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Cablegate: Latvia Declines to Make Oral Statement to Icj On

VZCZCXRO3012
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHRA #0460 2540438
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 110438Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY RIGA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6034
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 0002
RUEHPS/AMEMBASSY PRISTINA 0001
RUEHTI/AMEMBASSY TIRANA 0107
RUEHVB/AMEMBASSY ZAGREB 0063
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0111
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

UNCLAS RIGA 000460

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/SCE, L/EUR, AND L/UNA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AORC PREL LG
SUBJECT: LATVIA DECLINES TO MAKE ORAL STATEMENT TO ICJ ON
KOSOVO'S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

REF: SECSTATE 90199

1. (SBU) Acting Pol/Econ Chief delivered reftel demarche on
Sept 8 to MFA Director of the European Department Indulis
Abelis, MFA Deputy Head of the International Law Department
Katrina Kaktina, and MFA Kosovo/Bosnia desk officer Edvards
Seliska. As per reftel instructions the demarche was
delivered jointly with the British Embassy's Deputy Head of
Mission, Daniel Grzenda. The MFA informed us that Latvia
has decided not make an oral statement at the International
Court of Justice's (ICJ) advisory opinion hearings in
December on Kosovo's declaration of independence.

2. (SBU) There were three reasons given for Latvia's
decision, which was reached several weeks ago at the
ministerial level after reportedly extensive internal
discussions. First, Latvia does not believe that an oral
statement would add anything to its written submission in
support of Kosovo's declaration of independence from April
2009. Second, Latvia is concerned about its severely
constrained budget. (Note: Latvia's financial crisis has
required extensive budget cuts. End Note.) The MFA
pointed out that the ICJ has been unclear about how
long the oral arguments phase will last, thereby
exacerbating the MFA's uncertainty about its ability to
finance participation in terms of its commitment of human
resources. This is complicated by the expected further
reduction of the MFA's budget in 2010. Third, Latvia
expressed concern that an oral argument might create an
unwanted precedent for international law in the context of
the independence declarations of South Ossetia and Abkhazia
in Georgia.

3. (SBU) Latvia will have an observer at the ICJ and
Latvian President Valdis Zatlers is planning to meet with
Kosovo's president, Fatmir Seidiu, on the sidelines of UNGA
in a show of "solidarity". Abelis promised to relay our
message to Foreign Minister Riekstins and said Latvia is
committed to following this process and looking for future
opportunities to support Kosovo.

4. (SBU) Comment: Regardless of the substantive arguments,
the MFA,s budgetary woes are driving Latvia's decision not
to make an oral statement at the ICJ. Following the demarche,
our British counterpart made it clear that he concurs with
this conclusion. End comment.
GARBER

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