Viewing cable 06USNATO687

06USNATO6872006-11-28 11:28:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Mission USNATO
DE RUEHNO #0687/01 3321128
P 281128Z NOV 06 ZDK
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 06 USNATO 000687 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/22/2016 
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REF: STATE 182992 
Classified By: Political Advisor Stuart Seldowitz, Reasons 1.4(d) 
¶1.  (SBU) SUMMARY:  The HLTF met November 7 to review next 
steps regarding the U.S.-proposed "positive agenda" for 
engaging Russia on CFE issues during the next months; to 
consider language on CFE for inclusion in a Riga communiqu; 
and to address remaining questions regarding several I.S. 
discussion papers, including Germany's proposed "matrix" 
setting out the status of the Istanbul commitments.  An NRC 
(ACE) meeting followed the HLTF.  Highlights: 
-- The HLTF referred the Istanbul "Matrix" and Consolidated 
IS Paper on stationed forces to Deputies for further 
-- Allies agreed to utilize the message of the Positive 
Agenda paper in exchanges with Russia, including the NRC 
(ACE), but recognized that it needed additional discussion by 
Deputies to resolve questions that resulted from the merging 
of extensive Franco-German comments into the U.S. 
food-for-thought paper. 
-- Concerning the Russian CSBM proposals, the HLTF recognized 
the need for instruction to delegations in Vienna, but there 
was no consensus to forward the I.S. and IMS papers as 
guidance.  Based on comments by the French representative, 
which represented the minimum that might be agreeable, the 
I.S. was tasked to prepare a text which would be circulated 
under silence procedure. 
-- Several Allies expressed concern that the draft communique 
text circulated by the I.S. lacked key messages, such as a 
call upon the Russian Federation to resume the withdrawal of 
forces from Moldova.  It was agreed that Deputies should 
develop a text keying off of the last two NAC communiques, 
suitably updated.  Deputies would work communique language as 
their first priority.  The next HLTF meeting is scheduled for 
January 19, 2007. 
-- At the 7 November NRC (ACE) session, Allies sent a strong, 
unified message that effectively captured ideas for promoting 
reciprocal dialogue in the NRC on CFE and conventional forces 
issues, as suggested in the U.S. "positive agenda" paper. 
The Russian representative welcomed this "revolutionary" 
message and promised to report it favorably to Moscow.  END 
Contacts and Bilaterals 
¶2. (SBU) The Chairman, Assistant SECGEN for Policy Martin 
Erdmann, thoroughly discussed the NATO SECGEN's recent trip 
to Moscow, where he met with Russian President Putin, Foreign 
Minister Antonov, and Minister of Defense Ivanov. A 
classified report is available (SG(2006)0777, dated November 
2, 2006).  Among the issues addressed were: 
-- Georgia military actions which Putin said could lead to 
military confrontation; 
-- Russian concerns about U.S. plans to use facilities in 
Romania and Bulgaria; and 
-- Moscow's insistence that Russian withdrawal of military 
forces in Moldovan Transnistrian region was dependent on a 
political settlement. 
¶3. (SBU) Norway also reported on discussions with Defense 
Minister Ivanov in which he emphasized three points: 1) NATO 
enlargement; 2) the establishment of new bases in Romania and 
Bulgaria; and 3) the need for a political solution between 
Moldova and Transnistria as the precondition for Russian 
troop withdrawal from Moldova. 
¶4.  (SBU) The United States HLTF Rep. DAS Karin L. Look also 
briefed on A/S DeSutter's discussions with FMA Antonov, and 
the Russian demarche received by DAS Look from Russia's 
Senior Political Counselor Yermakov in Washington.   Rep. 
