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Cablegate: Panama: Kosovo Independence Demarche Delivered

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHZP #0126 0421926
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 111926Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1724
INFO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0309
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE

O N F I D E N T I A L PANAMA 000126

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/SCE (SSHIRATORI), WHA/PPC, WHA/CEN
(ETELLO) AND IO/UNP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/11/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV UNMIK UN UNSC YI EU PM
SUBJECT: PANAMA: KOSOVO INDEPENDENCE DEMARCHE DELIVERED

REF: STATE 13716

Classified By: Ambassador William A. Eaton. Reason: 1.4 (b) and (d).

-------
Summary
-------

1. (C) "I will consult immediately with the Foreign
Minister," Acting FM Ricardo "Dicky" Duran told POLCOUNS on
February 11 in response to delivery of reftel demarche.
Initially viewing the demarche through actions that the might
be taken on the UNSC, Duran noted that Panama's Ambassador to
the UN was following this matter closely and that Panama was
"worried" that Kosovo might declare independence soon. Duran
said that he believed that Russia would veto any UNSCR on
Kosovo. Steering Duran to the matter at hand -- Kosovo's
imminent declaration of independence -- POLCOUNS urged Panama
to recognize Kosovo quickly and publicly. First VP and FM
Lewis is presently in New York City where Panama currently
holds the presidency of the UNSC; he is expected to return to
Panama on February 12. Ambassador will attempt to reach
Lewis by phone, and post recommends that USUN also seek to
engage Lewis on this matter. End summary.

----------
Background
----------

2. (C) Noting that the Russian Ambassador had visited him
last week, Acting FM Ricardo "Dicky" Duran said that Panama
had been following the situation in Kosovo very closely and
was "worried" that Kosovo might declare independence soon, in
response to POLCOUNS's presentation of reftel demarche on
February 11. Resigned to accepting the difficult political
realities in the region, Duran accepted that a negotiated
agreement concerning Kosovo's final status was not
achievable, that the events of the 1990s had created a
situation in which Serbia could never once again govern
Kosovo, and that after nine years of institutional separation
it would be impossible to reintegrate Serbia and Kosovo.

3. (C) "Russia will veto," Duran said. "At least that was
the strong impression that the Russian Ambassador gave me."
Acknowledging that Russia had other views on this matter,
POLCOUNS noted that, while it sought negotiated agreement,
UNSCR 1244 did not require such agreement. Trying to steer
Duran away from approaching Kosovo's independence in terms of
what action might take place in the UNSC, POLCOUNS explained,
that the matter at hand was the imminent declaration of
independence by Kosovo, that would be recognized hours
afterwards by the U.S. and European states. Urging Panama
not to adopt a "wait and see attitude," POLCOUNS asked that
Panama recognize Kosovo as soon as possible, ideally within
the first day after Kosovo declared independence. Duran
welcomed particularly the point made by POLCOUNS that Kosovo
was a special case that should not be seen as a precedent.
Duran undertook to consult with First VP and FM Samuel Lewis
who was in New York City. Duran expected Lewis to return to
Panama on February 12.

-------
Comment
-------

4. (C) Ambassador will attempt to reach Lewis by phone to
convey reftel points as well. Additionally, post recommends
that USUN reach out to Lewis who is in New York for the first
half of Panama's UNSC Presidency. Generally, Panama prefers
to run always to the center of consensus and does not like to
be either the odd man out or to be forced to chose sides on
tough issues. Conflict averse, Panama may be relieved if
Kosovo does not return to the UNSC -- particularly during its
presidency -- as it will not want to take sides in a dispute
that divides the U.S., UK and France on one side and Russia
and China on the other side. At the same time, however, post
expects that at a minimum Panama will lag in its eventual
recognition of Kosovo waiting until a sufficient critical
mass of recognitions by other countries have been made before
taking its own position on the issue.
EATON

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