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Cablegate: New Zealand Response On Kosovo Independence

VZCZCXRO3996
OO RUEHAG RUEHROV
DE RUEHWL #0059/01 0521827
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 211827Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5083
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 0074
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0120

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 WELLINGTON 000059

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/21/2018
TAGS: PREL UN UNMIK PGOV YI EU KV NZ
SUBJECT: NEW ZEALAND RESPONSE ON KOSOVO INDEPENDENCE

REF: (A) STATE 16319 (B) WELLINGTON 44

WELLINGTON 00000059 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Embassy Wellington DCM David J. Keegan, reasons 1.4 (b)
and (d).

1. (C) Summary. Charge presented reftel demarche to MFAT
Deputy Secretary Peter Hamilton who repeated Prime Minister
Clark's earlier insistence that New Zealand has an
established practice of not publicly announcing diplomatic
recognition but allowing it to be inferred over time from its
actions. Charge noted that New Zealand had publicly
accelerated the recognition process in a few sensitive cases
and urged it do so for Kosovo. If it could not, Charge said
New Zealand should make a public statement expressing support
for the action taken by the people of Kosovo. Hamilton said
he would highlight Charge's demarche in a paper for the PM
later that day. End Summary.

2. (C) Charge David Keegan sought an appointment to deliver
ref A demarche to New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters
or, in his absence, CEO Simon Murdoch of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). With both Peters and Simon
traveling abroad, Charge was scheduled to meet February 21
with MFAT Deputy Secretary Peter Hamilton, whose
responsibilities include Europe. Charge had earlier conveyed
U.S. concerns to Dep. Sec. Carolyn Forsyth, who handles IO
affairs (ref B). Charge emphasized to Hamilton, as he had in
that earlier demarche, the importance of New Zealand and
other democracies demonstrating their support for Kosovo's
Unilateral Declaration of Independence by announcing
diplomatic recognition as soon as possible. Hamilton
responded that New Zealand had a long-standing policy of not
announcing recognition but allowing its recognition to be
inferred from its actions. He noted that New Zealand Prime
Minister Helen Clark had laid out this policy to reporters
earlier in the week (see para 6 below for text).

3. (C) Hamilton emphasized that New Zealand remained
intensely concerned over developments in the Balkan region,
noting its participation in the UNMIK process. It had
followed closely the announcements by the U.S. as well as EU
and other states regarding Kosovo. It had been approached by
Russia and received a letter from the President of Serbia, to
which the PM would respond in due course.

4. (C) Charge said that he was not seeking to change New
Zealand's long-standing policy, but he noted that New Zealand
chosen to accelerate the establishment of diplomatic
relations in sensitive cases such as Timor Leste and Latvia.
Hamilton suggested Croatia could be added to that list.
Charge urged that Kosovo's special circumstances warrants its
being added as well. If for whatever reasons New Zealand
concludes it cannot announce recognition, Charge argued, it
is important for New Zealand to speak out immediately and
clearly as a democratic member of the international
community, expressing support for the decision taken by the
people of Kosovo and calling on all concerned to act
peacefully. That could be from the PM or the Foreign
Minister. Charge provided Hamilton a copy of the Secretary's
statement included in ref A.

5. (C) Hamilton thanked Charge, noting that he was instructed
to provide a report and recommendations to the PM later that
day. He promised to highlight the request from the U.S. and
the call for public support of Kosovo's Unilateral
Declaration of Independence. He undertook to inform the
embassy of any next steps by New Zealand regarding Kosovo.

6. (U) Prime Minister Clark on Kosovo at weekly Post-Cabinet
Press Conference, 18 February 2008
--------------------------------------------- --

Q. What is New Zealand's position on Kosovo declaring
independence from Serbia especially given (inaudible) the
Security Council, NATO (inaudible) maintain peace
(inaudible)?

A. PRIME MINISTER CLARK: Well we are disappointed what was
called the Troika Process didn't get results. There was a
three way process between the United States, Russia and the
European Union to try and work out an agreed position on
Kosovo's status and that fell over in December so the
possibility of Kosovo unilaterally declaring independence has
been there for a couple of months now. With respect to New
Zealand's position, it has never been the New Zealand
government's position to recognize in such circumstances. We
neither recognize nor not recognize. Over time the way in
which we deal with those who govern territory will, I
suppose, imply whether there is recognition, but we are not
intending to make a formal statement. This is quite a

WELLINGTON 00000059 002.2 OF 002


divisive issue internationally obviously, and it is not clear
to me that all EU states will want to recognize.

Q. What about the response from Serbia? Are you concerned
that tensions might flare up, that there might be more
violence in that region given the history (inaudible)?

A. PRIME MINISTER CLARK: For sure there is a troubled history
but then Serbia has just had elections, and the candidate
described as the more moderate of the two, the incumbent
president, was reelected so we would certainly hope that that
would be reflected in a more sober reaction to what has
happened in Kosovo.

Q. It certainly remains a volatile situation though?

A. PRIME MINISTER CLARK: Oh for sure because Serbia would say
that they regard Kosovo as being at the heart of traditional
Serbia. It happens to have a large majority Albanian
population. It would be tremendously distressing if there was
now in effect an outbreak of civil war there which would see
persecution and the death of those in the minority.

(Embassy Public Affairs transcription)
KEEGAN

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