Viewing cable 08USNATO88
Title: NATO: FEBRUARY 28TH HLTF AND NRC (ACE) MEETINGS

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08USNATO882008-03-07 15:04:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Mission USNATO
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C O N F I D E N T I A L USNATO 000088 
 
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NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/04/2018 
TAGS: PREL PARM KCFE NATO RS OSCE
SUBJECT: NATO: FEBRUARY 28TH HLTF AND NRC (ACE) MEETINGS 
 
REF: STATE 19164 HLTF GUIDANCE 
 
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Richard G. Olson, reasons 1.4 (b 
 and d) 
 
¶1. (C) SUMMARY:  At the February 28 HLTF, Allies agreed on 
key themes for the NATO-Russia Council Arms Control Experts 
(NRC (ACE)) meeting that followed the HLTF, and more 
generally for engaging Russia in the run-up to Bucharest. 
All who spoke stressed the need for a continued unified 
message; reiterated support for the parallel actions package 
as the way to achieve a solution with Russia; and argued for 
staying the course on the Allies, phased approach, to 
include continued NATO implementation, for responding to 
Russia,s "suspension" of CFE implementation.  The German rep 
raised with the U.S., UK, and French reps prior to the HLTF 
plenary the idea of eliciting a firm response on CFE from 
Russia by "tabling" and then making public the parallel 
actions package prior to Bucharest.  At U.S. behest, the 
German rep tempered Germany,s idea for the broader HLTF 
audience by joining the French rep to press for a more active 
NATO CFE Public Diplomacy strategy in the run-up to 
Bucharest. 
 
¶2.  (C) Allies rallied in the NRC (ACE) to deliver a 
consistent and clear message to Russia underscoring Allies, 
commitment to the Treaty but noting that NATO could not 
continue to implement the Treaty indefinitely without 
Russia,s participation in its implementation; urging Russia 
to reconsider its suspension of implementation; and stressing 
that the parallel actions package was a creative and generous 
offer that addressed Russia,s stated concerns about the 
Treaty.  The Russian rep inveighed against alleged lack of 
"concessions" to Russia in the parallel actions package; 
delivered Russia,s own readout of the February 19 
U.S.-Russia bilateral meeting; and suggested that the best we 
could achieve by Bucharest would be agreement that all 
parties support CFE and want to continue working intensively 
to resolve differences.  END SUMMARY. 
 
------------------------ 
Contacts and Bilaterals 
------------------------ 
 
¶3.  (C)  The U.S. HLTF Representative, State/VCI DAS Karin L. 
Look, briefed Allies on the February 19 U.S.-Russia bilateral 
discussions between Assistant Secretary Fried and MFA Deputy 
Minister, Director Antonov and provided a summary of the key 
points.  She emphasized that the U.S. had used the 
discussions not only to underscore the negative impact of 
Russia's "suspension" on prospects for progress on resolving 
the current CFE impasse, but also to stress that the current 
anomalous situation, with Allies implementing, while Russia 
is not, cannot be sustained indefinitely. 
 
¶4.  (C) France (Grand) briefed Allies on a bilateral meeting 
at the Political Director level (Kislyak-Araud) during which 
Russia raised the importance of eliminating the flank regime 
for Russia, and criticism of the parallel actions plan as 
including unreasonable requirements for Russia related to 
Georgia and Moldova and alleged U.S. walk-backs on those 
issues, from the position advanced in October, and 
displeasure with the progress/pace of the bilateral process. 
Grand said the French team retorted that Soviet-style 
negotiations ("what,s mine is mine, but what,s yours is 
negotiable") were not conducive to progress and that Russia 
needs to approach discussions more proactively, without 
preconditions.  But he also noted considerable pessimism 
about Russian intentions in the wake of the meeting.  (NOTE: 
When reporting on this meeting in closed company during the 
quad, Grand said Kislyak supported the idea of meeting in a 
small format (quad plus one), perhaps in Vienna. END NOTE) 
 
