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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05PRAGUE241
2005-02-17 15:51:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Prague
Cable title:  

CZECHS AND GAERC MEETING: PREPARING TO SPEAK OUT

Tags:  PREL PTER ETTC CH IR UP MD HR KPAL EZ EUN 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRAGUE 000241 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/17/2015
TAGS: PREL PTER ETTC CH IR UP MD HR KPAL EZ EUN
SUBJECT: CZECHS AND GAERC MEETING: PREPARING TO SPEAK OUT
ON HIZBALLAH AND, EVENTUALLY, CHINA

REF: A. STATE 25111


B. STATE 26062

C. PRAGUE 221

Classified By: Political-Economic Counselor Michael Dodman for reasons
1.5 B+D



1. (C) Summary: The Czech Republic plans to use the Feb 21
GAERC meeting to lead EU members to designate Hizballah as a
terrorist organization. The Czechs are also working towards
taking a leading role in the EU debate over the China arms
embargo. The Czechs share our optimism about improving
transatlantic relations and are focused in particular on
achieving progress on Iraq and the MEPP. End summary.



2. (C) Pol-Econ Chief met Feb 17 with Bohumil Jirkal, Deputy
Director of the Czech MFA's CFSP Department, to discuss ref A
points on the agenda for the Feb 21 EU Foreign Ministers
meeting. We emphasized USG desire to engage in a regular
dialogue with the Czechs and other EU members on CFSP and
transatlantic issues. Jirkal stressed that the Czechs
likewise value our dialogue. They share the sentiment
expressed during Secretary Rice's recent visit to Europe that
both the US and Europe need to move forward with the
relationship, focusing not on divisions in the past but
opportunities for the future.



3. (C) Turning to the GAERC agenda, Jirkal identified the
MEPP as one area where the Czechs want to focus their
attention, both bilaterally and through the EU. As evidence
of this, he said that FM Svoboda intends to use the upcoming
GAERC meeting to put the question of designation of Hizballah
as a terrorist organziation before ministers. Noting that
the Feb 16 EU Clearhouse meeting (refs B & C) had identified
that many EU members remain opposed to designation, Jirkal
said the Czechs, Danes and Dutch have agreed to highlight
this at the GAERC and argue for an agreement to designate
(the Czechs were surprised that the Swedes did not agree to
join this effort).



4. (C) Jirkal described Svoboda's planned intervention on
Hizballah as the Czechs' second attempt to become more active
on CFSP matters, following last month's Czech engagement on
the EU's Cuba policy. The third target for EU engagement
will be the China arms embargo. Jirkal admitted the GOCR has
not yet finalized its position on the arms embargo, since
many pieces are still in play, but he said the fundamentals
of the Czech position are clear. First, Beijing must take
some steps to improve the human rights situation, perhaps by
signing "an international human rights convention" or by
releasing some political prisoners. Second, the Code of
Conduct and Toolbox need to be improved and become a reliable
set of procedures that will regulate trade in arms and
dual-use items. Third, the EU must make good on its pledge
to consult with other interested parties, namely the U.S.,
Japan, and South Korea, before a post-embargo regime is
finalized. On the latter point, Jirkal said he understands
an EU delegation to the three countries is being assembled,
but he had no specifics. On timing, he said France and some
other members are pushing for European Council action in
March, which the Czechs will resist as none of the
preconditions will be in place. They believe April-May is a
more reasonable timeframe. Jirkal reiterated what we have
heard regularly from the Czechs: that the current "embargo"
is only a political statement that has failed to halt
significant arms exports to China, and that a new Toolbox and
Code of Conduct stand a much better chance of achieving the
U.S. goal (shared by the Czechs) of actually restricting
export of sensitive goods and technology. Jirkal added that
the Czechs are well aware of the likely U.S. Congressional
reaction if the embargo is lifted without an effective regime
to replace it.



5. (C) On other topics, Jirkal said said the GOCR is
encouraging EU engagement in Iraq, specifically following
through on plans to train police, judges and others. He
noted that the Czechs have been active in these same areas,
but had no details about how on-going Czech assistance would
be coordinated with the planned EU efforts.



6. (C) Jirkal said the GOCR supports the EU Action Plan for
Moldova. The Czechs are following this particularly closely
as a Czech diplomat, Jaromir Plisek (currently head of the
MFA Central European department and a former Ambassador in
Romania), is in the running to be EU Special Representative
for Moldova. The Czechs are also considering opening an
embassy in Chisinau.



7. (C) On Ukraine, Jirkal described the GOCR position as
"less enthusiastic than Hungary" in terms of pushing for a
forward-leaning EU plan for Ukraine. The Czechs believe the
new government in Kiev needs to "do their homework" first and
prove that they are willing and able to meet the many
promises made by the new government.


8. (C) On Croatia, the GOCR shares our view that Gotovina
must be turned over to the ICTY before there is any concrete
movement on accession talks with Zagreb.
CABANISS