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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06ATHENS767 2006-03-21 14:53:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Athens
Cable title:  

SCENESETTER FOR GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER BAKOYANNIS'

Tags:   PREL PGOV GR CY TU BAKOYANNIS 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 ATHENS 000767 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR THE SECRETARY FROM AMBASSADOR RIES

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/16/2014
TAGS: PREL PGOV GR CY TU BAKOYANNIS
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER BAKOYANNIS'
VISIT TO WASHINGTON

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Classified By: Ambassador Charles P. Ries. Reasons 1.4(b/d)



1. (C) SUMMARY: Thank you for agreeing to see Greek Foreign
Minister Dora Bakoyannis in Washington on March 23. This
will be her first trip to Washington as Foreign Minister
since assuming her post on February 15 of this year.
Bakoyannis' objective will be to establish her credentials
with you as a close partner of the United States. She will
undoubtably raise her desire to see Greece admitted to the
Visa Waiver Program. Our objective for this meeting is to
get Greece to take on more responsibility in Afghanistan and
the broader Middle East, as well as play a role in European
gas security. We also want Greece to engage more actively in
its neighborhood, specifically in support of Kosovo's final
status and with Turkey. During her March 23-24 Washington
visit, FM Bakoyannis will also see NSA Fran Townsend and DNI
John Negroponte, and attend the Greek National Day reception
at the White House. END SUMMARY.



--------------------------



--------------------------


NEW FOREIGN MINISTER BRINGS NEW ENERGY TO GOVERNMENT


--------------------------



--------------------------





2. (C) FM Bakoyannis ("Dora") takes over the Foreign
Ministry at a time when the New Democracy (ND) government,
led by PM Karamanlis, is facing a midterm slump at the polls,
general strikes against ND's economic policies and an
eavesdropping scandal that has prompted a parliamentary
investigation and toxic press coverage. Foreign Minister
Bakoyannis assumed her post February 15 as a result of the
first Cabinet reshuffle since the Government took office in


2004. She joins new ministers of Public Order (Polydoras)
and Defense (Meimarakis). The PM retained his (top-notch)
economic team. Despite domestic troubles, the Karamanlis
government is not in jeopardy, and we believe the new foreign
policy team brings with it new energy, and shared goals with
us.



3. (C) Born in 1954, Dora Bakoyannis was the first female
mayor of Athens (2002-2006), and arguably its most popular
mayor ever. Her first husband, parliamentarian Pavlos
Bakoyannis, was assassinated by the domestic terrorist
organization "17 November" in 1989. Dora owes her headstart
in politics to her father, Constantine Mitsotakis, who led
the New Democracy party for nine years, and was Prime
Minister from 1990-1993. Following ND's electoral defeat in
1993, the party split into two major factions: one led by
Dora's father, the other by current PM Karamanlis. For this
reason, Bakoyannis has been an outsider in the Karamanlis
camp, and is widely seen as Karamanlis' chief rival for
political power and a possible future PM. Provided they can
manage their personal and political rivalries, Bakoyannis'
legendary energy and desire to shape events will help Greece
cut a wider swath in the Balkans, in Brussels and
internationally.



4. (C) Bakoyannis has made no secret of her intention to
work closely with us, and considers herself (as do we) a good
friend of the United States. Although without any real
diplomatic experience, she could turn out to be "our kind" of
diplomat -- energetic, results-oriented, and a polished
practitioner in the public diplomacy arena. You will find
her to be forceful, engaging and decisive. She also has told
me she wants her visit to achieve results, so that she can
deploy her own brand of transformational diplomacy in order
to change attitudes about America here in Greece.



5. (C) The Government of Greece has been bogged down in a
phone-tapping scandal since February 2, when government
officials confirmed press reports that the cell phones
belonging to high-ranking officials, including the Prime
Minister, had been tapped by unknown agents from just before
the Olympics through March 2005. Opposition parties,
scenting a cover-up, have blasted the government for its
year-long silence after March 2005 (the government says it
was conducting a secret investigation into the
phone-tapping). There is widespread belief, and much
purported evidence in the press, to the effect that the U.S.
is the perpetrator. Karamanlis seems determined not to let
this belief impede our bilateral cooperation. Bakoyannis is
unlikely to raise this issue with you; we have not commented
on the allegations or the ongoing investigation.



