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Viewing cable 10BELGRADE19, Serbia: Ambassador's First Meeting with President Tadic

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10BELGRADE19 2010-01-29 17:05 2010-12-09 21:09 SECRET Embassy Belgrade
VZCZCXRO1757
RR RUEHAG RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL
DE RUEHBW #0019/01 0291750
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 291750Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BELGRADE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0678
INFO EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 05 BELGRADE 000019 

SIPDIS 
AMEMBASSY ANKARA PASS TO AMCONSUL ADANA 
AMEMBASSY ASTANA PASS TO AMCONSUL ALMATY 
AMEMBASSY BERLIN PASS TO AMCONSUL DUSSELDORF 
AMEMBASSY BERLIN PASS TO AMCONSUL LEIPZIG 
AMEMBASSY BELGRADE PASS TO AMEMBASSY PODGORICA 
AMEMBASSY HELSINKI PASS TO AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 
AMEMBASSY ATHENS PASS TO AMCONSUL THESSALONIKI 
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PASS TO AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PASS TO AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/01/29 
TAGS: PREL PGOV SR KV
SUBJECT: Serbia: Ambassador's First Meeting with President Tadic 

CLASSIFIED BY: Mary Warlick, Ambassador, State, EXEC; REASON: 1.4(B), 
(D) 

Summary 

------- 



1. (C) In a January 28 meeting with Serbian President Tadic, the 
Ambassador emphasized her desire to expand bilateral cooperation on 
defense and economic issues, as well as to increase high-level 
contacts between our governments. Tadic welcomed the intent but 
expressed frustration that he had not been able to visit Washington 
for over four years. Echoing comments made in his public remarks 
during the Ambassador's credentialing ceremony (para. 12), Tadic 
warned that U.S. policy toward Kosovo threatened democracy in 
Serbia by strengthening the nationalist opposition. The Ambassador 
reiterated U.S. support for Serbia's EU aspirations and urged 
continued strong cooperation with the ICTY. Tadic expressed 
appreciation for U.S. support on EU integration and explained that 
Serbia was pursuing the remaining ICTY indictees because it was in 
its own interest to do so. Similarly, as a Dayton guarantor Serbia 
would continue to support the territorial integrity of 
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Tadic said. He told the Ambassador that he 
would work with Croatian President-elect Josipovic, an old 
acquaintance, to address the many difficult issues dividing Serbia 
and Croatia. On Kosovo, Tadic emphatically stated that Serbia 
would not change its position on its own territorial integrity. He 
expressed the desire to pursue a dialogue after the International 
Court of Justice renders its advisory opinion, as the current 
situation was untenable. The Ambassador responded that the 
dialogue should begin now in order to find the best way to manage 
reaction to the ICJ's opinion and move forward on the many pressing 
issues related to Kosovo. End Summary. 



2. (SBU) After presenting her credentials on January 28, the 
Ambassador had a 45 minute working meeting with President Boris 
Tadic. Tadic was accompanied by his foreign policy advisor Jovan 
Ratkovic and MFA State Secretary Mirko Stefanovic. 



Bilateral 

--------- 



3. (C) The Ambassador told Tadic that she was eager to work with 
him to build on the strong foundation created by her predecessors, 
noting that Vice President Biden's May 2009 visit to Belgrade had 
opened a new chapter in our bilateral relations. She said that the 
military-to-military relationship was strong, but it was time to 
take it to the next level through increased joint training and 
exchanges, Serbian contributions to peacekeeping missions, and 
participation in NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) activities. The 
Ambassador also told Tadic that she would focus on expanding 
economic and business ties, including new investments, and 
supporting the completion of Serbia's WTO accession. She also 
emphasized her commitment to seek opportunities for additional 
high-level contacts between our governments. She noted President 
Tadic's visit to UNGA last fall, the recent visits of Defense 
Minister Sutanovac and Foreign Minister Jeremic to Washington, and 
Interior Minister Dacic's meetings this week. The Ambassador 
pointed to two upcoming congressional delegations to Serbia and the 
February 10 groundbreaking for the New Embassy Compound (NEC) in 
Belgrade as early opportunities to continue our engagement and 
further highlight the relationship publicly. 



4. (C) Tadic said he was pleasantly surprised to hear about the 
scheduled groundbreaking event, as he had worked with four 
different U.S. ambassadors going back to his tenure as Minister of 
Defense to identify a suitable location for the new U.S. Embassy 

BELGRADE 00000019 002 OF 005 


and facilitate the sale. He commented that he was encouraged to 
see countries such as the U.S. and China investing in modern 
diplomatic facilities in Belgrade. He also stated that it was time 
for the Serbian government to reconstruct its own buildings damaged 
during the 1999 NATO intervention. 



