Search

 

Cablegate: Ambassador's February 2 Meeting with Serbian Foreign

VZCZCXRO7550
RR RUEHAG RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHBW #0021/01 0361328
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 051328Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BELGRADE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0705
INFO EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 BELGRADE 000021

SIPDIS
AMEMBASSY ANKARA PASS TO AMCONSUL ADANA
AMEMBASSY ASTANA PASS TO AMCONSUL ALMATY
AMEMBASSY BERLIN PASS TO AMCONSUL DUSSELDORF
AMEMBASSY BERLIN PASS TO AMCONSUL LEIPZIG
AMEMBASSY BELGRADE PASS TO AMEMBASSY PODGORICA
AMEMBASSY HELSINKI PASS TO AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG
AMEMBASSY ATHENS PASS TO AMCONSUL THESSALONIKI
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PASS TO AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PASS TO AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/02/05
TAGS: PREL PGOV SR BK KV HR MW US
SUBJECT: Ambassador's February 2 Meeting with Serbian Foreign
Minister Jeremic: 2010 is the "Year of Solutions"

REF: STATE 9661

CLASSIFIED BY: Deborah Mennuti, Chief of Political Section, State,
POL; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

Summary

-------

1. (C) During their first meeting on February 2, Foreign Minister
Jeremic reinforced President Tadic's recent statements that 2010
would be the "Year of Solutions" for the Western Balkans. When
pressed for details, however, the "solutions" appear linked to the
expectation that other parties would largely acquiesce to Serbian
positions, rather than any significant movement by Serbia:

-- Kosovo - Will require a solution that is less "humiliating for
Serbia," including a continued insistence on Kosovo participation
in multilateral fora only with a UN representative.

-- Croatia - Agreed the election of incoming President Josipovic
presents a new opportunity to engage on difficult issues, but with
the expectation that Croatia should admit to ethnic cleansing in
the Krajina ("how else can you describe the exodus of 250,000
Serbs?").

-- Montenegro - "Truly our brothers, but Serbs are seriously
discriminated against in state hiring and we will not accept that."


2. (C) Jeremic was most productive when talking about
Bosnia-Herzegovina, saying the upcoming Srebrenica resolution was
"strategic" in its explicit recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina's
sovereignty and territorial integrity in its entirety (including
Republika Srpska). End Summary.

EU - Our Priority

-----------------

3. (C) In a break from tradition and protocol, Foreign Minister
Jeremic hosted the Ambassador for her first meeting with him at a a
highly visible lunch at the Madera Restaurant in the heart of
Belgrade. (During a subsequent meeting, Defense Minister Sutanovac
--who "coincidentally" was attending a lunch there at the same time
-- noted that it was the first time he had ever seen Jeremic at
Madera.) Extolling the successes of 2009, Jeremic said
metaphorically, "We climbing up the ATP ratings and we won't let
our rating drop in 2010." Clearly taking credit for EU visa
liberalization, the EU Interim Trade Agreement and submission of
Serbia's candidacy for the EU, Jeremic complained that
consideration of Serbia's candidacy might be delayed until June.
"March would be better," he said, noting that the EU Council could
choose to act on Serbia's application at almost any time. In
response to the Ambassador's comment that the next report of War
Crimes Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz on Serbian cooperation with
the International War Crimes Tribunal would likely be important for
assessing next steps, Jeremic asked what further proof the EU
needed to demonstrate that Serbia was doing everything possible to
catch war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic. The Ambassador noted that
capturing Mladic remained the most important objective. Jeremic
characterized his recent trip to Brussels where he met European
High Representative for Foreign Affairs Ashton down as "successful"

BELGRADE 00000021 002 OF 004


and said he was pleased with her interest in the Western Balkans,
in particular in Bosnia-Herzegovina, while hoping that any visit by
Ashton to the region would include a stop in Belgrade.

