcoming
elections in Kosovo will "distract" Pristina during the negotiations
and the sides "will lose months." Responding to questions about a
similar impact of Belgrade's presidential and local elections, which
might also take place during the negotiations, Prorokovic said that
he did not expect parliament to pass the laws necessary to hold
elections before December.
Defending against NATO?
6. (SBU) Prorokovic said that the GOS will likely raise in Vienna
their objections to efforts to establish a "NATO state" in Kosovo.
Reiterating complaints that he and senior DSS and GOS officials made
in the preceding days, he maintained that NATO, empowered by Annex
XI of the Ahtisaari plan, is authorized "unregulated military
control" of Kosovo, wants to set up a "state ...without civilian
oversight" Prorokovic said there are "irregularities" already
regarding NATO's role in Kosovo and implied that there are
"unregistered flights" into and out of Kosovo and "serious questions
about [the legal status of] Camp Bondsteel." He brushed aside the
fact that NATO is comprised of democratic states with civilian
oversight of their militaries.
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...Against Security Threats
7. (SBU) Prorokovic brought up Prime Minister advisor Aleksandar
Simic's recent controversial suggestion that Serbia redeploy
security forces to Kosovo. The government aired this idea, he said,
in response to KFOR Commander General Kather's warning, as carried
widely by the press on August 14, that the security situation Kosovo
"will deteriorate" if 120 days of talks do not lead to a status
decision. Prorokovic said that the GOS "had to respond" and assert
that the GOS would be ready to step in if KFOR could not fulfill its
mandate to ensure security in Kosovo. He said that, while this was
the first time that the current Government had suggested such
measures, representatives of previous Governments of Serbia (e.g.
Deputy PM Covic) had requested authorization to return troops to
Kosovo. Prorokovic suggested Banjska Monastery as an appropriate
area to "test" deployment, despite the fact that he could not
identify security concerns for Kosovo Serbs there. He hinted that
Gracanica was "at risk," but that admitted a deployment there would
be "impossible." In the end, he retreated to UNSCR 1244 "which
allows us to do this."
Same Old "Fresh Ideas"
8. (SBU) Comment: Belgrade views these new talks as an inherent
victory and the incarnation of the Ahtisaari Plan's failure.
Prorokovic, Samardzic's mouthpiece and operations man, indicates
that Belgrade's "fresh ideas" will simply address how to define
Kosovo's autonomy within Serbia. His lack of specifics about the
Serbia's team composition and any concrete, realistic proposals
suggests that the GOS negotiating strategy remains a work in
progress. Belgrade's anti-NATO vituperation and provocative
proposals to send in the security forces, however, set the tone for
less than constructive engagement. End comment.