Viewing cable 08STATE56861

08STATE568612008-05-28 15:08:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Secretary of State

DE RUEHC #6861 1491519 
R 281508Z MAY 08 
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 056861 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/23/2018 
Classified By: Classified by: Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary, EUR, 
Department of State. Reason 1.4.(b) and (d) 
¶1. (C) Summary. Senior U.S., Nordic, and Baltic officials met in 
Washington D.C. on April 30th for the eleventh Enhanced Partnership in 
Northern Europe (e-PINE) Political Directors' meeting. They agreed: 
that MAP for Georgia and Ukraine in December is desirable, but may be 
problematic; that the current situation in Georgia is cause for concern; 
that an orderly transition in Kosovo is needed; and that Belarus should 
be confronted with a unified message. PolDirs agreed that Moldova should 
not be forced into neutrality and were hopeful that a 5 2 meeting could 
occur in the near future. They also discussed Afghanistan (to which all 
e-PINE countries contribute either personnel or aid), Cuba, Iraq, and the 
Middle East. Lithuania offered to host the next e-PINE Political 
Directors' meeting in Vilnius. End Summary. 
e-PINE: Political Directors' Meetings in Washington D.C. 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
¶2. (C) Political Directors from the eight Nordic and Baltic countries 
and the United States met April 30th at the Department of State to consult 
and coordinate policies toward Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Russia, Georgia 
and Kosovo (see para 23 for participant list). The meeting began with a 
working lunch for delegation leaders only, hosted by EUR Acting Assistant 
Secretary Kurt Volker and EUR DAS Judy Garber. The subjects of 
conversation included Afghanistan, Iraq, and Cuba. SCA DAS Patrick Moon 
spoke on Afghanistan and S/I Deputy Chat Blakeman spoke on Iraq. 
After lunch, the participants continued their discussions, joined by 
Acting Under Secretary Dan Fried, turning to Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine, 
Georgia, Russia, Energy, the Middle East, and Kosovo. 
¶3. (C) Swedish PolDir Bjorn Lyrvall said that at the April 30 GAERC, there 
was discussion of deliverables for the upcoming International Compact with 
Iraq (ICI). The goals will be to improve the EU presence and ensure a legal 
basis for EU engagement in Iraq. He hoped that there would be progress on 
elections, hopefully set for October, and on the hydrocarbon law. Acting 
A/S Volker said that improving European perceptions of the progress in Iraq 
would also be an important deliverable. Chat Blakeman noted that 
economic progress has been made, with Iraq's meeting most IMF targets. 
The UN role in Iraq is now robust; he hoped that the EU would soon follow 
¶4. (C) Norwegian PolDir Vegard Ellefsen called for support for Eide's mission; 
there was agreement that he is the right person for the job. SCA DAS Moon 
explained that there are three pillars to the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy: 
1) military -- separating insurgents and holding the area, including with 
the ANA and police; 2) immediate development assistance; and 3) government 
services provided by Afghan authorities, which depend on the quality of the 
local government. In the east, roads have been key to success, and we have 
seen improved security and economic growth. In the south, there have been 
deficiencies in strategy -- not enough development assistance, not enough 
soldiers to hold, and a need to do better on local government quality. 
All agreed that capacity building is central to progress. France's 
increased engagement was noted with approval. PolDirs agreed that greater 
contributions from and inclusion of Afghans were needed to make the government 
and police a success. 
¶5. (C) Estonian PolDir Aivo Orav and Denmark's Liselotte Plesner both 
mentioned that there is little public opposition to their countries' 
participation in Afghanistan. By contrast, although she said Iceland's 
FM is convinced of the need to remain engaged, Icelandic PolDir 
Greta Gunnarsdottir confirmed public opposition. 