5. (C) Shifting topics abruptly, Tadic voiced a complaint that 
despite all the talk of expanding the bilateral relations and the 
strong ties between Serbia and the U.S., he himself had not visited 
Washington in over four years. (Note: To our knowledge this is 
the first time that Tadic has expressed an interest in doing so in 
several years.) He commented that concrete results of high-level 
engagement were lacking, and cautioned that U.S. policy toward the 
Balkans, in particular on Kosovo, had implications for democracy in 
Serbia. Recalling his own early involvement in the democracy 
movement and the month he had spent in jail for his activism, Tadic 
said that his government was committed to continued democratic 
reform; it had to contend with a significant nationalist 
opposition, however. The Ambassador reiterated the USG's 
commitment, following on the Vice President's May 2009 visit, to 
sustained bilateral engagement with Serbia on all issues, including 
those areas where we do not agree. She offered to continue to 
explore possibilities for high-level visits on both sides to keep 
our bilateral channels open. 



European Integration and ICTY Cooperation 

----------------------------------------- 



6. (C) The Ambassador recalled Vice President Biden's expression 
of support for Serbia's European aspirations and congratulated 
Tadic on his government's recent achievements with the EU, 
including visa liberalization, implementation of the Interim Trade 
Agreement, and submission of its membership application. The U.S. 
saw the integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union 
as a key priority and remained prepared, working with the EU, to 
support this process. She underscored the importance of continued 
engagement with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former 
Yugoslavia (ICTY) and U.S. readiness to support the hunt for Ratko 
Mladic and Goran Hadzic. 



7. (S) Tadic expressed appreciation for U.S. help with the EU 
accession process. On ICTY cooperation, he explained that Serbia 
was working intensively to capture Ratko Mladic "for our own 
reasons," not due to pressure from the international community or 
the ICTY, but to demonstrate its own resolve to capture war 
criminals. He emphasized Serbia's commitment to reconciliation in 
the region, pointing to its responsibilities as a guarantor of 
Dayton. He also underscored Serbia's commitment to cooperation 
with the U.S. on a range of threats, including organized crime, 
corruption, terrorism, and narcotics, pointing to the success of 
several recent joint counternarcotics operations. Tadic stated 
that undertaking such sensitive operations was politically risky 
and Serbia would continue to do the right thing; in return, 
however, Serbia hoped for similarly strong bilateral engagement in 
other areas and expected support from the U.S. on these efforts 
with other countries in the region. The Ambassador expressed U.S. 
appreciation for Serbia's strong cooperation in these important 
areas and said she would be glad to discuss any areas of specific 
concern. 



Regional Cooperation 

-------------------- 

BELGRADE 00000019 003 OF 005 


8. (C) The Ambassador noted the important role that Serbia can and 
needs to play on regional relations and stability, particularly 
with regard to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. She conveyed 
appreciation for the Serbian government's constructive support of 
the Butmir process and urged Tadic to remain engaged with the 
parties, including RS leader Milorad Dodik, in particular. She 
expressed USG concern about the prospect of any referendum moving 
forward in the Republika Srpska. Tadic said that Serbia believed 
the preservation of BiH's territorial integrity was paramount; as a 
guarantor of the Dayton Accords, Serbia sought a peaceful solution 
on constitutional reform that would be consistent with Dayton 
principles and preserve the model of two entities, three 
constituent peoples. Tadic noted that he was seeking a 
parliamentary resolution on Srebrenica to recognize the gravity of 
the crimes committed there. 



9. (C) With regard to Croatia, Tadic said that he had known 
President-elect Ivo Josipovic for a long time and wanted to work 
with him to address the many different open issues such as the 
"huge problem" of refugees and property rights. He said he 
expected the U.S. to support Serbian efforts to improve that 
relationship and address the outstanding issues. Tadic told the 
Ambassador that he would soon visit Albania and commented on the 
enormous organized crime problem facing Montenegro, where he also 
requested U.S. support. He emphasized that Serbia supported the 
independence and territorial integrity of its neighbors in the 
region, but many issues needed to be addressed. 



10. (C) Turning to Kosovo, Tadic told the Ambassador "I must be as 
clear as possible with you - Serbia will not change its views on 
its territorial integrity. I want to be direct with you, as I have 
with your other colleagues. After the International Court of 
Justice (ICJ) issues its advisory opinion, we want to pursue 
dialogue and find a way to address the issues related to Kosovo, as 
the current situation is untenable." The Ambassador responded that 
despite our clear differences, the U.S. and Serbia needed to keep 
the channels of communication on Kosovo open. While the Vice 
President had conveyed our agreement to disagree on Kosovo, it was 
important for Serbia to focus on practical ways to improve the 
lives of Serbs in Kosovo and on resolving outstanding issues. She 
emphasized the need for Serbia to take a responsible and forward 
looking approach after the ICJ opinion, consistent with President 
Tadic's own forward looking approach toward European integration, 
that would not do harm to stability in the region nor to the other 
important work on our bilateral agenda. She recommended both sides 
begin a dialogue now about how to manage the way forward and said 
she hoped to continue discussions with Tadic's foreign policy 
advisor, Jovan Ratkovic, on this subject as early as next week. 



