Viewing cable 06PRISTINA232
Title: SCENESETTER FOR MARCH 24 VISIT OF CODEL VOINOVICH

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06PRISTINA2322006-03-15 18:19:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Pristina
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O 151819Z MAR 06
FM USOFFICE PRISTINA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5913
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
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RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
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RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUFOANA/USNIC PRISTINA SR
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PRISTINA 000232 
 
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USUN FOR DREW SCHUFLETOWSKI 
DEPT FOR H - PLEASE PASS TO OFFICES OF SENATOR VOINOVICH 
AND SENATOR DODD 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL KCRM PGOV PINR KDEM UNMIK YI
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR MARCH 24 VISIT OF CODEL VOINOVICH 
 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, PROTECT ACCORDINGLY 
 
¶1.  (SBU) SUMMARY.  Kosovo has a new, stronger government, 
and is starting to get serious about the compromises needed 
to ensure that status negotiations result in the independence 
they so desire.  The Kosovo Albanian negotiating team has 
made a well-received proposal on decentralization, but needs 
to go further in advance of the next round of status 
negotiations scheduled for March 17 in Vienna. Kosovo's 
moderate Serb political coalition led by Oliver Ivanovic 
keeps talking about rejoining the government, but remains 
reluctant to do so without Belgrade's acquiescence.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
¶2.  (SBU) Kosovo has strengthened its democratic credentials 
by ensuring a peaceful political transition after the death 
of President Ibrahim Rugova on January 21.  Constitutional 
lawyer Fatmir Sejdiu was sworn in as the new President of 
Kosovo on February 10.  Under pressure from the governing 
coalition of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and the 
Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), Prime Minister 
Bajram Kosumi resigned on March 1, and was replaced by former 
Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) Commander Agim Ceku on March 
¶10.  Controversial Assembly President Nexhat Daci resigned on 
March 9, and was replaced by Kole Berisha on March 10. 
Berisha, a member of Kosovo's Catholic community, is a 
respected and low-key veteran of the LDK. 
 
¶3.  (SBU) While Belgrade opposed the selection of Ceku as 
Prime Minister based on his history as a wartime commander in 
Croatia and Kosovo and his subsequent indictment in Serbia on 
war crimes charges, those credentials are exactly what most 
observers believe will allow Ceku to make strong concessions 
to Kosovo Serbs without being questioned by Kosovo war 
veterans and other hard line nationalists.  In his acceptance 
speech, Ceku addressed Kosovo Serbs in Serbian, a rare 
occurrence here, telling them that there is a place for them 
in Kosovo society and institutions.  He urged them to fight 
for their rights together with all other citizens of Kosovo 
by taking part in government institutions and by 
participating in everyday life in Kosovo. 
 
¶4.  (SBU) The change in government, combined with the recent 
creation of the new ministries of justice and interior, 
created the possibility of further changes in the cabinet and 
created new high level positions.  After much speculation, 
Ceku decided to keep all ministers for now, saying that he 
will evaluate their work over the next several months.  In 
his acceptance speech, Ceku promised concrete results in the 
implementation of standards.  The "Six Plus" coalition of 
Prizren-based Bosniak and Turkish parties (also part of the 
LDK/AAK coalition) successfully lobbied to have a Turk 
installed as deputy justice minister; and Dejan Jankovic, a 
high ranking Kosovo Serb from the Kosovo Police Service 
(KPS), injured in a shooting incident in September 2005, has 
been offered the position of deputy minister of internal 
affairs. 
 
¶5.  (SBU) Despite overtures from Ceku, moderate Kosovo Serb 
politicians from the Serb List for Kosovo and Metohija (SLKM) 
caucus continue to boycott the government.  SLKM members 
never took up the eight set-aside seats they have held since 
the 2004 election, but keep their options open by 
participating in assembly committees.  SLKM leader Oliver 
Ivanovic talks more and more frequently about returning to 
the assembly, but pressure from Belgrade combined with a 
perceived lack of effectiveness during their initial 
participation in the Provisional Institutions of Self 
Government (PISG) in 2001 keeps them away. 
 
¶6.  (SBU) The only Kosovo Serbs who actively participate in 
the PISG are Returns Minister Slavisa Petkovic and his two 
MP's from the Serb Democratic Party (SDS).  Petkovic is 
widely reviled by other Kosovo Serb leaders, who consider him 
 
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a traitor for participating in the government; and by Kosovo 
Serbs and Albanians alike who consider him corrupt and 
ineffective.  In February his party split into three 
factions, two of which are now urging Ceku and UNMIK to 
replace him as Returns Minister.  However, the SRSG Soren 
Jessen-Peterson is reported to support Petkovic to stay on as 
minister, at least until more representative Kosovo Serbs are 
willing to take part. 
 
¶7.  (SBU) The first round of status negotiations took place 
in Vienna on the topic of decentralization on February 20/21. 
 Under pressure from the Contact Group to make a generous 
offer to Kosovo Serbs, the Kosovo negotiating team has 
adopted a front-loaded proposal on decentralization.  The 
next meeting takes place in Vienna on March 17.  Meanwhile, 
the Kosovo negotiating team will reflect its new membership 
with PM Ceku and Assembly President Berisha replacing Bajram 
Kosumi and Nexhat Daci.  (NOTE.  The negotiating team was 
established by President Rugova last September with the 
President as chairman and with the PM, Assembly President and 
two opposition leaders as members.  Newspaper publisher and 
veteran activist Blerim Shala is the coordinator of the 
team's work.  END NOTE.)  Non-Serb minority representative 
and health minister Sadik Idrizi participated in the first 
round, and the non-Serb minorities expect that they will 
continue to be included in these and future talks, 
particularly on the issues of decentralization, property 
rights and cultural heritage. 
 
¶8. (U) COMMENT. Kosovo Serb leaders should be reminded that 
it is in their own interest to participate in the government. 
 Kosovo Albanians should be congratulated on their initial 
proposal on decentralization, but also urged to go farther. 
The key now is for the new leaders to create political space 
for the negotiations by engaging in outreach and confidence 
building measures to the Kosovo Serbs, particularly in 
resolving property claims, solving outstanding inter-ethnic 
criminal cases and implementing decentralization.  In short, 
Kosovo Albanians need to reach out to Serbs now, and show 
them that there is a future for them in Kosovo.  END COMMENT. 
 
¶9.  (U)  Post clears this message in its entirety for release 
to Special Envoy Ahtisaari. 
GOLDBERG