This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
1. (SBU) Economic-Political Counselor and Pol Unit Chief
conveyed reftel demarche to MFA Director/Coordinator for EU
Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) Werner Almhofer on
February 11 and followed up with him on February 16.
Almhofer's likely successor, Andreas Riecken, also attended.
2. (C) Middle East: Almhofer said that the GoA assessed the
prospects for progress on Middle East peace as quite
positive: "The signals are all promising." He noted that EU
diplomacy had been extraordinarily active with recent visits
to the region by HighRep Solana, External Relations
Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner and the current Council
President, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Asselborn. The EU was
looking forward to President Bush's visit on February 22 as
an opportunity to cement a common approach.
3. (C) Iraq: Almhofer expected the GAERC to conclude a
package on police training as a deliverable for the February
22 meeting of EU leaders with the President. The January 31
GAERC had already approved development assistance measures.
An EU office in Baghdad faced resistance from some member
states as well as a bureaucratic obstacle, he said: a
civilian crisis operation would have to take place under the
aegis of the Council Secretariat, since the Commission did
not have responsibility for EU Second Pillar (CFSP)
initiatives. Providing security was another concern.
4. (C) Western Balkans: Almhofer said that the EU had sent a
very strong message to Croatia on cooperation with the Hague
Tribunal, particularly the extradition of Gotovina. It was
difficult to develop a unified approach to the region, he
said, because of the various layers of EU cooperation
structures. While some countries (Croatia) already had
provisional dates for accession negotiations, others (Serbia
and Montenegro) were waiting for Feasibility Studies on
Association Agreements. Status issues for Kosovo and
Montenegro would have an important impact on regional
stability and integration, but the EU could not act alone as
these were essentially UN topics. Almhofer expressed
skepticism about press reports on Austrian interest in
organizing a Balkans Conference during its 2006 EU
Presidency, saying it was not clear that such a conference
could be productive. However, if real opportunities to
promote regional peace and stability emerged, Austria would
feel obliged to facilitate them.
5. (C) European Neighborhood: Almhofer pointed out that on
the economic side, the EU's usual Partnership and Cooperation
Agreement (PCA) had produced few benefits for Moldova. The
small size of the Moldovan market should permit the EU to go
well beyond its standard instrumentarium to promote economic
growth and opportunity without having to fear adverse
consequences for its own trade position. Member States were
eager to proceed with enhancements. Progress was slow
because the Commission was jealously guarding its
prerogatives in this area.
6. (C) Sudan: Almhofer said the EU was strongly committed to
using the International Criminal Court (ICC) as the platform
for trying war crimes and crimes against humanity committed
in Darfur. When we pressed on the question of jurisdiction,
Riecken conceded that the EU would need U.S. support or
acquiescence to pass a UN Security Council Resolution to
provide a legal mandate for the ICC in Sudan.
7. (C) Great Lakes: Almhofer told us the EU was "very close"
to setting up a Kinshasa-based police training mission. A
technical meeting in Brussels would soon nail down final
arrangements. The topic would come up under "any other
business" at the GAERC. Belgium was seeking EU sponsorship
for a conference along the lines of the CSCE, probably in
autumn 2005 in Nairobi, to forestall future outbreaks of
cross-border violence in eastern Africa.