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07BRATISLAVA662 2007-12-13 16:03:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bratislava
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DE RUEHSL #0662/01 3471603
O 131603Z DEC 07
					C O N F I D E N T I A L BRATISLAVA 000662 




E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/30/2017


Classified By: Ambassador Vincent Obsitnik, for Reasons 1.4 b and d.

1. (C) Summary. EUR DAS Rosemary DiCarlo met separately on
November 29 with Slovak Foreign Minister Jan Kubis, MFA
Political Director Roman Buzek, Head of the Parliamentary
Foreign Affairs Committee Boris Zala, and former Slovak
Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan to discuss next steps on
Kosovo, Bosnia, and Macedonia. While conceding that Slovakia
was unlikely to recognize an independent Kosovo. FM Kubis
reaffirmed GOS commitment to stay in KFOR and to participate
in an ESDP mission. He outlined in greater detail than in
previous meetings what Slovakia sought in the way of legal
assurances and formulations to ensure its participation in
these missions, as well as to maintain its liaison office in
Pristina. In this vein, Kubis stressed the need for a firm
commitment on the part of the Kosovars to work constructively
with the international community and to treat all EU states
with a presence in Kosovo on an equal basis, irrespective of
recognition. Kubis urged that everything possible be done to
lay the groundwork for an ESDP mission prior to a Kosovar
declaration of independence, including an invitation from the
UN Secretary General to the EU and a statement from him
confirming UNSCR 1244's continued validity, so that no one
(e.g., the Slovak Parliament) could question the basis of the
deployment. Zala and Kukan expressed disappointment, if not
surprise, at the outcome of the talks. They also expressed
the view (as did Kubis) that the negotiating process had been
stacked heavily against the Serbs, whom they argued had made
genuine, albeit not major, attempts to bridge the gap between
the two parties. Nonetheless, despite their clear unease and
unhappiness with the outcome of the talks and the prospect of
an independent Kosovo, Kubis and the others made clear that
Slovakia intends to deal constructively with the situation on
the ground and not to hamper the EU majority's recognition of
a "coordinated declaration of independence." End Summary.

DiCarlo-Kubis Meeting


2.(C) In his remarks to DAS DiCarlo, FM Kubis did not
backtrack on recent statements to the Ambassador regarding
Slovakia's commitment to behave constructively in the
post-December 10 Kosovo process. The GOS remains committed
to KFOR and ESDP. That said, the tone of Kubis's comments
was harsher than it has been of late and was clearly intended
to convey the depth of the government's displeasure with the
lack of agreement and of any prospects for a UNSCR. Kubis
opened by noting that it was his impression that while the
Serbs had tried to move the talks forward, the Kosovar
Albanians had merely stood their ground on independence. He
then enumerated the risks associated with Kosovar
independence: most notably, the possibility of regional
instability, but also challenges to international law and
multilateral diplomacy and institutions. That said, he
concluded, "we have to face realities." DAS DiCarlo pushed
back firmly on Kubis's assessment of the talks, noting that
Serb offers would have denied decision-making authority to
the Kosovars on the key competencies. Frankly speaking
DiCarlo added, having endorsed the Ahtisaari plan last
spring, it would have been hard for the European Union and
the United States o walk back from some form of independence
for Kosovos. She added that we sought a "coordinated
declaration of independence" (CDI) in Kosovo, not a
unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) that was
uncoordinated with key international partners..

3.(C) Kubis stressed the need for greater clarity on the
status of UNSCR 1244. He agreed with DiCarlo's analysis that
1244 remains in effect until and unless the UNSC declares
otherwise, but noted that a statement from the UN Secretary
General to this effect would be very useful. UNSCR 1244 is
the only basis for Slovak participation in KFOR and ESDP. As
the responsible authority, the UN Secretary General should
invite EU participation in Kosovo; an "invitation" from the
Kosovar authorities would be very difficult for Slovakia to
acknowledge. As he has on previous occasions, Kubis stressed
the importance of timing for the GOS. Kubis wants the ESDP
issue settled before UDI, so that "no one can question" the
legal basis. Kubis urged a thorough evaluation of the
ramifications of UDI, so that "we can maintain maximum
unity." With a solid legal basis, he added, "we can walk
together and work together" on everything save the question
of recognition. While reiterarting the GOS could not
recognize CDI immediately, he did not rule out eventual

