DE RUEHSL #0115/01 0541712
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 231712Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY BRATISLAVA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0712
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE PRIORITY 0069
RUEHPS/USOFFICE PRISTINA PRIORITY 0039
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY C O N F I D E N T I A L BRATISLAVA 000115
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/23/2017
SUBJECT: KOSOVO: SLOVAK MFA STILL TRYING TO PERSUADE GOS,
BUT WORRYING POLITICAL SIGNS CONTINUE
Classified By: Ambassador Rodolphe M. Vallee, for reasons
1.4(b) and (d).
1. (C) SUMMARY. MFA Political Director Miroslav Lajcak
indicated to us Feb. 23 that the MFA is continuing its
efforts to prevent Slovak politicians from passing the point
of no return on the Kosovo issue. Lajcak, who considers this
goal feasible, is busy orchestrating meetings or phonecalls
with Slovak governing coalition and opposition politicians to
shape the parliamentary debate. Lajcak is looking forward to
PDAS DiCarlo's Feb. 28 visit as a significant part of this
process, and is trying to enlist UK and German leaders in the
effort. He offered advice on arguments he thought would work
best to convince Slovak politicians not to risk a split with
the EU and a blow to the UN's handling of the issue. Another
Embassy source close to former PM Dzurinda paints a more
troubling picture of PM Fico's support for a tough Serbian
line. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) Following on FM Kubis's meetings in New York and
Washington, PolDir Lajcak continues his attempts to persuade
Slovak coalition and opposition officials not to tie the
MFA's hands on Kosovo. He views a Slovak National Party
draft resolution as largely hortatory and vastly better that
former PM Dzurinda's resolution, although SNS may be revising
it. (Note: Parliamentary Speaker Pavol Paska told Ambassador
2/22 that he would do all he could to block Dzurinda's
proposal.) In speaking with Smer and SDKU representatives,
Lajcak is using the following arguments:
- Restricting the MFA's maneuverability with a binding
parliamentary resolution on Kosovo will only take Slovakia
out of the process at the international diplomatic level.
Slovakia would no longer have a voice at the EU table, and
thus would not be able to do anything to help the Serbs with
whom they sympathize. Slovakia showed it could have an
impact on the EU voice (referencing the last GAERC meeting).
If Slovakia wants to be part of drafting the EU statement,
the MFA must have a free range of dialogue.
- It's time to demonstrate that Slovakia can be a responsible
member of the EU;
- Slovak politicians must stop thinking about what's best for
Serbia and start thinking about what's best for Slovakia;
- To politicians of the ruling SMER, Lajcak plans to argue
that a binding resolution would do little harm to Mr.
Dzurinda as an opposition MP, but long-lasting damage to the
Fico government internationally;
- In Serbia, rather than thanking their Slavic brothers in
Slovakia, the Serbs are laughing at the Slovak domestic
uproar over the Kosovo issue.
3. (C) Lajcak emphasized the need to use a variety of EU and
US overtures to Slovak MPs and leaders prior to the
parliamentary session beginning March 20. He has helped
arranged the following meetings:
- 2/26 Boris Zala, Smer MP and Chairman of the Foreign
Affairs Committee, will see Ahtisaari in Berlin (DAS DiCarlo
will meet with Zala and other Smer MPs on 2/28);
- 3/2 FM Kubis will meet Ahtisaari in Vienna
- Hopefully, a meeting next week between Albert Rohan and
former PM Dzurinda, SDKU Chairman and MP. Miro was meeting
with Dzurinda foreign policy advisor Milan Jezovica just
after he met with us to pitch the meeting;
- Lajcak asked his British and German Political Director
counterparts to weigh in with Blair and Merkel to raise
Kosovo directly with Fico and perhaps Dzurinda.
- Lajcak noted that DiCarlo's visit is well-timed; but one
expert visit is enough. After DiCarlo, any contacts,
including from the Brits or others, would need to be at a
higher political level to have an impact.
4. (C) Lajcak reiterated that Fico had previously agreed to
respect the MFA's position on Kosovo, but this changed after
Dzurinda pushed him domestically. In Lajcak's opinion, we
should continue to keep in contact with President Gasparovic
since the President understands the need to act as a member
of the EU and NATO. The question between Fico and Dzurinda
now is who will become the responsible international
statesman and who will be left in the role of fuming
AT THE UN
5. (C) UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon had impressed FM
Kubis on Kosovo at their meeting in NY. The SYG made it very
clear that he fully supported the Ahtisaari plan and wanted
UNSC endorsement of it soon. The UNSC could not lose this
opportunity. Kubis would try to use the UNSYG's strong line
in his arguments back here. Lajcak explained that Slovakia
does not intend to follow the Russians in a UN vote. He
clarified that certain wording would, because of the domestic
political situation, move Slovakia closer to voting with the
Russians. Lajcak found it significant that Russian
Ambassador to the UN Vituly Churkin had said it would be
unacceptable to see an "independent Kosovo" gain membership
to the UN or World Bank, implying that there might be
flexibility in the Russian position. Previously very worried
about a Russian veto, Lajcak sees a greater prospect for an
abstention. He noted, however, that Churkin had objected to
even World Bank membership for Kosovo, a tougher position
than that of Belgrade.
THE LATEST IN VIENNA
6. (C) Just prior to meeting the DCM, Lajcak had finished a
phone call with Albert Rohan. Rohan had said that no real
progress was being made at the discussions in Vienna. Rohan
expects nothing more than a few minor points to be resolved
as a face-saving gesture before the talks conclude next week.
Incidentally, Lajcak was fully aware that the Serbs cited the
Slovaks in the Vienna talks. He said he had received a text
message almost immediately after it happened.
A TROUBLING CLAIM
7. (C) In a Feb. 23 luncheon with the Ambassador, Martin
Bruncko (strictly protect), former advisor to then-FM Miklos,
current advisor to former PM Dzurinda and personal friend of
Serbian President Tadic, said that:
-- Fico and Kubis had called Tadic after Kubis's recent faux
pas with Vuk Draskovic and pledged to "carry Serbia's water,"
(NOTE: Without revealing this claim, we queried PolDir Lajcak
about the Draskovic incident. He claimed that Kubis had met
quietly with Draskovic last week and patched things up, and
that Kubis did not feel under pressure to be more supportive
of the Serbs to make up for the incident. End note.);
-- Dzurinda was not freelancing in his tough pro-Serb stance,
but was only part of a larger European People's Party effort
to back Belgrade that included "the current holder of the EU
-- President Tadic accepts Kosovo independence but believes
it would be more palatable to have the issue come to a head
after formation of a new Serbian government.
(Comment: We cannot vouch for the accuracy of Bruncko's
statements. Even if that were just a perception, it would
reinforce the value of a Merkel call to Dzurinda as part of
the effort to get the former PM to back off. End comment)
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