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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06BUCHAREST981 2006-06-13 16:33:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bucharest
Cable title:  

ROMANIAN BLACK SEA FORUM: FIRST STEPS TOWARD A

Tags:   PREL AORC ECIN PINS PHSA NATO PGOV AM AJ BU 
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VZCZCXRO7432
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHBM #0981/01 1641633
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131633Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4651
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BUCHAREST 000981 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR PEKALA, EUR/NCE SILKWORTH
NSC FOR DAMON WILSON
SECDEF FOR OSD COLONEL AZACCOR AND LTC PNAJERA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/13/2016
TAGS: PREL AORC ECIN PINS PHSA NATO PGOV AM AJ BU
GG, MD, RS, TU, UP, RO
SUBJECT: ROMANIAN BLACK SEA FORUM: FIRST STEPS TOWARD A
REGIONAL DIALOGUE AND CLOSER LINKS WESTWARD

REF: A. BUCHAREST 902

B. BUCHAREST 519

Classified By: CDA Mark Taplin for Reasons 1.4(a), (b) and (d)



1. (C) Summary. Senior GOR officials assert that they will
use the momentum initiated by the June 5 "Black Sea Forum for
Dialogue and Partnership" summit in Bucharest as a "launching
pad" for further dialogue and cooperation in the Black Sea
region. Romanian interlocutors have also expressed gratitude
for U.S. support for the Forum, culminating in Deputy
National Security Advisor J.D. Crouch's announcement of USG
support for the German Marshall Fund's Black Sea Trust. The
most discordant note at the conference was the refusal of
Russia to participate beyond "observer status" or to sign the
Forum joint declaration, which was endorsed by every other
country in the Black Sea region. Romanian interlocutors
insist, however, that the region's willingness to move
forward without Russian buy-in represents a "psychological
breakthrough." Much of the credit for the Forum's overall
success lies with President Basescu, who has placed Black Sea
issues, including closer regional links with NATO and the EU,
front and center on his foreign policy agenda. End Summary.




2. (SBU) After nearly a year of diplomatic and logistical
fits and starts, Romania finally held the "Black Sea Forum
for Dialogue and Partnership" summit in Bucharest on June 5.
Deputy National Security Advisor J.D. Crouch headed the U.S.
delegation to the event and announced the launching of The
Black Sea Trust, in partnership with the German Marshall Fund
of the United States (GMFUS) and the Romanian Government.
Dr. Crouch observed in his remarks that the Trust would "fund
programs across the region to strengthen cross-border
cooperation, civic participation, democratic governance, and
the rule of law." He confirmed that the USG "intends to make
a significant contribution this year to the initiative."
(Note. GMFUS characterizes the Trust as a ten-plus year
"grant making initiative" and anticipates cash and in-kind
commitments totaling more than USD 20 million at the time of
the launch, and growth of the Trust's funding to more than
USD 40 million over its lifetime. End Note.) Several media
reports underscored that Dr. Crouch's announcement was the
first concrete initiative stemming from the Forum.



3. (C) Senior GOR officials, from President Basescu on down,
have made it clear that Romania greatly appreciated Dr.
Crouch's attendance at the Forum. Stelian Stoian, MFA
Director General for Global Affairs, told acting Pol Chief
June 9 that Crouch's presence, along with his announcement of
the Black Sea Trust, sent "a very strong message" that Black
Sea regional cooperation and development was "truly important
to the U.S. government." The Trust Fund, Stoian continued,
is "a big deal" for both Romania and the greater Black Sea
region. Stoian, who was among several senior GOR officials
who consulted periodically with Emboffs in the months leading
up to the Forum, underscored that he and his colleagues
appreciated USG help in preparing for the Forum and in urging
other nations to participate at a senior level. In separate
conversations during and after the Forum, several Romanian
officials and NGO leaders also expressed their appreciation
for Dr. Crouch's statement of support for the GMFUS,
stressing that U.S. encouragement of Romanian efforts to
organize the Forum and attract high level attendance helped
ensure the event's success -- and would provide impetus to
efforts to develop tangible cooperation among the Black Sea
littoral states, and beyond.