Look noted that the basing issue was not discussed in either 
meeting with Russia (DeSutter's or Look's).  Look reported 
that Yermakov's focus was the Russian CSBM proposals it had 
tabled in the forum for Security and Cooperation (FSC) in 
Vienna.  She noted that in advancing the transit proposal, it 
appeared Russia was trying to "salami slice" the Adapted CFE 
Treaty  The U.S. was supportive of the substance of transit 
proposals in the context of the adapted CFE Treaty, but that 
was a package deal.  CFE countries needed to keep their focus 
achieving EIF of the Adapted CFE Treaty, which is the 
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"prize."  The U.S. was not prepared to implement the Adapted 
Treaty piecemeal.  Rep. Look also reminded Allies that 
negotiation leading up to the signature of the adapted CFE 
Treaty entailed many compromises which resulted in all States 
Parties being able to sign the "Agreement on Adaptation" in 
Istanbul on November 19, 1999. Germany, Hungary, and Italy 
also stated that they were demarched by Russia on the Russian 
CSBM proposals. Germany agreed that the proposals lacked 
reciprocity.  Hungary stated it is continuing to study the 
proposals and that it would be extremely difficult to agree 
on these issues this year.  Hungary and Italy also claimed 
that Russia would be interested in briefing on its Rapid 
Reaction Forces, as a sign of transparency. 
Istanbul Commitments 
¶5.  (C) The Chairman reported on progress made by Deputies on 
a number of I.S. papers at the October 26 Deputies meeting 
and noted that there was more work remaining.  Erdmann 
reiterated the point that the Istanbul commitments "Matrix" 
should be for NATO's internal use only, as a reference. 
Discussion made clear that the big issue outstanding is the 
status of the Russian PKF in Moldova with respect to the 
Istanbul commitments.  Germany opined that the Russian PKF in 
Moldova was not covered by the Istanbul commitments; 
suggesting that this is demonstrated by the fact that the PKF 
is separately addressed in the OSCE Istanbul declaration. 
Others/many felt differently.  U.S. Rep. Look emphasized 
three points regarding the paper: that the "Matrix" should be 
factual, not interpretive; that it would be useful to have an 
agreed text for use as a resource document; and that Deputies 
should complete the work resolving the remaining differences. 
 Turkey (Meric) agreed that there were differences amongst 
Allies which needed to be ironed out and because of that 
reason, the document should be for internal use only. 
Romania and the UK stressed that NATO should consider the PKF 
to be covered by the Istanbul commitments.  Biontino 
reiterated the familiar German argument that the 1992 cease 
fire agreement constitutes host-nation consent, and would 
need to be abrogated to revoke that consent.  No Ally spoke 
to endorse this position. 
¶6.  (C) Nonpapers were provided by Moldova and Georgia to 
inform HLTF discussion.  The Moldovan paper stressed 
Chisinau's desire to have Russian forces withdrawn from 
Moldova; that an international PKO should replace the Russian 
peacekeeping force; that long-term monitoring of ammo sites 
in Transnistria should be established; that the 5 2 format 
for working a settlement should continue; and thanked the 
Alliance for its unwavering support.  The paper did not state 
clearly that Moldova considered the PKF to be covered by the 
Istanbul commitments, as previous Moldovan statements have 
done.  This fuelled German argumentation. 
¶7.  (C) The Georgian paper was relatively upbeat, describing 
recent tensions between Moscow and Tbilisi but noting that 
Russia was continuing to implement withdrawal commitments 
concerning Akhalkalaki and Batumi.  It also discussed at some 
length steps that would need to be taken for Gudauta to be 
considered "disbanded and withdrawn," focusing on the model 
of what had taken place at Vaziani years earlier.   Germany 
noted that it continues to believe a "fact-finding" mission 
to Gudauta was essential, but was not having much success in 
orchestrating the mission. 
Consolidation of I.S. Papers 
¶8.  (SBU) The Chairman acknowledged that the Deputies had 
almost come to consensus on the paper, and the two sentences 
outstanding should be easily resolved.  Belgium questioned 
the status of the document once completed. The disposition of 
this paper will be on the 18 January HLTF agenda.  UK, U.S., 
and France all preferred that the document remain an internal 
use paper.  Turkey noted that a title change should be made. 
Germany and Norway remarked that it should be the basis for a 
response to Russia as NATO expands. 
Positive Agenda 
¶9.  (C) France opened discussion by pointing out that the new 
I.S. text, which merged the original U.S. paper and 
Franco-German comments, would need considerable work by 
Deputies.  The U.S. agreed but responded that the 
Alliance should not lose the opportunity of today's NRC-ACE 
to reflect the "good story" of NATO's contributions to 
USNATO 00000687  003.2 OF 006 
Euro-Atlantic security, which needs to be shared with the 
public.  Others agreed.  The UK thanked Deputies for their 
efforts and noted that the HLTF should take a serious look at 
public diplomacy after Riga.  Turkey felt it was important to 
have a positive agenda for the ACE.  The Czech Republic, 
supported by Romania, cautioned others that several aspects 
of the merged "positive agenda" paper had not been agreed in 
the Deputies' discussion, citing in particular Franco-German 
suggestions regarding inspections and fact-finding missions 
on the territories of Moldova and Georgia.  This area needed 
further work to avoid any suggestion of political recognition 
of separatist regimes, in light of the relationship between 
these ideas and ongoing settlement discussions. 
