Viewing cable 09STATE68116
Title: ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON'S MEETING IN CORFU

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
09STATE681162009-07-01 13:37:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Secretary of State
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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #8116 1821400
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 011337Z JUL 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL NATO POST COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 0000
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY 0000
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 068116 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/30/2019 
TAGS: PREL RS LH BO
SUBJECT: ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON'S MEETING IN CORFU 
WITH LITHUANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER 
 
Classified By: EUR A/S PHILIP H GORDON FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
¶1. Summary.  This cable is for information. On June 28 in 
Corfu, in a short discussion with Assistant Secretary Gordon 
on the margins of the informal meeting of OSCE Foreign 
Ministers, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Usackas expressed 
skepticism regarding the near-term prospects for improved 
relations with Russia, but emphasized the need to continue 
pushing for cooperation in the NATO-Russia Council.  Usackas 
underscored Lithuania,s strong support for NATO,s open door 
policy and called for serious discussion on how to support 
NATO aspirants.  He also described his perceptions of a 
changing political situation in Belarus and asked the United 
States to consider increased engagement.  Usackas also noted 
that the decision on whether to accept two Guantanamo Bay 
detainees will have to wait until after the new Lithuanian 
President is inaugurated on July 12. End Summary. 
 
Russia 
------------------------ 
 
¶2. (C) Usackas outlined Lithuania,s current relations with 
Russia and asked how the United States assessed the prospects 
for a true reset between Russia and the West.  He noted as a 
positive sign that he had recently met with Foreign Minister 
Lavrov, the first time the countries had held a meeting at 
the level of Foreign Ministers in roughly two and a half 
years.  Still, he described the meeting and relations in 
general as focused mostly on differences, particularly 
Georgia.  A/S Gordon outlined President Obama,s broad 
approach: we should work hard to develop a better 
relationship with Russia, but not at the expense of our 
principles or our Allies and partners.  That strategy was 
exemplified in the case of the UNOMIG mandate, where even 
just before the U.S.-Russia Summit, the United States had 
supported the effort to force a Russian veto after it was 
clear that an agreement would not be reached.  While 
stressing our desire for a successful summit, A/S Gordon 
warned that if we concede across the board, Russia will 
simply increase its demands.  On NATO-Russia relations, 
Usackas highlighted Lithuania,s skepticism for productive 
results, but underscored the value in using the NATO-Russia 
Council (NRC) to push Russia to be more cooperative.  A/S 
Gordon agreed, adding that NATO should avoid creating the 
perception that we are chasing Russia.  Our message should be 
that we are prepared to cooperate more closely in a number of 
specific areas.  But ultimately the results will be 
determined by Russia,s willingness to work with us. 
Pointing to Lavrov,s intervention at the NRC, A/S Gordon 
said there was little evidence so far that the "reset" was 
producing a genuinely cooperative response from Moscow. 
 
NATO enlargement 
------------------------ 
 
¶3. (C) Usackas said a key issue for the Alliance would be how 
to support NATO aspirants.  He believes we need better 
clarity on the criteria for integration, which countries 
should be packaged together in the "next wave," and how to 
make it saleable to more skeptical Allies and the broader 
international community.  Recalling that NATO had in previous 
rounds of enlargement sought a geographic balance when 
offering membership, he wondered whether it made sense to 
bring Montenegro and Serbia into the Alliance simultaneously, 
perhaps together with Ukraine and Georgia -- although he 
noted that on the latter two, we may have to wait longer. 
A/S Gordon agreed that Allies needed to have a serious 
discussion on these issues, and in turn develop a conceptual 
approach regarding the path to membership.  Usackas suggested 
that a good place to brainstorm would be the informal "Snow 
Summit" of like-minded states, to be held outside Vilnius in 
early 2010, and said he would greatly welcome A/S Gordon,s 
participation. 
 
Belarus 
------------------------ 
 
¶4. (C) Usackas also used the meeting to share his views on 
the current situation in Belarus.  Lithuania would continue 
to be a strong advocate in helping to build civil society in 
Belarus, including through its frequent contacts with the 
government in Minsk.  Usackas was pleased that the EU has 
increased its engagement, and stressed the importance of 
continued visits and strong messages.  He appealed to A/S 
Gordon to increase U.S. contacts with Belarus, in tandem with 
civil society leaders and organizations, characterizing the 
moment as an important one for Belarus,s future trajectory. 
In particular, he recommended that the United States meet 
with Head of Presidential Administration Vladimir Makey, whom 
Usackas described as "the real No. 2."  In a recent meeting, 
Makey had told Usackas that Belarus wants to change course 
and had asked Usackas to pass that message to the United 
States.  Makey had outlined a vision for Belarus as a transit 
country that balances relations with Russia and the West. 
 
Other Issues 
------------------------ 
 
¶5. (C) Usackas raised the possibility of Lithuania accepting 
two detainees from Guantanamo Bay.  He said he understood the 
importance of moving forward with a decision, but described 
the political difficulty in taking definitive steps before 
President-elect Grybauskaite,s inauguration on July 12. 
 
¶6. (SBU) Noting Lithuania,s upcoming Chairmanship of the 
Community of Democracies, Usackas said he would welcome U.S. 
suggestions on how to use this organization more effectively. 
 A/S Gordon said that while this forum can be difficult, 
given its size and inclusion of members whose commitment to 
democracy is far from clear, the United States believes it 
can be valuable.  Accordingly, Deputy Steinberg will attend 
the Ministerial meeting of the Community of Democracies (CD) 
on July 12.  A/S Gordon said it would be useful to keep in 
touch on this set of issues, particularly once the Assistant 
Secretary for democracy issues is in place, and suggested 
that an informal Ministerial meeting of the Steering Board on 
the margins of UNGA in September could be used to further 
discuss the future of the CD. 
 
¶7. (SBU) At the conclusion of the meeting, Usackas also 
indicated an interest in a meeting between President-elect 
Grybauskaite and President Obama on the margins of UNGA. 
CLINTON