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|08MOSCOW1564||2008-06-03 15:00||2011-08-30 01:44||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Moscow|
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHMO #1564/01 1551500
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031500Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8383
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 001564
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/03/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA ON KOSOVO/EULEX; BOSNIA PIC
REF: USMISSION USUN 450
Classified By: Political M/C Alice G. Wells: Reasons 1.4 (b, d).
¶1. (C) Summary: In a June 3 meeting, Russian Special Envoy
for Kosovo Botsan-Kharchenko noted "immediate and serious"
concerns with UNSYG Ban Ki-Moon's proposal to Belgrade
regarding EULEX, with an MFA statement highlighting FM
Lavrov's June 2 telephone conversation with Ban underscoring
the need to adhere to UNSCR 1244 and find a solution
acceptable to both Belgrade and Pristina. Botsan-Kharchenko
maintained that the Security Council must make the final
decision, but Russia was focused on EULEX remaining a pillar
within UNMIK. Belgrade's approval as "host country" was
essential, and Russia judged EU nations sought a cooperative
arrangement between the UN and Belgrade. Botsan-Kharchenko
warned of potential trouble around June 15, and stressed
Serbia's refusal to link agreement to an international
civilian presence with a Kosovo constitution that it rejects.
On Bosnia, Russia will push for "more clear hints" about the
OHR end-game at the June 24-25 PIC, in recognition of
perceived improvements on the ground. End Summary
Continued Sharp Differences Over EULEX
¶2. (C) In a June 3 meeting, Russian Special Envoy for
Kosovo Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko underscored the sharp
differences in U.S. and Russian policy approaches, as the
June 15 date for Kosovo's constitution to come into effect
neared. While Russia believed a continued international
presence in Kosovo was essential, Botsan-Kharchenko said
Moscow had "immediate and serious" concerns with UNSYG Moon's
proposal to Belgrade over the reconfiguration of UNMIK and
expansion of EULEX. The SYG's letter, Botsan-Kharchenko
complained, made it sound as if Ban Ki-Moon had "full
competence" to determine the transition on his own, whereas
Russia believed that the UNSC must take an "appropriate
decision," in dialogue with the Secretary General.
¶3. (C) While Russia recognized the role of the EU, and
supported its expanded contribution in Kosovo, Moscow insists
that EULEX be a pillar within the UNMIK mission. The Russian
position, he reiterated, turned on Belgrade's stance. The
current UNSYG Ban draft was unacceptable to Belgrade, and
Russia would continue to stipulate that the Secretary General
acquire the consent of the Serbs, as the "host country."
Russia actively supported a resumed dialogue between Belgrade
and the UN. When pressed on UNMIK's scope of operations,
Botsan-Kharchenko said that Russia did not oppose a reduction
in UNMIK staffing per se, nor did it have a schematic for a
division of labor between the two operations. What was
important was an agreement on the "political conception" of
the changes underway. While the U.S. wanted "UNMIK-lite,"
Russia wanted EULEX grounded within a continued UNMIK
framework. "All depends on Belgrade," Botsan-Kharchenko
asserted, with Serbian leaders vigorously opposing four of
the five technical points broached by Ban.
¶4. (U) On June 3, the MFA issued a statement on FM Lavrov's
June 2 telephone conversation with the UNSYG over the
"unsanctioned" European mission. According to the statement,
Lavrov emphasized that Ban was obligated to UNSCR 1244 and
not deviate from its principles, while continuing contacts
with all interested parties to arrive at a mutually
acceptable solution to the situation. Lavrov reviewed
Russia's "principled position," reiterated that Russia would
support any outcome acceptable to both Pristina and Belgrade,
and renewed the call for UN-led negotiations.
¶5. (C) According to Botsan-Kharchenko, Russia's European
partners continued to tell Moscow that they sought a
cooperative arrangement between Belgrade and the UNSC, and
were comfortable with a continued UNMIK presence. Internal
EU discomfort over the EULEX mission, Botsan-Kharchenko
asserted, would prevent any effort to deploy EULEX as an
independent operation, without UNSC cover.
¶6. (C) Botsan-Kharchenko grudgingly acknowledged that
Russia "took note" of the absence of violence in Kosovo, but
took issue with the notion that Kosovo was stable.
Predicting that there could be problems around June 15,
Botsan-Kharchenko stressed that the Serbs will refuse to draw
any linkage between an agreement on an international civilian
presence and the Kosovo constitution. The effort to avoid
this symbolism and the energy being expended on negotiations
over the formation of a new government would limit Serb
engagement. Botsan-Kharchenko warned against mistaking a
Tadic government (which, in Russia's view, was not a given),
with a change in Belgrade's approach to Kosovo. While Tadic
is a more flexible negotiator in terms of style, on substance
Belgrade will be unified in not recognizing the European
MOSCOW 00001564 002 OF 002
mission without a UNSCR cover.
Bosnia PIC: Tabling an End-Date
¶7. (C) Botsan-K
harchenko raised the June 24-25 Bosnia Peace
Implementation Council meeting, noting that while some
partners continued to focus on danger signs, Russia believed
it was time to send "more clear hints" about the OHR
end-game. The June PIC, he argued, should make a preliminary
-- if not final -- decision on OHR's closure. Russia
intended to put the question of the end-date on the table,
while recognizing that the U.S. would not support a date
certain. A satisfactory outcome could be an oral agreement
among PIC members, but the PIC should "demonstrate serious
consideration" of OHR's closure and transition to an EU-lead.
To state that transition was a "strategic goal" was no
¶8. (C) Botsan-Kharchenko downplayed our strong concerns
over RS PM Dodik's statements questioning the "imposed state"
in Bosnia, arguing that the occasional populist rhetoric was
to be expected, but that specific actions -- such as
agreement on police reform -- were positive.
Botsan-Kharchenko alluded to constructive Dodik statements,
reflecting his acknowledgment that RS was grounded in Bosnia;
"Dayton is not in question." While Russia had gone along
with the February consensus that the situation was too
uncertain to embrace transition, it expected the "more or
less calm" situation on the ground to now produce a more
concrete PIC determination of when OHR would wind down.