88905 12/11/2006 7:22 06ISTANBUL2146 Consulate Istanbul UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY VZCZCXYZ0002 PP RUEHWEB DE RUEHIT #2146 3450722 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 110722Z DEC 06 FM AMCONSUL ISTANBUL TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6437 INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5925 RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS PRIORITY 0749 RUEHKB/AMEMBASSY BAKU PRIORITY 0007 RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE PRIORITY 0043 RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST PRIORITY 0143 RUEHCH/AMEMBASSY CHISINAU PRIORITY 0050 RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV PRIORITY 0007 RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 0328 RUEHSF/AMEMBASSY SOFIA PRIORITY 0233 RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI PRIORITY 0130 RUEHTI/AMEMBASSY TIRANA PRIORITY 0073 RUEHYE/AMEMBASSY YEREVAN PRIORITY 0081 RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY UNCLAS ISTANBUL 002146
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PREL, SENV, KCRM, EU, TU, SR SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTER DRASKOVIC LAUNCHES SERBIAN BSEC CHAIRMANSHIP
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1. (SBU) Summary: On November 29, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic formally launched the six-month Serbian BSEC Chairmanship with a speech to BSEC representatives, observers and related bodies. FM Draskovic's remarks were followed by brief comments by the BSEC Secretary-General and a short question period. In a departure from the norm, the meeting lasted less than an hour and was conflict-free. Most attendees - including FM Draskovic - also attended the opening event of the Papal visit to Istanbul at the Patriarchate later that afternoon, which almost certainly contributed to the speed and efficiency of the proceedings. End Summary.
2. (SBU) Draskovic began by noting the importance to the region of the NATO decision to admit Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Partnership for Peace. He emphasized that the decision will contribute to the stability and European perspective of the Western Balkans and South-Eastern Europe, a vital area for BSEC. He explained that parliamentary elections would take place in Serbia on January 21 precluding BSEC meetings in December and January. He noted his expectation that a new government would take office by the end of January.
3. (U) He described Serbian priorities for the next six months including an enhanced focus on the Danube and cooperation with international organizations. Serbia hopes a renewed emphasis on meetings that include sectoral experts as well as business leaders and World Bank officials in addition to diplomats will help re-orient BSEC to focus on concrete areas of cooperation including crime, the economy, the environment and culture. Serbia plans to build on the Russian Chairman's successful organization of meetings of Ministers of Transportation to broaden BSEC beyond its focus on international affairs and hopes to bring together the BSEC Ministers of Transportation, Communication and Culture to discuss projects relevant to their ministries with the goal of helping the people of the BSEC member states live better lives.
4. (SBU) BSEC Secretary General Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos also underscored the importance of the Riga decision for the stability of the European area. He described two primary BSEC priorities: transportation projects and BSEC-EU interaction. Chrysanthopoulos expects BSEC Transportation Ministers to sign project documents for the Balck Sea Ring Highway and Waterways of the Sea projects in February or March following the completion of internal ratification procedures. According to Chrysanthopoulos, every member state has initialed the proposals and most have completed internal procedures. He expects that the ministers will convene an informal meeting as an adjunct to the signing ceremony at BSEC's headquarters in Istanbul. Chrysanthopoulos described progress on BSEC-EU interaction, noting that the upcoming troika meeting should address this issue. He has met bilaterally with the Commission, Finland and Germany and hopes to be able to inaugurate an enhanced relationship with the EU at the Istanbul Summit in June 2007. BSEC currently has no mechanism to deal on an institutional basis with the EU; BSEC members must seek EU support on a bilateral basis. The enhanced relationship would provide a mechanism to work directly with the Commission on BSEC initiatives.