Viewing cable 06SOFIA1273
Title: SCENESETTER FOR DAS ROSEMARY DICARLO'S VISIT TO

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06SOFIA12732006-09-08 12:25:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Sofia
VZCZCXRO5074
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSF #1273/01 2511225
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 081225Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY SOFIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2506
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 SOFIA 001273 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
EUR FOR DAS DICARLO 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/08/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV UNMIK KPKO SR YI EU BU
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR DAS ROSEMARY DICARLO'S VISIT TO 
SOFIA 
 
REF: A. SOFIA 783 
 
     ¶B. 05 SOFIA 1945 
     ¶C. SOFIA 557 
 
¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Two issues dominate Bulgaria's political 
scene and calendar: a final verdict on EU accession, framed 
by the September 26 European Commission report on Bulgaria's 
readiness for membership; and Bulgaria's October 22 
Presidential election.  Seized by these two overlapping 
events, the Bulgarian government and the political class are 
subordinating other policy considerations to demonstrating 
Bulgaria's international credibility, reliability, and 
regional leadership.  By hosting the Contact Group, Bulgaria 
looks to burnish its credentials with the EU and U.S. (as 
well as Russia), and assert itself as a force for regional 
security and prosperity, especially for neighboring Serbia 
and Macedonia.  Your meetings will provide the compass point 
for Bulgaria as we help it pursue a policy more forcefully 
constructive to U.S. strategic goals. END SUMMARY. 
 
¶2.  (SBU) Much of the Bulgarian public will look past the 
September 11-12 Contact Group meetings to focus instead on 
the September 26 European Commission report on Bulgaria's EU 
membership.  Prospective EU membership has moderated 
Bulgaria's view on Kosovo final status.  Even more telling 
has been the Bulgarians' willingness, in broad measure, to 
line up solidly behind us on key foreign policy issues as 
they burnish their transatlantic credentials.  Bulgaria will 
continue to look to us to set the direction and pace on 
Kosovo decisions. 
 
¶3. (SBU) The October 22 Presidential election may complicate 
the political calculus.  Leftist, pro-U.S. incumbent Georgi 
Parvanov has announced his candidacy for re-election and 
currently enjoys a comfortable lead in opinion polls.  Though 
the center-right is divided (perhaps even in disarray), 
Parvanov is not taking re-election for granted.  Powerful and 
charismatic Sofia mayor Borisov lurks as a possible 
last-minute candidate, unsettling all election 
prognostications.  Still, one thing is clear: all candidates 
have eyes firmly set on how foreign policy decisions will 
play domestically. 
 
¶4. (C) During recent meetings, President Parvanov and PM 
Stanishev have both stated their support for the 
Ahtisaari-led process and recognized the inevitability of an 
independent Kosovo.  Foreign Minister Ivaylo Kalfin (the 
formal host of the Contact Group meeting) has also told us 
that the positions of the U.S. and Bulgaria on Kosovo are 
extremely close.  Sensitive to regional politics, Bulgarian 
leaders have stressed that Serbia should be offered a 
face-saving solution, including possible fast-tracked 
membership in NATO and the EU as part of its acceptance of 
Kosovo independence.  Other, lower-profile Bulgarian 
suggestions for potential sweeteners to an eventual 
settlement have included infrastructure improvements 
(particularly projects that would also benefit Bulgaria). 
 
¶5. (SBU) Bulgaria has strong bilateral relations with both 
Serbia and the Kosovar leadership, contributing to its 
reputation as an honest broker in the region.  Bulgarian 
Minister of Culture Stefan Danailov has facilitated meetings 
between his Serbian and Kosovar counterparts, while Bulgaria 
has trained Kosovar diplomats at its Diplomatic Academy and 
held workshops for Kosovar judges.  Bulgarian troops are 
currently participating in NATO and EU peacekeeping missions 
in Kosovo and Bosnia, as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
 
CUE SOFIA TO NEXT STEPS 
----------------------- 
 
¶6. (C) The Bulgarian government, while not enthusiastic about 
an independent Kosovo, is on board.  Public opinion, on the 
other hand, is more pro-Serb.  The government's chief 
concerns relate to rule of law in Kosovo and a possible 
radicalization of Serbian politics following final status. 
It also fears a spillover of any resulting instability into 
neighboring Macedonia, which would have a direct impact on 
Bulgaria.  Following the April signing of a Defense 
Cooperation Agreement allowing for the stationing of U.S. 
forces in Bulgaria, many in the GOB are eager for a more 
intensive strategic dialogue with the U.S. to complement our 
enhanced security relationship.  They want to be heard (and 
to be seen as consulting with the U.S.). 
 
¶7. (C) To draw the Bulgarians even closer to us, you should 
underscore that we value their advice and support -- 
encourage them publicly and privately to back us and the 
Contact Group more forcefully, and to use their influence in 
 
SOFIA 00001273  002 OF 002 
 
 
Belgrade to instill realism about Serbia's future. 
 
BEYRLE