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Cablegate: Serbian Government Pulls Candidate for Secretary General Of

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DE RUEHBS #1253/01 1031621
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131621Z APR 07
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRUSSELS 001253

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ECON EAID SR HR EUN MI RO BU GR BK MW YI TU
UNMIK
SUBJECT: SERBIAN GOVERNMENT PULLS CANDIDATE FOR SECRETARY GENERAL OF
STABILITY PACT SUCCESSOR ORGANIZATION

Ref: A) Zagreb 184 B) Brussels 00373

1. (SBU) Summary: The transition of the Stability Pact (SP)
regional cooperation agenda to regional ownership (refs) hit a bump
with the April 11 Serbian withdrawal of the nomination of Goran
Svilanovic, former Serbia-Montenegro Foreign Minister and Stability
Pact Working Table I (Democracy) chairman, for Secretary General of
the proposed Regional Cooperation Council. The Serbian decision,
which looks to be purely the result of internal Serbian politics,
leaves Croatian Foreign Ministry State Secretary Hido Biscevic as
the sole remaining candidate for the SG post, which will be decided
when SEECP Prime Ministers meet in Zagreb on May 11. With the SP
transition's institutional working group previously achieving SEECP
Foreign Ministers concurrence in a transparent nomination process,
including a March 31 nomination deadline, there appears to be no
room for the Serb intention to submit a new nomination in the next
days. In the meantime, Sarajevo and Belgrade remain in play for
the site of the RCC secretariat, with most public support going thus
far to Sarajevo. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Until the Serbian government decision, the Stability Pact
transition to regional ownership and leadership was moving steadily
and positively ahead. Most of the administrative issues related to
the process of nominating a Secretary General for the proposed
Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and selecting a location in the
region for the RCC Secretariat had been resolved. The IWG and SEECP
PolDirs are scheduled to meet again on April 24-25 in Zagreb to
resolve the remaining issues, namely the designation of a deputy to
the Secretary General (a major Greek political concern) and to set
the operational timetable for putting the RCC into place by the
February 2008 target date.

3. (SBU) The Svilanovic nomination was difficult for the Serbian
government, notwithstanding the recent elections and prolonged
negotiations on the new government. Svilanovic's established
presence in the region, reinforced through his work since 2004 as
the Stability Pact Chairman of Working Table I, made him a strong
candidate to replace SP Special Coordinator Erhard Busek, a former
Vice Chancellor of Austria, as the champion of the regional
cooperation agenda in South East Europe. However, Svilanssion offici note to the Croatian Embassy in Belgrade putting
Svilanovic in play, much to the surprise of observers who had
generally written off the possibility.

5. (SBU) On April 11, the Croatian Foreign Ministry received the
note from the Serbian Embassy in Zagreb informing of the
government's decision to withdraw the nomination and promising to
submit a new name within seven days. For their part, the Croatian
quickly passed on the note to the Stability Pact for wider
circulation among SP partners, pointedly noting that the deadline
for nominations had expired. Speaking to SP Deputy Special
Coordinator Mozur on April 11, Croatian SEECP coordinator Boris
Grigic took a firm line against allowing a further nomination from
Serbia (or other country) but indicated that the response to that
effect would come once a further Serbian communication was
forthcoming.

6. (SBU) Initial donor reaction was generally marked by
disappointment, both with regard to the loss of a strong and
acceptable candidate and the implicit embarrassment brought to the
region and the Stability Pact transition process by the lack of
demonstrated regional leadership. Norwegian SP national coordinator
Gieslesen acknowledged that everyone came up short with the Serbian
move but acknowledged that there was no option but to let the region
sort out its leadership issues in creating the new Regional
Cooperation Council. There has been little commentary of
significance from regional representatives thus far.

BRUSSELS 00001253 002 OF 002

7. (SBU) Comment: The Serbia Government move to pull Svilanovic
from consideration was not unexpected given the tentative nature of
his nomination in the first place. At this juncture, the move seems
to be fully an internal Serbian matter. Still, the lack of strong
interest among the region's senior politicians to lead the effort to
create a long-term regional cooperation program is noticeable and
reconfirms that home-grown efforts to build a strong regional
identity will take some time and that domestic political
consideration remain a concern. For his part, Croatian State
Secretary Biscevic has proven an effective chair in the role of

SIPDIS
SEECP CiO in the SP transition but his close ties to Croatian PM
Sanader leave some to question his eventual independence on regional
cooperation matters should he become RCC SG.

8. (SBU) The RCC process calls for the SEECP Political directors to
consult with the Stability Pact on the SG and secretariat location
nominations through April 20 and to make a definite recommendation
to SEECP FMs by April 30. Final decisions will come when the SP
Regional Table and SEECP FMs meet on May 10, and will be confirmed
by PMs on May 11. Dr. Busek and SP colleagues will be in touch
with SP national coordinators in the coming days, and Busek will
meet with EC Enlargement Commissioner Rehn on April 19 to assess the
situation. The issue of a new Serbian nomination should arise by
early next week but is unlikely to gain acceptance in the SP
response to the SEECP on behalf of the donors. End Comment.

MCKINLEY

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