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Cablegate: Serbia: Pfp On Hold, but Still Wants Open Door at Bucharest

VZCZCXRO0457
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBW #0269/01 0801357
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P R 201357Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BELGRADE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0063
INFO RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 0109

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BELGRADE 000269

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR SR HR BK MK AL
SUBJECT: SERBIA: PFP ON HOLD, BUT STILL WANTS OPEN DOOR AT BUCHAREST

BELGRADE 00000269 001.2 OF 002


Summary

-------

1. (SBU) Serbia's involvement in NATO's PfP programs has come
to nearly a complete stop since Kosovo's declaration of
independence in February. Serbia plans to attend the Bucharest
Summit in April, but the government has not yet determined at
what level it will be represented. Serbia's MFA hopes the
summit will reaffirm NATO's open door to Serbia and reinforce
the message of stability in the Balkans. If Serbia can form a
pro-European government after its pending May elections, the MFA
believes it can revitalize its PfP membership and enhance its
NATO cooperation within a matter of months. End Summary.

PFP Cooperation Comes to a Halt

-------------------------------

2. (SBU) Serbia has ceased almost all of its PfP activities
since Kosovo's declaration of independence, the MFA's Assistant
Minister for NATO, Zoran Vujic told poloff on March 14. Since
Kosovo's declaration of independence, Serbia has stopped sending
nearly all of its participants (both MFA and MOD) to NATO
programs. In addition, Serbia has ceased individual PfP
programs with countries that have recognized Kosovo. Vujic
confirmed that the GOS had stopped scheduled programs with both
Austria and Italy in recent weeks. To fill this gap, the MFA
has considered trying to increase cooperation with NATO
countries that have not recognized Kosovo, particularly Slovakia
and Romania, but Vujic said, at this sensitive time "the MFA
must be careful about any form of cooperation." In addition,
Vujic confirmed that the MFA's NATO office has been drastically
reduced, losing six diplomats in the last several weeks, some of
whom have left to serve as Charge d' Affaires in countries where
Serbia has recalled its ambassadors (Germany and France)
following recognition of Kosovo.

Serbia to Attend Summit, But Level Unknown

------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Despite this freezing of relations with NATO, Serbia
still intends to send a delegation to the NATO Bucharest Summit
in April, but President Boris Tadic has not yet decided if he
will personally attend. Vujic said he hoped the President would
make a decision during the week of March 17. If Tadic does not
attend, the Serbian delegation would most likely be a "technical
delegation," led at the Assistant Minister level, Vujic said.

Bucharest Message: Serbia's Door to NATO Remains Open

--------------------------------------------- ---------

4. (SBU) Serbia's MFA is looking for a positive regional
message out of Bucharest that keeps "NATO's door to Serbia
open," Vujic said. He said any message regarding NATO's role in
the Balkans should focus on how NATO is a source of
stabilization in the region whose primary mission is the
security and protection of all communities. Vujic stressed that
any reference to NATO's role in building up Kosovo's Security
Forces would be very detrimental, and "would permanently kill
the idea of Serbia joining NATO." Vujic confirmed that the GOS
supports the candidacies of Albania, Croatia and Macedonia for
NATO membership and supports NATO's enhanced relationship with
Bosnia and Hercegovina and Montenegro. NATO's cooperation with
Serbia's neighbors will further stabilize the region, Vujic said.

Serbia's PFP back on Track, If DS Wins in May

--------------------------------------------- -

BELGRADE 00000269 002.2 OF 002

5. (SBU) Vujic said Serbia could quickly restart its
involvement in PFP if Serbia's pro-European parties (read:DS)
win in May. After the elections, assuming a DS, he expected
that an Individual Partnership Plan (IPP) could be submitted
within a matter of days and Serbia could sign the pending
Security Agreement with NATO "within two to three months."

Comment

------------

6. (SBU) In the aftermath of Kosovo's independence, Serbia's PfP
programs, which were already creeping along, have ground to a
complete halt. Serbia's democratic leaders, however, are still
hoping to hear a positive message coming from the Bucharest
summit, but are cautiously distancing themselves from direct
interaction with NATO. Post believes, despite MFA's good
intentions, it will not be so easy to quickly restart Serbia's
NATO programs following May's elections. Though Serbia's
insistence that it be begged to join organizations that others
beg to join may be off-putting, and its recent behavior in the
international arena may be repugnant, the Balkans would be a
safer place with Serbian participation in NATO. End Comment.
MUNTER

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