US embassy cable - 06TIRANA352

ALBANIA SCENESETTER FOR AMB. WISNER, U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY TO KOSOVO NEGOTIATIONS

Identifier: 06TIRANA352
Wikileaks: View 06TIRANA352 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Tirana
Created: 2006-04-07 09:55:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: PREL PINR AL
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTI #0352/01 0970955
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 070955Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY TIRANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4084
INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 2872
RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 2682
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 0659
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 5222
RUEHVJ/AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO 0401
RUEHSQ/AMEMBASSY SKOPJE 4073
RUEHVB/AMEMBASSY ZAGREB 2905
RUEPGBA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE
RHDLCNE/COMUSNAVEUR LONDON UK
RUFNPKB/COMUSNAVEUR POLAD NAPLES IT
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 3235
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 2124
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0673
UNCLAS TIRANA 000352 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/SCE (MBENEDICT/DSAINZ) 
USUN PLEASE PASS TO AMB. WISNER 
NSC FOR BRAUN 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL, PINR, AL 
SUBJECT: ALBANIA SCENESETTER FOR AMB. WISNER, U.S. SPECIAL 
ENVOY TO KOSOVO NEGOTIATIONS 
 
REF: A. TIRANA 312 
     B. TIRANA 276 
     C. 05 TIRANA 1516 
 
1. (SBU) SUMMARY:  Albanian governments, past and present, 
support independence for Kosovo, but within the international 
framework.  In contrast to generally quiet diplomacy of the 
past, the Berisha government, via FM Mustafaj (and Sabri 
Godo, his informal advisor on Kosovo), has more openly and 
publicly voiced this support.  President Moisiu, who has also 
privately made clear his support for independence without 
delay, has also been more outspoken on this issue. 
Nevertheless, except for a recent slip on border changes by 
the Foreign Minister (Reftel B), Albanian officials have 
always publicly called for moderation when necessary, 
supported UN negotiations and UNMIK, and made protection of 
the rights of minorities government policy.  The Berisha 
government's more outspoken approach is a change of style 
rather than substance, and we do not expect their overall 
policy of support for the international community's efforts 
to handle the negotiations to change (Reftel C).  During his 
November 2005 visit here, UN Envoy Ahtisaari called for 
Albania to be "active, but not an actor in the Kosovo status 
process." We suggest you reiterate this formulation, express 
appreciation for Albania's traditionally moderate role on 
regional issues, and apprise GOA officials of the sensitivity 
of the negotiation process.  End Summary. 
 
SUPPORT FOR INDEPENDENCE 
 
2. (SBU) Albanian policy toward Kosovo is clear: 
independence for Kosovo with some form of international 
supervision in the beginning, no change in borders, strong 
protections for the Serb minority, and progress on 
decentralization.  After winning parliamentary elections last 
summer, Albanian government officials including PM Berisha 
and FM Mustafaj became more outspoken than their predecessors 
on the issue of independence for Kosovo.  President Moisiu 
also adopted a more out front style.  Berisha conspicuously 
raised Kosovo during his inaugural address to the Parliament, 
and FM Mustafaj did the same at last year's UNGA.  The 
President made Kosovo independence a central theme at a 
gathering of South East European countries on the margins of 
the UNGA.  All three made one clear point:  Albania fully 
supports Kosovar independence within the framework of 
negotiations between Kosovar authorities and the 
international community. 
 
3. (SBU) Post believes this outspokenness is more a change in 
style rather than substance.  The GOA believes it has a role 
to play, but remains careful to follow the lead of the 
international community.  Albanian officials, past and 
present, have expressed their willingness to deliver messages 
privately and publicly when asked and are eager to use their 
influence to advance an agenda that includes an independent 
Kosovo.  A recent comment by FM Mustafaj that called into 
question the "inviolability" of Kosovo's (and Macedonia's) 
borders if Kosovo were divided might have been a case of 
speaking without thinking, but was more likely FM Mustafaj 
trying to balance his insistence on "conditional 
independence" for which he has taken some heat here. 
President Moisiu and FM Mustafaj reaffirmed Albanian policy 
after meeting the new Kosovo PM Haziri late March.  Mustafaj, 
in particular, highlighted "Albanian diplomacy in supporting 
the negotiation process between Pristina and Belgrade." 
 
HOW ALBANIA CAN HELP 
 
4. (SBU) Albania can help in two ways.  First, Albanian 
officials have often played a moderate role during difficult 
times in the region, including the spring 2004 violence. 
Former PM Nano was extremely helpful last spring when 
violence threatened in Macedonia after an ethnic Albanian was 
killed by the police.  PM Berisha and President Moisiu have 
also lent their good offices when asked. The present 
government is very sensitive to, and concerned about, the 
potential for extremist violence in the region and, in our 
view, will be very willing to help should that become a 
problem. 
 
5. (SBU)  Second, the new government appears inclined to 
invest much more personal time and effort in relations with 
Kosovars than Nano did before them. Thus they can be useful 
conduits of messages we have, especially in regard to the 
need for unity amongst the Kosovar negotiating team and for 
agreeing to concrete measures regarding the Kosovo Serbs. 
Albanians take a pragmatic view toward the future of the 
region, which includes a realistic assessment of the 
important role that Belgrade must, of necessity, play.  They 
also see themselves as having a special mandate to speak 
positively about respect and tolerance for different 
religious traditions as they are proud of their own tradition 
of religious harmony. (Albania is roughly 70% Moslem, 20% 
orthodox Christian and 10% Roman Catholic). 
 
 
STRONG BELIEF IN U.S. LEADERSHIP 
 
6. (SBU) Finally, Albanian officials will not hide their 
strong support for USG leadership during the negotiation 
process.  Historically, Albania has been pre-disposed to the 
U.S. position and the same is true regarding our role in the 
region, and in Kosovo in particular.  Albanians still suffer 
from mines laid by the Serbs in the north of the country, 
which makes up part of the legacy of the Kosovo war.  The 
other part of that legacy is, of course, the hosting of 
thousands of Kosovar refugees in Albania during the height of 
the conflict.  Albanian officials will seek your guidance on 
what role they should play in the status process and will be 
eager to offer their support in any way we believe will 
advance the mutual cause of establishing a functional and 
independent Kosovo state. 
 
BIO NOTES AND KOSOVO CONNECTIONS 
 
7. (SBU) A Northerner, Prime Minister Berisha sees himself as 
having a special affinity for Kosovo issues. Though he 
nurtured a strong relationship with Rugova, he did not 
hesitate to publicly condemn the 2004 riots in much stronger 
terms than the Kosovo president was willing to use.  He has 
unofficially named Republican Party President emeritus Sabri 
Godo as an advisor on Kosovo and the resourceful and erudite 
Godo has spent a good amount of time in Kosovo recently in 
this capacity.  Agim Ceku came to Tirana just before being 
named PM and met with Berisha, Godo and Defense Minister 
Mediu over lunch. Personal relationships between Albanian 
leaders and Kosovar counterparts do tend to follow party 
lines.  While Berisha knows all of the current leaders, 
Hashim Thaci's closest ties remain with the Socialist Party 
here, including both Nano and SP Leader (and Tirana mayor) 
Edi Rama. Former Defense Minister Majko has family in 
Pristina and is considered the informal "Kosovo expert" in 
 
the Socialist camp.  President Moisiu is a strong Albanian 
nationalist.  A former military man, he has written a book on 
Kosovo's history. 
RIES 

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