Viewing cable 09ROME476

09ROME4762009-04-29 12:16:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 SECRET Embassy Rome

DE RUEHRO #0476/01 1191216
P 291216Z APR 09
S E C R E T ROME 000476 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/29/2029 
REF: A. STATE 41125 
     ¶B. 08 STATE 114461 
     ¶C. 08 STATE 117164 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Elizabeth L. Dibble for reasons 1.4 (b 
) and (d) 
¶1. (S) During the initial discussions of the START follow-on 
agreement, the heads of delegation (Assistant Secretary for 
Verification, Compliance and Implementation Rose Gottemoeller 
and Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov) agreed to a tentative 
work program for developing the major elements of the 
agreement for presentation to Presidents Obama and Medvedev 
in July.  A/S Gottemoeller presented some initial U.S. 
thoughts on substantive elements the U.S. believed should be 
contained in a START follow-on agreement, and on how 
verification measures drawn from START, when combined with 
experience gained during implementation of START, could be 
modified to construct an effective verification regime for 
the START follow-on agreement.  Antonov stated that the 
Russian position on START follow-on was already well known 
and that key issues for Russia included discussion in the 
negotiations of the linkage between strategic offensive and 
defensive forces, and the inclusion in the agreement of 
strategic systems armed with conventional warheads.  A/S 
Gottemoeller noted that the Presidents' London statement 
included agreement that the sides would discuss missile 
defense cooperation, but stated that the current talks should 
focus "like a laser" on negotiating a treaty on offensive 
reductions.  Antonov expressed concern that the other three 
START parties (Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan) all have 
stated they wanted to be part of the START follow-on 
agreement.  He and A/S Gottemoeller agreed that the United 
States and Russia should develop a joint approach to make it 
clear to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine that we are firm in 
our intent that the START follow-on agreement be bilateral, 
but are willing to assure them that their status regarding 
security assurances remains unchanged.  End summary. 
July Report to Presidents 
¶2. (S) Assistant Secretary for Verification, Compliance and 
Implementation Rose Gottemoeller led the U.S. delegation for 
talks on a START follow-on agreement in Rome on April 24, 
¶2009.  Ambassador Anatoly Antonov led the Russian delegation. 
 The three-hour session was held in the U.S. Embassy and was 
followed by a brief press conference.  Full delegation lists 
are provided in paragraph 16. 
¶3. (S) A/S Gottemoeller began the meeting by noting that the 
purpose of the meeting was to discuss how the United States 
and the Russian Federation would meet the mandate given by 
Presidents Obama and Medvedev to provide a progress report in 
July in Moscow on their progress in negotiating a follow-on 
START agreement.  She suggested incorporating elements of 
this report into a document that could be signed by the two 
presidents at the summit.  As a possible template for the 
structure of this document, she passed Antonov a copy of the 
text of the June 17, 1992, Washington Summit Joint 
Understanding signed by Presidents Bush and Yeltsin. 
¶4. (S) Antonov replied that the Russian Federation would 
consider the 1992 document, but would be open to a variety of 
possible formats.  He added that substance would be more 
important than the format and stressed the need to agree on a 
common approach.  Antonov commented that the 1992 document 
took more than six months of negotiations in Geneva to reach 
agreement, and noted that much less time exists prior to the 
July summit. 
Schedule for START Follow-On Talks 
¶5. (S) After discussion on a variety of possible dates and 
venues for further talks, a tentative schedule was agreed 
upon.  On May 6, A/S Gottemoeller and Antonov would meet in 
Washington to continue with the preparatory talks for opening 
formal negotiations.  (Begin Comment: Antonov also proposed 
the possibility of additional discussions while he and A/S 
Gottemoeller were in New York for the NPT PrepCom that week. 
End Comment.)  On May 18-20, the Delegations would meet in 
Moscow to begin a detailed discussion of the major elements 
each side proposed for the START follow-on agreement.  On 
June 1-3, the Delegations would meet in Geneva.  Antonov said 
that Russia proposed Geneva (which the U.S. said it would 
consider) because all Russian arms control experts would be 
in Geneva for the JCIC talks, preventing the possibility of 
holding START follow-on negotiations elsewhere.  Antonov 
signaled a strong preference not to hold a round in early 
June in Moscow.  Beginning on June 15, the Delegations would 
meet in Geneva to conclude framework discussions and prepare 
the final version of the progress report to Presidents.   A/S 
Gottemoeller stated the U.S. would be prepared to continue 
this session as long as necessary to conclude the report to 
be presented at the July summit. 
