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Cablegate: Unesco: Kosovo Experts' Meeting: Establishes

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: UNESCO: Kosovo Experts' Meeting: Establishes
Basis for Working with UNMIK; Lists 13 Priority Restoration
Projects; USG to contribute USD 1 million

1. (U) Summary. A 9 December UNESCO Experts' Meeting on
Kosovo resulted in an agreed list of 13 priorities (seven
Orthodox, six Muslim) for cultural restoration and the basis
for a cooperative working relationship with UNMIK. The
substantive part of the Expert Meeting, which took place in
the presence of reps from UNMIK, UNESCO and the Council of
Europe, was open only to the experts.

Per a 19 December USG-UNESCO Agreement, USG will contribute
1 million USD to the restoration of eight of the 13 sites
recommended by the experts. End summary.

2. (SBU) Amcit Ambassador Larry Rossin, the Principal Deputy
Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in
Kosovo, told poloff 9 December that his UN Mission in Kosovo
(UNMIK) delegation held a good meeting with UNESCO Culture
Sector head Mounir Bouchenaki 8 December. Rossin reported
that Bouchenaki had acknowledged UNMIK's leading role under
UNSC Resolution 1244. (Note. An UNMIK rep reported that
Bouchenaki also reiterated UNMIK's leading role during the
December 9 Expert Meeting itself. End note.)

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3. (SBU) Bouchenaki also told Rossin 8 December that UNESCO
was determined to avoid the political grandstanding that had
marred the 13 May Donor's Conference. Accordingly, at the 9
December Expert Meeting, UNESCO Director General (DG)
Koichoro Matsuura opened the meeting with a speech
reiterating UNESCO's commitment to restoring cultural
heritage in Kosovo and in all post-conflict areas.
Bouchenaki then introduced the experts (see list para. 7,
below) and announced that there would be a coffee break, to
be followed by the technical meeting, which would be open
only to the experts and the UNMIK, UNESCO and Council of
Europe representatives. The Greek and Serbian Ambassadors
grumbled about this, but the restriction held. (Note. The
DG has wide latitude under UNESCO Rules concerning
classification of meetings to set the parameters of
"Category VI" Expert Meetings. End note.)

4. (SBU) According to an UNMIK report, after the coffee
break, UNMIK Principal Deputy Rossin was the first speaker.
He explained that under UNSC Resolution 1244, UNMIK had the
responsibility to ensure the protection and preservation of
cultural heritage in Kosovo, along with the Provisional
Institutions of Self Government established pursuant to the
Constitutional Framework, including the Ministry of Culture,
Youth and Sports (MCYS). Rossin continued that the
Reconstruction Implementation Commission (RIC) must be
involved as well. (Note. Rossin had told DCM Koss and
poloff 8 December that the RIC, chaired by the Council of
Europe and including reps from the Serbian Orthodox Church,
the MCYS and relevant Serb church authorities, is an example
of successful cooperation among religious and ethnic groups
involved in Kosovo. End note.)

5. (SBU) Rossin told poloff 9 December that the UNESCO
undertaking to involve the RIC would likely need
reinforcing, given the opposition to the RIC from some in
Serbia and the leading role of long-time Serb UNESCO
Ambassador Dragoljub Najman in UNESCO affairs.

6. (U) The technical work proceeded smoothly, according to
UNMIK reps. The experts recommended that seven Orthodox and
six Islamic monuments in Kosovo should be the first to be
restored over the next two years. The sites recommended by
the experts for restoration are: Cathedral Church of Christ
the Saviour and Church of Bogorica Ljeviska and Hammam
Mehmet Pasha (Prizren); Church of Saint Sava and Hamman
(Mitrovic/Kosovska Mitrovica); Church of the Presentation
of the Virgin (Lipjan/Lipljan); Church of Saint Archangel
Michael (Shtime/Stimlje); Church of Saint Petka
(Viti/Vitina), Budisavci Monastery (Klin/Klina); Red Mosque
(Pej/Pec); Hadum Mosque (Gjakov/Dakovica); Dean/Decani
Mosque; Hammam of Ali Bey (Vushtrri/Vucitrn).

7. (U) Per a 19 December USG-UNESCO agreements, the USG will
contribute USD 1 million to the restoration projects of
eight of these sites. The eight projects are:

--Restoration of the Church of the Presentation of the
Virgin, Lipjan/Lipljan, Lipjan/Lipljan municipality
--Restoration/Reconstruction of the St. Sava Church in
Kosovska Mitrovica
--Restoration of Hadum Mosque in, Gjakove / Djakovica
--Restoration of the Church of St. Archangel Michael,
Shtime/Stimlje Municipality
--Restoration of Budisavci Monastery, Budisavc/Budisavci,
Klina Municipality
--Restoration of Mosque, Decan/Decani Municipality
--Partial reconstruction of the Church of St. Petka,
--Partial - Urgent restoration of Hamam, Mitrovice, Kosovska

8. (U) The experts are: Jose Maria BALLESTER (Spain),
Azedine BESCHAOUCH (Tunisia) Alessandro BIANCHI (Italy) Ros
BORATH (Cambodia) Evangelia CHATZITRYFONOS (Greece) Slobodan
CURIC (USA) Bernard FONQUERNIE (France) Branislav KRSTIC
(Serbia and Montenegro) Saleh LAMEI (Egypt), Bisserka
PENKOVA (Bulgaria) and Menmet IBRAHIMGIL (Turkey).

9. (SBU) Comment. UNESCO technical expert missions have
made progress, despite politically charged atmospheres, as,
for example, in the Old City of Jerusalem. If the DG
wisely uses his power to appoint experts and to set the
rules of procedure, he can pave the way for keeping politics
out. Unfortunately, however, not all UNESCO experts
meetings are de-politicized. End comment.


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