Viewing cable 07PRISTINA56
Title: KOSOVO: KOSOVARS FULFILL ANOTHER STANDARD BY

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07PRISTINA562007-01-23 12:05:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Pristina
VZCZCXRO5594
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHPS #0056/01 0231205
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231205Z JAN 07
FM USOFFICE PRISTINA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6953
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0999
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHFMISS/AFSOUTH NAPLES IT
RHMFISS/CDR TF FALCON
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEPGEA/CDR650THMIGP SHAPE BE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUFOANA/USNIC PRISTINA SR
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRISTINA 000056 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR DRL, INL, AND EUR/SCE, NSC FOR BRAUN, USUN FOR 
DREW SCHUFLETOWSKI, USOSCE FOR STEVE STEGER 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/23/2016 
TAGS: PGOV KJUS KCRM EAID KDEM UNMIK YI
SUBJECT: KOSOVO: KOSOVARS FULFILL ANOTHER STANDARD BY 
RECONSTRUCTING SVINJARE, BUT SERB LEADERSHIP DISCOURAGES 
IDPS FROM RETURNING TO THEIR HOMES 
 
Classified By: COM TINA KAIDANOW FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
¶1. (C) SUMMARY:  Local Contact Group (CG) representatives 
agreed that the PISG has met the standard on reconstructing 
Serb houses in Svinjare destroyed in the March 2004 violence. 
 At a joint meeting between the Contact Group and Serb 
representatives, Russian COM told the Zvecan mayor, northern 
Kosovo SNC President Milan Ivanovic, and Svinjare residents 
that the homes are ready, that IDPs should return, and that 
Kosovo Albanians and Serbs are living side-by-side elsewhere 
throughout Kosovo.  Other CG members agreed, although our 
Russian counterpart was the most outspoken.  The PISG's 
meeting its obligations to rebuild Svinjare has brought no 
relief to displaced Serbs, however.  USOP personnel toured 
the fetid, half-complete buildings where 70 Svinjare IDP 
families live; it was clear that the hardline Serb leadership 
in the north is discouraging returns, preferring that IDPs 
live in squalor in Zvecan rather than in their homes south of 
the Ibar River.  This fits with a pattern of 
Belgrade/CCK/northern leadership activity to curtail any ties 
with Kosovar institutions or individual Albanian communities, 
as we have reported in the past.  End Summary. 
 
Svinjare Reconstruction Completed 
 
¶2. (SBU) On December 15, 2006, the joint UNMIK and Kosovo 
government Decision-making Board determined that the repair 
and reconstruction of the properties in Svinjare damaged in 
March 2004 had been fulfilled.  On January 19, Contact Group 
(CG) representatives from Pristina paid a visit to Svinjare, 
a mixed (three-quarters Albanian/one quarter Serb) village 
located in the portion of Mitrovica municipality south of the 
Ibar, to determine whether this assessment was correct.  Both 
ethnic groups had lived in the village before the conflict, 
albeit in separate parts of town.  Since the conflict, 
Albanians have referred to the village as Frasher, named for 
a prominent Albanian literary family, eschewing the village's 
Serbian name which refers to a place where pigs are kept. 
Serb homes and secondary buildings had been destroyed and the 
residents (an estimated 290 people) forced to leave during 
the violence of March 2004. 
 
¶3.  (SBU) A total of 137 Kosovo Serb-owned houses were 
damaged or destroyed during the Kosovo conflict or the March 
2004 riots.  The Kosovo government initially rebuilt some of 
the houses using private construction firms, but most Serb 
residents complained about the poor quality of construction 
and the need to rebuild secondary buildings (barns and summer 
kitchens) adjacent to the homes.  Few actually returned to 
Svinjare, although almost all took the 2,000 euro start-up 
money and income generation assistance offered to returnees. 
During the past two years, thieves stripped several empty 
reconstructed houses of some of their fixtures. 
 