¶10.  (C) Allies agreed to place the original Franco-German 
paper on CFE's contributions to Euro-Atlantic Security under 
silence in order to permit it to be placed on the NATO 
website.  Deputies would return to the positive agenda paper, 
to sort out remaining differences.  While the Germans hoped 
to see this document agreed before Riga, this ambitious 
notion had no support.  Other Allies argued that Deputies' 
priority must be the NAC communique text on CFE/Istanbul. 
Russian CSBM Proposals 
¶11. (C) The U.S. opened discussion by stating that the U.S. 
is cool to the Russian proposals; we do not want to go down 
the path of applying elements of the Adapted Treaty 
piecemeal, which appears to be what the Russians are 
proposing.  U.S. Rep Look argued that guidance is needed for 
Vienna delegations and that she was prepared to support 
sending the I.S. paper and the IMS paper to Vienna in that 
capacity.  France and Germany argued that the I.S. paper was 
too negative, and that NATO needed to take a positive tone in 
engaging the Russians in Vienna.  Several Allies agreed that 
it was important not to send too negative a signal. 
¶12.  (C) Look argued that there was a risk of misleading 
Russia:  she believed there was consensus among Allies not to 
salami-slice the Adapted CFE Treaty, and in fact these 
proposals would never be acceptable.  Allies might usefully 
pursue dialogue with Russia on the concerns that underpin 
their proposals, but the proposals themselves would not 
succeed.  Several Allies appeared to acknowledge this, but 
the Franco-German view on the merits of a positive tone, at 
least prior to the OSCE Ministerial, had widespread support. 
In an effort to bridge the gap, the French rep proposed 
minimalist guidance which would underscore Allies, concern 
about the proposals, the need to study them carefully, our 
openness to dialogue, and our conviction that these proposals 
would not be agreed for the OSCE Ministerial.   The I.S. 
agreed to develop a text and place it under silence. 
Preparation for the NRC-ACE 
¶13.  (SBU) Allies and the chair expressed frustration that 
the Russian delegation had only approved the agenda for the 
NRC-ACE at 9:00 AM that morning, and that it was still not 
clear at noon who would sit in the chair for Russia.  U.S. 
Rep Look suggested Allies use the opportunity of the meeting 
to advance our "positive agenda" on CFE, underscoring the 
Treaty's value to all States Parties.  She noted that the 
U.S. was willing to comment on CFE-relevant military 
transformation plans in order to keep the dialogue moving. 
Germany and other Allies acknowledged this as an important 
contribution to dialogue.  Estonia cautioned that Russia may 
request to alternate NRC meetings in Brussels with sessions 
in Vienna, where Russia has a larger arms control staff.  The 
UK said it would not want to reject this out of hand, but all 
who spoke, including the Chair, agreed that sessions outside 
Brussels would be a poor use of resources. 
NATO Communique 
¶14.  (C) U.S. Rep Look said that the proposed text, while 
accurate enough, lacked any sense of urgency regarding 
completion of Russia's remaining Istanbul commitments.  It 
did not, for example, mention Allies' disappointment with the 
continued lack of progress in Moldova.  France and Germany 
thought it would be a good idea to add language concerning 
the CFE RevCon.  Romania argued to stick to previous NAC 
communique text, reinforcing the U.S. message.  Turkey 
weighed in, preferring to use the 2005 Communique text as the 
basis for work since nothing has changed and the text was 
sound.  The Chairman agreed that Deputies should refine the 
text accordingly, keeping in mind the need for brevity. 
