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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06USNATO687
2006-11-28 11:28:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Mission USNATO
Cable title:  

NOVEMBER 7 HLTF AND NRC-ACE MEETINGS AT NATO

Tags:   PARM  PGOV  KCFE  NATO  PREL  RS 
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VZCZCXRO1172
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHNO #0687/01 3321128
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 281128Z NOV 06 ZDK
FM USMISSION USNATO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0249
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 06 USNATO 000687 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/22/2016
TAGS: PARM PGOV KCFE NATO PREL RS
SUBJECT: NOVEMBER 7 HLTF AND NRC-ACE MEETINGS AT NATO

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REF: STATE 182992

Classified By: Political Advisor Stuart Seldowitz, Reasons 1.4(d)



1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The HLTF met November 7 to review next
steps regarding the U.S.-proposed "positive agenda" for
engaging Russia on CFE issues during the next months; to
consider language on CFE for inclusion in a Riga communiqu;
and to address remaining questions regarding several I.S.
discussion papers, including Germany's proposed "matrix"
setting out the status of the Istanbul commitments. An NRC
(ACE) meeting followed the HLTF. Highlights:

-- The HLTF referred the Istanbul "Matrix" and Consolidated
IS Paper on stationed forces to Deputies for further
work/finalization.

-- Allies agreed to utilize the message of the Positive
Agenda paper in exchanges with Russia, including the NRC
(ACE), but recognized that it needed additional discussion by
Deputies to resolve questions that resulted from the merging
of extensive Franco-German comments into the U.S.
food-for-thought paper.

-- Concerning the Russian CSBM proposals, the HLTF recognized
the need for instruction to delegations in Vienna, but there
was no consensus to forward the I.S. and IMS papers as
guidance. Based on comments by the French representative,
which represented the minimum that might be agreeable, the
I.S. was tasked to prepare a text which would be circulated
under silence procedure.

-- Several Allies expressed concern that the draft communique
text circulated by the I.S. lacked key messages, such as a
call upon the Russian Federation to resume the withdrawal of
forces from Moldova. It was agreed that Deputies should
develop a text keying off of the last two NAC communiques,
suitably updated. Deputies would work communique language as
their first priority. The next HLTF meeting is scheduled for
January 19, 2007.

-- At the 7 November NRC (ACE) session, Allies sent a strong,
unified message that effectively captured ideas for promoting
reciprocal dialogue in the NRC on CFE and conventional forces
issues, as suggested in the U.S. "positive agenda" paper.
The Russian representative welcomed this "revolutionary"
message and promised to report it favorably to Moscow. END
SUMMARY.



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


Contacts and Bilaterals


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





2. (SBU) The Chairman, Assistant SECGEN for Policy Martin
Erdmann, thoroughly discussed the NATO SECGEN's recent trip
to Moscow, where he met with Russian President Putin, Foreign
Minister Antonov, and Minister of Defense Ivanov. A
classified report is available (SG(2006)0777, dated November
2, 2006). Among the issues addressed were:

-- Georgia military actions which Putin said could lead to
military confrontation;


-- Russian concerns about U.S. plans to use facilities in
Romania and Bulgaria; and

-- Moscow's insistence that Russian withdrawal of military
forces in Moldovan Transnistrian region was dependent on a
political settlement.



3. (SBU) Norway also reported on discussions with Defense
Minister Ivanov in which he emphasized three points: 1) NATO
enlargement; 2) the establishment of new bases in Romania and
Bulgaria; and 3) the need for a political solution between
Moldova and Transnistria as the precondition for Russian
troop withdrawal from Moldova.