¶4. (SBU) In June 2006, the CG made completion of the 
reconstruction of buildings damaged in Svinjare one of its 13 
Priorities for Standards Implementation.  Shortly thereafter, 
Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku tasked the Kosovo Protection 
Corps (KPC) to oversee the remaining reconstruction 
(primarily of secondary buildings) and repairs to vandalized 
homes.  While in Svinjare, PM Ceku adviser Avni Arifi and the 
head of UNMIK's Office of the KPC Coordinator, MG Christopher 
Steirns (UK), briefed CG representatives on the work of the 
KPC.  The KPC repaired/reconstructed 77 houses, rebuilt 26 
secondary buildings and cleared 960 meters of sewage ditches. 
 Work on houses and secondary buildings included carpentry, 
plastering, plumbing, and electrical wiring, as well as 
clearing rubble.  In addition to work by KPC personnel, the 
Kosovo government contracted with private builders for nine 
houses, two commercial premises and 42 additional secondary 
buildings.  Construction costs in Svinjare totaled 778,545 
euro.  The PISG also paid 637,507 euro in unpaid claims to 
contractors for work completed during the initial rebuilding 
of Svinjare and a total of 12,000 euros to six families as 
part of its provision of start-up costs for moving back.  All 
of this money came from the Kosovo Consolidated Budget. 
 
PRISTINA 00000056  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
¶5. (SBU) USOP personnel, joined by German COM and PISG 
Standards Coordinator Arifi, spoke with five residents of 
Svinjare and toured one of their houses.  All recounted 
similar experiences:  fear of their Albanian neighbors, lack 
of trust in police or KFOR protection, and regular looting of 
houses they leave unattended at night.  We took issue with 
their claims that the work done on the houses was 
sub-standard; we also pointed out that it was unreasonable to 
expect that an empty house anywhere in Kosovo would not be 
targeted by looters.  Although all the residents said they 
took the train from Zvecan to Svinjare (less than five 
miles), we noticed that they departed by a POV. 
 
IDPs Live in Squalid Conditions, But Serb Leadership 
Discourages Return 
 
¶6.  (C) Following the trip to Svinjare, the CG traveled to 
Zvecan, where we met Mayor Dragisa Milovic, E.O.-listed 
Deputy Mayor and Serb National Council President for north 
Kosovo Milan Ivanovic, and the same five Svinjare residents 
who had shown us one of their homes that morning.  The 
Russian COM, speaking on behalf of the CG, said that the work 
had been done properly and it was time for the residents to 
move back.  He argued that it would be pointless to invest 
more money in Svinjare until the residents returned, adding 
that Serbs and Albanians live side-by-side throughout Kosovo. 
 Other CG members seconded the Russian COM's views, to the 
point where Ivanovic said that it was remarkable that Kosovo 
had brought the U.S. and Russian positions so close together. 
 Ivanovic then launched into a long, turgid criticism of UN 
Special Envoy Ahtisaari and the final status process. 
 
¶7.  (SBU) Following the meeting with the mayor, one of the 
Svinjare residents asked us to visit the building where he 
now lives.  Some 200 yards from the municipality, there are 
two unfinished apartment buildings surrounded by fetid 
standing water and trash.  Inside, we found unfinished walls, 
more standing water and jury-rigged electrical hookups.  We 
entered two apartments, both small and largely unfurnished, 
with primitive toilets and no kitchens.  We commiserated with 
our guide, asking about his view of the Serb leadership and 
its advocacy of IDP issues.  He made plain his belief that 
Belgrade does not care about him or his family. 
 
¶8.  (C) Note:  The rest of the former residents of Svinjare 
live rent-free in modern rowhouses on a hillside overlooking 
Zvecan.  UNMIK Mitrovica head of office Gerry Gallucci told 
us this group has no interest in returning to Svinjare and 
has become the most radical element within their new 
community.  End note. 
 
¶9. (C) COMMENT:  Our hope was that by holding the PISG's feet 
to the fire on Svinjare, the displaced would be able to 
return to their homes.  Unfortunately, the diatribe from 
Milan Ivanovic, even in the face of the squalid conditions in 
which some of the former residents live, indicate that the 
conscious policy promoted by the CCK and the hardline 
northern Serb leadership of separating the two ethnic 
communities -- likely promoted, at least tacitly, by Belgrade 
-- will end up blocking Serb returns to Svinjare.  The PISG 
has, in our judgement, met the CG standard for Svinjare, but 
the tragedy is that this will bring no relief to its former 
residents. 
 
¶10. (SBU) U.S. Office Pristina clears this cable in its 
entirety for release to U.N. Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari. 
KAIDANOW