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Cablegate: Seecp Foreign Ministers Move Positively On Stability Pact

VZCZCXRO6513
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVB #0220/01 0650737
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 060737Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7376
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ZAGREB 000220

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL EU HR REGIONAL ISSUES
SUBJECT: SEECP FOREIGN MINISTERS MOVE POSITIVELY ON STABILITY PACT
TRANSITION

Ref: A) Zagreb 202
B) Brussels 194

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PLEASE HANDLE ACCORDINGLY

1. (SBU) Summary and comment: The March 2 SEECP Foreign Ministers
meeting in Zagreb saw positive movement on the Stability Pact
transition process to a new SEECP-led regional cooperation
framework. The Ministers approved a methodology for selecting both
the new Secretary General and the location of the proposed Regional
Cooperation Council (RCC). SEECP PolDirs will meet again later in
March in tandem with the joint Stability Pact-SEECP Institutional
Working Group (IWG) to hash out details of the RCC founding charter
and to continue preparations for reviewing the prospective nominees
for the RCC location and SG position. Final recommended texts will
be ready by the time the Stability Pact Regional Table and SEECP
Foreign Ministers meet on May 10 in Zagreb, followed by final
confirmation by the SEECP Prime Ministers on May 11.

2. (SBU) Early maneuvering on the RCC SG nomination has begun, with
Croatian Foreign Ministry State Secretary Biscevic informally
measuring support for his own candidacy. Former Serbia Foreign
Minister Goran Svilanovic still lacks Belgrade's support for the
nomination, although Special Coordinator Busek and European
Commission officials reportedly will press the GOS to support him.
Sarajevo remains the clear favorite for the secretariat location,
with open support from Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Moldova thus far.
On Kosovo, a strident Albanian FM Mustafaj blocked consensus in the
FMs' joint statement, despite efforts to persuade him to accept
language which fully reflected UNSCR 1244 and Contact Group
Principles on Kosovo. Moldovan Foreign Minister Stratan announced
Moldova's candidacy for SEECP CiO in mid-2008, following Bulgaria;
Moldova's lack of a clear EU and NATO track, and its limited
capacity for leading the RCC at its formative stage, will not
bolster its bid. End summary and comment.

Agreement on the process
------------------------

3. (U) The SEECP FM meeting officially launched the process of
creating the new Regional Cooperation Council by establishing the
methodology for nominating candidates for the SecGen and secretariat
location. The Institutional Working Group (IWG), co-chaired by
Stability Pact Deputy Special Coordinator Mozur and Croatian
Ambassador Grigic representing the SEECP CiO, met on February 26 in
Brussels to iron out the details on the SecGen mandate and the
requirements and procedure for determining the site of the RCC
secretariat. Subsequently, on February 28 in Zagreb, Grigic chaired

SIPDIS
the SEECP PolDirs discussion on the draft SG mandate and site
requirements, initially presenting independent Croatian MFA texts
but eventually accepting the IWG documents as the basis for
discussion. With this shift in strategy, and with Biscevic in the
chair the next day, the process proceeded smoothly and the PolDirs
produced texts for both issues that were fully consistent with IWG
proposals and that were adopted without change by the FMs on March
2.

4. (U) RCC SecGen: The key points of the SecGen mandate include the
need for the successful candidate to be a strong political figure,
ideally with experience with regional cooperation, who is able to
deal effectively with senior government officials "at the highest
appropriate" level as well as with international financial
institutions, donors, and private sector. Formal nominations should
be submitted by March 31, with a three-week period of PolDir
consultations with key donors to follow. PolDirs would then make a
consolidated recommendation to Foreign Ministers by April 30, with
FMs deciding the nomination on May 10 and PMs confirming the
decision at their May 11 summit. The SecGen would serve an initial
three-year term with a possible two-year extension. The European
Commission reiterated its commitment to ensure an early start by the
nominee by promising to fund a transitional SecGen contract for the
months leading up to the formal establishment of the RCC
secretariat, with the contract to start possibly as early as June,

SIPDIS
or a month after the May 11 SEECP Prime Ministers meeting in
Zagreb.

5. (U) RCC Location: The basic parameters agreed were the logistical
requirements for adequate modern office space for a staff of perhaps
20-25 people and an appropriate site agreement to give the
secretariat legal personality in the hosting country. Given the

SIPDIS
clear difficulties in meeting Belgian laws and regulations for
founding the proposed Brussels liaison office, the IWG will likely
convene a legal working group to address the legal complexities
inherent in both the regional and Brussels operations.

Unexpected Albanian Objection to Kosovo language
--------------------------------------------- ---

6. (U) Drafting the joint statement was on track until discussion
addressed the Kosovo status issue. Albanian rep Lauka opened with a

ZAGREB 00000220 002 OF 002


tough line, arguing that a short statement focused on the Ahtisaari
process sufficed, or if UNSCR 1244 was to be cited, it needed to be
accompanied by a language citing the majority will of the Kosovo
people. Serbian PolDir Sahovic countered with an effort to cite the
SEECP Charter's language of the inviolability of borders. After
much discussion, a near consensus text evolved citing UNSCR 1244,
Contact Group principles, the SEECP Charter, and the Ahtisaari
process as the basis for Kosovo status discussions.

7. (SBU) At the FMs meeting, however, Albanian FM Mustafaj
reiterated the tough line laid out the previous day, arguing that
UNSCR 1244 was old, irrelevant history, which could only be
mentioned if accompanied by language citing the determining role of
the majority, will of the Kosovo people. Serbian FM Draskovic
countered with his basic Kosovo speech, challenging the group on its
responsibility for endangering the security of all in the region
should Kosovo status be pursued at the cost of Serbian humiliation,
which he claimed underlay Kosovar intentions. Croatian FM Grabar
Kitarovic eventually offered Mustafaj the option of agreeing to let
the text include a footnote indicating that all but one of the ten
delegations had joined consensus on this point (article 9).
Mustafaj agreed, to the clear disappointment of the other FMs. DSC
Mozur spoke to Mustafaj afterwards and found him at ease with the
outcome, although other participants remained perplexed by the
Albanian position and logic, and disappointed that the SEECP joint
statement did not have the region standing together.

Foreign Ministers react politely to Moldova's offer
--------------------------------------------- ------

8. (SBU) The FMs' tour de table speeches uniformly highlighted the
good feeling surrounding the launch of the RCC and regional
ownership process, and offered a venue for statements urging a
steady move ahead to resolve Kosovo status. Bulgarian Deputy
Foreign Minister Kyuchukov staked out the principle that the first
RCC SecGen should not be from an EU member country of the SEECP, and
indicated that Bulgaria had decided not to submit a name. The
request by Moldovan Foreign Minister Stratan to take the SEECP CiO
lead after Bulgaria in May 2008 was politely acknowledged. (Note:
Macedonia would appear to be a likely successor to Bulgaria given
its turn in the SEECP's loose rotation, while some participants
suggested privately that Serbia might step into the role, with
Moldova coming a year later in 2009.)

BRADTKE

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