4. (SBU) The United States HLTF Rep. DAS Karin L. Look also
briefed on A/S DeSutter's discussions with FMA Antonov, and
the Russian demarche received by DAS Look from Russia's
Senior Political Counselor Yermakov in Washington. Rep.
Look noted that the basing issue was not discussed in either
meeting with Russia (DeSutter's or Look's). Look reported
that Yermakov's focus was the Russian CSBM proposals it had
tabled in the forum for Security and Cooperation (FSC) in
Vienna. She noted that in advancing the transit proposal, it
appeared Russia was trying to "salami slice" the Adapted CFE
Treaty The U.S. was supportive of the substance of transit
proposals in the context of the adapted CFE Treaty, but that
was a package deal. CFE countries needed to keep their focus
achieving EIF of the Adapted CFE Treaty, which is the

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"prize." The U.S. was not prepared to implement the Adapted
Treaty piecemeal. Rep. Look also reminded Allies that
negotiation leading up to the signature of the adapted CFE
Treaty entailed many compromises which resulted in all States
Parties being able to sign the "Agreement on Adaptation" in
Istanbul on November 19, 1999. Germany, Hungary, and Italy
also stated that they were demarched by Russia on the Russian
CSBM proposals. Germany agreed that the proposals lacked
reciprocity. Hungary stated it is continuing to study the
proposals and that it would be extremely difficult to agree
on these issues this year. Hungary and Italy also claimed
that Russia would be interested in briefing on its Rapid
Reaction Forces, as a sign of transparency.



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


Istanbul Commitments


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





5. (C) The Chairman reported on progress made by Deputies on
a number of I.S. papers at the October 26 Deputies meeting
and noted that there was more work remaining. Erdmann
reiterated the point that the Istanbul commitments "Matrix"
should be for NATO's internal use only, as a reference.
Discussion made clear that the big issue outstanding is the
status of the Russian PKF in Moldova with respect to the
Istanbul commitments. Germany opined that the Russian PKF in
Moldova was not covered by the Istanbul commitments;
suggesting that this is demonstrated by the fact that the PKF
is separately addressed in the OSCE Istanbul declaration.
Others/many felt differently. U.S. Rep. Look emphasized
three points regarding the paper: that the "Matrix" should be
factual, not interpretive; that it would be useful to have an
agreed text for use as a resource document; and that Deputies
should complete the work resolving the remaining differences.
Turkey (Meric) agreed that there were differences amongst
Allies which needed to be ironed out and because of that
reason, the document should be for internal use only.
Romania and the UK stressed that NATO should consider the PKF
to be covered by the Istanbul commitments. Biontino
reiterated the familiar German argument that the 1992 cease
fire agreement constitutes host-nation consent, and would
need to be abrogated to revoke that consent. No Ally spoke
to endorse this position.



6. (C) Nonpapers were provided by Moldova and Georgia to
inform HLTF discussion. The Moldovan paper stressed
Chisinau's desire to have Russian forces withdrawn from
Moldova; that an international PKO should replace the Russian
peacekeeping force; that long-term monitoring of ammo sites
in Transnistria should be established; that the 5 2 format
for working a settlement should continue; and thanked the
Alliance for its unwavering support. The paper did not state
clearly that Moldova considered the PKF to be covered by the
Istanbul commitments, as previous Moldovan statements have
done. This fuelled German argumentation.



7. (C) The Georgian paper was relatively upbeat, describing
recent tensions between Moscow and Tbilisi but noting that
Russia was continuing to implement withdrawal commitments
concerning Akhalkalaki and Batumi. It also discussed at some
length steps that would need to be taken for Gudauta to be
considered "disbanded and withdrawn," focusing on the model
of what had taken place at Vaziani years earlier. Germany
noted that it continues to believe a "fact-finding" mission
to Gudauta was essential, but was not having much success in
orchestrating the mission.



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


Consolidation of I.S. Papers


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





8. (SBU) The Chairman acknowledged that the Deputies had
almost come to consensus on the paper, and the two sentences
outstanding should be easily resolved. Belgium questioned
the status of the document once completed. The disposition of
this paper will be on the 18 January HLTF agenda. UK, U.S.,
and France all preferred that the document remain an internal
use paper. Turkey noted that a title change should be made.
Germany and Norway remarked that it should be the basis for a
response to Russia as NATO expands.



