Viewing cable 08USOSCE253
Title: CFE/JCG: 21 OCTOBER PLENARY - ISTANBUL

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08USOSCE2532008-10-21 14:49:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Mission USOSCE
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DE RUEHVEN #0253/01 2951449
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P 211449Z OCT 08
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C O N F I D E N T I A L USOSCE 000253 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR VCI/CCA, EUR/RPM 
JCS FOR J5 NORWOOD 
OSD FOR ISA PERENYI 
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/22/2018 
TAGS: KCFE OSCE PARM PREL
SUBJECT: CFE/JCG: 21 OCTOBER PLENARY - ISTANBUL 
COMMITMENTS; ALLIES SUPPORT U.S. PROTEST; JCG CANCELLATIONS 
 
Classified By: Chief Arms Control Delegate Hugh Neighbour, 
for reasons 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
¶1.  (SBU) At the JCG Plenary on 21 October, the Czech 
Republic called on Russia to fulfill its Istanbul Commitments 
and voiced support for Georgia and Moldova on the same issue. 
 Russia continued to accuse Allies of a "double standard" in 
criticizing Russia but not other States Parties on the 
fulfillment of the Istanbul Commitments.  The U.S. reminded 
all that host nation consent was important and that respect 
for this principle was key to moving forward out of the CFE 
impasse.  Additionally, the U.S. called out Russia for its 
refusal of the U.S. request for a CFE inspection.  The U.K., 
France, Romania, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, and the Czech 
Republic, voiced their support for the US protest.  The 
Chairman, Norway, proposed to cancel the 4 and 11 November 
JCG Plenaries due to scheduling conflicts with other arms 
control meetings.  Russia agreed in principle with canceling 
an occasional meeting, but needed to ask Moscow for guidance 
regarding canceling two meetings in a row.  Washington, 
please see paragraph 12 for guidance request.  End summary. 
 
IT'S STILL ABOUT THE ISTANBUL COMMITMENTS 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
¶2.  (SBU) Norway chaired the 676th meeting of the JCG 
Plenary.  In response to last week's Russian accusation that 
the Czech Republic was using a "double standard" on 
determining who had fulfilled the Istanbul Commitments, the 
Czech Republic (Reinohlova) repeated its support for Georgia 
and Moldova that they had fulfilled their part of the 
agreement and accused Russia of not fulfilling its Istanbul 
Commitments.  Russia (Ulyanov) explained that the "double 
standard" is that Allies were quick to conclude that Russia 
had not done its part, but never focus on Moldova or Georgia, 
who Russia believes have not fulfilled their part of the 
agreement.  Ulyanov rattled off a number of issues including 
use of Vaziani, Gudauta, and failure to provide Russia with 
rights for temporary deployment. 
 
¶3.  (SBU) Georgia (Giorgadze) countered that Georgia had 
fulfilled all of its Istanbul Commitments, the discussion for 
the joint use of Gudauta was inconclusive, there was no 
agreement on temporary deployment to implement, and that 
Russia never officially asked for temporary deployment using 
the proper notification.  Giorgadze reminded the JCG that 
Russia never withdrew fully from Gudauta.  Georgia promised 
to provide a detailed legal analysis of Georgia's fulfillment 
and Russian Federation lack of fulfillment of many Istanbul 
Commitments. 
 
¶4.  (SBU) The U.S. (Neighbour) followed up the back and forth 
between Russia and Georgia by reminding Russia that there are 
steps it needed to take to fulfill its Istanbul Commitments 
and of the importance of the concept of host nation consent 
in the 21st century.  Neighbour said that this concept was 
paramount to move forward beyond the current impasse. 
 
ALLIES SUPPORT U.S. PROTEST 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
¶5.  (SBU) Under the Treaty verification item of the agenda, 
the U.S. (Neighbour) informed the Plenary that on 16 October 
Russia had rejected a request by the U.S. for a CFE 
inspection.  Neighbour noted that the continuing rejections 
of inspections by Russia are clear acts of non-compliance 
with its CFE Treaty obligations.  In a series of brief 
interventions, the U.K., France, Romania, Portugal, Italy, 
Turkey, and the Czech Republic voiced their support for the 
U.S. statement.  Although Germany (Richter) did not voice 
support for the U.S. intervention per se, he instead 
expressed regret over Russian refusals and repeated his 
previous position that these refusals were dangerously 
eroding the Treaty. 
 
