Viewing cable 07RIGA850
Title: LATVIA: DAS GARBER DISCUSSES VISA WAIVER, CFE, AND

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07RIGA8502007-11-14 10:28:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Riga
VZCZCXRO5712
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHRA #0850/01 3181028
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 141028Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY RIGA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4521
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 RIGA 000850 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/14/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV CVIS MARR LG
SUBJECT: LATVIA: DAS GARBER DISCUSSES VISA WAIVER, CFE, AND 
MISSILE DEFENSE 
 
REF: A. RIGA 744 
     ¶B. RIGA 629 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Catherine Todd Bailey for Reason 1.4(d) 
 
¶1. (C) Summary: EUR DAS Judith Garber visited Riga on 
November 7 and 8 for meetings with GOL officials at the MFA 
and DOD.  All MFA officials stressed the Visa Waiver program 
as priority number one in the bilateral relationship.  The 
Latvian MOD expressed strong support for U.S. efforts to 
negotiate a Missile Defense (MD) agreement with the Czech's 
and Poles, and reiterated GOL concerns on A/CFE.  DAS Garber 
concluded the visit with an interview with a Russian language 
daily, touching upon transparency issues and the Visa Waiver 
program.  End Summary. 
 
Visa Waiver Drumbeat 
--------------------- 
 
¶2. (C) At a dinner with MFA U/S Edgars Skuja and Latvian 
Ambassador to the U.S. Andrejs Pildegovics, the Latvians 
repeatedly asked for more details and timing on Visa Waiver. 
DAS Garber sketched out the next steps on the U.S. side and 
emphasized that the U.S. approach will treat program 
participants on an equal footing and that any security 
aspects of the program will operate on the principal of 
reciprocity. 
 
¶3. (C) In a separate meeting, MFA Undersecretary of for 
Consular Issues, Alda Vanaga, noted that the GOL is keen to 
move forward with practical next steps on Visa Waiver, 
including negotiating an MOU on security details and 
requirements.  DAS Garber noted that the Latvians eagerness 
to move forward with visa waiver highlights the strong and 
friendly relationship our countries share.  However, she 
urged patience, stressing that DHS, State and other U.S. 
departments are still hammering out the legal details 
necessary for any MOUs.  MFA State Secretary Normans Penke 
also stressed that the GOL's number one foreign policy 
priority with respect to the United States is Visa Waiver. 
 
Latvian Concerns on CFE 
----------------------- 
 
¶4. (C) In a meeting at the MOD, Latvian Deputy State 
Secretary for Defense Planning, Janis Sarts described the 
 
SIPDIS 
strong partnership between the U.S. and Latvia on defense and 
security issues.  He then stressed the GOL's determined views 
regarding adapted CFE negotiations (reftels).  Sarts pointed 
out that the GOL is "concerned by the way Russia develops 
now, politically and militarily."  Russia's "change of 
rhetoric and behavior affects our security . . . .  CFE is 
not a piece of paper; it is something that affects our 
security."  Sarts sketched out the GOL's thinking on the 
matter.  "We are not prepared to go into discussion with 
Russia until this matter has been discussed at NATO."  The 
GOL wants NATO planning to underpin any eventual ceilings. 
However, they are increasingly realizing that they may, in 
practical terms, only get such planning from the US 
bilaterally: "We are willing to look at this bilaterally; 
still we have to have a common NATO position and agreed upon 
numbers." Sarts also stated that, with both presidential and 
parliamentary elections looming in Russia, he personally does 
not believe Putin has much room to reverse course on CFE--and 
therefore the GOR will indeed withdraw from the treaty. 
 
¶5. (C) In a separate meeting, MFA State Secretary Normans 
Penke also stressed Latvia's security concerns in light of 
CFE: "Regardless of the decisions made on CFE, our defense 
will be a main topic of discussion both bilaterally and in 
NATO.  These issues won't go away."  Penke also mentioned 
energy security (the need for a stable, diversified supply) 
as a core strategic issue. 
 
¶6. (C) DAS Garber assured both Sarts and Penke that, 
regarding CFE, the USG will not negotiate with Russia on 
matters affecting the Baltic nations without consulting the 
Baltic states in the process.  She also added that the U.S. 
will not negotiate away basic principles. 
 
Support for Missile Defense 
--------------------------- 
 
¶7. (C) DAS Garber briefly summarized progress on missile 
defense negotiations with the Czech Republic and Poland. 
According to Sarts, though Latvia is not active in the debate 
on missile defense, the GOL supports U.S. plans to negotiate 
agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic.  According to 
Sarts, "this support is pragmatic; this is the cheapest way 
for us to get protection from that threat as well."  DAS 
Garber thanked Sarts for GOL support on the issue and urged 
Latvia's vocal support at NATO.  She reiterated that the U.S. 
 
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will not give Russia a veto over missile defense. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
¶8. (C) With less than 24 hours on the ground in Riga, DAS 
Garber was able to meet several of the key decision makers in 
Latvia and receive substantial briefings from Embassy Riga's 
country team.  Though interest in the Visa Waiver program at 
times crowded out discussion on many other potential topics 
with GOL officials, all those who met with DAS Garber 
stressed the lasting and deep relationship between the U.S. 
and Latvia.  These officials were of course delighted that 
DAS Garber choose Latvia as the first Baltic state to visit. 
 
¶9. (U) This cable was cleared by DAS Garber. 
BAILEY