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2005-06-10 13:33:00
Embassy Prague
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L PRAGUE 000888 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/10/2015

REF: A. STATE 105235


Classified By: Political Economic Counselor Mike Dodman for reasons 1.4
B and D

1. (C) On June 9, we discussed the points in ref A demarche
with Mr. Michal Strouhal, Director of the Common Foreign and
Security Policy Department at the Czech MFA. Strouhal
provided the following responses:

A. Kosovo: Strouhal emphasized the importance of the EU
playing an active role in the future of Kosovo, which the
GOCR will promote at the GAERC. Strouhal sees the future of
Kosovo as linked to its EU perspective, but notes that the
Czechs do not support full independence at this time.
Strouhal also discussed the importance of standards,
identifying the most important to the GOCR as the return of
refugees and minority rights, and that it is important to
involve the Serbs in the debate.

B. Middle East Peace Process: The GOCR is not pleased that
the Palestinian elections have been postponed and would like
them to take place before the end of the year. Additionally,
it is paying significant attention to the coordination of
efforts between Israel and the PA on the Gaza withdrawal, but
believes that the Roadmap needs to be updated to take this
into account.

C. Cuba: Strouhal noted the importance of EU Cuba policy to
the GOCR, and indicated that it was the subject of "dynamic
negotiations" within the PSC. However, even as one of the EU
countries that was most opposed to lifting the June 2003
measures, Strouhal described the GOCR as "quite happy with
the conclusions" for the GAERC, citing tough language on
political prisoners and the expulsion of Czech and other EU
politicians last month. The two exceptions are the question
of inviting dissidents to national day receptions (which will
not be covered by the Council's conclusions) and limiting
high-level visits to foreign ministers. Assuming the June 9
PSC meeting would not reach agreement on this last point,
Strouhal expected FM Svoboda to raise it at the GAERC.
(Comment: Strouhal's assessment of the state of the draft
Council declaration on Cuba was factually similar to that of
his colleague on the Cuba desk-ref b-but his bottom line was
very different. For instance, on national day invitations,
Strouhal stressed the importance of a unified EU position,
rather than the need to maintain contacts with dissidents.)

D. US-EU Summit: Strouhal said the GOCR gives great weight to
transatlantic relations with CFSP. Their main intervention
to date on the US-EU Summit preparations has been to stress
greater cooperation between EU-NATO.

E. UN: The EU Foreign Ministers will meet next Thursday on
the margins of the EU Summit to discuss the preparation for
the UN Summit, but Strouhal said the Czechs are currently
pleased with the planning.

F. Iraq: Strouhal informed POLOFF that FM Svoboda will
represent the CR at the conference in Brussels, and will
deliver a speech expressing support for the Iraqi
Transitional Government (ITG). The GOCR sees the conference
in "symbolic means." POLOFF questioned Strouhal about
possible new initiatives or other tangible signs of support
from the GOCR for the ITG. Strouhal said no new initiatives
are planned (Note: DCM will discuss with more senior MFA
officials on June 10).

G. China: Strouhal is "sceptical" that the necessary
conditions will be fulfilled in order for the arms embargo to
be lifted this year, noting the CR's strong insistence on
human rights improvements and an effective dialogue with a
range of allies on security questions. Strouhal emphasized
that a revised Code of Conduct would need to apply to all
countries, not just China. In reference to this, Strouhal
noted that the GOCR thought that the EU Summit conclusions
should refer simply to the revised Code of Conduct, without
specific mention of China.