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


Positive Agenda


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





9. (C) France opened discussion by pointing out that the new
I.S. text, which merged the original U.S. paper and
Franco-German comments, would need considerable work by
Deputies. The U.S. agreed but responded that the
Alliance should not lose the opportunity of today's NRC-ACE
to reflect the "good story" of NATO's contributions to

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Euro-Atlantic security, which needs to be shared with the
public. Others agreed. The UK thanked Deputies for their
efforts and noted that the HLTF should take a serious look at
public diplomacy after Riga. Turkey felt it was important to
have a positive agenda for the ACE. The Czech Republic,
supported by Romania, cautioned others that several aspects
of the merged "positive agenda" paper had not been agreed in
the Deputies' discussion, citing in particular Franco-German
suggestions regarding inspections and fact-finding missions
on the territories of Moldova and Georgia. This area needed
further work to avoid any suggestion of political recognition
of separatist regimes, in light of the relationship between
these ideas and ongoing settlement discussions.



10. (C) Allies agreed to place the original Franco-German
paper on CFE's contributions to Euro-Atlantic Security under
silence in order to permit it to be placed on the NATO
website. Deputies would return to the positive agenda paper,
to sort out remaining differences. While the Germans hoped
to see this document agreed before Riga, this ambitious
notion had no support. Other Allies argued that Deputies'
priority must be the NAC communique text on CFE/Istanbul.



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


Russian CSBM Proposals


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





11. (C) The U.S. opened discussion by stating that the U.S.
is cool to the Russian proposals; we do not want to go down
the path of applying elements of the Adapted Treaty
piecemeal, which appears to be what the Russians are
proposing. U.S. Rep Look argued that guidance is needed for
Vienna delegations and that she was prepared to support
sending the I.S. paper and the IMS paper to Vienna in that
capacity. France and Germany argued that the I.S. paper was
too negative, and that NATO needed to take a positive tone in
engaging the Russians in Vienna. Several Allies agreed that
it was important not to send too negative a signal.



12. (C) Look argued that there was a risk of misleading
Russia: she believed there was consensus among Allies not to
salami-slice the Adapted CFE Treaty, and in fact these
proposals would never be acceptable. Allies might usefully
pursue dialogue with Russia on the concerns that underpin
their proposals, but the proposals themselves would not
succeed. Several Allies appeared to acknowledge this, but
the Franco-German view on the merits of a positive tone, at
least prior to the OSCE Ministerial, had widespread support.
In an effort to bridge the gap, the French rep proposed
minimalist guidance which would underscore Allies, concern
about the proposals, the need to study them carefully, our
openness to dialogue, and our conviction that these proposals
would not be agreed for the OSCE Ministerial. The I.S.
agreed to develop a text and place it under silence.



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


Preparation for the NRC-ACE


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





13. (SBU) Allies and the chair expressed frustration that
the Russian delegation had only approved the agenda for the
NRC-ACE at 9:00 AM that morning, and that it was still not
clear at noon who would sit in the chair for Russia. U.S.
Rep Look suggested Allies use the opportunity of the meeting
to advance our "positive agenda" on CFE, underscoring the
Treaty's value to all States Parties. She noted that the
U.S. was willing to comment on CFE-relevant military
transformation plans in order to keep the dialogue moving.
Germany and other Allies acknowledged this as an important
contribution to dialogue. Estonia cautioned that Russia may
request to alternate NRC meetings in Brussels with sessions
in Vienna, where Russia has a larger arms control staff. The
UK said it would not want to reject this out of hand, but all
who spoke, including the Chair, agreed that sessions outside
Brussels would be a poor use of resources.


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


NATO Communique


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





14. (C) U.S. Rep Look said that the proposed text, while
accurate enough, lacked any sense of urgency regarding
completion of Russia's remaining Istanbul commitments. It
did not, for example, mention Allies' disappointment with the
continued lack of progress in Moldova. France and Germany
thought it would be a good idea to add language concerning
the CFE RevCon. Romania argued to stick to previous NAC
communique text, reinforcing the U.S. message. Turkey
weighed in, preferring to use the 2005 Communique text as the
basis for work since nothing has changed and the text was
sound. The Chairman agreed that Deputies should refine the
text accordingly, keeping in mind the need for brevity.