¶5.  (C) The German rep (Biontino) reported on Russia,s 
refusal of Germany,s February 13 CFE inspection 
notification.  He said that Russian interlocutors who 
received the demarche that accompanied the notification 
(Anton Mazur) responded by rehashing Russia,s six concerns 
about CFE, and highlighting the importance of abolition of 
the flank for Russia, the need for a collective ceiling on 
NATO set at 1989/90 ceilings, and the idea of a Conference of 
States Parties (SP) to discuss further adapting the Treaty 
while demonstrating flexibility on provisional application in 
the interim.  (NOTE: During the quad meeting prior to the 
HLTF, Germany and France reported on joint working level 
talks set up by France and Germany with the MFA (Anton Mazur) 
in Moscow which included the points above, and inter alia, a 
"threat" that CFE would not survive NATO enlargement, an 
assessment that Russia had little room for maneuver and would 
not likely change its position post-elections, and a 
preference for a changed format from bilateral to quad plus 
one--a point which France, in particular, advocated and 
Germany reinforced with repeated calls for inclusiveness. 
END NOTE) 
 
¶6.  (C)  The UK (Ford) informed the HLTF of a bilateral 
meeting he had in Vienna with Russian Chief Arms Control Rep 
Ulyanov, who continued to push for breaking up the elements 
of the package, floated the notion of starting with a "blank 
sheet" for a new Treaty, and insisted "suspension" and 
Russia,s continued refusal of inspections could not be 
reversed as it was written into law.  The UK pointed out to 
Ulyanov that the "blank sheet" idea is pure fantasy and 
inquired, rhetorically, why it was seemingly impossible for 
Russia to say yes to generous Allied proposals.  Turkey (Gun) 
mentioned a Minister-level February 22 meeting in Moscow 
which only addressed CFE briefly with the repetition of known 
positions. 
 
---------------------------- 
HLTF Discusses the Way Ahead 
---------------------------- 
¶7.  (C) Allies agreed on a unified message both for the NRC 
(ACE) and for engaging Russia on CFE issues in the run up to 
Bucharest.  The key elements of the message echoed themes 
from U.S.-Russia bilateral exchanges: 
-- Russia,s suspension has made it harder, not easier, to 
solve the current CFE impasse and jeopardized a valuable 
regime that is at the core of the NATO-Russia relationship; 
-- the current anomalous implementation situation, where NATO 
implements CFE and Russia does not, cannot last forever, and 
NATO would need to review its position after Bucharest; 
-- NATO,s proposals for ending the impasse on ratification 
of A/CFE and the fulfillment of Istanbul Commitments are 
reasonable, creative, and generous, and Russia should respond 
in kind; 
-- the parallel actions plan supported by all Allies is a 
package: Allies won,t work on individual elements of it, 
like provisional application or a definition of substantial 
combat forces, until the entire text is agreed. 
¶8.  (C) While the NRC (ACE) discussion betrayed no hint of 
Alliance disagreement on substance or approach, in the HLTF 
(and more so, in bilateral meetings and the Quad see below), 
there was considerable diversity of view on how NATO can most 
productively use the run-up to the Bucharest NATO Summit to 
make progress on CFE and frame NATO,s public diplomacy 
position for the longer term.  The French highlighted, and 
all other Allies agreed, that if CFE should fall apart, it 
must be clear that Russia, not NATO, is responsible.  To that 
end, France and Germany support a pro-active public message 
to Russia prior to the Summit, outlining the generous 
proposals the U.S. has advanced on behalf of NATO in the 
parallel actions plan, and calling upon Russia to respond. 
-- All Allies who spoke in the HLTF were attracted to the 
idea of a more active NATO PD strategy on CFE, but several, 
including the U.S., highlighted the need to get the details 
right in any message intended to engage Russia prior to the 
Summit.  The UK offered that Allies should ramp up the PD 
message by setting out what Allies have done using a hopeful 
tone rather than forcing a make or break situation.  Turkey 
understood, and supported, the notion of a press kit or paper 
that made the Allied position and efforts more 
understandable, but was not keen on expressing the specifics 
of Allied positions more broadly.  Turkey called for the NATO 
International Staff (I.S.) to develop a paper on this 
concept, and the Chair (Deputy Assistance Secretary General 
Simmons) noted, in summarizing the meeting, that the I.S. 
would assemble a fact sheet outlining the Allied position. 
-- The Czech Republic and Romania were supportive of a more 
dynamic PD strategy, but were also eager to address how long 
Allies would continue to implement the Treaty.  Canada 
suggested, in thinking beyond Bucharest, that it would be 
useful to consider how Allies should signal to Russia that 
the current situation is not indefinite and that there are 
consequences to "suspension."  The U.S. (supported by UK, NL, 
NO, TU, FR, Ger) cautioned against creating a crisis or 
watershed moment at Bucharest, and reminded all of the need 
to demonstrate clear and steady resolve through Bucharest and 
then come together to reassess.  France concurred that it was 
not advisable to set artificial, event-driven deadlines, and 
Germany noted no intention to force the schedule, but rather 
intensify efforts on three fronts at Bucharest - PD, 
diplomatic, and the blame game. 
-- France advanced the idea of using the Summit to record a 
commitment by NATO and Russia to redouble efforts to get CFE 
back on track, but acknowledged that this seemed unlikely, 
given differences on core issues.  There was a clear 
consensus to use the NAC communiqu, at a minimum, to 
highlight NATO,s effort to address Russia,s CFE concerns in 
a forthcoming and generous way, and call on Moscow to respond 
in kind. 
--------------------- 
Other issues at HLTF 
--------------------- 
 
