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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
00ATHENS1917 2000-04-20 12:18:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Athens
Cable title:  

ENGAGING GREECE ON THE BALKANS: WHAT A DIFFERENCE A

Tags:   PREL ECIN ZL GR 
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O 201218Z APR 00
FM AMEMBASSY ATHENS
TO AMEMBASSY SKOPJE IMMEDIATE 
USOFFICE PRISTINA IMMEDIATE 
INFO SECSTATE WASHDC 7653
AMEMBASSY TIRANA 
EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ATHENS 001917 

PLEASE PASS TO S/SA JIM DOBBINS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/18/02
TAGS: PREL ECIN ZL GR
SUBJECT: ENGAGING GREECE ON THE BALKANS: WHAT A DIFFERENCE A
YEAR CAN MAKE

CLASSIFIED BY DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION TERRY R. SNELL, REASONS 1.5
(B,D)



1. (C) LAST APRIL OUR EMBASSY ENDURED DAILY DEMONSTRATIONS, MANY
OF THEM VIOLENT, BY ANGRY GREEKS PROTESTING THE NATO AIR CAMPAIGN
AGAINST SERBIA. EMOTIONS RAN HIGH WITH ANTI-AMERICANISM AND PRO-
SERB EMOTIONALISM OFTEN TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN. ALTHOUGH
POLLS INDICATED OVER 90 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION OPPOSED THE AIR
STRIKES, PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS AND FOREIGN MINISTER PAPANDREOU
PERFORMED A DELICATE BALANCING ACT BY KEEPING GREECE FROM
RUPTURING THE NATO CONSENSUS. THE GREEK GOVERNMENT ON APRIL 21-
22 WILL BE UNOFFICIALLY CO-HOSTING A SERB OPPOSITION LEADERS
CONFERENCE IN ATHENS. NO ONE IN THE GREEK GOVERNMENT QUESTIONS
THE PREMISE THAT THE MILOSEVIC REGIME MUST GO. GREEK DIFFERENCES
WITH THE U.S. ARE CENTERED ON THE APPROPRIATE TACTICS, ESPECIALLY
THE EFFICACY OF CONTINUED ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST BELGRADE.



2. (C) TEN DAYS AGO, LARGELY FOR DOMESTIC ECONOMIC REASONS,
VOTERS RE-ELECTED THE SIMITIS GOVERNMENT FOR A SECOND TERM. WITH
PASOK THE WINNER IN THE LAST THREE ELECTIONS, PM SIMITIS IS
STARTING TO STRIP THE PARTY OF ITS ANDREAS PAPANDREOU LEGACY AND
FIRMLY ESTABLISH GREECE IN EUROPE'S PROGRESSIVE POLITICAL CENTER.
DESPITE SOME CHANGES AT THE SUBMINISTERIAL LEVEL, THE FOREIGN AND
DEFENSE MINISTRIES CAN BE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE PROMOTING
RAPPROCHEMENT WITH TURKEY, AN INCREASED GREEK ROLE IN THE BALKANS
AND A PRODUCTIVE, COOPERATIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE U.S.



3. (C) PM SIMITIS WILL BE PRESENTING THE NEW GOVERNMENT'S PROGRAM
TO THE PARLIAMENT ON APRIL 21. GREECE WILL JOIN THE EUROPEAN AND
ECONOMIC MONETARY UNION (EMU) IN JANUARY AND MUCH OF SIMITIS'S
PROGRAM WILL BE DEVOTED TO STRIKING A BALANCE BETWEEN THE
REQUIRED MACROECONOMIC DISCIPLINE IMPOSED BY EMU AND A
RESTRUCTURING OF GOVERNMENT SOCIAL PROGRAMS IMPORTANT TO MOST
GREEKS AND ESPECIALLY PASOK'S CONSTITUENCY. SIMITIS BELIEVES IN
CABINET GOVERNMENT AND FM PAPANDREOU WILL TAKE THE LEAD IN
SHAPING GREECE'S FOREIGN POLICY. AS IN THE LAST GOVERNMENT,
IMLEMENTATION OF ANY NEW INITIATIVES ARE LIKELY TO BE SLOWED BY
AN INEFFICIENT AND UNCOORDINATED GREEK FOREIGN MINISTRY
BUREAUCRACY.