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


Date of Next Meeting


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





15. (SBU) Dates for the four "locked in concrete" meetings
could not be "locked-in" due to scheduling procedures by the
conference room schedulers at NATO. However, January 18 and
April 19 were suggested by the Chairman as two set meeting
dates. Germany stated that it could not agree that the HLTF
should only meet four times per year. It preferred to meet
every other month. The U.S. understood that there may be
other meetings scheduled, however it was the desire of the
U.S. that four meetings be locked in advance and not changed
due to the inability to secure appropriate meeting rooms.
This will be discussed further at the January meeting.



16. (U) The Turkish Rep Meric bid farewell since he will
assume his new posting as Ambassador to Singapore in late
December or early January.



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


NRC-ACE Meeting


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





17. (C) Chairman Martin Erdmann opened the meeting by
referencing the Ministers' tasking to intensify work at the
expert level in NRC groups, and then invited comments on the
group's standing agenda item: the status of the Istanbul
commitments. The U.S. (EUR/RPM Deputy Director Jennifer
Laurendeau) took the floor to congratulate Russia for signing
into law the 31 March Russian-Georgian withdrawal agreement,
and expressed hope for comparable progress in Moldova. She
said the U.S was disappointed by the continued stalemate in
Moldova, and noted that resumption of Russian military
withdrawal would send a clear message to the Transnistrian
leadership that the status quo will not last forever; that
the Russian Federation, like other OSCE governments, wants
movement on a settlement of the conflict; and that Tiraspol
needs to rejoin the political settlement negotiations in a
constructive spirit. Germany, Turkey, and Romania seconded
the U.S. on the need for progress in Moldova, and reiterated
NATO,s message that fulfillment of the Istanbul Commitments
is necessary to create the basis for Allies to ratify the
Adapted CFE Treaty.



18. (C) German Representative Biontino then took up
Erdmann's challenge to examine ideas for intensifying work in
the group, keying off of the U.S.'s "positive agenda for CFE"
paper. Biontino recalled that this was the first NRC-ACE
since the Third CFE Review Conference, and that Germany had
hoped for a stocktaking discussion, which would not be
possible because Russian CFE experts were not present.
Biontino commented that the differences between NATO and
Russia regarding the utility of the CFE Regime need to be
discussed in the NRC. Whereas NATO placed high value on the
current and Adapted CFE Treaties, Russian public statements
suggested Moscow had a different view. He said the NRC (ACE)
should look beyond our focus on the Istanbul Commitments and
include dialogue regarding the changes in conventional forces
that are taking place in the Russian Federation and in NATO.
Drawing from the draft Positive Agenda paper, Germany
proposed that the NRC (ACE) consider a number of ideas for
future work:

(1) On a reciprocal basis, exchange information on relevant
changes in conventional forces;

(2) Discuss security concerns related to European
conventional forces (Biontino suggested as an example that
Allies lack a clear understanding of Russian concerns that
underpin their CSBM proposals, and the NRC (ACE) might be a
useful forum for such discussions);

(3) Exchange views on CFE's contribution to Euro-Atlantic
Security, particularly in the wake of discussions at the
Review Conference;

(4) Consider any remaining obstacles to fulfillment of the
Istanbul Commitments (Biontino observed that NATO Allies had
provided substantial funds through the OSCE in the past to
assist Russian withdrawal from Georgia and Moldova, and funds
continue to be available).

(5) Discuss possible fact finding missions in Georgia and
Moldova that might help to promote fulfillment of the
Istanbul commitments. (Note: There is a Franco-German idea
whose specifics have been criticized by the U.S. and other
NATO Allies in the HLTF and HLTF Deputies contexts).



19. (C) In the tour de table that followed, Romania,

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Turkey, France, Italy, Greece, Belgium, the U.K, and the U.S.
all seconded aspects of Biontino,s presentation. Turkish
rep Meric stressed that Turkey views CFE as the "cornerstone"
of European security, and called for a frank, in-depth
exchange of views and stocktaking following the 2006 CFE
Review Conference to identify a positive way forward. Meric
noted that we could exchange information on forces related to
CFE, discuss security concerns, and discuss CFE's relevance
and contributions to Euro-Atlantic security. France observed
that a dialogue could build trust between Russia and NATO and
enable us to work together better, and noted that France is
willing to exchange information non points of concern,
doctrine, or equipment.



