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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06SOFIA1662
2006-12-14 08:35:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Sofia
Cable title:  

YOUR MEETING WITH BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER

Tags:  PREL EINV EUN MARR MOPS OVIP KPAS SR IZ LY 
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VZCZCXRO5010
OO RUEHTRO
DE RUEHSF #1662/01 3480835
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 140835Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY SOFIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
REUHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 SOFIA 001662 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR THE SECRETARY FROM AMBASSADOR BEYRLE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/13/2016
TAGS: PREL EINV EUN MARR MOPS OVIP KPAS SR IZ LY
AF, RS, BU
SUBJECT: YOUR MEETING WITH BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER
IVAILO KALFIN ON DECEMBER 19

SOFIA 00001662 001.2 OF 002


CLASSIFIED BY: AMBASSADOR JOHN BEYRLE, REASONS 1.4(B) AND (D).



1. (C) SUMMARY: FM KALFIN'S VISIT TO WASHINGTON, A SHORT TWO
WEEKS BEFORE BULGARIA CELEBRATES ITS FORMAL ACCESSION TO THE
EU ON JANUARY 1, TOPS OFF AN EXTRAORDINARILY PRODUCTIVE YEAR
IN THE U.S.-BULGARIAN RELATIONSHIP. KALFIN AND PRIME
MINISTER STANISHEV ARE LEADING BULGARIAN PUBLIC OPINION IN
THE RIGHT DIRECTION ON IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, OUR JOINT BASING
AGREEMENT, AND KOSOVO'S FINAL STATUS. KALFIN ACCOMPANIED THE
PRIME MINISTER TO MEETINGS WITH PM MALIKI AND PRESIDENT
TALABANI IN BAGHDAD ON DECEMBER 12: THE BULGARIANS ARE READY
TO EXTEND THEIR TROOP DEPLOYMENT AT CAMP ASHRAF IN 2007, BUT
A POLICY-LEVEL REQUEST FROM THE U.S. WILL HELP THE GOVERNMENT
SELL THE EXTENSION IN PARLIAMENT. ON AFGHANISTAN, THE
GOVERNMENT HAS ALREADY STATED ITS READINESS TO INCREASE THE
NUMBER OF TROOPS IN ISAF, BUT CAVEATS ARE STILL A PROBLEM.
U.S. TRADE AND INVESTMENT IS APPROACHING THE HIGHER LEVELS
YOU SET AS A GOAL DURING YOUR APRIL VISIT TO SOFIA: TO
HIGHLIGHT THIS PUBLICLY, AND YOU AND KALFIN WILL ANNOUNCE
CONCLUSION OF A LONG-SOUGHT DOUBLE TAXATION TREATY, AND SIGN
THE FINAL INSTRUMENTS OF THE UPDATED BILATERAL INVESTMENT
TREATY. SOFIAS RELATIONS WITH MOSCOW LOOK A BIT LESS ROSY;
KALFIN WILL DESCRIBE A SCRATCHY ENCOUNTER WITH LAVROV IN
MOSCOW LAST WEEK, AS BULGARIA CONTINUES HIGH-STAKES TALKS
WITH GAZPROM OVER A LONG-TERM SUPPLY CONTRACT. PERHAPS THE
BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF KALFIN'S VISIT IS KEEPING THE FOCUS ON
THE GOOD NEWS IN U.S.-BULGARIAN RELATIONS, WHICH RISKS BEING
OVERSHADOWED BY THE EXPECTED DECISION OF A TRIPOLI COURT
DECEMBER 19 TO RE-SENTENCE THE BULGARIAN NURSES IN LIBYA TO
DEATH. END SUMMARY.



2. (C) WE SEE FOUR MAIN POLICY OBJECTIVES FOR YOUR MEETING
WITH KALFIN AND SUBSEQUENT PRESS APPEARANCE:

-- REAFFIRM BULGARIA AS A VALUED ALLY IN IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN
AND THE WESTERN BALKANS, SYMBOLIZED BY BULGARIAN AND AMERICAN
SOLDIERS OPERATING SIDE-BY-SIDE IN ALL THREE PLACES;

-- CONFIRM BULGARIAN COMMITMENT TO EXTEND ITS TROOP PRESENCE
IN IRAQ BEYOND MARCH 2007, AND TO AUGMENT ITS FORCES IN
AFGHANISTAN WHILE REDUCING CAVEATS AND THINKING PRT;

-- HIGHLIGHT THE SURGE IN U.S. TRADE AND INVESTMENT, AND
AGREEMENT ON THE TAX AND INVESTMENT TREATIES, AS A NATURAL
CONSEQUENCE OF BULGARIA'S POLITICAL STABILITY AND CLOSE
POLITICAL AND SECURITY COOPERATION WITH US;

-- REASSURE KALFIN THAT RELEASE OF THE BULGARIAN NURSES
REMAINS A TOP PRIORITY OF U.S. POLICY TOWARD LIBYA.



3. (C) KALFIN SHARES OUR DESIRE TO KEEP THE PUBLIC FOCUS ON
OUR CLOSE PARTNERSHIP IN THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM AND THE
BURGEONING ECONOMIC RELATIONSHIP. HE KNOWS THAT THE
SENTENCING OF THE NURSES IN TRIPOLI IS AN UNAVOIDABLE STEP
BEFORE THE LIBYAN GOVERNMENT CAN ENGINEER THEIR RELEASE, BUT
HE WILL BE HARD-PRESSED TO AVOID USING STRONG LANGUAGE FOR
DOMESTIC CONSUMPTION. WE WILL WORK WITH THE BULGARIANS (AND
THE BRITS AND THE EU) TO COORDINATE PUBLIC STATEMENTS AIMED
AT HASTENING THE RELEASE OF THE NURSES. OUR CHALLENGE IS TO
KEEP THE BULGARIANS ON-MESSAGE: THIS REMAINS A HIGHLY
EMOTIONAL ISSUE FOR THEM.



