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Cablegate: Egypt "Waiting and Seeing" On Recognizing Kosovo

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #0325 0511559
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 201559Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8217
INFO RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 0024
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0195

UNCLAS CAIRO 000325

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR KOSOVO MONITORING GROUP, NEA/ELA, EUR/SCE
(BLACK, SHIRATORI)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV UNMIK EG KV YI
SUBJECT: EGYPT "WAITING AND SEEING" ON RECOGNIZING KOSOVO

REF: A. SECSTATE 16319

B. CAIRO 246
C. CAIRO 77

Sensitive but unclassified, not for Internet distribution.

1. (SBU) The Ambassador called Egyptian Foreign Minister
Ahmed Aboul Gheit on February 17 to reiterate our position
that Egypt should quickly recognize Kosovo, as Special Envoy
for the Kosovo Final Status Talks Ambassador Frank Wisner had
conveyed to Aboul Gheit in their February 7 meeting (ref B).
Aboul Gheit replied that, although Egypt may eventually
recognize Kosovo, it "will not act in haste" to do so. Aboul
Gheit said he was "uneasy with the secession" and the
international recognition of it, worrying that it might
inspire other secession movements.

2. (SBU) Per ref A demarche, we followed up on February 20
with MFA Deputy Director for East and South Europe and the
Balkans, Ahmed Hamdy Bakr. Elaborating on Aboul Gheit's
points, Bakr noted that Egypt feared that regional separatist
groups are latching on to Kosovar independence as a model for
their own movements, and that international recognition of
Kosovo could further destabilize the Balkans and inspire
secession movements in countries as far away as Spain. We
reiterated that widescale violence is unlikely given that
Serbia specifically rejected violence as an option, although
small violent incidents may occur, and that we do not see
Kosovo as a precedent for other secession movements. We
noted that every other option to move forward on Kosovo has
been exhausted, and that strong international support for
Kosovo would help, rather than hinder, regional stability.

3. (SBU) Asked about Egypt's support for Kosovo as a fellow
Islamic-majority nation, Bakr said that Egypt does not see
the Kosovo issue as a Muslim one, but rather as the
continuation of an ethnic conflict.
Jones

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