Viewing cable 07RIGA533
Title: LATVIAN REACTION TO RUSSIAN CFE MOVES - PLANS,

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07RIGA5332007-07-18 14:57:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Riga
VZCZCXRO6038
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHRA #0533/01 1991457
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 181457Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY RIGA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4191
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 RIGA 000533 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/18/2017 
TAGS: PREL PARM KCFE MARR RS LG
SUBJECT: LATVIAN REACTION TO RUSSIAN CFE MOVES - PLANS, 
PLEASE 
 
REF: MOSCOW 3451 
 
Classified By: Charge d'affaires a.i. Tamir G. Waser. Reason 1.4 (b and 
 d) 
 
¶1. (C) Summary: Putin's July 13 decree on CFE did not 
surprise Latvia, which expected a move like this after the 
escalating rhetoric of recent months.  But Latvian officials 
are using it as a reminder that Latvia's border with Russia 
is a key reason Latvia wanted to join NATO.  Public rhetoric 
has been calm, with most officials expressing regret over 
Moscow's decision.  Quietly, though, Latvian officials say 
they will use this action to push again for the NATO 
contingency planning they have always expected would come 
with Alliance membership.  Latvia also wants to ensure that, 
although not a party to the CFE treaty, they remain part of 
the NATO dialogue in formulating a response and agreeing on 
next steps.  End summary. 
 
¶2. (U) When news of Putin's decree first broke, senior 
officials in the MFA and PM's office were immediately in 
touch with Charge to seek any US reaction to use in 
formulating their responses.  FM Pabriks was quoted initially 
as saying that the decision "creates a threat for the 
security of NATO member states, including Latvia."  He later 
said he was misquoted and he meant only that the move would 
harm the confidence between NATO and Russia and have negative 
consequences in the long term for regional stability.  The 
Foreign Ministry issued a statement "regretting" the Russian 
action and reaffirming Latvia's intention to join the adapted 
CFE treaty when it came in to force, but recalling Russia's 
Istanbul Commitments.  President Zatlers said much the same 
in a radio interview.  Maris Riekstins, Chief of Staff to PM 
Kalvitis, said on TV that the decision could "create a new 
reality" in the region, but added that no one should 
"overdramatize" the situation. 
 
¶3. (U) Reporting in the Latvian language press has been 
largely factual with editorials suggesting that Russia is 
reasserting itself and noting the domestic political value of 
these actions.  Coverage in Latvia's Russian language press 
has been mixed, with the more responsible press being largely 
factual, but the more yellow press suggesting that this the 
only choice Russia had after the Baltic States were brought 
in to NATO with no move by the Alliance to ratify the adapted 
treaty. 
 
¶4. (C) Russian Ambassador Kahluzhny called on FM Pabriks on 
July 16 to explain the decision and ask for Latvia's help "in 
explaining Russia's actions" to others in NATO.  According to 
the MFA director of Security Policy, Kaspars Ozolins, Pabriks 
reminded Kahluzhny of the Istanbul Commitment and said that 
Russia needed to take responsibility for explaining its 
actions to others. Ozolins said that he thought Russia might 
provide a fuller presentation in capitals of states party to 
the treaty and asked for the U.S. to provide any additional 
information we might receive. 
 
¶5. (C/NF) At a diplomatic function July 16, MFA State 
Secretary Penke told Charge that Latvia would instruct its 
 
SIPDIS 
Embassies in Washington and London to "quietly discuss with 
select friends" in government Latvia's desire to get 
contingency planning from NATO as a result.  PM Kalvitis' 
foreign policy advisor Peteris Ustubs confirmed this on July 
18, saying that the topic would be discussed at a meeting of 
the Latvian National Security Council the week of July 23 
(strictly protect, as NSC agendas are classified).  Ustubs 
said that in addition to the tasking to explore the 
possibility of contingency planning, he also expected that 
Latvian intelligence services would be asked to step up 
collection and reporting on Russian military activity near 
Latvia's border. 
 
¶6. (C/NF) Comment: The Latvians are generally restrained in 
their public reaction and none of the more nationalist 
political forces have tried to make much out of the Russian 
decision.  The Latvians have long sought contingency planning 
at NATO, which they expected to come with their NATO 
membership card.  They want to see paper that shows them that 
NATO has a plan to defend Latvia from attack (ideally an 
attack from Russia).  Despite efforts at NATO to explain that 
this is not really an exercise that NATO does these days, the 
Latvians continue to push for this.  The CFE move by Russia 
does not, in our opinion, make Latvia feel less secure or 
increase the urgency of this request, but we believe they see 
it as an opening to request something they have wanted all 
along, hoping we will change our minds in response to 
Moscow,s move.  The Latvians' other concern is that we 
continue to keep them fully informed of our thinking on this 
issue, even though they are not party to the CFE treaty. 
They greatly appreciated our briefing in advance of June's 
 
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extraordinary conference and hope such dialogue will continue 
in Riga, Washington, Brussels and Vienna.  This is especially 
true if we are willing to show any flexibility on the 
Istanbul Commitments or take other action that would attempt 
to bridge the gap with Russia.  The Latvians will likely 
support most ideas we would float as long as they know about 
it in advance. 
BAILEY