¶9.  (C)  The U.S. thanked Germany for proceeding with its 
February 13 inspection notification and noted the need for 
continued attempts to inspect Russia during the new Treaty 
year beginning in the latter half of March.  Look said the 
U.S. would be willing to attempt an inspection in late March 
(at the start of the new Treaty year), but said we would 
defer to other allies who wanted to take this on.  (This 
planning question will be settled at the March 7 VCC.)  The 
Chair indicated that Armenian authorities had indicated they 
would welcome the possibility of an Ally attempting an 
inspection of Russian forces in Armenia. 
 
¶10.  (C)  The I.S. provided a readout of VCC Experts, 
Meetings and current working papers, noting Russia,s 
unprecedented level of inspection and evaluation activity 
under Vienna Document.  The Chair commented on the effective 
efforts of Allies in the JCG-T to organize a focused dialogue 
in the JCG, a sentiment shared by many Allies, and the need 
to continue this dialogue as part of the multi-faceted Allied 
approach to discussion.  Norway and Netherlands raised the 
expectation that CSBMs would be addressed during the Annual 
Implementation Assessment Meeting (AIAM) in Vienna.  Look, as 
per guidance, clarified the U.S. position on CSBMs, 
emphasizing that the U.S. remains opposed to discussion of 
any substantive proposals by Russia. 
 
¶11.  (C)  The I.S. Food for Thought Paper on "From Now to 
Bucharest - The HLTF and CFE" (HLTF-N(2008)0005-REV1) served 
as a framework for discussion in the HLTF.  Look noted that 
the U.S. had specific comments on the content of the paper 
and would raise suggestions, such as deleting the paragraphs 
on Ambassador Rogozin,s comments and focusing on President 
Putin,s statements, directly with the I.S. 
 
