Cablegate: Czech Contributions to the Balkans

DE RUEHPG #0557/01 1370919
R 170919Z MAY 07




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. PRAGUE 01543
B. 05 PRAGUE 00058

1. Summary. This is the second in a series of cables
summarizing significant Czech contributions in Iraq,
Afghanistan, and the Balkans. The Czech Republic strongly
supports U.S. policy in the Balkans, and views the region as
the country's highest security priority. Thus, in recent
years the Czechs have made substantial contributions in the
areas of military and security, development assistance, and
humanitarian aid. Currently, 450 Czech soldiers serve in the
KFOR mission in Kosovo. An additional 55 troops serve as
peacekeepers in Bosnia. Overall, the Czech Republic has spent
(or is planning to spend) an estimated $345 million to
benefit the people of Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Bosnia
since 1999. The Czech Republic has spent nearly $200 million
on military and security contributions since 1999. Other
Czech contributions include: (1) $36 million in development
assistance since 2000 (and plans to spend nearly $15 million
in 2007-2008); (2) $95 million to the Stability Pact fund for
the Balkans; (3) $500,000 on programs to promote democracy in
the region; and (4) humanitarian assistance focused primarily
on education and healthcare. (Ref A summarizes Czech
contributions to Iraq. Septel will summarize Czech
contributions to Afghanistan.) End summary.


2. Support for democracy and human rights is a core principle
of Czech foreign policy, and an enduring legacy of the Czech
Republic's forty-year struggle against communism. Since the
Velvet Revolution in 1989, the Czech Republic has proven
itself a reliable U.S. ally in these areas, as well as an
important partner in NATO and GWOT, a like-minded ally in the
United Nations, and a strong promoter within the EU of the
transatlantic relationship.

3. The Czech Republic has identified the Balkans as a
priority for all types of assistance because of strong
historic ties between the Czechs and the people of the
Balkans region, and to promote regional security. The Czechs
are also engaged politically in the region. The Czech
government supports future membership in NATO and the EU for
Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro, and supports
independence for Kosovo. The information below focuses
primarily on Czech assistance for Serbia/Montenegro and

Military/Security Contributions

4. As detailed below, Czech military and security
contributions to the Balkans since 1999 total nearly $200

5. The Czech Army has participated in the NATO mission in
Kosovo (KFOR) since 1999, beginning with the deployment of a
reconnaissance unit. Since 2002, the Czech Army has operated
within a joint Czech-Slovak Battalion (composed on average of
500 Czech and 100 Slovak soldiers). In 2005, the Czech Army
assumed the lead of the KFOR Multinational Task Force Center
for six months. Currently, 450 Czech troops serve in KFOR.
The cost of the Czech contribution to the KFOR mission since
1999, including the 2007 budget, is $183 million.

6. From 1999 to 2004, the Czech Republic deployed a total of
3,260 troops to the NATO mission in Bosnia (SFOR). In 2004,
120 Czech troops and two helicopters were deployed in Bosnia
as peacekeepers with EU Althea (EUFOR). Currently, 55 Czech
troops serve in Bosnia. The cost of Czech missions in Bosnia
since 1999, including the 2007 budget, is $13 million.

7. Additional security contributions to the region include:

-- In 2001, the Czech Army participated in the NATO mission
in FYROM (Essential Harvest), with 120 troops at a cost of

-- Police missions: Five Czech police are currently serving
in the EU Police Mission in Bosnia (EUPM). Fourteen Czech
police currently are serving in the UN Mission in Kosovo

-- Since October 2006, two experts on security and a
logistics have served in the International Civilian Mission
in Kosovo (ICM/ICO Preparation Team).

PRAGUE 00000557 002 OF 003

-- NATO Trust Fund: the Czechs donated EUR 20,000 ($27,175)
to the fund for requalification of released soldiers, and EUR
10,000 ($13,590) for liquidation of ammunition.

Democracy Promotion

8. The Czech MFA has designated Bosnia, Serbia, and now
Montenegro, as priority countries (among others) for the
MFA's Transformation Cooperation Unit (TRANS). TRANS is
responsible for promoting democracy and strengthening civil
society in third countries (Ref B). Since 2005, when TRANS
was founded, the Czech MFA has spent nearly $500,000 in the
Balkans. Implementing partners and projects in 2007 include:

-- AGORA Central Europe: strengthening citizen participation
in local government.

-- The VIA Foundation: support for the Balkan Community
Initiatives Fund (BCIF), an independent Serbian grant
foundation that focuses on community development.

-- Public administrators from the Southern Moravia Region of
the Czech Republic: capacity building program for the public
administration of the Sumadia region.

Reconstruction & Development

9. The Czech MFA has also designated Serbia, Montenegro, and
Bosnia as priority countries for international development
assistance. Czech projects in the region focus on industrial
development, transport, healthcare, social development,
migration, good governance, and environmental preservation.
From 2001 to 2006, the Czechs spent over $26.2 million on
projects in Serbia and Montenegro, and over $10 million in
Bosnia. In May 2007, the Czech government announced it has
allocated $15.4 million for Serbia through 2010 for
development assistance, and an additional $2.7 for
environmental protection.

10. In addition, since 1999 the Czech government has
contributed a total of $95 million to the Stability Pact (SP)
to help stabilize the Balkans region (and in particular to
fund solutions to the Kosovo crisis). Examples of Czech
projects funded by SP funds include police training,
assistance for internally displaced people, agricultural
development, and industrial development. These projects were
administered by the Czech Ministries of Interior,
Agriculture, and Industry and Trade.

11. In addition, Czech SP funds were used to provide
assistance in the area of defense and security. For example,
the Czechs co-financed a NATO project to improve
communication equipment for the Bosnian Army, to support an
OSCE project for Albanian border police, for a seminar for
Serbian and Montenegrian students and journalists on the
benefits of NATO membership. The Czechs have also made annual
contributions to the International Trust Fund for demining
activities in the region.

12. An estimated $1 million remains in the SP fund, and will
be provided to international organizations working in the
Balkans. Examples of prior fund recipients include UNESCO
(working to preserve cultural sites), and organizations that
disarm citizens and provide capacity training for government
leaders and police.

Humanitarian Assistance

13. The Czech government also provides humanitarian relief in
the region. For example:

-- Czech soldiers deployed in the KFOR mission have
participated in humanitarian aid projects, including the
delivery of educational equipment donated by Czech schools.

-- The Czech government provides government scholarships to
Czech universities to students from the Balkans. In 2006
alone, the Czechs provided scholarships for 48 students from
Serbia, and 7 students from Bosnia.

-- The Ministry of Interior funds a medevac program that
provides medical care in the Czech Republic for small numbers
of chronically ill children living in Kosovo.

PRAGUE 00000557 003 OF 003

-- Since the 1990s, Czech NGO People in Need has worked to
improve health care services and the quality of life for
Serbians living with mental disabilities.

-- The Czech government has approved a plan to send four
Czech prison guards to the Hague to work in the UN prison
serving the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia (ICTY). The annual cost of this assistance is over

-- During the refugee crisis in 1999, the Czech government
allocated money for a refugee camp in Albania and provided
temporary refuge for Kosovo refugees.

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