Viewing cable 07PANAMA523
Title: PANAMA: ASSESSMENT OF KOSOVO POSITION

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07PANAMA5232007-04-09 19:42:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Panama
VZCZCXYZ0012
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHZP #0523/01 0991942
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 091942Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0109
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 0005
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0267
RUEHPS/USOFFICE PRISTINA 0005
C O N F I D E N T I A L PANAMA 000523 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR IO/UNP (H. BETTS), EUR/SCE (J. BLACK), AND 
WHA/CEN (E. TELLO) 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/09/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV UNSC UNMIK YI EU PM
SUBJECT: PANAMA:  ASSESSMENT OF KOSOVO POSITION 
 
REF: A. (A) PANAMA 461 
     ¶B. (B) STATE 45355 
 
Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES LUIS ARREAGA.  REASON:  1.4 (D) 
 
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SUMMARY 
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¶1.  (C) Panamanian PermRep to the UN Ricardo Alberto Arias' 
decision to vote against permitting Kosovar President Sejdiu 
to address the UNSC on April 3 did not reflect substantive 
Panamanian concerns about the way ahead on Kosovo, but rather 
Panama's legalistic approach to procedural matters, Arias' 
latitude on procedural matters, and Panama's desire avoid 
conflict on the UNSC and to find the largest consensus 
possible.  First VP and FM Samuel Lewis and MFA UNSC Senior 
Advisor Nils Castro asserted on April 4 to Ambassador and 
POLCOUNS respectively that they were unaware of Arias' 
decision to act to block Sejdiu.  On April 5, MFA UNSC 
working-level contact Ernesto Cerrud explained to POLOFF that 
Panama decided against having the Kosovar President address 
the UNSC because Kosovo did not have "international legal 
status" as a state, "let alone as a UN Member State."  Cerrud 
continued that having the UNMIK Administrator deliver 
Sejdiu's speech and permitting Sejdiu address UNSC Members 
directly in an Arria-style meeting had been an adequate 
compromise.  From Lewis to Cerrud, Panama's MFA was startled 
by Embassy's quick reaction to Arias' action on what the 
Panamanians viewed strictly as a routine procedural matter. 
Going forward, Post recommends that Ambassador be instructed 
to demarche Lewis to lay out exactly the outcome on Kosovo 
for which the U.S. expects Panamanian support.  After 
engaging Lewis, Post recommends that USUN make the same 
presentation to Arias.  Post recommends against engaging 
Panamanian Ambassador to the U.S. Frederico Humbert and 
believes Department should hold off on Assistant 
Secretary-level engagement until the results of approaches to 
Lewis and Arias are known.  End summary. 
 
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Losing the Substance, Focusing on Procedure 
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¶2.  (C) Put simply, Panama's MFA was not focused on the issue 
of whether Kosovar President Sejdiu should be permitted to 
address the UNSC.  As reported reftel A, Panama is supportive 
of working toward the adoption of an UNSCR that supports 
Ahtisaari's recommendation, including international 
supervised independence, but also wishes to avoid a Russian 
veto.  Post does not see any change in Panama's position.  In 
other words, though Panama wishes to support the U.S. 
position, Panama fears being isolated on one side or the 
other of a split UNSC.  Seen in this light, Panamanian 
PermRep to the UN Arias' decision to deny Sejdiu the ability 
to address the UNSC, but to have the UNMIK Administrator 
deliver Sejdiu's address and allow Sejdiu speak in an 
Arria-style meeting, reflected Panama's desire to forestall 
confrontation in the UNSC and leave open the prospect for a 
favorable outcome that supported Ahtisaari's recommendations. 
 First VP and FM Samuel Lewis told Ambassador on April 4 that 
he believed that Arias' action was designed to give a little 
to the Russians on a procedural matter as a negotiating ploy; 
Ambassador told Lewis that Panama's action, even if on this 
basis, had been unhelpful. 
 
¶3.  (C) Lewis and MFA UNSC Senior Advisor Nils Castro were 
surprised by the Embassy's quick engagement on what they 
viewed as a strictly procedural matter in UNSC.  Castro told 
POLCOUNS that decision on procedural matters were routinely 
left to Arias in New York.  Both Lewis and Castro professed 
ignorance about Arias' action.  On April 5, MFA UNSC 
working-level contact Ernesto Cerrud told POLOFF that, since 
it did not have "international legal status" as a state, "let 
alone a UN Member State," Kosovo did not have the standing to 
address the UNSC.  (Note:  Ambassador, POLCOUNS, and POLOFF, 
at their appropriate levels, underscored that the Kosovar 
President should be permitted to address the UNSC in the 
interest of fair treatment and in light of Ahtisaari's 
previous engagement with the Kosovar President.)  Cerrud 
added that an adequate compromise solution to hear from all 
parties had been struck by allowing the UNMIK Administrator 
to deliver Sejdiu's address and permitting Sejdiu to address 
an Arria-style meeting. 
 
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The Way Ahead 
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¶4.  (C) Post's quick reaction at multiple levels to Arias' 
action on Kosovo got Panama's attention regarding the 
importance, including on procedural matters, that the U.S. 
attaches to securing an UNSCR on Kosovo.  Believing that 
Panama can be brought alongto support the U.S. position, 
Post recommends that Ambassador be instructed to demarche 
Lewis to lay out exactly the key elements for an UNSCR on 
Kosovo for which the U.S. requests Panama's support. 
Ultimately, Lewis will be the GOP's decision-maker on this 
matter.  Post believes that we should approach Lewis first so 
that he is armed for the inevitable conversation he will have 
with Arias.  Once Lewis has been demarched, post recommends 
that USUN make the same presentation to Arias in New York. 
Post recommends against engaging Panamanian Ambassador to the 
U.S. Frederico Humbert.  Humbert has expressed a desire to 
stay as far away as possible from UNSC matters.  Furthermore, 
post believes at this stage that it is more important to 
impress upon Panama the need to maintain tight command and 
control between capital and New York before adding additional 
nodes, like their bilateral embassy, to their decision-making 
process. Once Lewis and Arias have been demarche, post and 
Department should assess whether Assistant Secretary-level 
engagement is necessary. 
ARREAGA