Viewing cable 06VIENNA1555
Title: KOSOVO STATUS NEGOTIATIONS: MAY 23 MEETING ON

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06VIENNA15552006-05-31 13:16:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Vienna
VZCZCXRO3075
RR RUEHAST
DE RUEHVI #1555/01 1511316
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 311316Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY VIENNA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3662
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0126
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VIENNA 001555 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/SCE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM UNMIK SR YI AU
SUBJECT: KOSOVO STATUS NEGOTIATIONS: MAY 23 MEETING ON 
RELIGIOUS SITES AND CULTURAL HERITAGE 
 
REF: HOVENIER-EUR/SCE 5/24 EMAIL 
 
VIENNA 00001555  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
THIS CABLE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED.  PLEASE HANDLE 
ACCORDINGLY. 
 
¶1. (U) THIS CABLE IS AN UPDATE FROM THE U.S. LIAISON OFFICER 
IN THE OFFICE OF THE UN SPECIAL ENVOY FOR KOSOVO STATUS 
(UNOSEK).  A MORE DETAILED READOUT OF THE MAY 23 NEGOTIATION 
SESSION IS GIVEN REF. 
 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
¶2. (SBU) THE MAY 23 MEETING ON RELIGIOUS SITES AND CULTURAL 
HERITAGE WAS MORE PRODUCTIVE THAN EXPECTED.  THE MEETING 
GENERALLY TOOK PLACE IN A BUSINESS-LIKE ATMOSPHERE THAT 
FACILITATED DISCUSSION.  THE SIDES AGREED ON A NUMBER OF 
ISSUES, INCLUDING THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH'S (SOC) 
OWNERSHIP OF ITS PROPERTY AND CONTROL OF ACCESS TO IT, THE 
NEED FOR FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT AND FOR PHYSICAL SECURITY FOR 
SOME CHURCH SITES, AND THE CHURCH'S RIGHT TO RECEIVE SUPPORT 
FROM DONORS INCLUDING BELGRADE.  HOWEVER, BELGRADE INSISTED 
ON ITS PROPOSAL TO INCLUDE SOC SITES IN A "SERB ENTITY" THAT 
WOULD BE COMPRISED OF SERB-MAJORITY MUNICIPALITIES AND SOC 
SITES.  BELGRADE ALSO PUT FORWARD FAR-REACHING PROPOSALS FOR 
PROTECTIVE ZONES AROUND CHURCH SITES.  AS A NEXT STEP, BOTH 
SIDES AGREED TO A UNOSEK-ORGANIZED/LED EXPERT TEAM TO REVIEW 
POSSIBLE PROTECTION ZONES AND DEVELOP PROPOSALS. 
 
AREAS OF DIFFERENCE 
------------------- 
 
¶3.  (SBU) THE FOLLOWING WERE THE MAIN AREAS OF DIFFERENCE 
BETWEEN BELGRADE AND PRISTINA: 
 
--DECENTRALIZATION/SERB ENTITY:  THE BELGRADE DELEGATION 
INSISTED THAT THE PROTECTION OF THE CHURCH IS PART OF 
BELGRADE'S BROADER SCHEME AND LINKED TO DECENTRALIZATION. 
SEVERAL TIMES THEY MADE EXPLICIT THAT WHAT THEY SEEK IS A 
"SERB ENTITY" THAT WOULD BE COMPRISED OF THE SERB-MAJORITY 
MUNICIPALITIES AND THE PROTECTIVE ZONES AROUND THE SERB 
ORTHODOX SITES LOCATED OUTSIDE OF SERB-MAJORITY 
MUNICIPALITIES. (NOTE: UNOSEK REVIEWED THE TERM "ENTITY" 
BOTH WITH THE BELGRADE DELEGATION AND WITH THE TRANSLATORS; 
BOTH CONFIRMED THIS WAS WHAT WAS MEANT.) 
 