4.(C) DAS DiCarlo noted that UNSYG Ban believes that the

status quo is not sustainable and wants to be as helpful as
possible in laying the groundwork for a new international
presence in Kosovo. Despite resistance from Russia, DiCarlo
said she was confident that the UN will act to ensure that
the international community has the proper mandates in
Kosovo. She expected that a scaled back UNMIK mission likely
would remain, and stressed the need to maintain an OSCE
presence. If Russia and Serbia block OMIK, as is likely, its
competencies would need to be absorbed by another mission.
UNMIK has done all it can, but what Kosovo needed now was the
type of capacity-building capabilities that an ESDP mission
and the nascent Civilian office would provide. The U.S. will
contribute 100 police officers to the ESDP Mission, as well
as judges and and prosecutors. Regarding a Kosovar
invitation, DiCarlo argued that the U.S. sees it as a means
of securing Kosovo's commitment to work constructively with
the international community.

5. (C) DiCarlo said that the Kosovar leaders understood the
need for close cooperation with the international community
and had provided assurances along those line, but added that
the Kosovar people might not be so patient. Kubis noted that
this was a positive step, adding that radicals in both
Pristina and Belgrade must understand that there is no room
for provocation. With an eye to selling Slovakia's
participation in Kosovo operations to the Slovak Parliament,
Kubis again noted that the Kosovars should "welcome," not
"invite" international engagement, and commit to cooperation.
This would be a good solution to the issue. A continued UN
presence would provide the coverage Slovakia and some other
states would need. He added that the Kosovars should make no
distinction between those states that have recognized Kosovo
and those that have not. This should be a clear and public
stance; any other approach could jeopardize Slovakia's
presence. When questioned about alternative courses of action
other than swift implementation of the Ahtisaari Plan, Kubis
stated his preference for a supervised interim phase in which
the Kosovars would take steps to comply with the Ahtisaari
Settlement and after which the international community could
-- based on the progress -- bless independence. Responding
to DiCarlo's description of the internal Kosovo dynamic (and
implictly acknowledging the unlikeliness of this scenario) he
said curtly: "I know they (the Albanians) are impatient, but
I don't buy it. Let them wait." He added that it would be
difficult to have the Kosovars in the OSCE or in the UN, at
least initially. "This is the price they pay for UDI." Kubis
pledged to counsel restraint on all sides during his December
2-4 visit to Belgrade, Pristina and Mitrovica.

Buzek Meeting


6. (C) DAS DiCarlo opened the discussion with an update on
the situation in Bosnia and a call for firm EU support for
Bosnia HiRep Lajcak. In addition to the internal problems
within the BiH, outside interference from Belgrade and Moscow
is further complicating the situation. We need to send a
clear message that this is unacceptable. Buzek responded
that Slovakia is "3 times more concerned" about instability
in Bosnia, given its proximity to the region. Fragmentation
of Bosnia along ethnic lines could have negative effects far
beyond Europe. The GOS has urged the Bosnian Serbs,
including during the recent visit of former PM Spiric to
Bratislava, to act in a "European" way and to support HiRep

7. (C) On Kosovo, Buzek responded to DiCarlo's request for
cooperation during the upcoming UNSC session on Kosovo by
saying that "You may rely on Slovakia. We will not spoil the
game...we want a united approach between the EU and U.S."
Quick, coordinated efforts on the ground are essential to
precluding unpredictable developments. While Slovakia would
prefer a UNSC, "we are realists." Buzek repeated earlier
complaints about lagging EU preparations, noting with some
irony that come December 10 the EU would be considering "road
maps" for an ESDP mission; it would not be in a position to
approve it. He offered his view that the upcoming Slovenian
Presidency would be more active, but might be limited in some
ways by their emotional ties to the region. When an ESDP
Mission is approved, Slovakia is prepared to deploy
immediately 8 police officers to Serb areas of Kosovo.
Echoing Kubis, Buzek drew a bright line between ESDP and
recognizing an independent Kosovo. ESDP demonstrates Slovak
commitment to stability in the region; UDI is a completely
different matter. Asked whether an emphasis by the
international community on the "sui generis" nature of Kosovo
might help facilitate eventual Slovak recognition of Kosovo,
Buzek responded affirmatively. We aren't acting in a vacuum,
Buzek stated, and Slovakia doesn't want to be the last EU

state to recognize Kosovo, but the way the process unfolds
will be very important.

