WikiLeaks cable: NZ response on Kosovo independence

Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

February 21, 2008
New Zealand response on Kosovo independence

date:2008-02-21T18:27:00
source:Embassy Wellington
origin:08WELLINGTON59
destination:VZCZCXRO3996 OO RUEHAG RUEHROV DE RUEHWL #0059/01 0521827
ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 211827Z FEB 08 FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON TO
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5083 INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES
COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 0074 RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
PRIORITY 0120
classification:CONFIDENTIAL
reference:08STATE16319|08WELLINGTON44

?C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 WELLINGTON 000059
SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/21/2018
TAGS: PREL, UN, UNMIK, PGOV, Y...
?C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 WELLINGTON 000059

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/21/2018
TAGS: PREL, UN, UNMIK, PGOV, YI, EU, KV, NZ
SUBJECT: NEW ZEALAND RESPONSE ON KOSOVO INDEPENDENCE
REF: (A) STATE 16319 (B) WELLINGTON 44
WELLINGTON 00000059 001.2 OF 002

Classified By: Embassy Wellington DCM David J. Keegan, reasons 1.4 (b)
and (d).

1. (C) Summary. Charge presented reftel demarche to MFAT Deputy Secretary Peter Hamilton who repeated Prime Minister Clark's earlier insistence that New Zealand has an established practice of not publicly announcing diplomatic recognition but allowing it to be inferred over time from its actions. Charge noted that New Zealand had publicly accelerated the recognition process in a few sensitive cases and urged it do so for Kosovo. If it could not, Charge said New Zealand should make a public statement expressing support for the action taken by the people of Kosovo. Hamilton said he would highlight Charge's demarche in a paper for the PM later that day. End Summary.

2. (C) Charge David Keegan sought an appointment to deliver ref A demarche to New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters or, in his absence, CEO Simon Murdoch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). With both Peters and Simon traveling abroad, Charge was scheduled to meet February 21 with MFAT Deputy Secretary Peter Hamilton, whose responsibilities include Europe. Charge had earlier conveyed U.S. concerns to Dep. Sec. Carolyn Forsyth, who handles IO affairs (ref B). Charge emphasized to Hamilton, as he had in that earlier demarche, the importance of New Zealand and other democracies demonstrating their support for Kosovo's Unilateral Declaration of Independence by announcing diplomatic recognition as soon as possible. Hamilton responded that New Zealand had a long-standing policy of not
announcing recognition but allowing its recognition to be inferred from its actions. He noted that New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark had laid out this policy to reporters earlier in the week (see para 6 below for text).

3. (C) Hamilton emphasized that New Zealand remained intensely concerned over developments in the Balkan region, noting its participation in the UNMIK process. It had followed closely the announcements by the U.S. as well as EU and other states regarding Kosovo. It had been approached by Russia and received a letter from the President of Serbia, to which the PM would respond in due course.

4. (C) Charge said that he was not seeking to change New Zealand's long-standing policy, but he noted that New Zealand chosen to accelerate the establishment of diplomatic relations in sensitive cases such as Timor Leste and Latvia. Hamilton suggested Croatia could be added to that list. Charge urged that Kosovo's special circumstances warrants its being added as well. If for whatever reasons New Zealand concludes it cannot announce recognition, Charge argued, it is important for New Zealand to speak out immediately and clearly as a democratic member of the international community, expressing support for the decision taken by the people of Kosovo and calling on all concerned to act peacefully. That could be from the PM or the Foreign Minister. Charge provided Hamilton a copy of the Secretary's statement included in ref A.

5. (C) Hamilton thanked Charge, noting that he was instructed to provide a report and recommendations to the PM later that day. He promised to highlight the request from the U.S. and the call for public support of Kosovo's Unilateral Declaration of Independence. He undertook to inform the embassy of any next steps by New Zealand regarding Kosovo.

6. (U) Prime Minister Clark on Kosovo at weekly Post-Cabinet

Press Conference, 18 February 2008

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

Q. What is New Zealand's position on Kosovo declaring independence from Serbia especially given (inaudible) the Security Council, NATO inaudible) maintain peace (inaudible)?
A. PRIME MINISTER CLARK: Well we are disappointed what was called the Troika Process didn't get results. There was a three way process between the United States, Russia and the European Union to try and work out an agreed position on Kosovo's status and that fell over in December so the possibility of Kosovo unilaterally declaring independence has been there for a couple of months now. With respect to New Zealand's position, it has never been the New Zealand government's position to recognize in such circumstances. We neither recognize nor not recognize. Over time the way in which we deal with those who govern territory will, I suppose, imply whether there is recognition, but we are not intending to make a formal statement. This is quite a WELLINGTON 00000059 002.2 OF 002 divisive issue internationally obviously, and it is not clear to me that all EU states will want to recognize.

Q. What about the response from Serbia? Are you concerned that tensions might flare up, that there might be more violence in that region given the history (inaudible)?
A. PRIME MINISTER CLARK: For sure there is a troubled history but then Serbia has just had elections, and the candidate described as the more moderate of the two, the incumbent president, was reelected so we would certainly hope that that would be reflected in a more sober reaction to what has happened in Kosovo.

Q. It certainly remains a volatile situation though?
A. PRIME MINISTER CLARK: Oh for sure because Serbia would say that they regard Kosovo as being at the heart of traditional Serbia. It happens to have a large majority Albanian population. It would be tremendously distressing if there was now in effect an outbreak of civil war there which would see persecution and the death of those in the minority.
(Embassy Public Affairs transcription)

KEEGAN

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 19 Dec 2014 08:33:05 Processing Time: 245ms