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Cablegate: Luxembourg Soldier Dies in Kosovo

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RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLE #0325 3101427
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (CCY ADX0D3BB1D MSI8818 611)
R 061427Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY LUXEMBOURG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6802
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHPS/AMEMBASSY PRISTINA 0042
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 0645

UNCLAS LUXEMBOURG 000325

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y //ADDED SENSITIVE STATEMENT//

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/WE VALERIE BELON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR PINR KV LU
SUBJECT: LUXEMBOURG SOLDIER DIES IN KOSOVO

REF: CENTER-FREIRE NOTIFICATION 11/04/09

1. (U) A Luxembourg soldier died in Kosovo on 4 November near
Mitrovica. Defense Minister Jean-Marie Halsdorf held a
hastily-called, extremely terse press conference that lasted
three minutes, during which he only announced the death, the
age of the soldier (28), and the fact that the death was not
combat-related. Halsdorf also signaled that the incident
would not affect Luxembourg's current presence in Kosovo.
Luxembourg's 23-troop contingent in Kosovo represents the
Grand Duchy's largest overseas deployment. The troops are
part of NATO's KFOR operation and operate under French
command in Novo Selo.

2. (U) With the government providing no further information,
speculation is that the death was a suicide. The soldier was
reportedly a First Lieutenant and was the commander of the
Luxembourg contingent. Government reports indicate the
family has been informed and that an Army unit has been
dispatched to Kosovo to investigate the death and repatriate
the soldier's remains.

3. (SBU) Until the speculative becomes confirmed, the
suicide angle is likely to spiral. We suspect Luxembourg
authorities will announce the confirmed cause of death as
expeditiously as possible to avoid any unnecessary tarnishing
of the highly-respected Luxembourg Army, which could be
sullied by unsubstantiated rumors. Major daily d'Wort's
deputy editor-in-chief argued that the tragic incident, if
properly presented to the public and in a timely fashion,
could lead to an increase in the already strong support
Luxembourg's overseas missions receive in the public sector.
Luxembourg's military missions generally are the subject of
very little controversy among the public, but in some
sectors, Luxembourgers lament the little international
attention given to Luxembourg's military contributions. A
spotlight, albeit a tragic one, may increase that attention.

4. (SBU) Until now, Luxembourg's Kosovo contingent was
primarily known for sparking true love and a royal
controversy in 2004. While on a goodwill tour with his
father to Kosovo, the Grand Duke's third son, Prince Louis,
met a Luxembourg soldier stationed in Kosovo. When the two
eventually had a child out of wedlock, Prince Louis lost his
claim to the throne. The two eventually married and had a
second child and in June 2009, the Grand Ducal Family finally
bestowed a full royal title and privileges on his wife, the
newly-coronated Princess Tessy. (NOTE: Prince Louis and his
family are currently in the United States in F-visa status,
while Prince Louis is studying at Florida Institute of
Technology. END NOTE)

5. (U) Luxembourg has not lost a soldier on deployment in
recent memory.

6. (U) Post point of contact is (acting0 POL/ECON Chief Adam
Center, (e-mail: CenterAM@state.gov).

BIEDLINGMAIER

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