C O N F I D E N T I A L USUN NEW YORK 001010
FOR EUR DAS ROSEMARY DICARLO, EUR/SCE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/17/2016
TAGS: PREL UNSC PGOV UNMIK YI
SUBJECT: UNMIK/KOSOVO: AHTISAARI BRIEFS CONTACT GROUP
Classified By: Political Minister-Counselor William J. Brencick, Reason
s: 1.4 (b) and (d).
Â¶1. (C) Summary. The Secretary-General's Special Envoy for
the Future Status Process for Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari
briefed the Coordinating and Drafting Group (Contact Group
plus Greece, Slovakia and Denmark) May 12 on his upcoming
consultations in June and his plans for the parties to meet
in July or August. Most Contact Group members addressed the
need to maintain pressure on Belgrade and hopefully to
conclude final status talks in 2006. Russian PR Churkin took
a tough line, questioning the rush forKosovo's independence
and whether independence would better protect Serb human
rights or encourage refugee return. Asked by Ambassador
Wolff how the Contact Group or UNSC could help him, Ahtisaari
said the more unified the Contact Group was and the more its
members reinforce that point with the parties, the more
helpful it would be. End Summary.
Â¶2. (C) In a May 12 briefing for the Cooordinating and
Drafting Group, Martti Ahtisaari, the Secretary-General's
Special Envoy for the Future Status Process for Kosovo, said
he envisions intense consultations in the coming months. His
busy travel schedule in early June will include key European
capitals, Moscow, Beijing and the region. He hopes the
consultations will conclude with some clarity on the process
and a Contact Group meeting in Moscow late in the month. He
intends to consult with the UNSC in early July and to explain
next steps at that time. Ahtisaari plans on a July meeting
of the parties on final status and hopes to make profitable
use of the UNSC's August slowdown, but cautioned that any
breakthrough would be unlikely in the first round of talks.
He wants to conduct final status talks in a venue that allows
for candid discussion and limited press. He noted that SRSG
Jessen-Petersen's negotiations on continued international
presence are separate from the final status negotiations.
Finally, he said public speculation on final status
arrangements would not be helpful.
Â¶3. (C) Most Contact Group members addressed the need to
maintain pressure on the parties, particularly Belgrade. UK
PR Jones Parry urged 2006 as the target for conclusion of
final status talks and stressed the need to signal some
toughness, for example by making clear to Belgrade that the
process cannot be held hostage. German PR Pleuger queried
Ahtisaari on how to bring Belgrade - both the government and
public opinion - to support the negotiations and on the
impact on Serbian views of a successful or failed Montenegro
Â¶4. (C) Ahtisaari answered that the Serbs are in denial. He
criticized Serbian political leaders who have done nothing to
influence public views and said that when those such as
Draskovic say, "we should not be punished for Milosevic's
actions," he answers "nor should you be rewarded." However,
if the Serbs meet the criteria, the international community
should be forthcoming. Ahtisaari said he recognizes that the
Contact Group wants a solution in 2006, and agrees that is
the timeframe, but cautioned it should also be acceptable if
it takes a bit longer. Belgrade knows 2006 is the desired
timeframe, but expects the Serbs will attempt delays.
Montenegro's referendum has its own life and will be held
independent of final status talks and the talks would then
take into account the referendum results.
Â¶5. (C) In contrast, Russian PR Churkin questioned the rush
for Kosovo's independence. He asked whether independence
would better protect Serb human rights and encourage refugees
to return. He objected to Pleuger's question about the
Montenegro referendum and the reference to the "failure of
the referendum" since the referendum would be an expression
of the people's will. 2006 is an artificial target and only
a hope. The process should create an agreement acceptable to
both sides, not simply pressure on the Serbs.
Â¶6. (C) Ahtisaari answered Churkin that significant refugee
returns are unlikely, and many refugees will instead go to
Austria, Germany or elsewhere. But returns are desirable,
and the goal is a multi-ethnic society. Therefore, property
claims must be addressed and conditions for return created.
There is an expectation of independence and that is the only
way to guarantee the best life for all. After seven years of
UN involvement, Kosovo is sui generis and must be treated as
such. Furthermore, Kosovo's administration is weak, and an
international presence - EU, OSCE, and NATO - is still
required. The 2006 decision timeframe derives from the
Contact Group, and the process can be flexible; however, it
should not be artificially prolonged.
Â¶7. (C) Asked by U.S. Ambassador Wolff how the Contact Group
or the UNSC could help, Atishaari said the more unified the
Contact Group is, the more helpful it would be. He noted in
particular the importance that Kostunica receive the same
message from all capitals.