USNATO 00000687  004.2 OF 006 
Date of Next Meeting 
¶15.  (SBU) Dates for the four "locked in concrete" meetings 
could not be "locked-in" due to scheduling procedures by the 
conference room schedulers at NATO.  However, January 18 and 
April 19 were suggested by the Chairman as two set meeting 
dates.  Germany stated that it could not agree that the HLTF 
should only meet four times per year.  It preferred to meet 
every other month.  The U.S. understood that there may be 
other meetings scheduled, however it was the desire of the 
U.S. that four meetings be locked in advance and not changed 
due to the inability to secure appropriate meeting rooms. 
This will be discussed further at the January meeting. 
¶16.  (U) The Turkish Rep Meric bid farewell since he will 
assume his new posting as Ambassador to Singapore in late 
December or early January. 
NRC-ACE Meeting 
¶17.  (C) Chairman Martin Erdmann opened the meeting by 
referencing the Ministers' tasking to intensify work at the 
expert level in NRC groups, and then invited comments on the 
group's standing agenda item: the status of the Istanbul 
commitments.  The U.S. (EUR/RPM Deputy Director Jennifer 
Laurendeau) took the floor to congratulate Russia for signing 
into law the 31 March Russian-Georgian withdrawal agreement, 
and expressed hope for comparable progress in Moldova.  She 
said the U.S was disappointed by the continued stalemate in 
Moldova, and noted that resumption of Russian military 
withdrawal would send a clear message to the Transnistrian 
leadership that the status quo will not last forever; that 
the Russian Federation, like other OSCE governments, wants 
movement on a settlement of the conflict; and that Tiraspol 
needs to rejoin the political settlement negotiations in a 
constructive spirit.  Germany, Turkey, and Romania seconded 
the U.S. on the need for progress in Moldova, and reiterated 
NATO,s message that fulfillment of the Istanbul Commitments 
is necessary to create the basis for Allies to ratify the 
Adapted CFE Treaty. 
¶18.  (C) German Representative Biontino then took up 
Erdmann's challenge to examine ideas for intensifying work in 
the group, keying off of the U.S.'s "positive agenda for CFE" 
paper.  Biontino recalled that this was the first NRC-ACE 
since the Third CFE Review Conference, and that Germany had 
hoped for a stocktaking discussion, which would not be 
possible because Russian CFE experts were not present. 
Biontino commented that the differences between NATO and 
Russia regarding the utility of the CFE Regime need to be 
discussed in the NRC.  Whereas NATO placed high value on the 
current and Adapted CFE Treaties, Russian public statements 
suggested Moscow had a different view.  He said the NRC (ACE) 
should look beyond our focus on the Istanbul Commitments and 
include dialogue regarding the changes in conventional forces 
that are taking place in the Russian Federation and in NATO. 
Drawing from the draft Positive Agenda paper, Germany 
proposed that the NRC (ACE) consider a number of ideas for 
future work: 
(1) On a reciprocal basis, exchange information on relevant 
changes in conventional forces; 
(2) Discuss security concerns related to European 
conventional forces (Biontino suggested as an example that 
Allies lack a clear understanding of Russian concerns that 
underpin their CSBM proposals, and the NRC (ACE) might be a 
useful forum for such discussions); 
(3) Exchange views on CFE's contribution to Euro-Atlantic 
Security, particularly in the wake of discussions at the 
Review Conference; 
(4) Consider any remaining obstacles to fulfillment of the 
Istanbul Commitments (Biontino observed that NATO Allies had 
provided substantial funds through the OSCE in the past to 
assist Russian withdrawal from Georgia and Moldova, and funds 
continue to be available). 
(5) Discuss possible fact finding missions in Georgia and 
Moldova that might help to promote fulfillment of the 
Istanbul commitments. (Note: There is a Franco-German idea 
whose specifics have been criticized by the U.S. and other 
NATO Allies in the HLTF and HLTF Deputies contexts). 
¶19.  (C)  In the tour de table that followed, Romania, 
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Turkey, France, Italy, Greece, Belgium, the U.K, and the U.S. 
all seconded aspects of Biontino,s presentation.   Turkish 
rep Meric stressed that Turkey views CFE as the "cornerstone" 
of European security, and called for a frank, in-depth 
exchange of views and stocktaking following the 2006 CFE 
Review Conference to identify a positive way forward.  Meric 
noted that we could exchange information on forces related to 
CFE, discuss security concerns, and discuss CFE's relevance 
and contributions to Euro-Atlantic security.  France observed 
that a dialogue could build trust between Russia and NATO and 
enable us to work together better, and noted that France is 
willing to exchange information non points of concern, 
doctrine, or equipment. 
