Viewing cable 05VILNIUS1240
Title: GOL SEEKS TO PLAY THE RUSSIAN CARD WITH LUKASHENKO

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05VILNIUS12402005-11-23 15:28:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 001240 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NB AND EURUMB 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/22/2015 
TAGS: PREL PGOV BO RS LH
SUBJECT: GOL SEEKS TO PLAY THE RUSSIAN CARD WITH LUKASHENKO 
 
REF: A. SECSTATE 188900 
 
     ¶B. VILNIUS 1161 
 
Classified By: Political/Economic Officer Alexander Titolo for reasons 
1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
¶1.  (C) Summary: The GOL believes that a joint USG-EU mission 
to Belarus to deliver a strong message to the regime is 
doomed to fail if the Government of Russia does not also 
participate.  The MFA argues that any trip to Minsk by a 
high-level USG official should include a stop in Moscow aimed 
at enlisting Russian support in pressuring Lukashenko.  GOL 
officials acknowledge that Moscow could take advantage of 
such an overture to draw Belarus closer.  They argue, 
however, that we should redouble our efforts to swing Russia 
to the USG/EU position because this is the only measure 
likely to sway Lukashenko.  End Summary. 
 
¶2.  (C) MFA European Union Division Director Zygimantas 
Pavilionis, who doubles as Political Director, requested a 
meeting with the Ambassador November 22 to detail GOL 
concerns about the one-time outreach to the Minsk regime that 
the USG has proposed (ref A).  Pavilionis said that while the 
GOL agrees in principle with the idea of sending a high-level 
messenger or messengers to deliver a strong message to 
Lukashenko, he doubts that such a mission will achieve its 
desired result.  He stated that the "missing link" in the 
USG/EU Belarus strategy is Russia.  Pavilionis said that 
without Russia's involvement, Lukashenko would feel free to 
ignore any USG/EU entreaties to sit out next year's 
presidential elections and/or to allow OSCE election 
observers. 
 
¶3.  (C) Pavilionis said that any mission by a high-ranking 
USG official to deliver a message to Lukashenko should 
include a stop in Moscow before any meeting with the regime 
in Minsk.  Such a trip, Pavilionis suggested, could 
successfully open a meaningful dialogue with Russia on 
Belarus.  He opined that the mere perception that Russia 
would not support the regime if it initiated further 
anti-democratic measures would do more to shake Lukashenko's 
confidence that any other measure. 
 
¶4.  (C) Ambassador Mull questioned whether the Government of 
Russia would not reject any overture out of hand, and use the 
opportunity to draw Belarus even closer -- precisely the 
outcome the GOL would like to avoid.  Pavilionis conceded 
that this was a risk, but said that Russia is moving in that 
direction anyway, including a systematic push for full union 
with Belarus.  He said that the USG and EU should also 
attempt to enlist Moscow to help pressure Lukashenko into 
allowing OSCE observers to enter Belarus far enough in 
advance of elections to adequately perform their mission.  If 
persuasion does not work, he continued, the USG, as "the only 
superpower," should threaten (unspecified) actions to compel 
Russia to cooperate. 
 
¶5.  (SBU) Pavilionis offered to host a working dinner for 
EUR/DAS David Kramer on Sunday, December 4 while he is in 
Vilnius for the USG/GOL-organized donors coordination meeting 
on Belarus.  If travel schedules do not permit a dinner, 
Pavilionis suggested a meeting on the margins of the 
conference. 
 
¶6.  (C) Comment: Pavilionis and others are eager to draw USG 
and EU attention to Russia's role in Belarus, reflecting 
growing -- and understandable -- Lithuanian anxiety about the 
possibility of a Russia-Belarus union (ref b). However, his 
alarming remark about the utility of U.S. threats to Moscow 
suggests the need for a reality check about the policy tools 
that we are prepared to employ.  We believe a meeting next 
month between DAS Kramer and Lithuanian policymakers would be 
a great way to realign the GOL with our approach. 
KELLY