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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07BELGRADE1472 2007-10-30 12:56:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Belgrade
Cable title:  

SERBIA'S DSS DECLARES MILITARY NEUTRALITY

Tags:   PGOV PREL MARR KV SR 
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RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBW #1472/01 3031256
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 301256Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BELGRADE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1682
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BELGRADE 001472 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR KV SR
SUBJECT: SERBIA'S DSS DECLARES MILITARY NEUTRALITY

REF: BELGRADE 1450

SUMMARY
-------



1. (U) The Democratic Party of Serbia of Prime Minister Vojislav
Kostunica on October 28 adopted a declaration supporting military
neutrality for Serbia. The declaration, while dramatic, in fact,
allows for the possibility of Serbia entering a military alliance by
public referendum. For the moment, coalition partners, who see
Serbia's future built on European integration and Euro-Atlantic
alliances, are treading softly around the issue. With Kosovo status
and presidential elections looming large, their agenda is already
full of neuralgia triggers, without adding a debate on NATO. Unless
or until DSS tries to move this from a party platform to a
government policy, the President and his party will likely defer
this debate, while moving cautiously forward with PfP planning. An
unofficial translation of the declaration is provided in para 7.
End summary.

DSS Affirms Military Neutrality in Party Platform


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



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





2. (U) The Democratic Party of Serbia's (DSS) main board unanimously
adopted military neutrality for Serbia as a plank in its party
platform, October 28. "Military neutrality in relation to the
existing military alliances represents the best and most reliable
way for Serbia to preserve its state sovereignty, integrity, and
independence," the declaration states. The declaration stipulates
that Serbia may enter into a military alliance only by decision of a
public referendum. The text does not explicitly bar Serbia's
cooperation with other countries on common security issues.



3. (SBU) The declaration restates as party policy the position
against NATO membership that Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica
outlined during the October 14 DSS party conference (reftel) and
that DSS members have publicly echoed in recent weeks. Dragan
Sormaz, DSS member of the Parliament's Defense and Security
Committee, told visiting NATO state parliamentarians on October 25
that Serbia should not join any military alliance. "Why criticize
us for wanting to be neutral," Sormaz said to the parliamentarians
and diplomats. Sormaz pointed to Austria as a potential model for
neutrality, citing Austrian cooperation with NATO in the PFP
program. Austria also is an example of a non-NATO member of the
EU.

Defining Neutrality


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





4. (U) Local media is trying to figure out the practical
implications of the DSS brand of neutrality. Gordana Logar,
columnist of the independent daily "Danas," wrote in her October 29
column that one might view the DSS declaration in the context of the
DSS relationships with coalition partners and with Russia. Logar
speculated that the DSS declaration was meant to ease Moscow's
concerns about Serbia's intention to sign a Stabilization and
Association Agreement with the European Union. Logar questioned
whether the DSS brand of neutrality would preclude or limit military
cooperation or membership in associations. Logar also questioned
whether neutrality would limit the government from active
involvement in the affairs of Republika Srpska. She also mentioned
that Serbia's only current military engagement was with the United
States -- with the Ohio National Guard.



5. (SBU) While analysts and politicians are still trying to
determine the impact of the DSS declaration, Democratic Party (DS)
members are somewhat dismissive. DS MP and member of the
Parliament's Defense and Security Committee Konstantin Samofalov
told poloff on October 29 that the announcement "gained cheap
political points." Samofalov noted, however, that the political
isolation that neutrality suggests would be a setback for the
country. Serbia could not "stay in a black hole" when all its
neighbors wanted to be NATO members. Samofalov said he presumed
that the DSS concept of neutrality posed obstacles only to NATO
membership, "but with the DSS one never knows," he said.



6. (SBU) Belgrade-based think tanks also were trying to read between
the lines of the declaration; the text of the document left some
unimpressed. President of the International and Security Affairs
Center, Pavle Jankovic, told poloff on October 29 that the DSS
position "neglects an understanding of what neutrality means these
days." The DSS does not appreciate the challenge of neutrality,
which requires a country to provide for one's citizens what
otherwise could be provided for more easily through international
obligations, Jankovic said. Jankovic surmised that the DSS position
was primarily drafted for domestic political impact, but speculated
that it also played well for Russia, setting Serbia to aggravate
U.S. and EU plans for Europe whole, free, and at peace.

Moving forward Slowly with PFP


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




BELGRADE 00001472 002 OF 002




5. (SBU) Government officials suggest that the DSS neutrality will
slow Serbia's participation in NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP).
Director for MFA's NATO Office, Milan Gojkovic, told poloff on
October 25 that, as a result of DSS's position, the MFA and MOD were
carefully selecting PfP events and would devise a
"non-controversial" Individual Partnership Plan (IPP) for Serbia's
PfP participation that will assure coalition approval. The GOS
would present its IPP to NATO on December 4, Gojkovic said.

Comment


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





6. (SBU) Neutrality sits comfortably with those nostalgic for
Yugoslavia's non-aligned past, but it does not bode well for the
country's future. That Kostunica and his party advance an anti-NATO
agenda is neither surprising nor new. To couch this agenda in terms
of neutrality is new. And while neutrality might secure political
and hydrocarbon support for Serbia from distant Russia, it would
leave the country alone in the Balkans as a non-participant in the
international security sector. End Comment.

Translation of DSS Declaration on Military Neutrality


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



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





7. (U) Begin Translation



1. Military neutrality in relation to existing military alliances
represents the best and most reliable way for Serbia to preserve its
state sovereignty, integrity and independence as the basis for free
and total progress and to provide a dignified life for its citizens.




2. Military neutrality is the most secure guarantee for peace, while
a policy of military neutrality is the best way for the development
and improvement of Serbia in accordance to its own interests.



3. Military neutrality represents the expression of Serbia's sincere
choice against policies of force, threats to world peace, aggression
and war.



4. Choosing a policy of peace, development and preservation of
internal and international security is proof that military
neutrality is not, nor can it be, directed against other countries,
and best testifies to Serbia's readiness to equally cooperate with
all the countries in the world that respect the universal principles
of international law embodied in the UN Charter.



5. Military neutrality does not exclude the possibility of Serbia's
cooperation with other countries in the interest of common and
general security and allows Serbia to develop its own security
system in accordance with its national and state interests, aimed at
the democratic, peaceful and stable development of Serbia.



6. Giving up the principle of military neutrality and joining the
NATO Pact would require Serbia to take part in wars that are not in
its interest, limiting its freedom and freedom of political
decision, threatening the lives of its citizens and overburdening
the internal reform and progress of the country.



7. No one is entitled, nor has the right, to pass the decision for
Serbia to join any military alliance without the approval of the
citizens, who can pass such a decision exclusively by referendum.

End Translation.

BRUSH