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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08PRISTINA176 2008-04-03 15:10:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Pristina
Cable title:  

SERBIAN ELECTIONS IN KOSOVO: OPTIONS SHAPING UP

Tags:   PGOV UNMIK KV 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRISTINA 000176 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR, EUR/SCE, DRL, INL, AND S/WCI, NSC FOR BRAUN,
USUN FOR DREW SCHUFLETOWSKI, USOSCE FOR STEVE STEGER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/03/2018
TAGS: PGOV UNMIK KV
SUBJECT: SERBIAN ELECTIONS IN KOSOVO: OPTIONS SHAPING UP


Classified By: COM TINA KAIDANOW FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)



1. (C) SUMMARY: UNMIK is still pondering its options with
regard to the unauthorized conduct of Serbian parliamentary
and municipal elections in Kosovo on May 11, though it
appears to be edging closer to a position that would neither
obstruct nor facilitate the conduct of elections, as per past
practice. In this concept, UNMIK would hold to a position
that municipal elections carried out under Serbian government
auspices in Kosovo is a violation of UNSCR 1244, but as a
practical matter would not move to prevent Serbs from
conducting the balloting. UNMIK would retain the option of
either declaring the municipal results completely invalid or
conceivably factoring them into a subsequent decision
empowering UNMIK-approved authorities in the three northern
Serb-majority municipalities and the two mixed municipalities
in the south, all of which were left with temporary
arrangements in the aftermath of the Serb boycott of November
2007 Kosovo municipal elections.



2. (C) Summary, cont. In our view, there is almost no
chance of finding any accommodation that would satisfy both
UNMIK's objectives and Belgrade's and allow a pre-emptive
UNMIK blessing for these elections. Belgrade will almost
certainly wish to hold these elections in a variety of
locations completely at odds with Ahtisaari provisions and
also are intent on ensuring that the resulting Serb municipal
authorities -- completely separate from Kosovo authorities in
the same municipalities -- answer solely to Serbian
government institutions. Initial conversations with Kosovo's
Prime Minister, President and Assembly Speaker have found
them understanding, if not fully enthused, about the emerging
approach; both they and we are urging quicker UNMIK action
and decision making to at least provide some understanding to
the Kosovo public of the way forward. End Summary.

UNMIK Policy Approach Slowly -- Too Slowly -- Emerging



3. (C) The absence of SRSG Ruecker from Pristina for two
weeks and the events of March 17 distracted UNMIK from
devising a consistent and logical response to the
unauthorized conduct of Serbian parliamentary and municipal
elections in Kosovo, announced by the Serbian government for
May 11. With Ruecker's return April 1, attention has finally
focused on the issue, though UNMIK has yet to finalize its
position. Meeting with Contact Group representatives on
April 2, Ruecker noted that it was still unclear what the
precise intent of the Serbian government was in relation to
these elections, and said that UNMIK's first step would be to
query Belgrade on its specific plans. CG reps -- including
the Russian -- pointed out that the apparent divisions within
the Serbian government on Kosovo issues might prevent a
speedy or unified answer, and urged UNMIK to make plain its
own position, in order to give Belgrade and the Kosovars an
indication of UNMIK's own expectations.



4. (C) In private conversation with the SRSG and with his
executive assistant, Andriani Mortoglou, it is clearer that
UNMIK's thinking is converging around the idea of neither
obstructing nor facilitating Serbian elections, as in past
practice, but holding to a position that the results of such
an election will have no legitimacy in Kosovo except insofar
as UNMIK itself considers those results in authorizing new
municipal authorities in the north and the two mixed-ethnic
municipalities in the south.



5. (C) Ruecker and Mortoglou speculated that it might in the
best of circumstances be possible to win tacit agreement from
Belgrade that Serbian-sponsored elections be conducted in a
limited number of municipalities rather than the full range
of places in Kosovo where Serbs dwell (Pec, Obilic, Ljipljan
-- these and other places have small Serb populations but
were never conceived by Ahtisaari to be new Serb-majority
municipalities), but acknowledged that it would be impossible
to reconcile the competing imperatives of UNMIK and Belgrade
or sanction in essence the creation of separate, mono-ethnic
assemblies in such mixed locales as Novo Brdo and Strpce.
COM urged Ruecker and Mortoglou to finalize their approach

PRISTINA 00000176 002 OF 002


expeditiously and make clear to both Belgrade and the Kosovo
leadership UNMIK's views; otherwise, the field would be left
to Serbian government officials to pronounce on their plans,
leaving Kosovo Albanians increasingly angry and thereby
frustrating any approach that leans on the "don't obstruct,
don't facilitate" model.

Kosovo Leaders Resigned, if not Enthused



6. (C) Stressing that there was as yet no agreed approach by
UNMIK or the international community on the question of
Serbian elections in Kosovo, COM broached the subject with
Prime Minister Thaci, President Sejdiu and Assembly Speaker
Krasniqi -- each of whom had evinced mounting anxiety over
how to cope with increased public unhappiness at the prospect
of Serbian municipal balloting. COM noted that in the
absence of any agreement between UNMIK and Belgrade on
conducting these elections, an agreement unlikely to be
reached given vastly differing objectives, the "don't
obstruct, don't facilitate" approach was the most practical.
Each of the three leaders, though unenthused at the prospect
of such elections being permitted at all, understood that
there was no appetite to provoke a confrontation with Serb
communities and no ability to physically prevent the conduct
of balloting. Sejdiu was particularly concerned at the
prospect of setting a legal precedent by UNMIK's accepting
any of the results as legitimate; COM pointed out that UNMIK
would likely only consider using the results in specific
circumstances and only on its own authority, and she noted
that the issue of legal precedent was less compelling than
the need to find a practical way out of what could
potentially amount to a crisis if not handled carefully.
Sejdiu acknowledged this.



7. (C) Comment: We continue to urge UNMIK to decide on the
way forward and make its intentions clear to all parties, so
that acceptance can begin, even if slowly and grudgingly, on
the Kosovo Albanian side and so that appropriate
international actors, including KFOR, can make plans
accordingly and work to support the UNMIK approach. There is
no solution that will accommodate all concerns or make the
Albanians fully happy, but if we work quickly enough the
fallout from the elections can be handled without open
conflict or contention. End Comment.
KAIDANOW