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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07BELGRADE171 2007-02-05 16:34:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Belgrade
Cable title:  

REACTION TO AHTISAARI'S BELGRADE VISIT

Tags:   PGOV PREL PBTS PHUM SR MW YI 
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BELGRADE 000171 

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E.O.12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PBTS PHUM SR MW YI
SUBJECT: REACTION TO AHTISAARI'S BELGRADE VISIT




1. (U) Summary: Serbian political leaders have
reacted almost universally negatively to Special
Envoy Ahtisaari's 2/2 status plan. President
Tadic has convened the representatives of all the
parties to a meeting on 2/5 to chart the course
ahead. End Summary



2. (U) Ahtisaari's time in Belgrade was brief
and, other than a small gathering of IDP's
outside the Presidency, without any protests or
disruption. After the sole official meeting with
President Tadic, both Ahtisaari's press
conference and Tadic's public statement received
major press throughout the weekend.



3. (U) Ahtisaari's press conference received
major coverage, highlighting his comments that
the compromise proposal was the result of a
year's intensive work, that he will invite
Belgrade and Pristina to participate in further
"consultations," and that Kosovo's ultimate
status is an issue for the UNSC. All major
electronic and print media reported the major
points of the proposal, as outlined in the UNOSEK
executive summary.



4. (U) Tadic called the proposal "unacceptable"
because it is "contrary to international law" and
would set a "dangerous precedent." He made it
quite clear in his public statements that he had
"informed Marti Ahtisaari that Serbia and I, as
President, will never accept the independence of
Kosovo." He added that the proposal did not
delineate independence for Kosovo but did not
mention Serbia's sovereignty over the region
either, leading Tadic to believe that
independence was a possible outcome. Tadic
hinted that he might be legally prohibited from
engaging in follow-on talks, and has invited all
party leaders to convene on Monday (2/5) so that
he can discuss with them the text of Ahtisaari's
proposal.



5. (U) Having refused to receive Ahtisaari, PM
Kostunica released a statement quickly after the
visit denouncing the proposal as "illegitimate"
on the basis that it "violates the UN Charter and
international law." Kostunica charged Ahtisaari
with exceeding his mandate from the Security
Council, which did not authorize him "to deal
with Serbia's state status and delve into its
sovereignty and territorial integrity."



6. (U) PM Advisor Aleksandar Simic urged over
the weekend that a session of parliament be
convened before the next round of UNOSEK
consultations on February 13, to decide on a new
negotiation team. Simic continued to reinforce
Kostunica's argument that the outgoing government
could only handle technical matters, suggesting
that an all-unity negotiating team, made up of
representatives of all the parties, could be
empowered to negotiate by the parliament until a
government is formed.



7. (U) The Serbian Orthodox Church's Holy Synod
rejected the proposal as "legal violence that
sought to take away by force an invaluable part
of its territory."



8. (U) Statements of support for the proposal
from the Contact Group, EU, NATO, USG (State
Department spokesman), UNMIK, the Macedonian PM
(who met with Kosovo opposition leader Hasim
Thaci over the weekend), all received coverage in
Serbia. German Ambassador Zobel also made
statements to the press, urging the Serbian
government to engage in follow-up talks. Serbian
press also carried statements by Polish President
Kaczynski in support of Belgrade, and continued
discussion of Russia's position: drawing from
Lavrov's recent statements denying that Putin had
said Russia would veto a resolution in the
council, and restating Russia's support for a
negotiated solution.

BELGRADE 00000171 002 OF 002





9. (U) In general, weekend media coverage
supported Serbia's engagement in follow up
negotiations. Representatives from most parties
called for a quick convening of the Serbian
parliament as early as the end of the week to
provide clear guidance on how to proceed.
Publication of recent poll results from the
prestigious firm Strategic Marketing suggested
broad public support for compromise and
negotiations. Even the influential and usually
pro-government daily Politika ran an editorial in
its Sunday edition in support of accepting the
Ahtisaari proposal.



10. (SBU) Comment: As expected, Ahtisaari's visit
has made Kosovo the dominant issue in the ongoing
negotiations to form a government. Every sign
indicates that the DSS will not miss any
opportunity to ratchet up the pressure to
strengthen its hand -- with the press already
speculating that Kostunica may push for a unity
government that would include all parties.

POLT