BELGIAN FM TAKES TOUGH LINE ON KOSOVO WITH SERB COUNTERPART

Identifier: 
07BRUSSELS2114

C O N F I D E N T I A L BRUSSELS 002114

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/27/2012
TAGS: PREL, YI, AL, BE
SUBJECT: BELGIAN FM TAKES TOUGH LINE ON KOSOVO WITH SERB
COUNTERPART

Classified By: Political Counselor Theodore H Andrews, reasons 1.4 (b)
and (d)

1. (C) During a June 27, 2007 meeting in Brussels with
Serbian FM Jeremik, Belgian FM De Gucht urged the Serb
leadership to adopt a "realistic approach" to the Kosovo
independence issue. An official in De Gucht's cabinet who
was present at the meeting said De Gucht pushed Jeremik to
use the current "pause" of four months to launch serious
discussions with the Kosovars, something they had failed to
do so far. While De Gucht did not want to prejudge the
outcome of any such talks, he noted that the international
community was ready to act with or without the Serbs. The
Belgian FM made many of these points publicly during a brief
session with Serbian journalists.

2. (C) Jeremik did not reply directly to De Gucht's points,
according to our contact. Instead, he stressed the
importance his party placed on educating the Serb population
and to demonstrating the tangible benefits of a stronger
connection to Europe. The list of such benefits is long, our
source said, but it included easier access to visas and EU
membership. Jeremik wanted to reach that goal by 2012, or to
have experienced steady progress.

3. (C) The Belgians reportedly told Jeremik that his dreams
would "remain dreams" if they did not begin to "fill some of
the empty rooms" waiting for war criminals in The Hague.
Given the EU's experience with the Cyprus issue, no one
wanted to admit a new member state with so much additional
baggage. Fox
.