Joint Declaration Provides a Starting Point


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




4. (SBU) The other noteworthy achievement of the June 5
Forum -- and the goal upon which GOR planners had focused
since last summer -- was the signature by the presidents of
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine,
as well as senior representatives from Bulgaria, Greece and
Turkey, of a joint declaration characterizing the Forum as
&a process that will serve as a regional platform designed
primarily to define a common vision of democratic and
sustainable development.8 It will likewise "help
consolidate regional commonalities, through providing new
ideas and proposals for an intensified dialogue and
cooperation within the Black Sea region.8 The signatory
states pledge that &the Forum will have no permanent
structures or bodies and will not duplicate the activities of
the existing mechanisms of cooperation in the region.8 In

BUCHAREST 00000981 002 OF 003


the months leading up to the Forum, the Romanians at times
found the negotiations over the text daunting, especially
with Russia, Turkey and Greece, but adjusted by focusing on
less controversial themes and goals, such as good governance
and sustainable development. The English version of the
Joint Declaration and other details about the Forum are
available at www.mae.ro. Senior officials from NATO, OSCE,
UN, EU, IOM the Council of Europe, the UK, France and Germany
and leading NGOs also participated in the Forum, delivering
speeches at the Forum's opening session in support of the
growing importance of the Black Sea region.



5. (SBU) In his remarks at the conference, President Basescu
insisted that &responsibility for evolution in the Black Sea
region lies mainly with the states of the region.8
According to Basescu, the region now has "a great opportunity
to become an attractive partner for the main economic powers,
provided it transforms itself from a source of problems into
a generator of solutions in the European and global
context.8 In his speech, Basescu also expressed his
appreciation for the attention given by the U.S. government
to the Black Sea region and highlighted the initiatives of
American NGOs in promoting the development and
democratization of the area, including the Black Sea Trust.

Where Was Ivan?


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




6. (C) Russia was the only Black Sea littoral state which did
not sign the Joint Declaration and which did not send a
senior representative from its capital. Russia's &observer"
at the Forum was its Ambassador to Romania, Aleksandr
Tolkach, who told journalists that &there are too many
initiatives8 for cooperation in the Black Sea region and
that the Russian position on this subject was "well-known."
One Romanian expert on Russia labeled this chariness a result
of continuing fear of U.S. efforts to establish a "cordon
sanitaire" around the Black Sea. President Basescu stressed
in his Forum speech, however, that &no process of
cooperation within the Black Sea Region is complete without
the substantial contribution of Russia.8

Breaking a "Psychological Barrier"


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




7. (C) That said, GOR officials have consistently stressed
to us their determination to focus on boosting regional
cooperation, even if the Russians won't play ball. Even
before the Forum, the MFA Director General for Political
Affairs, Ovidiu Dranga, underscored that "the ship is leaving
the dock, whether or not the Russians are on board." MFA DG
Stoian asserted that the Forum's success sans Russian
participation "broke a psychological barrier because it
marked the first time the countries in the region got
together and discussed their problems without the Russians."
Pausing for a moment, Stoian argued that the Forum shattered
the perception that "nothing could happen without Russian
participation." According to Stoian, Russia will join in
"sooner or later," now that it has seen that other nations in
the region will act, with or without Russian buy-in.
Bucharest could take comfort from the fact that the other key
Black Sea country, Turkey, did in the end see fit to take
part in the Forum proceedings at a respectable level, even if
its attitude towards the Romanian initiative remained
ambivalent. Although Romanian media reaction was mixed, one
leading analyst commented that the ability of Romania to
attract so many regional heads of state to the Forum, and
provide a venue for discussions between Armenia and
Azerbaijan, was proof enough that the Forum had been a "big
success" for Romanian foreign policy.

Full Steam Ahead!


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




8. (C) Comment. Stoian and other senior Romanian officials
have underscored to us that the Forum marked a beginning of a
process of heightened regional cooperation and dialogue,
rather than an end in itself. While the countries of the
region still have a long way to go in overcoming centuries of
suspicion and rivalry, the Forum may have represented a
necessary first step in boosting a more positive, less
strained approach to regional cooperation. The Romanians
promise us they will not rest on their oars but intend to
press ahead in promoting follow-up, including what Bucharest
hopes will be a second Forum event next year in Turkey.
Regardless of whether the Romanians are able to keep the
Forum a living framework, however, we agree with Stoian's
observation that the concept of a Black Sea region is now

BUCHAREST 00000981 003 OF 003


irrevocably "on the table, both at NATO and the EU." While
President Basescu had hoped for more -- he was disappointed,
in particular, by the unexpected absence of Bulgarian
President Purvanov -- the Forum advanced the foreign policy
cause that is perhaps nearest and dearest to his heart,
namely that of building links between the Black Sea region
and western partners and institutions. The attitude of
European participants ran the gamut, from bemused to
boisterous, but there is reason to believe that they, too,
took notice. And whatever shortfalls there were in the
practical planning of the event by the Romanian Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, the Forum as seen from Bucharest was still a
notable success. Likewise, our goal of being broadly
supportive of this Romanian effort, as a show of support for
an especially valuable partner, was also clearly achieved.
It will pay dividends down the road, for some time to come.
End Comment.



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