--PROTECTIVE ZONES:  THE BELGRADE DELEGATION TABLED AN 
AMBITIOUS SET OF PROPOSALS FOR PROTECTIVE ZONES.  THEY 
IDENTIFIED 11 SITES (AND SAID THEY HAD SEVERAL MORE THAT 
THEY ARE DEVELOPING) THAT REQUIRED THEM.  THE LARGEST WAS 
DECANI (OVER 4,000 HECTARES), WHILE MOST WERE IN THE 
HUNDREDS OF HECTARES AND ENCOMPASSED PRIVATE PROPERTY (OWNED 
BY ALBANIANS AND, IN SOME CASES SERBS) AND STATE-OWNED 
PROPERTY.  WHEN ASKED ABOUT CRITERIA, BELGRADE SAID PART OF 
THE CRITERIA WAS THE FACT THAT MOST OF THIS LAND HAD BEEN 
PREVIOUSLY OWNED BY THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH AND HAD BEEN 
EXPROPRIATED AFTER WORLD WAR II.  PRISTINA INSISTED THAT THE 
ZONES NEED TO PROTECT THE CHURCHES THEMSELVES AND SHOULD NOT 
BE LINKED TO PROPERTY RESTITUTION.  ITS INITIAL PROPOSAL ON 
PROTECTION ZONES WAS A 50-METER RADIUS IN URBAN AREAS, AND A 
100-METER RADIUS IN RURAL AREAS, FOLLOWING THE "GRENADA 
CONVENTION." 
 
--RESTORATION AND RECONSTRUCTION:  THE SIDES AGREED THAT THE 
PRESENT MECHANISM (THE RECONSTRUCTION IMPLEMENTATION 
COMMITTEE - RIC) IS WORKING FINE, AND SHOULD CONTINUE FOR 
THE TIME BEING.  BOTH SIDES ALSO AGREED THAT AS OWNER OF THE 
PROPERTIES, THE SOC SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO DECIDE ON 
RECONSTRUCTION/RESTORATION.  HOWEVER, BELGRADE INSISTED ON 
THE PRINCIPLE THAT THE SERBIAN STATE SHOULD HAVE ULTIMATE 
RESPONSIBILITY FOR RESTORATION AND RECONSTRUCTION, AND 
SUGGESTED IT MAY WISH TO SEE A DIFFERENT MECHANISM THAN THE 
RIC IN THE FUTURE.  PRISTINA OPPOSED THIS. 
 
--EXHIBITION ARTEFACTS:  PRISTINA CALLED FOR THE ARTEFACTS 
TAKEN ON LOAN FROM THE MUSEUM OF KOSOVO FOR EXHIBITIONS IN 
BELGRADE IN 1999 TO BE RETURNED "WHERE THEY BELONG." 
BELGRADE SAID "WHERE THEY BELONG" IS WHAT IS AT ISSUE AND 
PROMISED TO PROVIDE ITS CONSIDERED THOUGHTS IN DUE TIME. 
 
AREAS OF AGREEMENT 
------------------ 
 
¶4. (SBU) THE MAIN AREAS OF AGREEMENT WERE: 
 
--STATUS OF SOC:  PRISTINA MADE CLEAR IT ACCEPTS THE CHURCH, 
ITS INTERNAL HIERARCHY, AND FUNCTIONS.  IT IS THE SOLE OWNER 
OF ITS PROPERTY, AND CAN DETERMINE ITS DISPOSITION.  THE 
 
VIENNA 00001555  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
PRISTINA DELEGATION STRESSED THAT IT WANTS TO BE A PARTNER 
OF THE SOC. 
 
--PHYSICAL SECURITY:  THE SIDES AGREED THAT THERE NEEDS TO 
BE SPECIAL SECURITY FOR SOME SOC SITES AND MONUMENTS.  BOTH 
SIDES GAVE UNOSEK LISTS OF SITES FOR SUCH PROTECTION. 
UNOSEK WILL REVIEW/RECONCILE AND CONSULT.  BOTH SIDES AGREED 
THEY WANT AN INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE TO CONTINUE TO PLAY A 
ROLE IN PROVIDING SECURITY: BELGRADE WANTED IT FOR AN 
UNDEFINED TIME IN THE FUTURE, AND COULD NOT IDENTIFY WHAT 
THE INTERNATIONAL SECURITY PRESENCE SHOULD TRANSITION TO; 
PRISTINA PROPOSED ESTABLISHMENT OF A MULTI-ETHNIC (WITH 
LARGE QUOTAS FOR SERBS) SPECIAL BRANCH OF THE KPS. 
 
