141816 2/17/2008 6:26 08ALGIERS169 Embassy Algiers CONFIDENTIAL 08STATE13716 VZCZCXRO0423 PP RUEHTRO DE RUEHAS #0169 0480626 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 170626Z FEB 08 FM AMEMBASSY ALGIERS TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5269 INFO RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 0010 RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST 0179 RUEHVJ/AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO 0004 RUEHSQ/AMEMBASSY SKOPJE 0004 RUEHTI/AMEMBASSY TIRANA 0011 RUEHVB/AMEMBASSY ZAGREB 0016 RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2552 RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 8807 RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 2170 RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7022 RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 3259 RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0009 RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 0062 RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0486 RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS C O N F I D E N T I A L ALGIERS 000169
STATE FOR EUR/SCE SEIJI SHIRATORI
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2018 TAGS: PREL, UN, UNMIK, PGOV, AG SUBJECT: ALGERIA RESERVED ON KOSOVO INDEPENDENCE
REF: STATE 13716
Classified By: Ambassador Robert Ford, reasons 1.4(b) and (d).
1. (C) SUMMARY: We received a noncommittal response from Algerian government interlocutors when the Ambassador raised the issue of recognizing an independent Kosovo. The Algerian government prefers a "go slow" approach, even though a top MFA official readily agreed Kosovo could never be reintegrated into Serbia. The Ambassador stressed the importance of immediate recognition and its impact on regional stability, as well as the difficulty of reintegrating Kosovo into Serbia. The Algerian MFA official highlighted the importance of finding UNSC consensus and not rushing to recognize Kosovo's independence. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) In a February 13 meeting with MFA's Director General for European Affairs (A/S equivalent) Mouloud Hamai and Deputy Director for Central Europe and the Balkans Abdelmadjid Amalou, the Ambassador told the Algerian government the United States and a majority of EU states intended to recognize an independent Kosovo and asked Algeria to do the same. The Ambassador stressed the unique case of Kosovo, noting that its independence should not be seen as a precedent. He also told Hamai that it would be difficult to reintegrate Kosovo into Serbia and said that immediate recognition of its independence would diminish the influence of groups that seek to be more adventurous in the region.
3. (C) Hamai told us that although Algeria had not yet reached a decision on the issue, it understood that it was impossible to reintegrate Kosovo into Serbia. Hamai cautioned against a rush to recognize an independent Kosovo, however. Hamai continued by saying that Algeria favored a solution based on international legality that was directed through the UN Security Council. In this regard, he noted the importance of Russia and its Security Council veto, but expressed hope for consensus in the UNSC.
4. (C) According to Hamai, the Serbian government understands the inevitability of an independent Kosovo and has indicated this to him privately. However, he continued, the Serbian government is looking for an "honorable" exit from the situation. Hamai added that it was necessary to avoid humiliating Serbia and to find something "to offer" the Serbs to make the honorable exit possible. Without this, he said, the political situation in Serbia easily could become more difficult. Hamai further reminded us of the political landscape of the region, highlighting an enclave in northern Kosovo that is 10 percent Serbian, as well as other small Serbian enclaves in Kosovo clustered near monasteries. These enclaves, as well as various enclaves in Macedonia, must be carefully considered when discussing an independent Kosovo because they point to groups trying to adjust borders, Hamai maintained. Ambassador noted the utility of prompt recognition of an independent Kosovo as a means of restraining Serb hardliners. Hamai demurred again, opining that other international disputes, such as Israel/Palestine and Western Sahara, had dragged on longer and without resolution.
4. (C) COMMENT: Both Hamai and Amalou have experience in the Balkans. Hamai has served as Algeria's ambassador to Yugoslavia and Amalou has served in Romania. Our sense from the conversation is that while Algeria is officially non-committal on recognizing an independent Kosovo, it is likely to adopt a cautious policy for the near future. Another factor for Algeria is its longstanding close ties to Belgrade which date to Algerian President Bouteflika's role in standing up the non-aligned movement with the old Yugoslavia. FORD