4. (C) ACHIEVING THE FOUR OBJECTIVES OUTLINED ABOVE WILL
ENSURE THAT THE BULGARIANS (AND WE) CAN PORTRAY THE VISIT AS
A SUCCESS. THERE ARE A FEW OTHER ISSUES, THOUGH, THAT WILL
MAKE FOR INTERESTING DISCUSSION WITH KALFIN:

-- ENERGY / RELATIONS WITH MOSCOW: DEPENDENCE ON RUSSIA,
ALREADY OVERWHELMING, IS GROWING: BULGARIA IMPORTS MORE THAN
85 PERCENT OF ITS OIL AND GAS FROM RUSSIA, AND IS 100 PERCENT
DEPENDENT ON MOSCOW FOR NUCLEAR FUEL. BULGARIA RECENTLY
SIGNED A FOUR BILLION EURO CONTRACT WITH RUSSIA TO BUILD A
NEW NUCLEAR POWER PLANT ON THE DANUBE, A DEAL THE BULGARIANS
HOPED WOULD SWEETEN THE TERMS OF THE LONG-TERM GAS SUPPLY
CONTRACT THEY ARE CURRENTLY NEGOTIATING WITH GAZPROM. THESE
ARRANGEMENTS, FROM WHICH SOME IN THE GOVERNMENT (BUT NOT
KALFIN) STAND TO BENEFIT ENORMOUSLY, SEEM TO BE EARNING
BULGARIA LITTLE POLITICAL GOOD WILL IN MOSCOW. KALFIN TOLD

SOFIA 00001662 002.2 OF 002


US HIS DECEMBER 8 MEETINGS WITH LAVROV AND OTHERS WERE TESTY,
MARKED BY RUSSIAN ARM-TWISTING OVER BULGARIA'S EU ACCESSION,
AND EFFORTS TO GAIN A VETO OVER BULGARIAN ARMS EXPORTS TO
GEORGIA. KALFIN HAD ARRIVED HOPING TO SCHEDULE A MOSCOW
VISIT BY PM STANISHEV THIS SPRING, BUT THAT IS NOW BACK ON
THE SHELF.

-- SERBIA/KOSOVO: KALFIN HAS BEEN A STRONG SUPPORTER OF OUR
APPROACH ON KOSOVO, BUT THE BULGARIANS NEED TO REDOUBLE THEIR
OUTREACH TO SERBIA IN THE RUN-UP TO THE FINAL STATUS
DECISION. AS A MODEL FOR EURO-ATLANTIC INTEGRATION DRIVEN BY
HARD POLICY CHOICES, BULGARIA IS A CLEAR SUCCESS STORY TO
EMULATE. AND AS A COUNTRY WITH CULTURAL/LINGUISTIC LINKS TO
THE SERBS, BULGARIA HAS UNUSUAL ACCESS TO SERBIAN CIVIL
SOCIETY THOUGH ITS MANY NGOS.

-- PROPERTY RESTITUTION: BULGARIA HAS RESTITUTED NEARLY ALL
OF THE PROPERTY OWNED BY ITS PRE-WAR JEWISH COMMUNITY, BUT
KALFIN NEEDS TO HEAR THAT THE HANDFUL OF REMAINING CASES NEED
TO BE RESOLVED PROMPTLY. IN THE MOST EGREGIOUS EXAMPLE, THE
BULGARIAN MINISTRY OF HEALTH IS VIOLATING A SERIES OF COURT
DECISIONS IN THE JEWISH COMMUNITY'S FAVOR BY NOT RETURNING A
HOSPITAL PROPERTY IN SOFIA.

-- CRIME AND CORRUPTION: KALFIN SHOULD ALSO HEAR (PERHAPS IN
THE CONTEXT OF CONGRATULATIONS ON BULGARIA'S EU MEMBERSHIP)
THAT MUCH REMAINS TO BE DONE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION
AND ORGANIZED CRIME. OUR MESSAGE IS SIMPLE: LOCK UP
ORGANIZED CRIME BOSSES AND ROOT OUT CORRUPTION FROM THE
POLITICAL AND JUDICIAL SYSTEMS. TO SUCCEED, THE GOVERNMENT
WILL HAVE TO TAKE ON POWERFUL SPECIAL INTERESTS, MANY WITH A
RUSSIAN CONNECTION; WITHOUT PROGRESS, BULGARIA WILL STAY ON
THE MARGINS OF THE TRANS-ATLANTIC TRADE AND INVESTMENT
RELATIONSHIP.



5. FINALLY, HIGH-LEVEL VISITS: KALFIN WILL LOBBY FOR A PM
STANISHEV VISIT TO WASHINGTON AND OVAL OFFICE MEETING IN


2007. WE NEED TO TRY TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN: STANISHEV AND
KALFIN REPRESENT THE WESTWARD-LOOKING, UNCORRUPTED GENERATION
OF BULGARIAN POLITICIANS WHO WE WANT TO CONTINUE RUNNING THIS
COUNTRY FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. WE SHOULDN'T MISS ANY
CHANCE TO GIVE THEM A BOOST --ESPECIALLY WITH MOSCOW'S
BULLYING TACTICS STARTING TO ANNOY THE GOVERNMENT. KALFIN
WILL ALSO RENEW PRESIDENT PARVANOVS INVITATION FOR PRESIDENT
BUSH TO VISIT SOFIA. THE TIMING FOR THIS IS ALSO RIGHT, AS
BULGARIA RE-UPS IN BOTH IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN.
BEYRLE