Daily Archives: February 6, 2008


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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW303 2008-02-06 16:48 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow


DE RUEHMO #0303 0371648
O 061648Z FEB 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000303 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/06/2018 
Classified By: Pol M/C Alice G. Wells. Reasons:  1.4 (b,d). 
1. (C) Summary:  The Central Election Commission (CEC) 
February 6 continued to mull over the latest proposal from 
ODIHR Director Strohal to monitor the March 2 presidential 
elections.  The Ambassador told DFMs Yakimenko and Grushko 
February 6 that the USG supported ODIHR's desire to have its 
mission on the ground by February 15 and deployed throughout 
the country by February 18, and urged the GOR to accept 
ODIHR's compromise.  Separately, the Ambassador stressed the 
importance of ODIHR's involvement to CEC Chairman Churov, and 
urged the CEC to address ODIHR's remaining concerns.  CEC 
contacts told us February 6 that Strohal's letter was under 
active consideration and that they expected to respond soon. 
End summary. 
CEC Mulls Response 
2. (C) The Central Election Commission (CEC) - ODIHR 
negotiation over the timing of the arrival of the 75-person 
mission slated to observe the March 2 presidential elections 
continued February 6 with the CEC reportedly actively 
considering the latest proposal by ODIHR Director Strohal. 
That proposal reportedly would have the all members of the 
planned 75-person delegation on the ground February 15 for 
deployment around Russia by February 18.  The CEC had 
proposed a February 20 arrival date.  CEC International 
Affairs Director Nikolay Zhukov told us February 6 that 
Strohal's letter was under discussion, but that the decision 
was not the CEC's alone to make.  He though a response would 
be issued by late afternoon February 6.  There had been no 
response as of 1900 local, however. 
3. (C) The Ambassador February 6 told DFMs Yakivenko and 
Grushko that the USG supported ODIHR and urged the GOR to 
have the CEC address ODIHR's remaining concerns about the 
timing of the arrival of its observation mission.  The 
Ambassador stressed the importance of having international 
monitors and ODIHR set the highest standard for the upcoming 
elections.  Both ministers took the Ambassador's comments on 
board but had no substantive comment. 
4. (C) Finnish Ambassador Helenius told Ambassador February 6 
that the Slovenian Ambassador had delivered an EU demarche to 
Grushko on the matter earlier in the day February 6, and that 
Grushko had offered no response.  According to Helenius, CEC 
Chairman Churov was upset that ODIHR had broken what he 
believed was an agreement not to go public with the state of 
the negotiations.  (Churov had told Ambassador February 5 
(reftel) that the sides had agreed to quiet negotiations on 
matters related to observation mission.)  Helenius thought it 
was "not necessarily bad" that the CEC had not immediately 
responded to Strohal's counter-proposal. 
5. (C) Comment:  Calls to the CEC the evening of February 6 
suggest that that Churov and company are still mulling over 
their response.  Churov's behavior at his February 5 lunch 
with Ambassador (reftel) suggested he was willing to 
negotiate with ODIHR over the timing, size, and conditions 
under which an observation mission would work but, as one of 
his aides pointed out, the decision is not the CEC's alone to 



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To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
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If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08MOSCOW302.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW302 2008-02-06 16:08 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

DE RUEHMO #0302/01 0371608
O 061608Z FEB 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 000302 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/06/2018 
     B. BELGRADE 142 
Classified By: M/C for Political Affairs Alice G. Wells for reasons 1.4 
1.  (C) Summary.  In a February 6 meeting, MFA Special Envoy 
for the Balkans Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko laid out the 
GOR's view of splits in the Serbian government, emphasizing 
that Russia believed the EUDP mission was illegal without 
UNSC approval, but that it did not object to Serbia's closer 
ties to the EU.  He predicted that in the event of a CDI, 
Serbia would protest -- with GOR support -- in international 
fora and initiate a series of administrative and economic 
measures against Kosovo, but would not cut electricity 
supplies.  Botsan-Kharchenko said that Russia's reaction 
would be only "political and diplomatic," and batted away 
press rumors of a GOR military response.  The Russian 
presence in Kosovo after a CDI would depend on the Kosovar 
government's willingness to host a mission still attached to 
Belgrade, as well as  to the security situation. 