20. (C) The UK said that while the German proposal was
promising, it was important that the group organize itself
for thoughtful discussions. He deftly alluded to Allies'
dissatisfaction with the fact that, due to Russian stalling,
the agenda for the ACE meeting had not been agreed until that
morning, and Russian representation had still not been
determined until minutes before the meeting. Future meetings
required an agenda agreed in advance. Adequate
representation was needed to ensure that appropriate experts
(i.e., appropriate Russian experts) are prepared to be
present at the meeting for focused discussions. There was
general support for the idea of agreeing on an agenda in
advance, which the Russian representative, a political
officer from their NATO Mission, said he would have to
confirm with Moscow.



21. (C) Laurendeau followed up on the UK proposal, noting
that she believed the current agenda had been in place for
close to five years. She stressed that the first agenda,
which focuses on the Istanbul commitments, needed to remain
in place, but that the U.S. agreed that the NRC (ACE) could
and should consider broader discussion of issues relevant to
CFE that had an important role to play in our assessment of
European security more generally. It was appropriate to
share information, on a reciprocal basis, regarding plans and
intentions, especially plans with CFE implications.
Laurendeau observed that because the CFE Treaty exists, there
is a structure and a context that requires States Parties to
exchange certain types of information on our forces. The
U.S., for example, had recently notified the entry into
service in the CFE area of several types of equipment
associated with our Stryker Brigade Combat Team. She said
the U.S. planned to brief the JCG on Stryker equipment types
in late November, noting that if the CFE Treaty did not
exist, there would be no ready vehicle to ensure nations
received such information in a structured way. The U.S.
would be prepared to share information in the NRC (ACE) on
CFE-relevant developments regarding U.S. forces in Europe.
She noted that virtually all NATO Allies, and Russia, are
restructuring their conventional forces in order to meet new
security challenges. It was important for any discussions in
the NRC (ACE) to be reciprocal.



22. (C) COMMENT: Once it became clear that Russia would be
represented at the meeting by a political officer rather than
an experienced interlocutor on CFE/security issues, Germany
and France, seconded by the UK, suggested on the margins that
the U.S. postpone planned comments on our Stryker deployment
and related issues (reftel). Laurendeau and team agreed that
this made sense, and that we would instead preview our
briefing to the JCG, and express readiness to offer comments
in a subsequent NRC (ACE), while calling (as did other
Allies) for broad reciprocity in the dialogue on CFE related
restructuring plans. End Comment



23. (C) The Russian representative made clear that he was
not a CFE expert and could only offer preliminary responses
to comments by others. He welcomed the suggestions for
broadened dialogue in the NRC(ACE), calling them
"revolutionary" even on a date, November 7, which had special
meaning in Russian/Soviet history. He believed Moscow would
react to our proposals positively, and he would report them
in that spirit. He said Moscow had been concerned that the
NRC-ACE is being stalemated, but these new ideas were a sign
that NATO takes Russian security concerns seriously. The
proposed dialogue, he thought, could lead us to enrich the
work of the NRC(ACE) into new spheres of common concern. On
a less optimistic note, he reminded the group that Russia has
a negative view of the current CFE Treaty, and that Russia
has already ratified the Adapted CFE, so moving forward on
ratification is not the Russian problem. In a departure from
the usual Russian patter line, he stressed that Russia was
working hard to fulfill its Istanbul Commitments and that
they had come a long way on Georgia. They were trying to do
the same in Moldova, but they believed that withdrawal was
not possible until after a comprehensive political settlement
had been achieved -- "which is a different approach than that

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suggested by the U.S."



24. (C) The International Staff agreed that it will attempt
to circulate a new agenda well in advance of the next
meeting, which has not yet been scheduled. After the
meeting, the U.S. stressed to the Chair that agenda item 1,
discussion of the Istanbul Commitments, must remain on any
expanded agenda; the UK endorsed that position and the Chair
agreed.
JOHNSON