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Cablegate: Serbia: Eu-Kosovo Divide Grows

VZCZCXYZ2154
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVB #0198/01 0650557
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 050557Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8677
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFNSAA/AFSOUTH NAPLES IT

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000198

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

ZAGREB SENDING FOR BELGRADE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KBTS KPAO SR MW KV
SUBJECT: SERBIA: EU-KOSOVO DIVIDE GROWS


Summary
-------

1. (SBU) On the eve of the first parliamentary session of 2008, a
resolution proposed by the Radicals that would allow Serbia to join
the EU "only with Kosovo" has deepened the rift between Serbia's
ruling parties. Officials from Prime Minister Kostunica's party have
said they will support the resolution while pro-EU parties have
denounced the resolution and method it was produced. According to
parliamentary contacts, President Tadic's party hopes to delay
consideration of the text. End Summary.

The Proposal
------------

2. (U) On March 4, the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) submitted a draft
resolution for consideration by parliament, which convenes for the
first time this year on March 5. The Radicals' resolution calls on
the EU not to deploy its "illegal" EULEX mission to Kosovo and calls
for the "protection of Serbia's territorial integrity within
international organizations." The text also asks that EU member
nations which have recognized Kosovo annul those decisions and warns
the EU that Serbia will "only participate in European integration
with its internationally recognized borders." The document states
that these positions are in accordance with the Serbian
Constitution, which states that Kosovo is a part of Serbia.

DSS Supports
------------

3. (U) On B92 radio on March 4, DSS Vice President Milos Aligrudic
said that his party would support the Radicals' resolution because
it is " in accordance with state institutions, the Serbian
Constitution...state Kosovo policy and previous parliamentary
resolutions" on Kosovo. Also on March 4, Prime Minister Kostunica
issued a statement calling on parties to "confirm a united state and
national policy that Kosovo is Serbia" in parliament. Congruent
with the Radicals' resolution, Kostunica said that if Serbians
"truly stand behind the state and national principle that Kosovo is
Serbia, then we must all support the position that Serbia can become
a member of the European Union with Kosovo and Metohija." In his
view, this position would "satisfy" both pro-EU parties and those
"strongly insisting on the defense of Kosovo." According to
Kostunica, such parliamentary action would "preserve and confirm the
policy that Serbia has led for years in the defense of its essential
interests, and to clearly say that Serbia is joining the European
Union only with her Kosovo."

4. (U) Socialist Party (SPS) leader Ivica Dacic told the press that
his party would support the resolution, saying that the resolution
did not prevent Serbia's EU integration but rather required the EU
to "keep watch" on Serbia.

DS, G17, LDP Oppose
-------------------

5. (U) Oliver Dulic, speaker of the parliament and Democratic Party
(DS) official warned that if the DSS joined the SRS to adopt the
resolution it would "represent the forming of a new parliamentary
majority." DS parliamentary whip Nada Kolundzija said that her
party "categorically" opposed the resolution. She said it was
"unacceptable and unthinkable" that Serbian foreign policy could be
made by parties outside the government. G17 Plus vice president
Tomica Milosavljevic said that the resolution was made without
consultation with parties within the government and would set an
undesirable precedent for government activity. Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP) opposed the content of the resolution most strongly.
LDP Member of Parliament Ivan Andric called the resolution a
"continuation of Kostunica's policies" and represented the "last
moment for the DS to use its governmental majority" and oppose the
DSS. Andric reiterated the LDP assessment that the "only solution"
for the current divisions in government was new elections.

What's Next
-----------

6. (SBU) Jovan Ratkovic, adviser to President Tadic (DS), told
poloff on March 4 that he had not "officially confirmed" that the
DSS would vote for the resolution, and they could not do so until an
hour before the parliamentary session. Dulic adviser Lidija
Vasiljevic told poloff on March 4 that there was a "strong
possibility" that Kostunica will try to form a new government if
this resolution was not accepted. Ratkovic and Vasiljevic both said
the DS would try to stall the process "using all possible means."
If the resolution passes, Ratkovic said, the DS and G17 would
consider it "non binding" and would then undertake legal measures to

question the legality of the resolution.

Comment
-------

7. (SBU) Although this resolution would be the latest in a series
of parliamentary resolutions reaffirming Serbia's Kosovo policy, the
fact that this comes at a time of clear divisions within the GOS
about EU integration means it represents another test of will for
the ruling parties. Kostunica has elevated the importance of the
resolution by effectively calling for national unity on his position
that Serbia can only join the EU if united with Kosovo. The G17 and
DS (to a lesser extent) have publicly opposed qualifying Serbia's
European integration or linking it with Kosovo. If they are unable
to prevent this resolution, binding or not, it will represent
another obstacle to Serbia's European integration at the hands of
Kostunica's hard-line Kosovo policy. End Comment.

MUNTER

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