JCG CANCELLATIONS - WAITING ON MOSCOW 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
 
¶6.  (SBU) As previously agreed to in the JCG-T plus 4, the 
Chairman (Norway, Vik) informed the Plenary that due to two 
scheduling conflicts with other arms control meetings, there 
is a proposal by several States Parties to cancel the JCG 
meetings on 4 and 11 November.  Russia (Ulyanov) commented 
that there was no objection to such a cancellation to support 
other arms control meetings, but questioned the wisdom of 
canceling two meetings in a row.  Ulyanov will seek guidance 
from Moscow. 
 
QUAD DISCUSSION ON JCG CANCELLATION 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
¶7.  (C) At A QUAD meeting on 20 October, Germany (Richter) 
was very reluctant to agree to canceling more than one JCG 
Plenary.  USDEL (Neighbour) reminded Richter that German HLTF 
representative Biontino had supported Allies' efforts to 
cancel two JCGs, and had even proposed to use an arms control 
seminar (Open Skies) in Berlin on 13-14 November to cancel 
the 11 November JCG.  Richter informed the QUAD that "Germany 
would not oppose."  Richter's logic was that since the optics 
of Russian chairmanship of the JCG during the Ministerial 
Council was not a problem for Germany, it should not be a 
problem for the U.S. or the U.K. 
 
WE WANT A "FACTUAL" LETTER 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
¶8.  (C) Iceland chaired the 20 September JCG-T plus 4 meeting 
in which Allies found "technical" ways to cancel the JCG 
Plenary on 4 and 11 November.  Except for an obviously 
reluctant Germany (Richter), all quickly agreed to use the 
Romanian HLTF retreat (5-7 Nov) as an excuse to cancel the 4 
November plenary as well as to use the Open Skies Berlin 
Seminar (13-14 Nov) to cancel the 11 November JCG meeting. 
Norway, JCG Chair, presented this proposal to the plenary on 
21 October for consideration by the JCG. 
 
¶9.  (C) The main focus of the meeting, however, was on the 
draft JCG letter to the Ministerial Council.  There was 
strong support by Germany, Luxembourg, the U.S., Turkey, the 
Netherlands, the U.K., Italy, the Czech Republic, for a 
"factual" JCG letter.  Allies agreed that the letter should 
be as factual as possible and that Russia and other States 
Parties be allowed their factual inputs into the letter. 
 
¶10.  (C) During the discussion, Allies differed on how many 
details of what took place in 2008 in the JCG, should be 
included in the document.  Romania (Neculaescu), supported by 
the Czech Republic (Reinohlova), pushed to add a list of 
activities that took place in the JCG while others were happy 
with the current level of details.  USDEL (Neighbour) offered 
Washington's comments to Allies (per email guidance from 
VCI/Phelan to USDEL/Neighbour on 16 October) of which there 
were general support.  Germany (Richter), however, did not 
agree with the phrase that "suspension is a unilateral 
measure not provided for under the terms of the CFE Treaty 
and..."  Richter proposed the text be replaced with 
"suspension is a unilateral measure which (dramatically) 
undermined the viability of the CFE Treaty and..." 
 
¶11.  (C) The JCG Chair Troika of Norway, the Netherlands, and 
Portugal, will offer an outline of the JCG letter to Russian 
Chief Arms Control Delegate Ulyanov for discussion and to 
determine if Moscow is interested in having a JCG letter to 
the Ministerial Council.  The outcome of this Troika/Russia 
meeting will drive further discussion of the letter in future 
JCG-T meetings. 
 
SUSPENSION IS LEGAL?!? - REQUEST FOR GUIDANCE 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
¶12.  (SBU)  At the 14 October JCG, Russia provided a long 
dissertation on how its suspension of the CFE Treaty is in 
accordance with customary international law and Vienna 
Convention.  JCG Journal 675, Annex 6 contained the pertinent 
 
details of the Russian arguments.  USDEL requests Washington 
provide guidance, in time for the 28 October JCG, to refute 
Russian claims and misinterpretations of legal documents, in 
particular, the article by article commentary prepared by 
State on 2 July 1991 in connection with the ratification of 
the CFE Treaty. 
FINLEY