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Cablegate: Serbian Mfa Promises to Pay Damages, Previews

VZCZCXYZ3349
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVB #0186 0640856
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 040856Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8663

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000186

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 POLI 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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