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Cablegate: Serbian Mfa Promises to Pay Damages, Previews Legal

VZCZCXYZ2665
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVB #0185 0640600
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 040600Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8662

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000185

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

ZAGREB SENDS FOR BELGRADE
L FOR ANNA MANSFIELD
EUR-IO/EX FOR PMO MARGARET SULA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMGT KLIG ODIP OFDP AEMR AMGT PREL SR
SUBJECT: SERBIAN MFA PROMISES TO PAY DAMAGES, PREVIEWS LEGAL
CHALLENGES TO KOSOVO

Summary
-------

1. (SBU) A Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs official confirmed to
the Ambassador that the Serbian Government will pay all damage to
embassies during the riots on February 21. The official also said
the Serbian Government had formed a legal team to consider suing
foreign governments over Kosovo's declaration of independence. End
Summary.

GOS Will Pay Embassy Damages
----------------------------

2. (SBU) On February 27, MFA Secretary General Borislav Stefanovic
told the Ambassador that the GOS would pay for all damage inflicted
on the embassy during the February 21 riots in Belgrade. During a
demarche by ambassadors from countries whose missions were damaged
by rioters, Stefanovic confirmed Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic's
public statements on February 25 that "Serbia would be responsible"
for all damage to embassies.

Legal Team to Consider Lawsuits over Kosovo
-------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Stefanovic told the Ambassador in a private meeting on
February 28 that the GOS had agreed to form a "legal team" made up
of representatives of the Foreign Ministry and Kosovo Ministry to
decide on lawsuits against countries that recognize Kosovo's
declaration of independence. Stefanovic noted there was a divide
between the Democratic Party (DS) which controls the MFA and the
Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) which controls the Kosovo Ministry
over the team's purpose. According to Stefanovic, DS officials
believe the team should "explore" the possibility of lawsuits while
the DSS is preparing to sue. Branislav Ristivojevic, a close legal
advisor to Prime Minister Kostunica (DSS) said on February 27 that
Serbia GOS will sue any country that recognizes Kosovo "in every
international court." On February 28, Jeremic said Serbia "will
request the opinion of the International Court on Justice (ICJ) in
The Hague as to whether the unilateral declaration of Kosovo's
independence represents a violation of international law."

Comment
-------

4. (SBU) Stefanovic spoke on behalf of his government that the GOS
will pay for all damage to the Embassy during the February 21 riots.
Post is keeping a detailed accounting of all costs associated with
the damage. End Comment.

MUNTER

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