--------------------------


ISSUES


--------------------------



TRANSFORMATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST



6. (C) Under former FM Molyviatis, Greece took several

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significant steps to support the Global War on Terrorism and
our broader Middle East agenda, including Afghanistan, but
there is room to do more:

-- Greece has an engineering unit in Kabul building roads and
schools. Greece also runs security for the Kabul
International Airport, and staffs ISAF's most advanced
medical unit. This unit is a particularly compelling success
story -- having won kudos from SACEUR for its efficiency, and
praise from Afghans whom Greek doctors have also treated.
Greece should get more credit (and take more credit) for this
good news story. Still, Greece plans to, and should, do
more. Greek troops are preparing to lead the ISAF HQ
battalion in Kabul in 2008 (a deployment that the government
should approve formally this May). We are also pushing the
Greeks to venture outside Kabul and have hopes they might
lead a PRT in Afghanistan. Even if NATO is not currently
looking for a lead nation for one of the PRTs in the north of
the country (where the relatively reduced threat level
matches Greek force protection capabilities and appetite for
risk), you can emphasize the importance of making a political
commitment to be a full partner in NATO's expanding role in
Afghanistan, in Kabul and beyond.

-- PM Karamanlis is holding to his campaign pledge to keep
Greek troops out of Iraq. Greece has, however, worked within
this limitation to contribute to Iraq's future as a peaceful,
democratic state, by supplying equipment (refitted Russian
APCs) and training (of Iraqi security forces in Bulgaria and
medical personnel in Greece). You should thank FM Bakoyannis
for Greece's efforts, but press her to consider additional
important steps such as removing the national caveat that
prevents Greek officers on the NATO staff from serving in
NTM-I and to allow the training of Iraqi security forces in
Greece. (Greece has a PfP training center in the north that
would be ideal for training small groups of Iraqis.)

-- The Greek Government is keen to contribute to the Roadmap
for peace in the Middle East, and has raised here and in
Washington how Greece could use its good relations with the
Palestinians to reach out to Hamas. We have discouraged
their thinking in this direction, as it does not track with
our own policy. It would be useful for FM Bakoyannis to hear
this message from you, while also giving her a sense of the
Quartet's evolving strategy for providing humanitarian
support for the Palestinians while isolating Hamas.

-- Greece has been a staunch ally opposing Iran's nuclear
enrichment policy, both as a member of the IAEA Board of
Governors and as a non-permanent member of the UNSC. Senior
Greek policymakers have been forthcoming, active and
available to us at every step of the way from last
September's IAEA meeting to the most recent IAEA report to
the Security Council. You can keep Greece firmly in our camp
by sharing with Bakoyannis our next steps to deal with Iran
at the UN.

DEMOCRATIZATION AND DIALOGUE OF CIVILIZATIONS



7. (C) While Greece is a charter member of the
BMENA-inspired Foundation for the Future, we have not yet
taken advantage of PM Karamanlis' May 2005 offer to the
President to host a BMENA ministerial event in Athens. When
I briefed Bakoyannis on the idea of using Athens, and its
democratic heritage, to foster democratization in the Middle
East, she was very positive. For her part, Bakoyannis told
me she would raise the possibility of a Greek role in a
dialogue of civilizations. She stressed what she considers to
be Greece's good record in absorbing the rapid growth in
Muslim population (most are Albanians), now equal to ten
percent of Greece's population. Bakoyannis wants to use
Greece's good understanding of the the Muslim world as a
bridge to communities in the Middle East ripe for
democratization.

NON-PROLIFERATION



8. (C) Greece has been an active partner in the
Proliferation Security Initiative, priding itself on its
status as a maritime heavyweight and recognizing the security
implications therein.

-- Greece was instrumental in stopping a shipment of
materials destined for the Syrian ballistic missile
development program, and has been extremely helpful in
ensuring that they never reach their intended user. For more
than a year, this container has been sitting in a Greek port
as Greek judicial authorities pursued possible violations of
Greek law. This week, the Foreign Ministry told us
informally that the investigation is complete, clearing the

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way for the diversion of the shipment to the U.S. pursuant to
our MLAT request for it. Bakoyiannis may give the formal
notification that this is done; otherwise, we are optimistic
that the shipment will be on its way back to the United
States - and thus permanently out of Syrian hands - within
days of your meeting.

-- We are close to agreement on a bilateral Shipboarding
Agreement, which will establish protocols for U.S. warships
to inspect Greek-flagged vessels (Greece controls 25 percent
of the world's total maritime commerce -- through management,
ownership or flag) that may be transporting WMD or associated
materials. We have working-level agreement on a text, but
the Foreign Minister needs to take the politically difficult
step of selling this deal to Greece's influential shipowning
community. You should make clear how much attention we place
on this issue and emphasize the importance of getting an
agreement in place as quickly as possible -- before we
encounter a situation in which it might be needed.