Substantive Elements 
¶6. (S) Drawing upon guidance contained (Ref A), A/S 
Gottemoeller presented some initial U.S. thoughts on the 
possible form of the START follow-on framework within the 
progress reports to the Presidents and the substantive 
elements the U.S. believed should be contained in a START 
follow-on agreement.  She also outline U.S. views (Ref A)on 
how verification measures drawn from START and modified for 
the specific provisions of the follow-on agreement could be 
combined with experience gained during implementation of 
START, to construct an effective verification regime for the 
START follow-on agreement.  She passed the Russian side 
separate non-papers (points contained in Ref A) on the 
substantive elements and effective verification measures. 
¶7. (S) Antonov responded by noting that the U.S. had an 
advantage in the START follow-on talks because the U.S. 
"already knew the Russian position,"  which had been 
presented , for example, in the Aide-Memoire (Begin Comment: 
No Reporting Cable.  End Comment )provided by Russia on 
December 15, 2008, in response to a draft treaty the United 
States had provided to Russia in October 2008 (Refs B  and 
C).  Referring to the U.S. proposal made in A/S 
Gottemoeller's remarks that the new treaty count 
"operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads," Antonov 
commented that no common U.S./Russian understanding existed 
on the definition of that term, and that one needed to be 
developed and agreed upon by both sides.  He noted, however, 
that the U.S. position outlined by A/S Gottemoeller contained 
"new and nuanced" changes from previous U.S. proposals. 
¶8. (S) Antonov stressed that the Russian goal in these talks 
was not simply to reduce nuclear armaments for their own 
sake, but Russia must also take into account its own 
important security interests in negotiating the treaty.  In 
addition, Russia was interested in protecting strategic 
stability in any new treaty.  During the course of the 
discussions, Antonov returned several times to the assertion 
that Russia's security interests in START follow-on talks 
required a linkage between limits on strategic offensive and 
strategic defensive capabilities.  Antonov's complaints on 
U.S. missile defense activities focused on the so-called 
"third site" deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic, 
and the prospects for fourth and fifth sites in Europe.  He 
noted that if the talks did not address this linkage, it 
would be "extremely difficult to find a common basis for a 
START follow-on treaty."  Antonov noted that the Russian 
Federation supported effective verification measures but that 
it would need explanations from the United States on which 
START Verification provisions it wanted to retain and delete, 
and the reasoning behind the decisions. 
¶9. (S) A/S Gottemoeller noted that the U.S. would not link 
missile defense to the START follow-on talks and suggested 
instead that discussions of missile defense cooperation 
should be carried out in a separate high-level series of 
bilateral consultations.  She stressed that the U.S. believes 
that both sides should maintain a "laser-light' focus during 
the START follow-on talks on limiting strategic offensive 
arms.  Antonov persisted in stating that there must be a link 
to strategic defense measures in the START follow-on talks. 
Antonov responded that the United States and Russia had 
discussed possible missile defense cooperation at a number of 
meetings over the last several years and that during those 
meetings Russia had made it very clear that it would never 
support U.S. missile defense programs that would undercut 
Russian security, even if cooperation were offered by the 
United States for those programs.  Lt. Gen. Buzhinskiy noted 
that all MOD assessments of the adequacy of future Russian 
strategic nuclear forces must take into account prospective 
U.S. missile defense capabilities. 
¶10. (S) A/S Gottemoeller pressed Antonov on whether any 
elements of the Russian position had changed since the 
December 15, 2008 Aide-Memoire.  Antonov repeated that the 
Russian position was well known to the United States.  Look 
asked that the Russian side prepare a paper identifying the 
basic elements of the Russian position for the meetings in 
May.  Antonov said he would look into doing so. 
