DE RUEHTH #2251/01 2421003
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301003Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY ATHENS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6601
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHPS/USOFFICE PRISTINA PRIORITY 0282 C O N F I D E N T I A L ATHENS 002251
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/29/2016
SUBJECT: KOSOVO: GREEK MFA ON STATUS NEGOTIATIONS
REF: A) STATE 136492 B) PRISTINA 687
Classified By: DCM TOM COUNTRYMAN. REASON: 1.4 (B) AND (D).
1. (C) SUMMARY: DCM met with the director of the MFA's
Balkans unit, Ambassador Michael Christides, on August 29 to
review ref a points on the Kosovo status negotiations.
Christides -- who will meet with DAS DiCarlo in Washington
the week of September 4 -- favored a "transition period" in
order to prevent "radicalization" in Serbia and focused on
the importance of a civilian mission with executive powers as
part of an eventual settlement. Christides also suggested
that "carrots" for the Serb side would make a settlement more
palatable, noting that the GOG was already preparing a draft
"action plan" for its own use with Serbia. FM Bakoyannis
plans to travel to Belgrade and Pristina the week of
September 11 in advance of her trip to the U.S.; Christides's
visit to Washington will be an opportunity to influence her
message. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) DCM outlined Ref A points, underscoring that there
was no realistic alternative to an independent Kosovo in
order to ensure stability in the region. The U.S. foresaw a
Kosovo which would continue to be governed from Pristina,
with substantial devolution of competencies to
Serbian-majority principalities. Support from the
international community -- including thorugh a new civilian
mission with sufficient executive powers to implement a
settlement -- would be essential. But both sides needed to
do more. Kosovar Albanians needed to increase their
commitment to rule of law and protection of non-Albanian
minorities; Belgrade needed to show more flexibility and
encourage Kosovar Serbs to participate in institutions. He
emphasized the role Greece could play in encouraging Belgrade
to be more practical in the negotiations. Drawing on ref B,
DCM pointed to U.S.-funded projects in three Serb
municipalities as well as north Mitrovica, projects which had
been greeted positively by community leaders.
CHRISTIDES: TRANSITION PERIOD IMPORTANT
3. (C) Christides agreed that Ahtisaari was likely to
recommend some form of independence for Kosovo. But a
transition period would be important -- not only to allow the
Kosovars to confront immediate problems, but also to mitigate
Serb "humiliation." Christides was concerned about
Belgrade's reaction, citing creeping "radicalization" in
Serbia. Above all, the international community should avoid
giving the impression that it had tilted a solution toward
the Kosovo Albanians because of the implicit threat of
Albanian-instigated violence or because it believed a
thwarted Belgrade would be less difficult to placate in the
aftermath of a settlement.
FM TRAVEL TO BELGRADE, PRISTINA
4. (C) Christides argued that an "action plan" to help
Serbia would be essential. The Greek MFA has drafted a
document outlining possible multilateral and bilateral
initiatives. FM Bakoyannis planned to discuss the
still-unfinished draft with Serb leaders during her upcoming
visit to Pristina and Belgrade -- currently scheduled for
the week of September 11 (prior to her travel to New York for
the UNGA. Greece will be president of the Security Council
during September.) Possible initiatives included raising the
level of EU dialogue with Belgrade (for example, regular
consultations with the Troika) and a more generous visa
regime for travel to EU states. Serbia also needed to be
brought into security fora, including via a closer
relationship with NATO. Finally, Christides suggested an
IC-sponsored "donor's conference" for Serbia to help it
address its own economic issues.
5. (C) DCM questioned whether the GOG would be able to
direct (or redirect) resources to help both the Serbian
government and Kosovar Serbs. Christides claimed this was
already happening; under Greece's Balkan regional development
programs, funds for Serbia and Kosovo are being disbursed
more rapidly than for other projects. Other possibilities
(such as a seasonal employment agreement with Serbia) were
under consideration. Clearly, carrots were needed to make a
Kosovo status agreement more palatable to the Serb side. At
the same time, the Kosovar Albanians must not appear to be
making no concessions. For that reason, Christides
particularly welcomed U.S. support for a civilian mission
with executive powers as part of a Kosovo status settlement.
Christides predicted that, as the status negotiation end-game
approached, democratic forces in Serbia would need to show
greater unity -- a message he expected FM Bakoyannis to
deliver during her visit.
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