¶6. (C) AA/S Volker noted that e-PINE countries need to create expectations 
for change now that Castro is possibly no longer in power. All e-PINE 
countries agree that there is a need for a democratic transition and respect 
for human rights. There will be a review of the EU Common Position in June 
to determine whether to lift the 2003 Restrictive measures, which were 
officially suspended in 2005. Spain will argue there has been enough progress 
by Cuba to drop the measures; in exchange, the GOC will agree to engage in 
a political dialogue with the EU. Volker noted that the U.S. does not see 
much progress, only some small steps. The prospect of dialogue entrances 
many in the EU, but they may not reach consensus on dropping the restrictive 
measures unless the Cubans take a few more steps on human rights or economic 
¶7. (C) Acting Under Secretary Fried led the discussion, which centered on 
the NATO summit and the importance of the statement concerning MAP for 
Ukraine and Georgia that came out of it. Fried noted that the debate over 
MAP for Ukraine goes beyond questions of membership to whether NATO can 
embrace Ukraine as part of the concept of "Europe." In Bucharest, NATO 
leaders said "not yet" to Ukrainian membership, but did not close the door 
to the eventuality. All expressed satisfaction with the Bucharest statement 
regarding Georgia and Ukraine. 
¶8. (C) Fried added that, domestically, Ukraine needs to focus on reform, 
on privatization, and on energy security. In less than a month Ukraine will 
join the WTO. Although the Ukrainians have made good progress in a short 
period of time, they need to pull themselves together; this will require a 
great deal of work. There was general concern over the state of Ukrainian 
domestic politics that may make getting MAP in December difficult. Denmark's 
Plesner, Latvia's Peteris Ustubs, Lithuania's Vytautas Leskevicius, and 
Norway's Ellefsen noted their support for Ukraine's membership in the EU. 
Swedish PolDir Lyrvall was also supportive, but argued for "substance over 
speed." All agreed that the chance of a membership perspective at this time 
was slim. 
¶9. (C) Fried concluded that there will most likely be heated debate up to 
December on MAP. Ukraine also needs to develop more pro-NATO sentiment 
internally. He expressed the hope that the EU will keep the door open 
for Ukrainian membership until the Ukrainians are ready to join. 
¶10. (C) Latvian PolDir Ustubs explained that, although the domestic 
situation is a bit difficult, there have been some positive steps 
indicating that a 5 2 meeting (Moldova, Transnistria, Russia, Ukraine, 
OSCE plus U.S. and EU as observers) might be possible in the near future. 
Moldova is moving down the road towards an enhanced agreement with the EU 
and this is a very positive development. Participants disagreed over the 
timing of the agreement, with some preferring to wait until after the 
elections; however, Lithuania's Leskevicius argued that the agreement should 
be made ready by October or November. Sweden's Lyrvall noted that this seemed 
to be an unrealistic timetable, but that getting a good agreement out of the 
EU was something that everyone could support. 
¶11. (C) Participants noted that Moldova's opposition is internally 
conflicted and may need assistance from e-PINE countries to help it 
understand the importance of being unified for success in elections. 
¶12. (C) Acting U/S Fried stressed the importance of Moldova's not being 
forced into neutrality - this is a choice that it must make for itself 
and is no business of Russia's nor that of any other country. Additionally, 
he said that e-PINE countries should work with Voronin, who is carving out 
a space for Moldovan sovereignty. The mood on both sides of the rivers 
seems to be changing, and there is a better chance at present for a 5 2 
¶13. (C) Participants agreed that the current situation in Georgia is of 
concern. There was general agreement that there ought to be some sort of 
investigation of the UAV incident, but less agreement as to who should 
investigate and when. Sweden's Lyrvall, among others, thought that an EU 
expert team would be most credible, while the Baltic PolDirs argued time 
was of the essence and a team should be sent as soon as possible before 
any data/debris were lost. There was general concern about Russia's 
"peacekeeper" role since recent actions have demonstrated its lack of 
neutrality; it is no longer a mediator and has become party to the conflict. 