Botsan-Kharchenko repeated that Russia would not "initiate" 
recognition of Abkhazia, but stressed that it will need to 
reexamine the situation after the "precedent" set by the CDI; 
separately, Moscow analysts predicted "semi-decisions" but no 
immediate recognition.  The MFA believed the contact group 
was still a useful forum for the exchange of information, and 
hoped a meeting could be called in a few months after the 
"sharp backlash" subsided.  End Summary. 
Russia's Views on the Serbian Government Crisis 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
2.  (C) In a February 6 meeting, Russian Envoy for Kosovo 
Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko highlighted the political split 
that had appeared between Tadic and Kostunica since the 
Serbian election and noted that "things are changing rapidly 
in Belgrade," but stopped short of predicting the collapse of 
the government.   During their January 25 visit to Moscow 
(reftel A), Botsan-Kharchenko characterized Kostunica as very 
negative towards the deployment of the EUDP mission, with his 
support contingent on a new UNSC resolution premised on a 
"compromise" on the status of Kosovo. 
3.  (C) Botsan-Kharchenko said he believed that Tadic's views 
towards an EUDP mission in general were more flexible, and 
noted the GOR supported Tadic's view that Serbia's European 
orientation would not detract from a strong relationship with 
Russia.  In Moscow, Botsan-Kharchenko said Tadic backed 
Kostunica's position towards the EU because he needed 
Kostunica's support in the February 3 election, and perceived 
unity was critical.  With election alliances past, the 
Serbian government was "close to splitting,"  and a decision 
by Tadic to sign the EU political agreement without 
Kostunica's support would shatter the coalition. 
4.  (C) Bostan-Kharchenko told us that while in Moscow, Tadic 
hinted that he would agree to an EUDP if the EU were open to 
continuing negotiations on Kosovo's final status, a position 
the GOR would also support.  We stressed that the EUDP 
mission would ensure stability of the neighborhood, and that 
EU integration was important for Serbia and should not be 
tied to Kosovo's CDI.  Botsan-Kharchenko emphasized that the 
GOR could not dictate to Serbia to unlink the two, and said 
that the GOR would continue to support Serbian opposition to 
the EUDP, reiterating that the EU had tried "in vain" to find 
a legal basis for the mission, and failed. 
How Serbia Will React to a CDI 
5.  (C)  Botsan-Kharchenko claimed that the GOR was not aware 
of all of Belgrade's plans, but stressed that Belgrade did 
not want to create a humanitarian crisis in the region.  That 
said, Botsan-Kharchenko outlined for us the likely elements 
of Serbia's response: 
-- FM Jeremic confirmed to Lavrov in a January 24 meeting 
that Serbia would call for a Security Council meeting after a 
CDI to protest the violation of 1244 and call on UNSC members 
to pressure Pristina to withdraw the declaration.  Russia 
will support this call. 
-- Belgrade would likely block transportation routes and the 
administrative border. 
-- Serbia would use the Berlin Mechanism in the OSCE to call 
an emergency meeting of the Permanent Council, where it would 
assert that Kosovo's CDI represents a threat to the Helsinki 
Final Act. 
-- Jeremic also told Lavrov that Belgrade would take economic 
measures against Kosovo, but clarified that for technical 
MOSCOW 00000302  002 OF 003 
reasons, Belgrade cannot stop electricity to Kosovo without 
also affecting Kosovar Serb areas and even areas of Southern 
Serbia, and was therefore very unlikely to do so. 
6.  (C)  In its conversations with the GOR, Belgrade 
officials emphasized that they were not pushing the Kosovar 
Serbs towards taking an assertive position, Botsan-Kharchenko 
told us.  We replied that actions on the ground belied these 
assertions, from the p
ressure placed on Kosovar Serbs not to 
participate in parliamentary elections to that applied on 
Kosovar Serb police not to cooperate with UNMIK. 