¶11. (S) Antonov asked whether the United States had decided 
what numerical limits should be imposed by the START 
follow-on agreement.  Warner, noting Antonov's earlier 
remarks that Russian security interests were an important 
element in the development of Russian negotiating positions, 
replied that the U.S. also had to take into account its 
national security requirements in developing positions for 
the START follow-on treaty.  He noted that efforts were just 
getting underway in the Department of Defense to conduct the 
Congressionally-mandated Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that 
would analyze U.S. nuclear force requirements for the coming 
years.  Warner stated that in recognition of the importance 
of the START follow-on efforts, the Department of Defense was 
accelerating the NPR-related analyses needed to support the 
negotiations, and was committed to having U.S. numbers 
available for discussion during June for the negotiations 
leading up to the July Summit. 
¶12. (S) Antonov stated that another element of the START 
follow-on agreement that was an important issue for Russia 
was the inclusion of conventionally-armed strategic ballistic 
missiles.  He stated that he understood that the United 
States was planning to deploy only a small number of such 
conventionally-armed missiles and, if the number was to be 
small, wondered why the United States could not simply agree 
to include these weapons in the warheads limited by the new 
treaty.  Antonov continued that yet another serious element 
of the Russian position was that the new treaty should 
contain the START provision that prohibits basing of 
START-limited systems outside the national territory of each 
state.  He said that Russia could support the extension of 
the START provisions on verification of bombers that were 
temporarily stationed outside of national territory. 
Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine 
¶13. (S) Antonov stated that he was concerned by the 
statements made by Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan in 
December 2008 at the START Joint Compliance and Inspection 
Commission session, that they wanted to be included in the 
START follow-on negotiations and the treaty that emerged.  He 
was particularly concerned by the Ukrainian statement that 
Ukraine believed the security assurances provided to Ukraine 
from the United States and Russia were directly connected to 
Ukraine's participation in START.  Once START expires, 
Ukraine asserted, these security assurances would also expire 
and Ukraine might be forced to withdraw from the Nuclear 
Nonproliferation Treaty.  Ultimately, Antonov suggested, this 
issue was not a substantive issue for Ukraine, but was driven 
by its belief that participation in strategic arms control 
gave it a higher status in the eyes of the rest of the world. 
 In his view, the United States and Russia needed to work 
together to convince the three other parties to START that 
the assurances given to them will not expire with the START 
Treaty, and to confirm to the three that we are firm in our 
intent that the START follow-on negotiations and agreement be 
bilateral in nature.  A/S Gottemoeller, mentioning a 
commemoration of the 1993-94 Trilateral Statement 
negotiations that she had participated in in December 2008 in 
Moscow, said that further ideas for security cooperation may 
help to assuage concerns and invest the three countries 
further in the nonproliferation regime.  She undertook to 
provide some ideas for further discussion. 
Compliance Report 
¶14. (S) During the discussions, Antonov stated that he 
thought the U.S. scheduled issuance in the near term future 
of the report to Congress on national compliance with various 
arms control agreements that was harshly critical of Russia 
would "spoil the atmosphere" of greater cooperation that both 
countries were working to develop.  He said that if such a 
report were to be issued, Russia would be forced to issue a 
strong denial of any claims it contained that Russia was not 
meeting it treaty obligations.  A/S Gottemoeller noted that 
this report is a legal requirement and could not be ignored. 
¶15. (S) At the end of the meeting Antonov stated that an 
Aide-Memoire on missile defense which Russia had provided to 
the United States during the London meetings in March seems 
to have been lost in Washington, given the fact that Russia 
had not received a response to this Aide-Memoire.  He passed 
another copy of the document to A/S Gottemoeller, and asked 
that she take it back to Washington and provide it to the 
appropriate people.  (Begin Comment: The Russian Aide-Memoire 
will be hand-carried back to Washington. End Comment.) 
Delegation Lists 
¶16. (U) Russia: 
Assistant Secretary Rose Gottemoeller, State/VCI 
George Look, Senior Director, NSC 
Edward Warner, OSD 
Matthias Mitman, U.S. Embassy, Rome 
Russian Federation 
Ambassador Anatoly Antonov, MFA 
Lieutenant General Evgeniy Buzhinskiy, MOD 
Sergey Koshelev, MFA 
Vladimir Proshin, Russian Embassy, Rome 
Colonel Sergey Kolevatov, Russian Embassy, Rome 
¶17. (U) This cable was cleared by A/S Gottemoeller.