¶12.  (C) Raising NATO,s Profile in the Fields of Arms 
Control, Disarmament and Non-proliferation.  Allies agreed 
that the CFE text in paragraph 6A reflected HLTF agreed text, 
but that the CFE-related conclusions in paragraph 10 needed 
additional review and input.  (NOTE:  These CFE-related 
conclusions have been subsequently dropped altogether from 
the paper. END NOTE) 
 
----------------------------------------- 
NRC (ACE) - ALLIES UNIFIED AND ON MESSAGE 
----------------------------------------- 
 
¶13.  (C)  A total of 16 Allies spoke, some more than once in 
the NRC Arms Control Experts (ACE) meeting that followed the 
HLTF.  The meeting opened with 15 NATO speakers following one 
after the other in rapid sequence, all delivering variations 
of the same message.  Prior to the meeting several Allies 
stressed the need to ensure the Russian team had a clear line 
for their reporting cable to Moscow, and the NATO speakers 
did not mince words:  Russia has set back prospects for a CFE 
solution with its suspension of Treaty implementation, and 
Russia should reverse it; Russian positions on many elements 
of the parallel actions plan are unreasonable and 
unjustifiable (read:  flank, NATO collective ceiling, 
Moldova, Georgia); NATO cannot continue to implement CFE 
forever if Russia won,t participate; the parallel actions 
plan and U.S. efforts have NATO Allies, support and Russia 
should be more creative instead of finding ways to complicate 
a deal.  High Points (in addition to the points just 
reported): 
 
-- Turkey observed that it has shown "utmost flexibility" in 
the past when Russia demonstrated the need for an increase in 
its flank equipment entitlements, and would do so again.  But 
the idea of abolishing the flank regime for Russia is a 
non-starter for Ankara.  He added, rather sharply, that 
Turkey would welcome Kislyak to Ankara for his many-times 
postponed visit, including addressing CFE. 
 
-- France cited the need to think about a positive message at 
Bucharest. 
 
-- Germany said that all Russia,s six CFE concerns are 
addressed in the parallel action plan, and noted that FM 
Steinmeier had publicly underscored CFE,s importance for 
European security.  He also stressed the importance of 
"inclusiveness" in discussion of any CFE solution. 
 
-- Belgium (Comment: who is sometimes outside the mainstream 
on CFE.  End comment) delivered a ringing endorsement of the 
parallel actions plan and then accused Russia of changing its 
position and priorities, with the effect of making resolution 
harder.  He summed up that first, Russia calls for 
ratification of the Adapted Treaty.  Then Russia says A/CFE 
isn,t good enough and has to be changed.  Then Russia 
suspends implementation of the current Treaty, arguing that 
this will help to save it. Suspension will not help save CFE, 
but will erode the regime, he said. 
 
-- Italy delivered an unusually strong and well-constructed 
message, stressing that Russia,s suspension is not going to 
help save CFE, despite Moscow,s claim; it,s going to make 
resolution more difficult.  Provisional application is a 
non-starter in current circumstances.  CFE is not unfair to 
Russia.  We should agree to examine the Treaty after entry 
into force to see if it needs updating. 
 
-- Spain and the Czech Republic, normally on opposite ends of 
the spectrum regarding Russia, were both uncharacteristically 
terse, said the parallel actions package is good and 
generous, and warned that the current situation, with Allies 
implementing CFE and Russia not, cannot last indefinitely. 
Russia should reconsider the suspension decision. 
 
-- Norway lamented that CFE is a pillar of his nation,s 
security, and that it would wither away unless we resolved 
the issues before us. 
 
-- UK, Romania, Greece, and Lithuania were among those who 
most pointedly pushed Russia to think about the future.  The 
parallel actions plan, with its creative elements on 
Istanbul, was a good deal for Russia, they stressed.  It was 
hard to see what Russia expected to achieve though its 
suspension, which could only make hard issues more difficult, 
and erode the Treaty,s viability.  The Lithuanian said 
"there should be no illusions:  Russia is making a strategic 
choice."  The UK asked how Russia intended to proceed. 
 
-- The U.S. NRC (ACE) rep Jennifer Laurendeau, speaking at 
the end of the opening tour de table, noted that the U.S. had 
recently hosted a Russian CFE team in Washington for another 
round of businesslike discussions on the parallel actions 
plan, reiterated concerns raised by others about Russia,s 
suspension including both its impact on the Treaty and on the 
goal of military transparency and mutual cooperation that is 
at the core of the NATO-Russia relationship urged the group 
to reflect on the way ahead, including what might be achieved 
by Bucharest. 
 