Botsan-Kharchenko argued that Kosovar Serbs held a hard line 
towards international organizations and would not cooperate 
with the incoming EUDP mission because they saw it as part of 
a CDI.  With UNMIK, he said, there were two possibilities: 
either there would be no cooperation at all from the Kosovar 
Serbs, or they would maintain cooperation only with UNMIK 
contacts whose countries have not recognized Kosovo.  We 
stressed that Belgrade could not hide behind Kosovar Serb 
rhetoric, but had to take responsibility for a peaceful 
transition that was essential to safeguarding the interests 
of Kosovo's minority communities. 
How Russia Will React 
7.  (C) Botsan-Kharchenko stressed that all measures Russia 
has prepared in response to a CDI were political and 
diplomatic, and ruled out press rumors that Russia would 
respond militarily to a CDI in Kosovo, including the 
possibility of setting up a Russian military base in Serbia. 
8.  (C)  Russia's diplomatic representation in Pristina would 
depend on Kosovar willingness, Botsan-Kharchenko told us. 
Former Kosovar Prime Minister Ceku had assured the GOR that a 
Kosovar government would not demand Russia's withdrawal from 
Pristina after a CDI, but he was not sure what Thaci's 
decision would be.  He noted that because the mission was 
considered part of the embassy in Belgrade, the Kosovars may 
ask the Russians to leave.  Botsan-Kharchenko pointed out 
that the security situation on the ground would contribute to 
the GOR's decision, and praised local and international 
authorities for their support to date. 
Ambiguous Abkhazia 
9.  (C) Referring to Lavrov's January 23 press conference, 
Botsan-Kharchenko told us that Russia would not 
"automatically" recognize Abkhazia in response to a CDI, and 
the GOR wished to avoid the "challenges and risks" that 
recognition would bring.  He stressed the GOR would not 
initiate recognition of Abkhazia, but a CDI from Kosovo would 
set a precedent, and the GOR would need to revisit the 
situation under those circumstances and in light of the 
actions of Abkhaz leadership. 
10.  (C) Separately, Moscow analysts told us that Russia was 
unlikely to recognize Abkhazia in the near future, for 
several reasons.  Carnegie Center's Dmitry Trenin noted that 
he GOR has already de facto recognized Abkhazia, citing the 
proliferation of Russian passports in the region, relaxed 
border crossing rules, and the primacy of the Russian ruble 
in Abkhazia as evidence.  He also noted that if it were the 
only country, or one of very few to recognize Abkhazia, 
Russian diplomacy would look "weak."  Finally, Trenin argued 
that Russia was not looking for a fight with the U.S., which 
he viewed as a distinct possibility if Georgia declared war 
against Russia in response to its recognition of Abkhazia. 
The Institute of Euro-Atlantic Security's Alexander Nikitin 
added that he expected "semi-decisions" on frozen conflict 
regions, but that the GOR desire to protect territorial 
integrity was very real. 
Have Your People Call My People: Hope for the Contact Group 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
11.  (C) Botsan-Kharchenko told us that through a "fortunate 
misunderstanding," a Russian Embassy diplomat had passed a 
message to DAS DiCarlo that was interpreted as initiating a 
contact group meeting.  While the GOR had no intention of 
initiating a meeting at this time, Botsan-Kharchenko told us 
that the MFA believes the contact group meeting may be a good 
mechanism to exchange information, "even with a deep divide." 
 He suggested the contact group could meet "in a few months," 
after the "sharp backlash" subsides. 
12.  (C) In public, Botsan-Kharchenko has denounced the 
"blatant pressure" by the U.S. on the EU and UN to secure 
MOSCOW 00000302  003 OF 003 
Kosovo's independence.  In private, he is resigned to a CDI 
and pragmatic about the clash that will play out, as Russia 
and Serbia take every step possible to challenge the legality 
of Kosovo's independence.  His purposeful ambiguity on 
Abkhazia reflects both the Russian efforts to keep the stakes 
high, and the reality that decisionmaking on this issue does 
not rest with the MFA.