--ACCESS:  BOTH SIDES AGREED THE SOC SHOULD DETERMINE WHO 
HAS ACCESS TO CHURCH SITES (VISITORS, PILGRIMS, ETC.). 
 
--FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT:  BOTH SIDES AGREED IT SHOULD BE 
GUARANTEED FOR THE CLERGY, AND WILL CONSIDER MEANS TO 
ACHIEVE IT.  PRISTINA MADE CLEAR THAT THE KPS AND OTHERS 
WOULD BE AVAILABLE FOR THIS PURPOSE. 
 
--DUTY AND TAX PRIVILEGES:  PRISTINA AND BELGRADE AGREED 
THAT THE SOC SHOULD HAVE IT (AS SHOULD OTHER RELIGIONS IN 
KOSOVO), AND RECOGNIZED THAT THE SOC MAY NEED ADDITIONAL 
PRIVILEGES GIVEN THE COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISES OF SOME 
MONASTERIES.  THE SOC PROMISED TO PROVIDE A LIST OF 
"PARTICULAR NEEDS." PRISTINA PROMISED TO REVIEW THE LIST AND 
ADDRESS THE SOC'S CONCERNS. 
 
--SUPPORT/WELFARE:  BOTH SIDES AGREED THE SOC SHOULD BE ABLE 
TO ENJOY SUPPORT DONATED FROM ANY SOURCE, INCLUDING 
BELGRADE.  BELGRADE CAN CONTINUE PAYING STIPENDS, PENSIONS, 
ETC. TO THE SOC AND ITS PERSONNEL AND PROVIDE SUPPORT TO SOC 
SCHOOLS.  UNOSEK CLARIFIED THAT THESE ARE PRIVATE AND NOT 
PUBLIC SCHOOLS. 
 
--IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE:  PRISTINA AND BELGRADE AGREED 
THAT A GENERAL COMMITTEE SHOULD BE ESTABLISHED TO OVERSEE 
IMPLEMENTATION OF STATUS DOCUMENT PROVISIONS RELATED TO 
PROTECTION OF RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE.  BELGRADE 
UNDERTOOK TO PROVIDE ITS VIEWS ON TERMS OF REFERENCE AND 
COMPOSITION.  PRISTINA SUGGESTED THAT THE COMMITTEE BE 
COMPRISED OF REPRESNTATIVES FROM THE KOSOVO GOVERNMENT, SOC, 
AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY (LEAVING OUT BELGRADE 
REPRESENTATIVES). 
 
RETURNS PROTOCOL 
---------------- 
 
¶5. (SBU) ON THE MARGINS, BELGRADE AND PRISTINA CAME TO 
CLOSURE ON A FINAL TEXT FOR A RETURNS PROTOCOL.  ALTHOUGH 
BELGRADE WAS PREPARED TO ANNOUNCE THAT THIS NEGOTIATION WAS 
COPMLETED FOLLOWING THE MAY 23 MEETING, PRISTINA REQUIRED 
MORE TIME FOR THE FINAL TEXT TO BE REVIEWED.  UNOSEK 
UNDERSTANDS THE TEXT SHOULD BE SIGNED BY BOTH SIDES SHORTLY. 
 
 
NEXT STEPS 
---------- 
 
¶6. (SBU) BOTH SIDES AGREED TO A UNOSEK-ORGANIZED/LED EXPERT 
TEAM COMPRISED OF BELGRADE, PRISTINA, SOC, COUNCIL OF 
EUROPE, UNESCO, AND UNMIK TO REVIEW POSSIBLE PROTECTION 
ZONES AND DEVELOP PROPOSALS.  UNOSEK WILL BE LOOKING TO DO 
THIS QUICKLY.  GIVEN THE DIFFERENCES IN CRITERIA, THE GROUP 
IS UNLIKELY TO HAVE CONSENSUS RECOMMENDATIONS. 
 
MCCAW