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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW4182 2007-08-27 13:59 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

DE RUEHMO #4182/01 2391359
P 271359Z AUG 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 004182 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/24/2017 
     B. PRISTINA 622 
MOSCOW 00004182  001.2 OF 002 
Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs Alice G. Wells 
for reasons 1.4 (b/d) 
1. (C) SUMMARY: In an August 24th meeting, Russian Envoy 
Botsan-Kharchenko characterized the first round of Troika 
talks as satisfactory, but was pessimistic about prospects 
for the August 30 Vienna session, given entrenched positions 
over the Ahtisaari plan, which were exacerbated by Serbian 
and Kosovar Albanian electoral dynamics. Botsan-Kharchenko 
reiterated Russian opposition to the Ahtisaari plan, 
underscored that December 10 was the deadline for the Troika 
report and not an end-date for the negotiations, and pushed 
for Western support of a Serbia-Kosovo confederation, as a 
means for obtaining an "amicable disintegration" of Serbia. 
Botsan-Kharchenko said partition remained an option, but 
dismissed its prospect and desirability.  He noted GOR and 
Russian elite satisfaction with the Troika mechanism and 
praised US Envoy Wisner, arguing that good personal relations 
would be helpful in managing another possible showdown in 
December. As the election season commences, the GOR remains 
focused on stretching out the Kosovo process.  End Summary. 
No Expectations: Vienna Troika Round 
2. (C) In an August 24 meeting, Russia's Troika Envoy 
Botsan-Kharchenko characterized the first round of Troika 
discussions in neutral terms, but predicted a difficult 
August 30 session in Vienna, expressing despair over how to 
occupy the allotted two and half hour negotiating sessions. 
While stressing that the Troika's function was not to 
originate new ideas, but to provide a forum for the Serbs and 
Albanians to negotiate, Botsan-Kharchenko implied that there 
was little prospect of movement on those terms, given Kosovar 
insistence on and Serbian rejection of the Ahtisaari plan. 
While Russia had encouraged Serbian leaders to think 
creatively in advance of the Troika meetings, 
Botsan-Kharchenko noted that election dynamics brought out 
obduracy on both sides.  The fact that President Tadic and 
Prime Minister Kostunica insisted on meeting with the Troika 
together indicated that the Serbian government was unified on 
Kosovo.  Any vestigial Western expectations that Tadic could 
champion a European future for Serbia, without Kosovo, was 
not realistic given his political aspirations. 
Botsan-Kharchenko said the GOR continued to encourage the 
Serbian leadership to proactively advance a new proposal; in 
part, to keep the wind out of the nationalists' sails. 
Consensus, not Deadlines, Drive Process 
3. (C) Botsan-Kharchenko reiterated Russia's view that 
December 10 was a deadline for the Troika's report to the 
SYG, not the culmination of Kosovar Albanian-Serb 
negotiations.  Acknowledging the sharp differences with EU 
Ischinger and US Envoy Wisner on this point, 
Botsan-Kharchenko characterized the Fall period as a lull 
between another -- virtually inevitable -- Winter showdown in 
the Security Council.  Botsan-Kharchenko reviewed, in 
familiar terms, Russian objections to establishing an 
artificial deadline for resolving the conflict, and argued 
that the Troika engagement over the long run could push the 
Serbs to significantly evolve their "supervised autonomy" 
position.  Botsan-Kharchenko sidestepped whether Belgrade 
felt any pressure to move diplomacy forward by December 10, 
or continued to pocket Russian support as a guarantee of 
their position. 
Examining Options; Pushing Confederation 
4. (C) Botsan-Kharchenko gave his assessment of the three 
possible outcomes mooted by the parties, media, or Troika 
-- Adoption of Ahtisaari:  Botsan-Kharchenko termed the 
Kosovar Albanian bottom line -- adoption of the Ahtisaari 
plan -- a non-starter for both Russia and Serbia.  He 
welcomed the compromise that allowed the Ahtisaari plan to 
remain on the Troika table, but underscored that this should 
not be mistaken for Russian willingness to revisit its 
objections to the process overseen by Ahtisaari and its 
-- Partition of Kosovo:  Botsan-Kharchenko argued that 
partition was not the desired outcome of these negotiations, 
although the Troika would have to support this result if both 
parties agreed to it.  Since neither Belgrade nor Pristina 
had raised partition during the first round of talks, 
MOSCOW 00004182  002.2 OF 002 
Botsan-Kharchenko thought it was unlikely to be resurrected 
in Vienna.  Botsan-Kharchenko was critical of partition, but 
obliquely acknowledged former Prime Minister Primakov's role 
in fanning rumors that it was under contemplation by Serbia 
and the GOR.  Botsan-Kharchenko attributed Primakov's 
interest to an academic article that captured his attention, 
but rejected any GOR suppo
rt for the concept. 
--  Creation of a Confederation: Botsan-Kharchenko returned 
several times to the concept, first floated by EU Envoy 
Ischinger, of a confederation of Serbia and Kosovo, modeled 
loosely on Serbia-Montenegro.  A confederation could be a 
realistic outgrowth of Troika-brokered negotiations over 
Serbia's autonomy proposal.  Botsan-Kharchenko argued that 
its virtue was to provide time for the "amicable 
disintegration" of Serbia, while creating facts on the ground 
of Kosovo's ultimate independence.  When this idea was raised 
by Ischinger in Belgrade, Serbian Minister for Kosovo Affairs 
Samardzic objected strenuously, while Tadic was less forceful 
-- a difference that Botsan-Kharchenko interpreted to mean 
that the proposal had become more attractive to the Serbian 
Russian Domestic Audience Pleased with Troika Talks 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
5. (C) Pointing to increased media and Duma interest in the 
Troika process, Botsan-Kharchenko noted that domestic 
reaction to the negotiating mechanism has been positive, with 
the Russian elite and popular opinion gratified to see Russia 
represented on an equal footing.  The fact that the Troika 
process encouraged new thinking on Kosovo was interpreted as 
a Russian "win" over an Albanian-friendly plan driven by 
Ahtisaari. Botsan-Kharchenko repeatedly praised US Envoy 
Wisner's good personal relations with the Troika members, 
which he stressed would be essential in navigating a 
difficult December period. 
6. (C) Time was very much on Botsan-Kharchenko's mind.  Left 
unspoken by the Russian Envoy was the fact that the Troika 
negotiations will span the Russian parliamentary campaign 
with the December 10 deadline coinciding with the December 2 
Duma elections.  With the March 2008 presidential contest 
looming, the GOR will continue to seek a postponement of a 
resolution on Kosovo's status. Putin's ability to manage a 
smooth succession depends upon quiet in the "frozen 
conflicts." In addition to the threat from direct conflict, 
the Kremlin remains obsessed with restiveness in the North 
Caucasus, which overwhelmingly favors independence for 
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and which could flare up if 
Kosovo's aspirations are granted while those of the 
separatist entities in Georgia are denied. 


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