C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRUSSELS 004994
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/23/2014
TAGS: PREL EAID PTER AF PK IN CE NP EUN USEU BRUSSELS
SUBJECT: A/S ROCCA DISCUSSES SOUTH ASIA WITH EU
REF: THE HAGUE 2924
Classified By: USEU PolOff Sarah Groen for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
Â¶1. (C) SUMMARY. On November 12 and 15 in Brussels, SA A/S
Christina Rocca met with DG Robert Cooper of the European
Council and DDG Herve Jouanjean of the European Commission to
discuss the current situation and upcoming challenges in
South Asia. A/S Rocca raised concerns about deteriorating
political conditions in Bangladesh and the burgeoning
narcotics problem in Afghanistan. EU officials provided a
readout of the recent EU-India summit, and described what the
new "strategic partnership" between the EU and India may look
like. They discussed how European Commission (EC) assistance
could be given a "clearer political foundation" to improve
conditions in Bangladesh, requested that the US continue to
encourage the Nepalese government and military to support
human rights, and asked when the U.S. would be ready for
another meeting of the Sri Lanka Donors Co-Chair Group. The
Council's Cooper said he would look into having Nepal's
Maoists placed under EU terrorist financing sanctions. END
Â¶2. (C) Conveying the seriousness of snowballing problems in
Bangladesh was one of A/S Rocca's most urgent messages. She
pointed out that the government of Bangladesh is nearly at a
standstill, that violence is rising between political
parties, and that extremist groups are gaining influence.
The political problems will be exacerbated by job losses due
to the expiration of the Multi-Fiber Agreement in January.
Corruption at Bangladesh ports is a major area of concern.
The USG was also concerned about the lack of transparency in
the Bangladeshi investigation into the August 21
assassination attempt on Sheikh Hasina.
Â¶3. (C) Commission DDG Jouanjean, who had recently returned
from a trip to Bangladesh, expressed deep concern about the
situation there. He pointed out that general instability and
increasing fundamentalism could pose major security problems
for both the EU and the US. He discussed how EC assistance
to Bangladesh could be used more effectively to address the
political situation there, perhaps by tying assistance to
benchmarks. Council interlocutors made the same point,
saying EC assistance to Bangladesh could be given "a clearer
political foundation," with more attention to which types of
groups receive EU funds. Jouanjean also suggested the EU and
U.S. get together with World Bank and others to explore how
to deal with the situation in Bangladesh and work out a
common strategy. Rocca agreed such a meeting could be useful.
Â¶4. (C) A/S Rocca pointed out that another crisis requiring
immediate attention is the increasing drug cultivation in
Afghanistan. She told the EU officials that levels of poppy
growth next year will likely be significantly higher than
previously forecast, and that if action is not taken,
Afghanistan risks deteriorating into a narco-state along the
lines of Colombia. A multi-year plan for drug eradication
and alternative livelihoods, with broad support from
international donors, would be required to stave off the
crisis. Such a program would need an Afghan face in order to
Â¶5. (C) Cooper agreed on the seriousness of the problem, but
expressed a slightly different perspective, saying "tons of
money" has already been spent on combating drugs in
Afghanistan, and the problems remain. "The missing
ingredient has been a functioning government," he said, and
expressed optimism that as Karzai gains strength, he will be
able to address the country's drug problems. He doubted that
eradication alone could solve the problem, saying any
eradication would have to take place in parallel with
development of alternative livelihoods.
Â¶6. (C) A/S Rocca inquired about the recent EU-India summit,
and what the new EU-India "strategic partnership" might look
like (Reftel). Commission officials said the summit was a
huge success, and that they were particularly impressed with
the "fantastic quality" of Manmohan Singh's participation.
Both Council and Commission interlocutors said the
partnership is still very undefined, but will likely include
increased cooperation on opening markets, nonproliferation,
counter-terrorism, and regulatory issues. New areas of
cooperation will include energy, environment, industrial
policy, and cultural dialogue. The next step is for
expert-level working groups to create a more definitive
action plan for cooperation between the EU and India, to be
presented at next year's summit.
Â¶7. (C) A/S Rocca and Council officials agreed that a major
priority for both the US and EU is to see India take more
responsibility for export control. Cooper mentioned that
perhaps the EU could talk to India about the EU peer review
process on export controls.
Â¶8. (C) On Pakistan, A/S Rocca expressed cautious optimism
about ongoing India-Pakistan dialogue over Kashmir. "They
know what has to be done," she said, "but they need to sense
that the world is still watching." She said President
Musharraf had made recent controversial remarks about
"options" intentionally in order to force a public debate.
Musharraf said that if Pakistan and Indian governments were
to reach a solution in secret, and then try to force it on an
unprepared public, the solution would not work.
Â¶9. (C) Cooper suggested that perhaps the EU could sponsor a
seminar in Pakistan (or elsewhere in the region) to discuss
ten European dilemmas involving ethnic enclaves (such as
Macedonia, Northern Ireland or South Tyrol), to help foster a
public dialogue about resolving the Kashmir issue.
Â¶10. (C) A/S Rocca raised the issue of placing Nepal's Maoist
rebels on the EU's finance terror list. Cooper responded
that he was not sure why they were not already on the list,
and said he would verify their status and inquire why the EU
was resisting placing them on the list.
Â¶11. (C) Commission officials asked that the US continue to
stress the importance of human rights in its dealings with
the Nepalese government and military, asserting that "If
there is no accord on human rights, it undermines
everything." In her Council meeting, A/S Rocca pointed out
that all U.S. training programs for the Nepalese government
and military have a human rights component and suggested
other nations could also provide human rights training.
Â¶12. (C) Regarding the Sri Lanka Donors Co-Chair Group,
Commission DDG Jouanjean asked when the next round of
meetings could take place, suggesting December. A/S Rocca
said that with personnel changes in the Department of State,
the timeline for the next meetings could not be determined
yet, but that Deputy Secretary Armitage is not opposed to a
Â¶13. (U) A/S Rocca has cleared this message.