¶14.  (C) Several Allies, including  Germany, Turkey, 
Lithuania, and the U.S. came back more than once when Russia 
presented a detailed, but confusing, readout of the February 
19 U.S.-Russia bilateral talks and an offer by the Russian 
rep, Ambassador Ulyanov that would allegedly lead to 
Russia,s resumption of its CFE implementation. 
 
--------------- 
Russia Responds 
--------------- 
 
¶15. (C) Ulyanov,s long, largely predictable response to 
Allies, questions and concerns gave no hint that Russia is 
hoping to resolve the CFE impasse anytime soon.  At its core 
was the familiar litany of Russian concerns about CFE,s 
"unfairness" to Russia e.g., the flank regime and the fact 
that some members of the Eastern Group of States have joined 
NATO, the idea that NATO had never taken Russia,s concerns 
seriously until they implemented their "suspension", NATO,s 
long insistence on fulfillment of the Istanbul commitments, 
which, he said, meant in practice that Russia undertook 
concrete actions to pave the way to entry into force of the 
Adapted CFE Treaty, while NATO "sat back and watched" but did 
not move forward on ratification of the Adapted Treaty, the 
fact that Russia,s concerns on the flank were held at the 
highest political levels and would have to be addressed, and 
the idea that Russia,s suspension was a way of calling 
attention to these Russian concerns, not a step intended to 
destroy the Treaty. 
 
¶16.  (C) At one point in his intervention, the Russian rep 
offered that Russia would resume implementation of the CFE 
Treaty if NATO would agree to move forward in the NRC (ACE) 
on 1) discussion of conditions for accession to A/CFE by new 
NATO Allies; 2) a definition of "substantial combat forces;" 
3) discussion of lower territorial ceilings for NATO members 
in order to "compensate" Russia for NATO enlargement. 
Ulyanov also suggested Vienna as the context for a discussion 
of "substantial combat forces."  Allies didn,t take the 
bait:  Germany responded immediately that the parallel 
actions package had to be dealt with as a whole.  The U.S. 
stressed the "package" theme also, but observed that the high 
level attention NATO Allies have given, and continue to give, 
to Russia,s CFE concerns should justify ending the 
suspension, if its purpose was to focus discussion on those 
concerns.  Laurendeau added that at the end of the day Russia 
should end its suspension because it wants to preserve the 
Treaty and remove obstacles to A/CFE,s ratification by all 
30 States Parties. 
 
-- Comment:  While it is impossible to say for certain 
whether the Russian rep,s "conditions" for ending the 
Russian suspension were a serious, instructed proposal, 
corridor chat after the meeting suggested that Allies did not 
read them that way.  Most found it not credible that Ulyanov 
might be in a position to offer conditions for ending a 
suspension that had been ordered by President Putin.  End 
comment. 
 
¶17.  (C) Ulyanov,s second surprise was to ask Russian CFE 
expert Anton Mazur to provide a read out of the U.S.-Russia 
bilateral talks on February 19.  Mazur focused on one element 
of  Ulyanov's mantra:  that the parallel actions package 
contained no concessions by NATO.  He went further, and 
suggested that the U.S. had walked back important offers on 
some issues since the October 2 plus 2 meeting, while adding 
new elements that suggested to Russia that the U.S. was 
trying to resolve the frozen conflicts via CFE.  Laurendeau 
responded to Mazur's long readout only briefly, noting that 
all the elements of the package that are now on the table 
have been essentially the same, though elaborated, since 
October; that whether you call them "concessions" or creative 
thinking, the package reflects major movement by NATO and 
others, like Georgia and Moldova, on longstanding positions, 
including through the offer to move on ratification of 
Adapted CFE in parallel with (not in the wake of) Russian 
fulfillment of the Istanbul commitments; and agreeing with 
Mazur's characterization of the talks as businesslike, though 
without progress on the four key issues (flank, collective 
ceiling on NATO, Georgia, and Moldova). 
 