There was a general impression that Russia has been testing the West to see 
where the "red lines" are and how much will be tolerated. Vigorous, united 
diplomatic resistance is called for, especially from the Germans. Lyrall 
asked if there were a way to use CIS countries to pressure Russia on 
Georgia. He also stressed the importance of a clear message coming from the 
EU, noting that the GAERC meeting at the end of May would offer the 
opportunity for a strategic conversation on Georgia. 
¶14. (C) On the domestic front, PolDirs agreed that Georgia needs to make 
sure the elections go well and that it does not get a "pass" due to 
current problems. It is more important than ever that Georgia run 
democratic elections. Acting U/S Fried stressed the importance of a clear 
EU position on Georgia, expressing hope that EU members hadn't placed the 
issue in the category of "too much trouble." He noted that Germany had its 
own frozen conflict (i.e., the division of the country) when it joined 
NATO. DAS Bryza noted that the U.S. had worked with the Georgians to try 
to get them to moderate their behavior, while at the same time delivering 
a clear message to the Russians that their negative actions will have 
¶15. (C) At present, participants said, the "Friends" group is losing 
credibility with Georgia by talking about small steps. In order to 
re-energize and re-legitimize the group, the Friends should push for a 
dual agreement involving a promise on the Georgian side not to use force 
and a promise on the Abkhaz side to allow the IDPs to return. It is very 
important to get this right so that the Russians don't win a victory 
against the 1994 agreement. 
¶16. (C) Finland's Deputy Director General Anu Laamanen said that the 
positive developments of the past six months, with the release of a 
few political prisoners and the message that (unspecified) observers 
will be invited for the elections, appeared to be coming to an end. 
The EU had renewed its sanctions for another year. Unity of message 
is the key to dealing with Belarus; we should not allow Lukashenka to 
drive wedges or it will limit any chances for success. U.S. sanctions 
are reversible with good behavior; it is apparent that rewards for small 
steps do not work. 
¶17. (C) Acting U/S Fried briefed on the current dispute between the 
U.S. and Belarus and what it might mean for the U.S. presence in Minsk 
going forward. He noted that U.S. sanctions against Belarus are tied 
to its release of political prisoners and to its human rights record. 
Unfortunately, instead of making improvements and releasing prisoners, 
Belarus has chosen to put pressure on the U.S. Embassy. The U.S. was 
reviewing a variety of options regarding its presence in Minsk and 
Belarusian presence in the United States. We need to make sure that 
Belarus continues to receive the same message from everyone. 
¶18. (C) Lithuania's Leskevicius noted that energy is an important 
agenda item across the entire EU. Russia continues to use energy as 
a geopolitical tool to reward and punish. Political directors were 
in general agreement that it is important to develop practical solutions 
that are easy to follow through on. The structure of the EU, and the 
fact that energy policy remains largely a national issue, create problems 
for developing a unified energy strategy. The main goal of energy policy 
is to increase competition, not to bring down Gazprom. 
¶19. (C) The progress being made by the Baltic littoral countries was 
noted; there was a sense of strategic direction. Norway noted that 
Europe could not look to increased product the Shtokman fields in 
Russia until the lat part of the next decade. PolDirs suggested that, 
in Ukraine, e-PINE needs to work with Gazprom to improve infrastructure, 
increase capacity, and cut out middlemen so that supplies of gas to and 
through Ukraine are cheaper and more reliable. 
¶20. (C) Acting U/S Fried said that the basic strategy of the 
U.S. is cooperation where possible and pushback where necessary. 
This strategy does not allow Russia to create artificial linkages - 
i.e., there will be no cooperation on Iran at the expense of Georgia. 
The Russians are difficult partners for the e-PINE countries 
generally and they are unlikely to become easier with Russia's 
political transition. Swedish participants were in favor of trying 
to "build up" Medvedev in an effort to drive a wedge between him and 
Putin. The Norwegians stressed the importance of Allied unity. 
