Cablegate: Panama: Kosovo Statement Released by Council On
DE RUEHZP #0169/01 0580031
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 270031Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1764
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0311
C O N F I D E N T I A L PANAMA 000169
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/26/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV UNMIK UN UNSC YI EU PM
SUBJECT: PANAMA: KOSOVO STATEMENT RELEASED BY COUNCIL ON
REF: PANAMA 126
Classified By: POLCOUNS Brian R. Naranjo. Reason: 1.4 (d).
1. (C) Panama "imposes upon itself a position of neutrality
that favors dialogue between the parties," Panama's National
Council on Foreign Relations (CONAREX) in its press release
on February 25. First VP and FM Samuel Lewis told Ambassador
February 21 that he would convene this advisory council on
February 25 to study the issue of recognizing Kosovo, to make
a recommendation, and to "provide cover" for Panama's
eventual recognition of Kosovo. CONAREX's statement, however,
provides little -- if any -- cover for such recognition, but
rather laments that "actual events did not follow the road"
to a consensual agreement and notes that "peaceful
co-existence among human beings above that of
political-geographic interests." In light of the violent
demonstrations in Belgrade and Banja Luka against
international recognition of Kosovo, Panama is less likely
now to recognize Kosovo soon. At a minimum, Panama will
likely delay recognition until it no longer holds the
presidency of the UN Security Council (UNSC). End summary.
2. (U) Begin text of unofficial translation:
Council on Foreign Relations Examines the Topic of Kosovo
Panama, 25 February 2008
The First Vice President and Minister of Foreign Relations,
Samuel Lewis Navarro, called today a National Council of
Foreign Relations meeting to analyze the situation in Kosovo
as the result of its unilateral declaration of independence.
The members of the Council praised the position taken by the
government of Panama to call for caution in the management of
these sensitive international topics because, since Panama is
presiding over the UN Security Council, such a position
"imposes upon itself a position of neutrality that favors
dialogue between the parties."
"Panama maintains the position of promoting the direct
dialogue between the parties with the help of European
facilitators within the framework of the United Nations,
based on Chapter VII of its Charter, because the solution
should not only be regional but should be framed with respect
to the principles of the UN Charter," Lewis Navarro said.
As a result of our posture favoring dialogue, Panama has
called for several meetings (Note: ostensibly in the UNSC)
to analyze Kosovo. After Kosovo's declaration of
independence, and upon "urgent" requests from the Russian and
Serbian delegations, Panama held debates on February 14 and
also on February 18, explained the Foreign Minister.
The following members attended this XVI National Council on
Foreign Relations meeting where the Kosovo situation was
discussed exclusively: Jorge Eduardo Ritter, Ricardo Arias
Calderon, Eloy Alfaro, Nicolas Gonzalez Revilla, Gladys
Bandiera and Juan David Morgan. Legislator Abraham Martinez
attended as a special guest.
In a press release, Panama expressed that it would have
preferred that, under the auspices of the international
community, Serbia and Kosovo would have found a negotiated
formula to address their differences. Panama had acted with
determination to procure a consensual solution but current
actions showed that such a path was not followed.
Before this reality, it is necessary that all of us give
priority to peaceful co-existence among human beings above
that of political-geographic interests, states the press
3. (C) During a stop at the MFA on February 19, DG for
External Affairs Javier Bonagas told IO visitor Ambassador
Rees that Panama was unlikely to recognize Panama before it
stepped down from the UNSC Presidency at the end of February.
Ambassador quickly pushed back with Lewis on the same day
noting that recognition in March would not be "soon after the
Europeans," as previously promised; Lewis quickly disowned
Bonagas' remarks, noting that they were his "personal view."
On February 21, Lewis informed Ambassador that CONAREX would
be convened to provide advice and more importantly political
cover for Panama to recognize Kosovo "before the end of
February." In retrospect, Bonagas was probably expressing
Panama's true views very clearly. CONAREX's lackluster
statement provides little "political cover" for the FM and
indeed diminishes the likelihood that Panama will recognize
Kosovo soon. The outbreaks of violent demonstrations,
primarily in Belgrade but also in Banja Luka, have made a gun
shy Panama even more hesitant to recognize Kosovo soon. Not
wishing to upset anybody by recognizing Kosovo, Panama wants
to wait until it can safely do so without drawing any
attention. Embassy will continue to press Panama to
recognize Kosovo soon.