¶18. (C) Russia closed the meeting with a suggestion in 
response to queries by the U.S. and others regarding 
Russia,s envisioned timeline and outcome on the current CFE 
impasse that the most that could be expected on CFE by the 
time of Bucharest would be NATO-Russia agreement that we are 
committed to CFE and are prepared to continue intensive 
dialogue to overcome current misunderstandings. 
 
----------------------- 
Meetings on the Margins 
----------------------- 
 
¶19.  (C) U.S. rep Look and team met on the margins of the 
HLTF with the UK, France, and Germany, and the Baltic States. 
Look, accompanied by Laurendeau, also held bilaterals with 
HODs from Canada, Romania and Turkey.  At his invitation, 
Look also met Russian rep Ulyanov for dinner; she was 
accompanied by Laurendeau and U.S. JCG rep Neighbour. 
 
¶20.  At the key Allies (quad) meeting, Germany and France 
proposed ideas for a NATO statement on CFE that would be 
issued prior to Bucharest, challenging Moscow publicly to 
 
respond constructively to our CFE proposals at or prior to 
the Summit.  Germany said that they were under instruction to 
raise some variation of these ideas in the full HLTF. 
Following consultations with Washington, the U.S. team was 
able to steer the proposal, in a more constructive direction. 
 
-- The initial German proposal was to get a formal NATO 
imprimatur on the parallel actions plan and make it public, 
with the message that NATO has developed reasonable and 
generous proposals on all the issues Russia has raised 
regarding the CFE Treaty, and call on Russia to respond. 
 
-- The French variant was to develop a short NATO statement 
that makes the point that NATO has responded constructively 
and creatively to all of Russia's CFE concerns and add some 
details such as the headers from the parallel actions package 
calling on Russia to respond in a similar spirit. 
 
-- The U.S. demurred with regard to the German proposal. 
They said it would not be easy, and maybe impossible, to get 
all Allies to agree to every word of the package; it would be 
problematic to go public with language on Moldova and 
Georgia; and it would probably infuriate Russia to see 
negotiating text made public.  The UK remarked that the idea 
was interesting, but cautioned on the necessity of carefully 
weighing whether it would actually increase prospects for 
success and of not distracting attention from other Allied 
issues for the Summit.  Discussion thereafter focused on the 
French variant, and the hurdles that would accompany it.  The 
French stressed that they not only want to draw out a Russian 
response, but prepare to ensure that any blame for lack of 
progress on CFE or the loss of the regime itself lies firmly 
with Russia. 
 
-- COMMENT:  While the concept of putting the onus on Russia 
for responding constructively on CFE is attractive, the 
French-German willingness to challenge Russia so publicly in 
the run-up to Bucharest was surprising.  The wisdom of such 
an approach in the context of overall preparations for the 
Summit is not clear.  Berlin,s motivations for advancing 
such a potentially confrontational proposal are a major 
question.  If Putin rejects the package, would Berlin and 
Paris view this as clearing the way to begin negotiating a 
new Treaty?  Is the goal simply to advance Steinmeier,s 
ostensible emphasis on arms control at the Summit?  The 
French variant could have merit in establishing a clearer, 
more assertive public defense of NATO,s CFE position, but it 
would require careful handling to ensure the statement 
wouldn't have the effect, if issued prior to the Summit, of 
distracting from other issues on the Allied Summit agenda. 
It was clear in the meeting that Paris had not thought about 
the modalities:  France did not have a notion of who would 
issue any NATO public statement on CFE, or exactly when.  END 
COMMENT 
 
-- Also in the Quad, Germany and France alleged that Russia 
is keen for a Quad plus 1 (citing a Kislyak-Araud meeting 
several weeks ago and working level meetings with Anton Mazur 
in Moscow prior to the U.S.-Russia bilateral meeting). 
France, especially, is interested in such an event before 
Bucharest noting (including privately to Look) that France 
"insists" on such an expanded format although they are not 
particular to the location.  Germany reiterated the need for 
inclusiveness in support of France,s position.  Look made 
clear that Russia has been sending sharply different messages 
on this matter to U.S. negotiators. 
 
