Viewing cable 08SOFIA114

08SOFIA1142008-02-21 15:25:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Sofia
DE RUEHSF #0114/01 0521525
R 211525Z FEB 08
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 SOFIA 000114 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/21/2018 
Classified By: Ambassador Beyrle for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
¶1.  (C)  Summary:  MFA Political Director Poriazov told us 
Bulgarian recognition of Kosovo would not happen for at 
least several weeks.  The Kosovars first had to incorporate 
the Ahtisaari Plan into their constitution, then the Council 
of Ministers would start the two-week process on 
recognition.  In the meantime Bulgaria will monitor the 
Kosovo government's behavior on the ground.  Taking these 
steps and the time it takes to do so, Poriazov said, will 
make it easier for the government to justify recognition 
with both its population and the Serbs.  Poriazov asked for 
U.S. support for Bulgaria's participation in the new 
International Steering Group to monitor Kosovo's adherence 
to the Ahtisaari Plan.  Sofia hopes to bring Serbs and 
Kosovars together at the Stability Pact meeting it is 
hosting on February 27 but fears the Serbs will not 
cooperate.  In a separate meeting, Ambassador Beyrle told 
Prime Minister Stanishev Serbia needed to hear from its 
friend and neighbor Bulgaria that violence on the border 
should be brought under control.  End Summary. 
¶2.  (C)  MFA Political Director Poriazov told us on 
February 20 that Bulgaria would not recognize Kosovo until 
it incorporates key elements of the Ahtisaari Plan into its 
constitution.  The process is underway in Kosovo's 
parliament and should be complete quickly.  Then the MFA 
will submit its recognition proposal to the Council of 
Ministers, which will have a maximum of two weeks to 
approve.  In the meantime, Bulgaria will also monitor the 
actions of Kosovo authorities on the ground; their behavior 
has been quite responsible and he hoped it would continue. 
¶3.  (C)  Poriazov explained that the Ahtisaari legislation 
and on the ground monitoring were necessary for internal 
purposes.  He repeated that it was important to take this 
time for public opinion to get used to the new reality and 
also to diminish nervousness in Belgrade.  Poriazov added 
that the Serbs had strongly asked Bulgaria not to be among 
the first to recognize, which he interpreted to mean not 
within the first few weeks.  He went on to say that if the 
situation deteriorates Bulgaria would seek further 
discussions with our European and American partners. 
Serbs and Kosovars at Stability Pact 
¶4.  (C)  Under any circumstances, Poriazov continued, Sofia 
would not recognize Kosovo before the Stability Pact 
meeting it is hosting on February 27, where it hopes to get 
Serbs and Kosovars to sit at the same table.  Pristina has 
already accepted the invitation, sent before the 
declaration of independence, to attend as part of UNMIK. 
The Serbs have not yet responded.  Poriazov expressed fear 
that Serbia might try to veto Pristina's participation or 
Parliamentary Debate 
¶5.  (C)  Poriazov said some Bulgarian Socialist Party MPs 
wanted to debate recognition in parliament starting next 
week.  The MFA preferred to avoid a public debate but the 
government could not refuse the deputies.  On the other 
hand, Poriazov said, the center-right opposition supports 
recognition and the debate might actually reassure the 
public and make it easier for the government to recognize. 
He reaffirmed that the government, not the parliament, has 
the authority to make the decision on recognition. 
Membership in International Steering Group 
¶6.  (C)  Poriazov asked for U.S. support for Bulgaria's 
membership on the new International Steering Group to 
monitor Kovoso's compliance with the Ahtisaari plan. 
Bulgaria had already consulted with the UK, France, Germany 
and Italy and hoped to be invited to join.  He emphasized 
that it would be good to have a neighboring state on the 
Steering Group. 
PM Stanishev 
¶7.  (C)  In a separate meeting on February 20 PM Stanishev 
told the Ambassador that recognition was tied to the 
Kosovar Albanians implementing the Ahtisaari plan and 
repeated that Bulgaria stood to lose the most from 
instability.  The Ambassador noted that all of the violence 
until now had been Serb instigated and that the Serbs 
needed to hear from their friend and neighbor the 
expectation that they would rein this in.  Stanishev asked 
the Ambassador for his view on the position Bulgaria had 
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adopted; Beyrle said it was obviously an effort to stay 
carefully balanced.  The important thing was that Bulgaria 
had said it will recognize Kosovo, and it needed to act on 
those words. 
¶8.  (C)  The GOB is finding ways to buy time -- Kosovo's 
incorporating Ahtisaari into its constitution and its own 
Council of Ministers process before it grants full 
recognition of Kosovo.  The government is balancing its 
fear of negative Serbian and possibly local popular 
reaction with its desire to be in line with the American 
and majority EU position.  Opposition criticism is growing: 
former PM Philip Dimitrov accused the Socialist-led 
government of fearing Russia,s reaction more than Serbia,s 
 -- a critique that stings.  The Government argues that 
with the passing of a few weeks, and recognition from more 
European countries, it will be easier to explain its 
decision to its public and to the Serbs.  In the interim, 
Bulgaria runs the risk of being lumped with the 
EU-rejectionists as the "nuances" of its position are 
lost in translation.  End Comment.