Comment 

------- 



11. (S) Comment: President Tadic made clear during the meeting 
and in his public statement that he does not intend to back down on 
Kosovo. At the same time, he demonstrated that he is open to 
dialogue and told us what he wants: a warm reception in Washington 
and continued high level engagement across the U.S. interagency, 
cooperation on sensitive security issues, public support for 
Serbia's efforts to improve regional relations, and sensitivity to 
the domestic political constraints he faces on Kosovo policy. Now 
is the opportune moment to lay out for Tadic and his key foreign 
policy advisors what we expect of him, namely a constructive and 
coordinated response to the ICJ's upcoming advisory opinion 
accompanied by increased pragmatism in establishing a modus vivendi 

BELGRADE 00000019 004 OF 005 


with Kosovo, and continued forceful engagement with Milorad Dodik 
to preserve stability in BiH. In the coming months, high-level 
Washington engagement with Tadic will be essential to drive these 
messages home. The other sine qua non is a strong, consistent 
message from the European Union that continued antagonism and 
inflexibility on Kosovo after the ICJ opinion will hamper Serbia's 
progress toward membership. End Comment. 



12. (U) Text of President Tadic's remarks (translation provided by 
the Presidency): 



ADDRESS BY 

HIS EXCELLENCY MR. BORIS TADIC, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF 
SERBIA, ON THE 

OCCASSION OF THE PRESENT A TION OF THE LETTERS OF CREDENCE BY HER 

EXCELLENCY MRS. MARY WARLICK, AMBASSADOR EXTRAORDINARY AND 

PLENIPOTENTIARY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TO 

THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA 



Belgrade, 28 January 2010 



Excellency, 

It is my great pleasure to receive the Letters by which the 
Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States of America 
is accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 
to the Republic of Serbia. 



May I ask you, Excellency, to convey to President Obama my cordial 
greetings and the assurances of my highest consideration. 



The relationship with the United States of America is one of the 
pillars of the foreign policy of the Republic of Serbia. Ever since 
the times when the interests of our country in the United States of 
America were represented by the diplomat and the well-known 
scientist of Serbian origin Mihailo Pupin, the bilateral relations 
between our two countries have been characterized by friendship and 
alliance at all turning points in the world's history of the 
twentieth century. Such relations and all-round cooperation were 
damaged at the time of the regime of Slobodan Milosevic. Following 
the democratic changed in Serbia, we have restored our close 
cooperation which entered a new quality phase after the visit of 
Vice-President Biden. 



Today, Serbia is a truly democratic country. In the past ten years 
of the democratic transition we have successfully implemented many 
reforms guaranteeing the respect of human rights, minority rights, 
media freedoms and free elections. We are very grateful for the 
assistance by the United States of America in this democratization 
process in Serbia. 



We are particularly satisfied with the successful cooperation that 
we established with the United States of America in combating 
international terrorism and organized crime. 

BELGRADE 00000019 005 OF 005 


Excellency, 

Large Serbian community in America has for centuries provided a 
link between our two countries and contributed to the creation of 
American society. Serbia is a sister state with the State of 
Illinois and the main partner of the Army of Serbia is the National 
Guard of Ohio. 



We are particularly pleased with the fact that American companies 
are among the biggest foreign investors in Serbia. 



Madam Ambassador, 

Becoming a full member of the European Union is the strategic goal 
of the Republic of Serbia. We are convinced that the European Union 
will not be complete until Serbia and other Western Balkan 
countries are integrated into it. The support of the United States 
of America in that regard is of exceptional importance. 



Madam Ambassador, 

Serbia will continue to defend its sovereignty and territorial 
integrity in Kosovo by political and diplomatic means. We would 
like 2010 to be the year of peaceful, compromise and realistic 
solution of this issue, after the International Court of Justice 
renders its advisory opinion. Despite different positions that we 
have regarding the status of Kosovo, we hope that American policy 
will respect legitimate Serbian interests and that it will not 
jeopardize democracy in Serbia. 



At the same time, Serbia is very much concerned about the plans of 
Pristina to forcefully establish its rule over the majority-Serb 
northern Kosovo. If this strategy were to be implemented it would 
have unforeseen consequences for the stability of the region. 



Excellency, 

Serbia is strongly committed to strengthening the regional 
cooperation and good-neighbourly relations. Without a stable, 
democratic Serbia it is not possible to imagine the stable and 
prosperous Western Balkans. Serbia respects the sovereignty and 
territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, its internal 
arrangements defined by the Dayton Accords as well as the European 
and Euro-Atlantic integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 



Excellency, 

You begin your mission at the very important time for the Republic 
of Serbia but also for the further development of the relations 
between our two countries. I wish you every success in the 
discharge of your responsible duties. l am convinced that with your 
knowledge and experience you will make an important contribution to 
the development of the overall cooperation between our two 
countries. 
WARLICK