ENERGY SECURITY



9. (C) Greece has found itself thrust squarely into the
middle of European energy security issues this year, largely
as a result of two new regional pipeline ventures. The first
is the Turkey-Greece-Italy (TGI) natural gas interconnector
pipeline, which aims to bring Caspian gas to the three
countries, and beyond to EU markets. The other is the
Burgas-Alexandroupoli (BA) Bosporus bypass oil line. Our
worry is that a predatory Gazprom will make attractive offers
to fill the gas interconnector with Russian gas in order to
prevent development of a Caspian gas export route, and that
it will link the Bosporus bypass to seal the deal. Our
message on both is that Greece should take decisions on these
energy issues based on its (and the EU,s) long-term,
energy-security interests. Concretely, that means the GoG
should not make decisions that would fill the TGI with
Russian (Gazprom) gas, and it should not allow Russia to link
the Bosporus bypass decision (where the Greeks dearly want
Russian old commitments) to gas issues. You may wish to note
that the USG is prepared to help Greece in its analysis of
how best to proceed. EUR DAS Matt Bryza is scheduled to
visit Greece at the end of March. He is to be proceeded by a
team of senior USG energy analysts prepared to brief the
Greeks on the full range of Caspian and regional energy
issues.

GREECE-TURKEY-CYPRUS



10. (C) Greece showed statesmanship and vision last October
by supporting the opening of accession talks with Turkey, and
Bakoyannis has assured me that she supports Turkey's EU
accession. She also seeks to improve Greece's relationship
with Turkey. The progress begun by then-FMs Cem and
Papandreou has stalled, and Greece remains vexed by sea and
airspace disagreements with Turkey. Stung, however, by
"Turkish provocations" in the Aegean, Bakoyannis has insisted
"Greece needs a sign" from Turkey that it too is committed to
the relationship in order to reinvigorate Greek-Turkish
talks. She may brief you on her notion that reopening the
Halki Seminary (a Greek Orthodox school near Istanbul) would
be a much-needed sign of Turkey's western orientation. We
believe there is also great scope for Greek-Turkish
cooperation in the BMENA context, perhaps through joint
activities under the Democracy Assistance Dialogue.



11. (C) Cypriot FM Iacovou was the first FM to visit Athens
after Bakoyannis took over the MFA. Although Bakoyannis went
on record during Iacovou's visit to say that the Annan Plan
"was history," she has assured me that Greece continues to
support the meat of the Annan Plan -- a bizonal, bicommunal
federation. During Cypriot President Papadopoulos' March 7-9
visit, we were dismayed by Papadopoulos' slick handling of
the Greeks, leveraging enthusiastic support from his fellow
Hellenes for his misleading interpretation of the February 28
Annan-Papadopoulos meeting that laid out a proposal for
technical talks. For reasons of domestic political
expediency, successive Greek governments have tended not to
be willing to weigh in effectively with Nicosia, even when
Nicosia hardball tactics affect Greece's broader security
interests with Turkey. The Karamanlis government is no
exception.

-- Therefore, we suggest (and Embassies Ankara and Nicosia
agree) that, rather than asking Bakoyannis to weigh in now
with Papadopoulos, we try the counter-intuitive notion of
asking her for help with FM Gul. She might ask Gul to
encourage the Turkish Cypriots to participate in the
technical talks, and advise Gul to ignore the spin put on the
February 28 meeting between Annan and Papadopoulos. If we

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could get the Greeks to urge Turkey's support for
Turkish-Cypriot participation in technical talks
(notwithstanding Papadopoulos' recent stacking of the deck
with Annan) it could set up the Greeks to weigh in later with
Nicosia should the Cypriots misbehave.

THE BALKANS



12. (C) Bakoyannis' first foreign trip as FM was to the
Balkans, sending signals to Sarajevo, Belgrade and Pristina
that Greece is sensitive to the developments in, and needs
of, the region. Greece wants to play a role in
post-settlement Kosovo, particularly in terms of Serb
majority areas and protection of religious sites. Greece
also shares our view that some form of independence for
Kosovo is the likely outcome of ongoing status talks, but
Bakoyannis said in Belgrade that she did not favor
"constricting timeframes" for those negotiations. She should
hear from you (as she has heard from us) that we strongly
believe Kosovo's status should be resolved this year, and
that an open-ended process will not enhance regional
security.

VISA WAIVER PROGRAM



13. (C) I expect Bakoyannis to ask for your support for
Greece's entry into the Visa Waiver Program. In my first
meeting with her on February 23, she said she "spoke from the
heart" to urge the U.S. to admit Greece to the VWP. It was
"the one thing," she said, that the U.S. could do to have a
major impact on anti-Americanism in Greece. It's true that
Greece has recently rolled out a new, state-of-the-art,
high-security, biometric passport, and will soon start
issuing more secure diplomatic and official passports. We
understand all the old passports will be out of circulation
by the end of the year. As we understand it, Greece also
comfortably meets VWP overstay and visa refusal criteria.
Greece is the only Schengen member among VWP aspirants, which
seems to be important to Chairman Sensenbrenner. In my
meeting with her in February, I told her that DHS had not yet
begun to review possible new VWP participants, and that we
should work closely together to achieve progress and manage
expectations.
Ries