4. (C) IN YOUR MEETINGS WITH PAPANDREOU AND DEFENSE MINISTER
TSOHATZOPOULOS, YOUR OBJECTIVE SHOULD BE TO ENCOURAGE GREECE TO
TAKE ON A GREATER LEADERSHIP ROLE IN THE PROCESS OF TRANSFORMING
SOUTHEAST EUROPE. WHILE RECOGNIZING GREECE'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO
STABILITY IN THE REGION, YOU MAY WANT TO EMPHASIZE THE NEED FOR
GREATER FOLLOW THROUGH BY THE FOREIGN MINISTRY TO ENSURE THAT
PERFORMANCE MATCHES PUBLIC RHETORIC. THE FOLLOWING POINTS COVER
SOME OF THE SPECIFIC BALKAN ISSUES YOU MAY WANT TO RAISE:

-- APPRECIATE GREECE'S CONTRIBUTION OF TROOPS TO KFOR AND SFOR.
GREEK SUPPORT FOR MODERATE SERB KOSOVARS CAN PROVE VITAL IN
BUILDING A MULTI-ETHNIC SOCIETY IN KOSOVO.

-- REITERATE U.S. POLICY ON NO CHANGE OF BORDERS IN THE BALKANS.

-- IMPORTANT TO MAINTAIN PRESSURE ON MILOSEVIC REGIME THROUGH
STRICT ENFORCEMENT OF ECONOMIC SANCTIONS. MUST ISOLATE BELGRADE
AND CUT-OFF HARD CURRENCY EARNINGS USED TO PROP UP THE REGIME.

-- HIGHLIGHT NEED FOR SUPPORT IN EU TO ACCELERATE ECONOMIC
ASSISTANCE TO MONTENEGRO.

-- ENCOURAGE GREATER PUBLIC SUPPORT BY GREECE FOR SERB
OPPOSITION, INCLUDING NGOS AND OTHER CIVIL GROUPS AS WELL AS
PUBLIC DIPLOMACY CAMPAIGN TO HIGHLIGHT MILOSEVIC'S REPRESSIVE
TACTICS AGAINST MEDIA AND CRITICS.

-- NOTE INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF MEETINGS WITH LEADERS OF GREECE'S
NEIGHBORS (ALBANIA, FYROM AND BULGARIA) AND PROSPECTS FOR GREATER
COOPERATION ARISING FROM THESE IMPROVED RELATIONS.

-- SUGGEST INCREASED GREEK ROLE IN REGIONAL INITIATIVES SUCH AS
SECI (BUCHAREST ANTI-CRIME CENTER), STABILITY PACT (TABLE ONE ON
HUMAN RIGHTS) AND SEDM.



5. (C) OVER THE HORIZON, PAPANDREOU AND TSOHATZOPOULOS WILL BE
LOOKING TO HEAR A BRIEF ARTICULATION OF YOUR VIEWS ON THE U.S.-
GREECE BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP. WE SUGGEST THE FOLLOWING POINTS:

-- IMPORTANT TO CONTINUE THE ANNUAL BILATERAL CONSULATIONS BEGUN
BY A/S GROSSMAN.

-- SEEK COMMITMENT FOR MORE FREQUENT VISITS AT DAS LEVEL TO
FOLLOW-UP ON POLICY INITIATIVES.

-- ENCOURAGE GREEKS TO ADD SUBSTANCE TO, DEFEND, AND PROMOTE THE
BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP.

-- NOTE UPCOMING REPORTS (NEXT WEEK) ON IPR AND TERRORISM; GREECE
NEEDS TO RESOLVE THE WTO IPR CASE AND MAKE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS
ON COUNTER-TERRORISM TO MOVE OUR BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP FORWARD.
A COUNTER-TERRORISM BREAKTHROUGH IS IMPORTANT FOR AMERICANS'
SECURITY IN GREECE.

-- STRESS NEED TO NAIL DOWN DECISION ON F-16 ENGINES; PUSH FOR
GREEK DECISION TO PURCHASE U.S. M1-A2 TANKS - THE BEST IN THE
WORLD (WITH TSOHATZOPOULOS ONLY).

-- SUPPORT CONTINUED GREEK RISK-TAKING TO IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH
TURKEY AND REACH POLITICAL SETTLEMENT ON CYPRUS. STRESS
WILLINGNESS OF U.S. TO PROVIDE SUPPORT TO MAKE FURTHER PROGRESS
POSSIBLE. EMPHASIZE THAT WE ARE WORKING WITH ANKARA FOR A
CONCRETE TURKISH STEP TO IMPROVE GREEK-TURKEY RELATIONS AND PUSH
FORWARD CYPRUS TALKS.

-- ENCOURAGE GREECE TO FACILITATE FULL TURKISH PARTICIPATION IN
NATO EXERCISE "DYNAMIC MIX;" WOULD REBOUND TO GREECE'S CREDIT.

-- PREVIEW OPPORTUNITY PRESENTED BY PAPANDREOU-CEM-ALBRIGHT
MEETINGS IN TWO WEEKS IN NEW YORK TO MAKE FURTHER PROGRESS ON
GREECE-TURKEY-CYPRUS ISSUES.

BURNS