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Cablegate: Serbia: Kosovo Resolution Divides Government, Radicals May

VZCZCXYZ3615
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVB #0222/01 0660644
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 060644Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8728
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 000222

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

ZAGREB SENDING FOR BELGRADE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KBTS KPAO SR MW KV
SUBJECT: SERBIA: KOSOVO RESOLUTION DIVIDES GOVERNMENT, RADICALS MAY
SEEK SPEAKER'S OUSTER

REF: ZAGREB 198

Summary
-------

1. (SBU) A parliamentary majority of Prime Minister Kostunica's
party and ultranationalist Radicals supported consideration of a
resolution stating that Serbia should only join the European Union
with Kosovo as its territory. Parliament's Speaker, from President
Tadic's party, suspended session and referred the matter back to the
government, prompting the Radicals to threaten that they would call
for a vote on the Speaker's dismissal. Each of the ruling parties
have also suggested that Serbia may hold a referendum on EU
integration. End Summary.

Resolution On Agenda
--------------------

2. (U) On March 5, A majority in parliament voted in favor of
considering the controversial Kosovo resolution reported in reftel.
133 of 250 Members of Parliament (MP) supported considering the text
as the first item of business. The 133 were made up of MPs from the
Radical Party (SRS), Prime Minister Kostunica's Democratic Party of
Serbia (DSS) and the Socialist Party (SPS). As the opposition SRS
and SPS were joined by the government's DSS, this served to sharpen
divisions in the ruling coalition. SRS and DSS officials reiterated
support for the text, which they said was in accordance with state
policy on Kosovo.

DS-G17 React
------------

3. (U) Following the vote, the Speaker of Parliament, Oliver Dulic
(DS), adjourned the session and referred the resolution to the GOS,
which has not determined a position on the text. The DS and G17
Plus, which are in government with the DSS, have both publicly
opposed the resolution. President Tadic told FoNet news agency that
the Radicals aimed to "impede further EU negotiations" through the
text, rather than "defend Kosovo." G17 Parliamentary Whip Suzana
Grubjesic told poloff on March 5 that the vote in parliament
demonstrated "schizophrenic democracy" as there were conflicting
majorities in parliament (DSS-SRS-SPS) and in government
(DS-DSS-G17). Prime Minister Kostunica can now decide whether the
GOS will convene on March 6, and whether to have a vote on the
resolution. DS and G17 together outnumber the DSS in government.
Grubjesic said that "either way" the text will come back to
parliament for a vote, which could be as late as June or July.

SRS Asks to Dismiss Dulic
-------------------------

4. (U) SRS leader Tomislav Nikolic said he would formally seek a
vote to dismiss Dulic because he adjourned parliament before debate
on the resolution could take place. "Do not call for break of the
session," Nikolic said during the March 5 session, "otherwise we
will file the motion for your dismissal." "I will have you fall
today, or I shall not live," Nikolic said. Legally, the Speaker is
obligated to schedule a session for his own dismissal within 24
hours following an official motion. This must be supported by at
least 30 MPs and there are 81 SRS MPs in parliament. Nikolic is
likely waiting to see if Kostunica will support this motion to
dismiss the Speaker before making an official motion in parliament.

Dulic Worried
-------------

5. (SBU) Dulic's adviser said the situation was "very bad." Lidija
Vasiljevic told poloff on March 5 that "the ball is in Kostunica's
court" since the SRS would need DSS votes to dismiss Dulic. A
worried Vasiljevic said Dulic had consulted President Tadic about
options, but if Kostunica supported the measure it was "very likely"
Dulic could be dismissed "as early as tomorrow [March 6]."


EU Referendum
-------------

6. (SBU) The ruling parties have also discussed the possibility of
holding a referendum to gauge the public's support for EU
integration. As reported in reftel, this was first raised by
Tadic's domestic adviser. On March 5, DSS spokesperson Andreja
Mladenovic told the press that his party would support a referendum
on "whether Serbia should enter the EU with or without Kosovo," a
leading question. Dulic told Serbian daily Danas on March 5 that
the DS would support a referendum if it became clear that the GOS

was unable to achieve its guiding principles, such as EU
integration. Dulic said that President Tadic's reelection on
February 3 had shown Serbian citizens "opted for the EU."
Similarly, G17 vice president Tomica Milosavljevic told the press on
March 4 that Serbians "already expressed their stand in the
presidential elections when the convincing majority was won by a
pro-European candidate."

Comment
-------

7. (SBU) Kostunica has again outmaneuvered Tadic and is back in a
position of strength. He can use the SRS resolution to raise the
stakes, convening the GOS and seeing if the DS-G17 majority will
outvote the DSS. Kostunica's option of supporting the SRS to
dismiss Dulic could strengthen his position in GOS deliberations.
Dulic has shown guts to stand up to Kostunica over the past few
weeks and his dismissal would be a seismic political event. End
Comment.

MUNTER

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