Cablegate: Bishop Artemije Reviews Trip/Repeats Jihad

DE RUEHBW #1329 2350524
R 230524Z AUG 06




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Bishop Artemije Reviews Trip/Repeats Jihad

1. (SBU) Summary: Serbian Orthodox Bishop Artemije
(Gracanica) met with the Ambassador on August 7, one of
several meetings Artemije held in Belgrade to "communicate
the results of his recent trip to the U.S." Artemije
expressed satisfaction with his trip, repeating
unsubstantiated warnings about a jihadist future in Kosovo
(a message he said had been well received by interlocutors
in DC, including in the U.S. Senate). Ambassador took
strong issue with Artemije's inflammatory rhetoric and
unwillingness to work constructively toward a better future
for Serbs in Kosovo. The Ambassador urged him to work
closely with his moderate and progressive colleagues --
such as Bishops Teodosije and Gregorije -- on a positive
approach that would help encourage Serbs in Kosovo to
contribute to a just and lasting settlement there. End

2. (SBU) Artemije's opening pleasantries, characterizing
his "successful" visit in the U.S. quickly hardened in
response to the Ambassador's questions and comments on the
unhelpful nature of his rhetoric. The Ambassador observed
there were no signs of the kind of jihadist activity in
Kosovo that the world had seen in Iraq, Afghanistan and
elsewhere. Why not work more closely and more in sync with
his fellow Bishops, whose tone and openness to dialogue and
reconciliation (e.g. Teodosije and Gregorije's invitation
to the Albanian leadership to Orthodox Easter Services)
were actually helping build bridges?

3. (SBU) Artemije said Serbs could not trust war criminals
who were insincere about reconciliation. Serbs there would
never accept independence or partition. He launched into a
very critical and at times vindictive assessment of the
failings of the international community. The civilian and
international presences, he charged, had done nothing to
protect the Serbs in Kosovo and had given the Albanians
cover to engage in atrocities with the Kumanovo Agreement
and Resolution 1244. Not a single Albanian has been
convicted, or even indicted, for crimes against Serbs, he
claimed. Without the return of those who fled, there would
not be a resolution of the problems.

4. (SBU) The Ambassador noted that the difficulties in
Kosovo were caused in large part by the actions taken by
the Milosevic regime, which, he observed, the Bishop had
strongly and forcefully opposed. Progress in Kosovo would
depend on the good will and cooperation of Serbs, Albanians
and others on the ground. Why not work to encourage that
good will instead of cultivating hatred and recrimination?
In any event, said the Ambassador, the international
community would continue to work for a balanced and
reasonable settlement for the Serbs of Kosovo and the U.S.
would continue to risk the lives of its soldiers and to
provide resources to ensure a just and lasting settlement.
He encouraged Artemije to work constructively with other
Bishops to that same end.

5. (SBU) Comment: It seemed clear from Artemije's
presentation and the discussion that followed that he has
no intention of playing a constructive role in the
settlement process. Artemije was accompanied by his
assistant Iguman Simeon and Professor Miroljub Jevtic, a
"specialist" on Islam terrorism at the University of
Belgrade -- we expect more of the same jihadist mongering
from Artemije as negotiations come to a close. One well-
placed SOC source recently told us that Simeon was a
virulent hard-liner who strongly influenced Artemije's
opinions. We would welcome any additional observations
from USOP. End comment


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