U.S. Congress a Priority, Too

-----------------------------

4. (C) Jeremic confirmed his plans to travel to the United States
February 24-25 and said his focus would be nurturing the
Congressional Serbian caucus. Saying he did not need the
Department's support for the Hill, Jeremic requested help in
setting up meetings with the NSC and with EUR A/S Gordon. He said
he also hoped to give a lecture either at George Washington or
Georgetown University. In response to the Ambassador's review of
upcoming CODELS Voinovich/Shaheen and Pomeroy to Belgrade in
mid-February, Jeremic said he welcomed all congressional visits to
Serbia and would do his best to meet with all of them. Jeremic
said he hoped that official visits would continue between Serbia
and the United States "at high levels and more frequently."
Referring to the Vice President's message to "agree to disagree on
Kosovo," Jeremic said he looked forward to improved bilateral
relations in all other areas.

Regional Relations

------------------

5. (C) Jeremic agreed with the Ambassador's assessment that Serbia
was key to keeping the Balkans democratic and stable and asserted
that Serbia's reaction to Kosovo's Unilateral Declaration of
Independence in 2008 had been a landmark in Balkan history. "For
600 years, the response to such acts was war. This is the first
time an actor in the region has responded with legal and diplomatic
tools and not armies." (Comment: Serbian interlocutors seem deaf
to the effect such comments have on western ears and still insist
they should be praised for not resorting to violence. End
Comment.)

6. (C) The Ambassador conveyed the points in reftel demarche,
emphasizing U.S. opposition to any prospective plans by Serbia to
introduce an UNGA resolution that might call for the reopening of
status talks on Kosovo following the International Court of
Justice's advisory opinion later this year. She called for Serbia
to work toward addressing outstanding practical issues in Kosovo
and to begin consideration of a constructive way forward post-ICJ
that would not lead to instability in the region. Without offering
specifics, Jeremic insisted that Serbia would take a responsible
course, fully mindful of its regional responsibilities, while
complaining that the current situation was "humiliating for
Serbia."

7. (C) At the same time, Jeremic emphasized the President's desire
to seek positive solutions to outstanding issues in 2010 and said
Serbia intended to be more helpful, for example, in getting Kosovo
officials to the table in international fora and in dealing with
customs and judicial issues in Kosovo. His solution for Kosovo for
participation in international fora was simple, he said: a UN
representative would need to be present to utter one brief sentence
of introduction. In addition Jeremic said Serbia could accept
simple nameplates, with first and last names, but no state
designation. Jeremic did not offer specifics as to how he saw

BELGRADE 00000021 003 OF 004


customs and justice cooperation proceeding, saying these issues
were the bailiwick of the Kosovo Ministry.

8. (C) Jeremic said he was currently more concerned about about
developments during the pre-ICJ period, citing recent problems
connected with the visits of senior Serbian officials to Kosovo,
including Minister for Kosovo Affairs Bogdanovic. Bogdanovic, he
insisted, was a resident of northern Kosovo who had every "right"
to travel to his home. He also said it would be very unfortunate
if Kosovo officials chose not to facilitate the April 25
installation of the new Patriarch in the Pec Patriarchate. The
Ambassador emphasized the importance of ensuring that the visits of
all Serbian officials to Kosovo be notified in advance through
established procedures, while assuring Jeremic that we were
encouraging Kosovo officials to facilitate such visits whenever
possible. She assured Jeremic that we were already in contact with
our mission in Pristina about the Patriarch's installation as well
as the February 6-7 planned visit of Belgrade Mayor Dragan Djilas
to the Decani Monastery. Jeremic also complained about the leaked
"Feith Plan" for integrating the North into Kosovo, asserting that
it would "cause mayhem." A new reality could not be created in the
North, he said. "We will behave," said Jeremic, "but you and the
EU have to acknowledge that Kosovo is a special place for us."