¶20.  (C) Turkey.  U.S. rep Look and Laurendeau met at length 
with Turkish HLTF rep Gun to go over the status of the 
parallel actions package in the wake of the February 19 
U.S.-Russia bilateral meeting, and to invite his thoughts on 
options for framing the NATO position that Allies are 
prepared to review the operation of the Adapted Treaty after 
it enters into force.  Gun said that at the end of the day 
Ankara could probably live with the minor variation of 
NATO,s extraordinary conference proposal on future review of 
A/CFE that is contained in the U.S. proposal (which drops "as 
appropriate" and swaps hortatory language).  He said he did 
not think Ankara could live with actually mentioning the five 
letter word "flank", specifically in the review context. 
 
¶21.  (C) Romania and Canada.  In separate bilateral meetings 
with Romanian HLTF Rep Micula and Canadian rep Poupart, Look 
and Laurendeau went over in detail the February 19 
discussions and discussed the way ahead, including the need 
for a firm line on CFE in the context of preparations for the 
Bucharest Summit, and a clear message to Russia in the NRC 
that its suspension had harmed, not helped, prospects for 
resolving CFE. 
 
¶22.  (C) Baltic States.  The U.S. team briefly met with HLTF 
reps from the Baltic states in order to gauge their reaction 
to the February 26 defense planning consultations with the 
U.S. European Command and interagency representatives in 
Stuttgart, Germany.  Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania each 
reported a very positive reaction to U.S. engagement, a sense 
that the U.S. views their concerns as legitimate, and high 
expectations for continued engagement with EUCOM planners. 
Follow on meetings are being finalized for the May timeframe 
when a EUCOM team will travel to each capital for bilateral 
discussions prior to meeting again on a trilateral basis. 
 
¶23.  (C) DAS Look, joined by Laurendeau and Neighbour, 
accepted Amb Ulyanov,s invitation to dinner.  Ulyanov,s 
harangue, which began before beverages were ordered and 
continued non-stop through dessert, repeated many elements of 
his NRC (ACE) presentation, minus any suggestion of ending 
the Russian suspension.  His theme was clear:  he wants to be 
charged with working out a definition of substantial combat 
forces, either in the NRC (ACE) or in the JCG, and he wants 
that work to begin now.  Asked by DAS Look how work on 
individual elements of the package would contribute to 
resolving differences concerning the four core issues in the 
parallel action plan, Ulyanov essentially (though not very 
cleverly) said they would not.  He said that in meetings 
between Acting U/S Rood and Kislyak in Budapest, Rood had 
indicated an openness to work on elements of the parallel 
actions package in Vienna.  Look countered that her readout 
of the Budapest meeting did not mention any such conclusion, 
but did note that Kislyak had (inaccurately) accused A/S 
Fried of "threatening" consequences after Bucharest if 
Russia,s suspension of CFE persisted.  (Comment:  this was 
presumably a much-sifted reference to A/S Fried,s statement 
that NATO Allies could not continue indefinitely to implement 
CFE while Russia did not, and that they would have to 
reassess their position after Bucharest.  End comment) 
Throughout the discussion over dinner it was made clear that 
the Russian reps had been given no sense by Moscow that it 
feels any urgency to resolve the current impasse or return to 
implementing CFE. 
 
----------------- 
Next HLTF Meeting 
----------------- 
 
¶24.  (SBU) Next Meeting.  Allies agreed to the I.S. proposal 
for the next HLTF meeting to be held on March 27. 
NULAND