8. (C) DAS DiCarlo reported with concern statements by
Serbian President Tadic and FM Jeremic that Serbia would
respond to any unilateral actions on the part of Kosovo.
While she was confident that the Serbs would not respond
militarily -- even though Kostunica has not explicitly ruled
out the use of force -- Belgrade was discussing options such
as embargoes, sanctions and electricity cutoffs. According
to DiCarlo, while such measures would hurt Kosovo, they will
be more damaging to Serbia. The radicalization of Serbian
politics and the single-minded focus of Serb politicians on
Kosovo was contributing to an unfortunate, downward spiral.
Meanwhile, DiCarlo noted, the Russians are playing a
pernicious role in the region. The U.S. and EU members would
be talking to the Russians in the coming weeks on the way
forward, but we were realistic and did not expect a
constructive approach from Russia.

9. (C) Buzek and DiCarlo spoke briefly about Macedonia's
NATO candidacy. Buzek reported that during the recent visit
of the Macedonian PM, FM Kubis bluntly warned that Macedonia
needed to redouble its efforts to fulfill NATO criteria. A
false sense of confidence has led the Macedonians to be
lackadaisical, assuming -- as the Slovaks mistakenly did in
the mid-1990's - that NATO would be willing to overlook
aspects of its performance because of geogstrategic concerns.
DiCarlo and Buzek agreed, that, contrary to expectations,
Albania had surpassed Macedonia's performance. At the same
time, Slovakia has also told the Greeks that the name issue
should not be permitted to block Allies from making a
decision that affects the security of the region.

The View from Parliament


10. (C) Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Boris Zala
(a member of Prime Minister Fico's Smer party) lamented that,
in his view, Serbia was being forced to accept the
politically and historically unacceptable: Kosovar
independence. A resigned (about Kosovar independence) Zala
thinks this outcome is fraught with future dangers and is
particularly concerned about the precedent it could set for
other national minorities. Yet, the bulk of his comments
were focused on the need -- particularly for the EU -- to
manage the situation. Zala advocates a lengthy period of
internationally-supervised independence. He is convinced
that a long-term EU presence will be required in order to
maintain stability in Kosovo and to develop its institutions.
DAS DiCarlo agreed that, at least initially, Kosovo should be
supervised and expressed confidence that the international
community will be able to set up the right kind of presence
with the right kind of authority. Responding to points Zala
had made about Serbian autonomy proposals, DiCarlo noted that
the kind of autonomy Serbia had offered was fundamentally
undemocratic, as the Kosovars would have had no
decision-making authority on any of the competencies Serbia
reserved for itself. Furthermore, this approach was
unrealistic given the fact that Serbia has not exercised any
authority over Kosovo for years.

11. (C) DiCarlo reprised this theme in her meeting with SDKU
MP and former Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan, after he
recounted a comment by Kostunica that Serbia had offered
Kosovo "ninety-five percent independence." Kukan alluded to
the careful line his successor must walk in order to balance
the government's desire to be in sync with EU partners while
being mindful of strong domestic sentiment against Kosovo
independence. (Comment: SDKU,former PM Dzurinda's party, was
a driving force behind the Slovak Parliament's unhelpful
resolution on Kosovo last Spring.) Kukan pledged, however,
that SDKU -- whose bona fides had been proven under much
tougher circumstances -- would, while taking Slovakia's
national interests into account, take a realistic stance on
Kosovo. (Comment: We believe Kukan "gets it" on Kosovo and
does not want to compromise Slovakia's responsible role in
the world over Kosovo. However, Dzurinda will determine his
party's stance, and we cannot rule out that Dzurinda will
want to make more hay out of the issue strictly for domestic
purposes. All that said, DAS DiCarlo's engagement with Kukan
was a positive and very useful step in managing Slovakia's
stance. End Comment.)