OO RUEHAG RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ
RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSL #0192/01 0670807
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 080807Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRATISLAVA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9612
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0044
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRATISLAVA 000192
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: A/S SILVERBERG VISIT TO BRATISLAVA: SLOVAKIA HOLDS
MIDDLE GROUND ON UNSC ISSUES
REF: USUN NEW YORK 424
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The March 5-7 Bratislava visit of IO A/S
Kristen Silverberg provided the occasion to engage Slovakia
on UNSC issues, congratulate the country on two successful
months at the table, and coordinate our approaches to the
upcoming challenges of the Council's agenda. A/S Silverberg
urged the Slovaks to engage actively in New York on the range
of issues. Slovak interlocutors repeatedly framed the
country as an "honest broker" attempting to occupy the middle
ground among the U.S., Europe, and Russia. The consultations
centered around several themes important to Slovakia:
- KOSOVO: The Slovaks expressed in private the same
sentiments political officials -- including Minister Kukan --
have been making in public: that they are concerned that the
U.S. is moving too quickly towards a negotiated independence
for Kosovo that will leave the Serbs feeling disenfranchised.
They emphasized that they are not "pro-Serb," but are
concerned with a "spillover effect" in other areas of "frozen
conflict" in the region. However, at the end of the
discussion, they acknowledged that an internationally
"forced" solution would allow Serbia to move forward without
accepting responsibility domestically.
- IRAN: The Slovaks have identified Iran as a particular
area of concern, both at the UNSC and IAEA (where they serve
on the Board of Governors).
- SECURITY SECTOR REFORM: Slovakia has identified "security
sector reform" as a possible theme for its UNSC presidency.
They suggest a PRST on best practices regarding reform of the
military in countries in transition, borrowing from eastern
Europe's successful efforts. A/S Silverberg agreed to close
contacts on the subject. END SUMMARY.
SLOVAKIA HOPES BOLTON INITIATIVES WILL CONTINUE
2. (SBU) During IO A/S Kristen Silverberg's March 5-7 visit
to Bratislava, Slovak officials repeatedly voiced their
opinion -- and sought confirmation -- that Slovakia had
served admirably in its first two months on the UNSC "thanks
to Ambassador Bolton," MFA Director General Anton Pinter
commented. The Slovaks were also eager to discuss their
priorities for the Council, namely the western Balkans
(Kosovo), Iran, and the export of "security sector reform.
The Slovaks have a favorable view on the U.S. presidency in
February, noting that the discipline brought by Ambassador
Bolton to the Council needed to be maintained in the future.
The mentioned Slovakia's wish to be "as active and effective
as possible" during the next two years.
KOSOVO SLOVAKIA'S MAIN CONCERN
3. (SBU) The dominant topic on the Slovak agenda at all
levels was Kosovo. State Secretary (Deputy Foreign Minister)
Magda Vasaryova told Silverberg that Slovakia remains wary of
the speed of the negotiation process, noting that the
situation is still "unstable" and that Slovakia -- which
continues to have troops on the ground as part of the UN PKO
there -- recognizes that "how to solve the situation is one
question; the solution itself is another." Vasaryova
emphasized that Slovakia is not "pro-Serb," and that critics
similarly tried to paint the country as "pro-Croat" during
the early 1990's.
4. (SBU) Instead, Slovakia is trying to view Kosovo "as the
complex situation that it is." Vasaryova said she agrees
with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk, who told her
last month that Kosovo will have an impact in other "frozen
conflict" areas like Transnistria and the Caucusus. Slovakia
will continue to pursue a role as an "honest broker," and
UNSC Coordinator Marcel Pesko told Silverberg that a Serb
delegation will visit Bratislava April 11-12 to discuss the
"UN aspects" of the negotiation process. Silverberg
encouraged the Slovaks to continue to actively engage the
Serbs on the need for resolution. Pesko noted that Kosovo --
unlike other UN issues -- could have domestic political
ramifications for Slovakia.
AVOIDING A TRANSATLANTIC RIFT ON IRAN
5. (SBU) Pesko told Silverberg that Slovakia's main
ambition in the Council it to avoid any "Transatlantic rift"
of opinions on issues like Kosovo and Iran. While Slovakia
is preparing for the challenges that Iran's nuclear program
BRATISLAVA 00000192 002 OF 002
will pose to the Security Council over the course of the
coming months, it is also seized with the issue of dialogue
between the EU and the Muslim world. Our interlocutors noted
that they feel Slovakia -- with a negligible Muslim
population and little trade with the region -- might be
suited to serve as a non-controversial leader within the EU
on the topic, as it would be nearly free from domestic
6. (SBU) Silverberg took every opportunity to explain the
USG position on Iran. Pesko said that Slovakia agrees that a
Presidential Statement is needed, but added that Slovakia is
concerned about the speed with which sanctions could be
levied. "This is the stick," he noted, "but where is the
carrot?" A/S Silverberg reminded Slovaks of the history of
unsuccessful EU3-Russian engagement with Iran, leading to the
necessity of UNSC action. Pinter allowed that the Slovaks --
like the Americans -- cannot accept the fact that Iran is
trying to develop nuclear weapons.
SLOVAKIA DISAGREES ON HRC
7. (SBU) UN and International Organizations Director Roman
Buzek told Silverberg that Slovakia and the U.S. are not in
full agreement on the creation of a Human Rights Council
(HRC), as Slovakia fully endorses the EU position. Slovakia
agrees that the current Commission on Human Rights should be
disbanded after one final "ceremonial" meeting, but said that
while it thinks the proposal by Eliasson is not "ideal" and
is only a marginal improvement on the existing body, it is
the best available and Slovakia will vote for it. Slovakia
suggests that a 5 year review of the new body could be
performed, at which point the body could be modified;
however, they believe that voting against the current
proposal would only set back the reform of the current
structure. Silverberg and the Ambassador pressured the
Slovaks at some length on the need for a credible council,
pointing out that Eliasson's proposal was not negotiated, and
that he could introduce a new proposal to guarantee the
credibility of the HRC.
LISTENING MODE ON MIDDLE EAST ISSUES
8. (SBU) Slovak interlocutors joked that the country was
lucky it was "only" Vice Chairman of the 1636 Committee, and
clearly felt a lack of confidence on the issues, telling
Silverberg they were in "listening mode" and were curious
about the USG position. Silverberg explained that Syria must
fully comply with all UNSC resolutions, must stop meddling in
Lebanese affairs, and that it must commit to 100 percent
cooperation -- and nothing less -- with the Brammurtz
investigation. On Hamas, Slovakia reiterated its "full
agreement" with the U.S.
NON-PROLIFERATION AND THE 1540 COMMITTEE
9. (SBU) Similar to an approach made to USUN last week
(reftel), our interlocutors at all levels asked about the
"future" of the 1540 Committee, which Slovakia chairs.
Vasaryova asked Silverberg what the U.S. thought its new aim
and focus could be. Silverberg replied that the USG was
still considering internally whether to support changes to
make the committee more effective, but that the U.S. may well
come forward soon with suggestions.
NO DISAGREEMENT ON DARFUR
10. (SBU) Silverberg pressured Slovaks on support for USG
efforts on Darfur. Pinter said there would be "no
11. (U) A/S Silverberg cleared this cable.
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