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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05BUCHAREST1270 2005-05-31 12:03:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bucharest
Cable title:  

ROMANIA EXPRESSES CONCERNS ABOUT RESURGENT BLACK

Tags:   KNNP MNUC PARM PGOV PREL ENRG SENV ECON TU GG RS UP UK RO NATO 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BUCHAREST 001270 

SIPDIS

STATE DEPT FOR EUR/NCE - WILLIAM SILKWORTH

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/31/2015
TAGS: KNNP MNUC PARM PGOV PREL ENRG SENV ECON TU GG RS UP UK RO NATO
SUBJECT: ROMANIA EXPRESSES CONCERNS ABOUT RESURGENT BLACK
SEA HARMONY/BLACKSEAFOR - SEEKS U.S. VIEWS

REF: A. STATE 90931

B. STATE 90564

C. BUCHAREST IIR 6 883 0153 05 (AND PREVIOUS)

D. BUCHAREST 477

E. BUCHAREST 1174

Classified By: Classified by Political Section Chief Robert S.
Gilchrist for Reasons 1.4 A, B, and D.




1. (U) This is an Action Request for the State
Department. See Paragraph 10.



2. (C) Summary. GOR interlocutors who handle Black
Sea issues express appreciation for U.S. views on
Romania's possible contributions to the Proliferation
Security Initiative (PSI) and the Romania-organized
Black Sea Border Security Initiative (BSBSI).
Romanian contacts are alarmed, however, at the recent
decision of the Russian Federation, Bulgaria and
Georgia to join as permanent members the Turkish-led
Operation Black Sea Harmony, to be renamed
BLACKSEAFOR. They also flagged surprising Turkish
assertions that the new arrangements have USG
approval. The GOR urgently seeks guidance about U.S.
views on Russian and Turkish joint efforts to
dominate Black Sea maritime security and exclude non-
littoral state actors from playing a role. End
Summary.



3. (C) Naval Attache and PolOff discussed Black Sea
regional security issues, including Romanian interest
in increased involvement in operational activities of
the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and the
Romania-organized Black Sea Border Security
Initiative (BSBSI), May 23 with MFA NATO Division
Director Mirela Maghiar, MFA Arms Control and
NonProliferation Division Director Dan Neculaescu and
MOD Counselor and assistant to Acting presidential
security adviser General Constantin Degeratu, Iulia
Ionescu (Refs A and B). GOR interlocutors expressed
gratitude for an opportunity to discuss both the PSI
and BSBSI, noting that the GOR will participate in
the Czech-led PSI exercise and underscoring Romania's
abiding commitment to PSI goals. MFA NATO Director
Maghiar observed that our nonpaper (Ref B)
underscores a concept which the GOR supports - that
PSI and BSBSI are "mutually reinforcing." They also
expressed a commitment to "working together" to
achieve a "complementary" relationship between PSI
and BSBSI.



4. (C) During the course of discussions, however,
the Romanians provided a somber assessment of the May
17-18 meeting of the Chiefs of the Black Sea Navies
(Russian Federation, Turkey, Bulgaria, Georgia and
Romania). They expressed dismay at the decision -
apparently agreed on by the Russians, Turks,
Bulgarians, and Georgians in advance of the plenary
meeting of naval commanders - to join as permanent
members the Turkish-led Operation Black Sea Harmony,
establishing a permanent "operations center" in
Turkey (Ref C). The Romanians stated that the Turks
(and Russians) had stressed that the purpose of
Operation Black Sea Harmony will be to assure
security in the Black Sea.