¶21. (C) Estonian PolDir Orav noted the early recognition of 
Kosovo by most e-PINE countries. Acting U/S Fried noted that there 
are several positive aspects of the transition, namely the behavior 
of Kosovo's government and the security situation in much of the 
country. However, there are some difficulties in working out the 
orderly transition from UNMIK to EULEX, and Serbia's behavior in 
the north is worrisome. Sweden's Lyrvall agreed that the transition 
needs to be sorted out; while there may be a residual role for 
UNMIK, EULEX needs to take on the major role. Estonia's Orav also 
thought that if everything goes well in Kosovo, the next area of 
difficulty could well be Macedonia, on which NATO unity is 
Middle East 
¶22. (C) U.S. Israel-Palestine Deputy Office Director Nicole 
Shampaine said that negotiations between Israel and the 
Palestinians on permanent status issues are proceeding in secret, 
that we believe progress is being made in these discussions, and 
that we continue to hope for an agreement by the end of the year. 
Conditions on the ground for the Palestinians are bad, however, 
and this undermines both the current Palestinian Authority (PA) 
leadership and political efforts to make progress towards an 
agreement. The U.S. is urging both parties to implement their 
Roadmap obligations, which for the Palestinians means taking 
steps against terrorism and for Israel means stopping settlement 
expansion and removing unauthorized outposts. We are also 
encouraging Israel to reduce obstacles to movement in the West 
Bank (while still preserving Israeli security) in order to make 
it possible for the Palestinian economy to develop. Shampaine 
expressed appreciation to Norway for its leadership of the Ad Hoc 
Liaison Committee and to Sweden for its contributions as a donor 
nation. In Gaza, conditions are untenable but addressing them is 
extremely challenging in light of Hamas' de facto control of the 
area. The U.S. is encouraging Israel, Egypt and the PA to work 
together to resolve this issue. 
¶23. (SBU) Participants in the e-PINE Political Directors' 
Meetings included: 
Liselotte Plesner, Political Director 
William Boe, Deputy Director, European Neighborhood and 
Russia Dept. 
Aivo Orav, Political Director 
Tomas Tirs, South Caucasus Desk Officer 
Eva-Maria Liimets, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of 
Anu Laamanen, Deputy Director General for Political Affairs 
Miia Lahti, First Secretary, MFA 
Leena Ritola, Minister Counselor, Embassy of Finland 
Greta Gunnarsdottir, Director-General for Political and 
Security Affairs 
Olafur Sigurosson, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Iceland 
Peteris Ustubs, Political Director 
Agnese Kalnina, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Latvia 
Guntis Lapsa, Third Secretary, Americas and Caribbean 
Countries Division 
Vytautas Leskevicius, Director of Transatlantic Cooperation 
and Security Policy 
Egidijus Navikas, Head of CSFP Division and Deputy Political 
Tomas Gulbinas, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Lithuania 
Vegard Ellefsen, Political Director 
Dag M. Halvorsen, Assistant Director General 
Odd-Inge Kvalheim, Minister Counselor, Embassy of Norway 
Bjorn Lyrvall, Director-General for Political Affairs 
Mats Steffansson, Ambassador, Deputy Director-General, 
Head of Department for Eastern Europe and Central Asia 
Erika Ferrer, Political Counselor, Embassy of Sweden 
United States 
Daniel Fried, Acting Under Secretary for Political Affairs 
Kurt Volker, Acting Assistant Secretary for 
European and Eurasian Affairs 
Judy Garber, Deputy Assistant Secretary 
Matt Bryza, Deputy Assistant Secretary 
David Merkel, Deputy Assistant Secretary 
Patrick Moon, Deputy Assistant Secretary, SCA 
Chat Blakeman, S/I 
Bob Gilchrist, Director, Office of Nordic and Baltic Affairs 
Nicole Shampaigne, Deputy Director, Office of 
Israel and Palestinian Affairs 
Julie-Anne Peterson, e-PINE Coordinator