9. (C) Responding to the Ambassador's recommendation for renewed
dialogue with Croatia on outstanding issues, Jeremic welcomed the
recent election of Croatian President Josipovic, commenting that
Josipovic and President Tadic already had good relations. "Anyway
anyone's better than (current Croatian President) Mesic." Jeremic
agreed that improved Croatian-Serbian relations were key to
addressing stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well. He said
that the Serbian refugee issue would continue to plague bilateral
relations with Croatia, but acknowledged the potential for progress
on a range of issues at the technical level, and welcomed U.S.
support, including the early March visit of PRM DAS Robinson.
Still, he insisted that "Serbia does not have sole responsibility
for the 1990's," adding, "How can you describe the exodus in 1995
of 250,000 Serbs from Croatia other than ethnic cleansing?"

10. (C) Jeremic described Montenegro as Serbia's closest neighbor
and said Serbs considered Montenegrins their brothers. He
dismissed Montenegro's recent establishment of diplomatic relations
with Kosovo as unfortunate, but less troubling than Montenegro's
treatment of its Serb minority population. "Serbs constitute 35% of
Montenegro's population and the state remains the biggest employer
there; yet only 6% of state employees are Serbs; this is
unacceptable." Jeremic also cited Montenegro's struggle with
organized crime as a danger to Serbian stability.

Srebrenica Resolution

---------------------

11. (C) Responding to the Ambassador's appreciation of Serbian
engagement with the parties in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Jeremic
confirmed this would continue, while highlighting the Serbian
Parliament's consideration of a Srebrenica Resolution as a
strategic turning point. Claiming that the MFA had drafted the
resolution, Jeremic said the text contained language explicitly
supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of
Bosnia-Herzegovina "in its entirely." Jeremic said this was the
most significant element in the resolution, adding that he had
consulted with Bosnian Presidency Member Haris Siljdzic, who
supported the gesture. Jeremic said Republika Srpska Prime

BELGRADE 00000021 004 OF 004


Minister Milorad Dodik, "doesn't like" the resolution, and said he
planned to travel to Turkey on February 9 to consult on the
resolution and constitutional reform in Bosnia. Jeremic brushed
off Dodik's threats on holding a referendum to determine Republika
Srpska's future saying, "don't freak out about the referendum, it's
not about secession, it goes more to re-affirming the RS's entity
status."

12. (SBU) On a personal note, Jeremic told the Ambassador he was
half Bosniak and that he had had relatives killed in Srebrenica.
(Note: Jeremic's mother is the sister of former Bosnian Federal
Presidency Member Hamdija Pozderac. End Note.) Jeremic also
commented that Serbia welcomed Bosnia's new candidate for
ambassador to Serbia, Borisa Arnaut, saying Bosnia had gone too
long without an ambassador in Belgrade.

Comment

-------

13. (C) Jeremic's choice of such a high-profile venue for his
first meeting with the Ambassador is as telling as his comments.
He clearly is seeking a fresh start and wants to be seen in
public as a friend of the United States. While significant
challenges remain, we should seek to take advantage of this
potential new opening and continue to explore at every opportunity
constructive thinking about the post-ICJ period - which may be the
real test of his stated commitment to President Tadic's plan of
making 2010 the year of solutions. End Comment.
WARLICK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: Decades Of Health Gains At Risk In Brazil Due To COVID-19

Although COVID-19 cases are declining in Brazil, the pandemic is putting decades of public health gains there at risk, the head of the World Health Organization ( WHO ) said on Friday. With global attention and support focused this week ... More>>

UN Report: Myanmar Approaching Point Of Economic Collapse

The turmoil following the military coup in Myanmar, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 could result in up to 25 million people – nearly half of the country’s population, living in poverty by early next year, a United Nations report said on Friday. That ... More>>

World Vision: India’s Second Wave Shows The Global Fight Against COVID-19 Is Far From Won

As India’s COVID-19 daily infection rates reach devastating levels, international aid agency World Vision has warned that the world is nowhere near defeating this virus and some nations are yet to face their worst days. Andrew Morley, World Vision ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>

What COVID-19 Has Taught Us: “Healthcare Can No Longer Exist Without Technology”

A grandmother in a village in the Gambia should have the same quality of life and access to healthcare they deserve as in New York or London. Photo: InnovaRx Global Health Start-up Works To Bridge Healthcare Gap In The Gambia By: Pavithra Rao As ... More>>