¶20.  (C) The UK said that while the German proposal was 
promising, it was important that the group organize itself 
for thoughtful discussions.  He deftly alluded to Allies' 
dissatisfaction with the fact that, due to Russian stalling, 
the agenda for the ACE meeting had not been agreed until that 
morning, and Russian representation had still not been 
determined until minutes before the meeting.  Future meetings 
required an agenda agreed in advance.   Adequate 
representation was needed to ensure that appropriate experts 
(i.e., appropriate Russian experts) are prepared to be 
present at the meeting for focused discussions.  There was 
general support for the idea of agreeing on an agenda in 
advance, which the Russian representative, a political 
officer from their NATO Mission, said he would have to 
confirm with Moscow. 
¶21.  (C) Laurendeau followed up on the UK proposal, noting 
that she believed the current agenda had been in place for 
close to five years.  She stressed that the first agenda, 
which focuses on the Istanbul commitments, needed to remain 
in place, but that the U.S. agreed that the NRC (ACE) could 
and should consider broader discussion of issues relevant to 
CFE that had an important role to play in our assessment of 
European security more generally.  It was appropriate to 
share information, on a reciprocal basis, regarding plans and 
intentions, especially plans with CFE implications. 
Laurendeau observed that because the CFE Treaty exists, there 
is a structure and a context that requires States Parties to 
exchange certain types of information on our forces.  The 
U.S., for example, had recently notified the entry into 
service in the CFE area of several types of equipment 
associated with our Stryker Brigade Combat Team.  She said 
the U.S. planned to brief the JCG on Stryker equipment types 
in late November, noting that if the CFE Treaty did not 
exist, there would be no ready vehicle to ensure nations 
received such information in a structured way.  The U.S. 
would be prepared to share information in the NRC (ACE) on 
CFE-relevant developments regarding U.S. forces in Europe. 
She noted that virtually all NATO Allies, and Russia, are 
restructuring their conventional forces in order to meet new 
security challenges.  It was important for any discussions in 
the NRC (ACE) to be reciprocal. 
¶22.  (C) COMMENT:  Once it became clear that Russia would be 
represented at the meeting by a political officer rather than 
an experienced interlocutor on CFE/security issues, Germany 
and France, seconded by the UK, suggested on the margins that 
the U.S. postpone planned comments on our Stryker deployment 
and related issues (reftel).  Laurendeau and team agreed that 
this made sense, and that we would instead preview our 
briefing to the JCG, and express readiness to offer comments 
in a subsequent NRC (ACE), while calling (as did other 
Allies) for broad reciprocity in the dialogue on CFE related 
restructuring plans.  End Comment 
¶23.  (C) The Russian representative made clear that he was 
not a CFE expert and could only offer preliminary responses 
to comments by others.  He welcomed the suggestions for 
broadened dialogue in the NRC(ACE), calling them 
"revolutionary" even on a date, November 7, which had special 
meaning in Russian/Soviet history.  He believed Moscow would 
react to our proposals positively, and he would report them 
in that spirit.  He said Moscow had been concerned that the 
NRC-ACE is being stalemated, but these new ideas were a sign 
that NATO takes Russian security concerns seriously.  The 
proposed dialogue, he thought, could lead us to enrich the 
work of the NRC(ACE) into new spheres of common concern.  On 
a less optimistic note, he reminded the group that Russia has 
a negative view of the current CFE Treaty, and that Russia 
has already ratified the Adapted CFE, so moving forward on 
ratification is not the Russian problem.  In a departure from 
the usual Russian patter line, he stressed that Russia was 
working hard to fulfill its Istanbul Commitments and that 
they had come a long way on Georgia.  They were trying to do 
the same in Moldova, but they believed that withdrawal was 
not possible until after a comprehensive political settlement 
had been achieved -- "which is a different approach than that 
USNATO 00000687  006.2 OF 006 
suggested by the U.S." 
¶24.  (C) The International Staff agreed that it will attempt 
to circulate a new agenda well in advance of the next 
meeting, which has not yet been scheduled.  After the 
meeting, the U.S. stressed to the Chair that agenda item 1, 
discussion of the Istanbul Commitments, must remain on any 
expanded agenda; the UK endorsed that position and the Chair