Wikileaks cables show US attempted to engineer Kosovo's independence
According to Covert Action magazine, new documents leaked by Wikileaks and the Guardian in 2010 detail how Western powers utilized all diplomatic means and methods to orchestrate Kosovo's independence and get Russia's backing for it.
According to Covert Action Magazine, fears of a resurgence of the Balkans conflict of the 1990s have arisen as a result of increasing tensions between Serbia and Kosovo. According to Time magazine, Kosovo police attacked Serb-dominated districts in the region's north in May and seized local governmental structures. Furthermore, Kosovo's police and NATO-led forces clashed with local Serbs, resulting in scores of injuries on both sides.
Documents written by US diplomats and leaked by Wikileaks and The Guardian in 2010 disclosed details of how the Western powers utilized all diplomatic means and methods to establish Kosovo's independence and get Russian backing for it. Certain cables from Western diplomats expose how France and the United States attempted to wiggle their way into granting Serbia the Agreement for Stabilisation and EU Accession (SAA), as well as NATO participation in the Partnership for Peace.
The cables written by the US Ambassador to France, Craig Stapleton, on December 12, 2006, reveal a discussion in 2006 in Paris between Daniel Freed, the Assistant to the US Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, and Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, foreign policy adviser to then-French President Jacques Chirac.
The French advisor at the time discussed France's efforts to persuade the EU to grant Serbia membership in the SAA in order to gain entry into the EU, despite the outstanding duty of complete collaboration with The Hague Tribunal. They were concerned by President Vladimir Putin's clear threats of vetoing the UN Security Council resolution on Kosovo.
Russia's veto threat "a horrible possibility"
The cable details that Freed stated the West should be prepared to act without the Russians and that the US would offer Serbia Partnership for Peace.
The Wikileaks cables detail that the US voiced support for the postponement of Ahtisaari recommendations on the status of Kosovo (recommendations by President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari for Kosovo's independence with international supervision) after Serbia held elections following January 21, 2007.
The West was attempting to have the Russians believe they would act without them if required, in an effort to stop them from boosting their veto threat. Freed stated at the time, “That would be a horrible possibility, but the paralysis would be worse."
In other cable leaks of US officials discussing Kosovo, the US Ambassador to Italy mentions to the State Department that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi expressed in November 2008 that the US supporting Kosovo's independence was a provocation against Russia.
The Kosovo problem is also highlighted in the Wikileaks documents pertaining to Georgia. In June 2007, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili voiced fear that Kosovo's independence might set a precedent and promote Russia's position in the separatist Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Wikileaks also published state department files detailing that William Burns, the now-CIA director, met with Saakashvili in June 2007 in order to clarify the US' determination to back Kosovo's independence.
When Saakashvili warned that Russia would use the independence to recognize the independence of Abkhazia, Burns stated that recognizing Abkhazia would "isolate Russia on the international stage."
Additionally, Burns added that then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made it clear to Putin and Sergey Lavrov that recognizing Abkhazia would be "a great mistake." Burns also added that the US was looking for ways to keep Russia out of Albanian negotiations for a few months.
Separate encounters with Burns were described in the cables revealed by Wikileaks, in which Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Patriarch Cyril expressed opposition to Kosovo's independence.
Solzhenitsyn criticized Kosovo's independence again to the Ambassador. Why should Serbs be held accountable for Milosevic's misdeeds, he wondered?
Solzhenitsyn was also skeptical about discussions surrounding Ukraine's joining of NATO.
In 2008, Kosovo seceded from Serbia and unilaterally declared its independence. An agreement to improve relations between Serbia and Kosovo was struck in 2013, but the conversation quickly came to a halt. Since mid-2022, tensions at the border have been building, occasionally rising into road closures in northern Kosovo.
In early March, Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic announced that he is not willing to recognize Kosovo's independence nor permit it to join the United Nations, despite heightened EU pressure to isolate his country.
Serbia's leader also revealed that the European Union has threatened to isolate Serbia and pull out all investments if the proposed Kosovo agreement was discarded.
Additionally, In January, Vucic warned that the West will require Serbia to sign an agreement denoting the formal recognition of the currently partially-recognized republic of Kosovo as soon as Belgrade agreed to impose sanctions against Russia.