5. (C) From the Romanian perspective, the coup de
grace of this unexpected and unwanted outcome was the
Turkish announcement that to "avoid confusion" and to
obviate the need for formal approval to join a new
organization, Operation Black Sea Harmony should be
called BLACKSEAFOR. The Romanians told us that they
are opposed to BLACKSEAFOR "taking over" Operation
Black Sea Harmony but at the same time the GOR does
not want to "upset the Turks." The Romanian
interlocutors stressed that the proposed morphing of
Black Sea Harmony into BLACKSEAFOR would not happen
immediately as "more meetings need to occur at a
working level and at the experts' level," with the
first working group set for June 1-2 in Istanbul.
They also expressed the hope that even if an expanded
BLACKSEAFOR comes into being it could still be
possible "to leave things open for a future NATO
role." (Note: Romania participates in BLACKSEAFOR
but characterizes the Russian-dominated organization
as fundamentally a regional confidence building
measure that should focus on activities such as
search and rescue exercises but should not expand its
mandate to serving as a guarantor of maritime
security. (Ref D) End Note.)



6. (C) Our Romanian interlocutors stressed that
during the May 17-18 meeting the Russian
representatives iterated that non-littoral states
should play no role in maintaining maritime security
and that an Active Endeavor-like operation has no
place in the Black Sea - a view the Russians have
previously asserted. MOD Counselor Ionescu noted
that during both the May 17-18 meeting as well as
during previous encounters, the Turks have
unrealistically "downplayed asymmetric threats" in
the Black Sea region, insisting that littoral states
could and should exclusively guarantee Black Sea
security. The GOR interlocutors insisted that
threats in the Black Sea region, including
trafficking in conventional arms, are "real and
extensive" and cannot be adequately addressed
exclusively by littoral states.



7. (C) More troubling - and surprising - from the
Romanian perspective was the Turks' assertion during
the meeting that the expansion of Operation Black Sea
Harmony to include all littoral states with the aim
of guaranteeing maritime security, together with its
morphing into BLACKSEAFOR, enjoys the support of the
USG. According to the Romanians, the Turks averred
that an American admiral in a previous meeting had
stated he "admired" Turkey's "vision" for the Black
Sea.



8. (C) MFA NATO Director Maghiar stressed that "it
is very important for us to know what the U.S.
position is" regarding the proposed expansion of
Black Sea Harmony. "Does the U.S. indeed endorse the
Turkish 'vision' for the Black Sea?" asked Maghiar.
The Romanian interlocutors expressed a need for "some
clarification from the U.S." and underscored the
GOR's strong preference that "transatlantic
institutions" (read: NATO, with U.S. leadership)
guarantee Black Sea security.



9. (C) Comment: Dead in the water, at least for
now, is the Romanian proposal to create a Black Sea
Task Force (Ref D), given the Turkish and Russian
commitment to steam ahead with plans to
"operationalize" Black Sea Harmony under the aegis of
BLACKSEAFOR. While the Romanians are evidently
peeved at this development, they have made it clear
to us on previous occasions that the GOR has no
intention of being the odd man out on Black Sea
security issues -- especially given the GOR's
apparent belief that Romania could cooperate with its
littoral neighbors on regional security initiatives
and still "leave things open for a future NATO role."
Senior GOR officials have recently reaffirmed strong
support for a U.S. military facilities presence on
Romanian soil (Ref E), which they equate with a boost
in Black Sea regional security. Romanian officials
have also expressed gratitude for U.S. "backing"
during the May 10 joint meeting at NATO Headquarters
of the Political-Military Steering Committee on
Partnership for Peace and the Political Committee.
In addition, MFA interlocutors expressed gratitude
for State Department representation May 27-28 at the
BSBSI Planning Conference in Bucharest for the "Styx
2005" exercise. During our May 23 meeting with the
Romanians, however, they appeared genuinely concerned
that the U.S. may have endorsed the Turkish maritime
security "vision" - leaving Romania's oft-enunciated
goal of a region "anchored to trans-Atlantic
institutions" high and dry.



10. (C) Action Request for State Department: Post
would appreciate any guidance and feedback we can
share with the Romanians regarding plans to
significantly expand the scope of Operation Black Sea
Harmony under the rubric of BLACKSEAFOR.



11. (U) Amembassy Bucharest's reporting telegrams
are available on the Bucharest SIPRNet website:
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/bucharest

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