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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06VILNIUS442 2006-05-12 12:19:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
Cable title:  

VILNIUS CDC SUMMIT: DEMOCRACY IS EUROPE'S DESTINY

Tags:   PREL NATO LT LG EN PL GG BO AM AJ UP RO 
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VZCZCXRO2892
RR RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHVL #0442/01 1321219
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 121219Z MAY 06 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0150
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1531
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 VILNIUS 000442 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/09/2016
TAGS: PREL NATO LT LG EN PL GG BO AM AJ UP RO
BU, RS, HT8, HT12, HT17
SUBJECT: VILNIUS CDC SUMMIT: DEMOCRACY IS EUROPE'S DESTINY

Classified By: Pol/Econ officer Traver Gudie for reasons 1.4 (b,d)

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SUMMARY
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1. (U) Heads of state from the Baltic, Black Sea and Caucasus
regions gathered with EU and U.S. high-level officials May 4
for a regional conference, "Common Vision for a Common
Neighborhood," which Lithuania and Poland co-hosted. This
second Community of Democratic Choice (CDC) summit enabled
former Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact countries to make
their own case for integration with the West. Vice President
Cheney,s keynote address on the state of democracy in the
region and Russia,s refusal to participate (and subsequent
intemperate reaction to the Vice President,s speech) stole
the show. End Summary.



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VP,s Speech Dominates Conference and Headlines


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

-



2. (U) Vice President Cheney launched the conference with a
keynote address that lauded the regional move to democracy
and called on nearby governments that were resisting the
trend, notably Belarus and Russia, to join it. The speech at
the CDC conference set the tone for the entire day, and
attracted favorable comment from several other delegations
and much of the Lithuanian political class, from President
Adamkus down. The address attracted more media attention
than any foreign policy speech delivered in Lithuania since
President Bush's 2002 visit, with outlets across the world
providing extensive coverage (e.g., front-page,
above-the-fold stories in the Financial Times on May 5 and
May 8). Lithuanian and international media gave wide
coverage to remarks about Russia, including what they viewed
as Vice President Cheney's firm stand against Russian
interference in new democracies.



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


Conference: A Bolder Neighborhood Policy


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





3. (U) Bringing together states at different stages of
integration with NATO and the EU, CDC summit participants who
followed the Vice President articulated the tenets of a
bolder neighborhood policy:

-- push European structures and NATO to encourage democratic
progress East and South of the EU's borders by advocating
engagement on the basis of an open door policy;
-- criticize Russian pressure on emerging democracies in the
region; and
-- shine a spotlight on non-reforming states, notably
Belarus.

As co-hosts, the GOL carefully managed the heroes of the Rose
and Orange Revolutions, Baltic integration success-stories,
the conspicuous absence of Russia, the presence of Belarusian
activists, and even public bickering between Armenia and
Azerbaijan to make the case for a bolder neighborhood policy
and present the CDC as a bold institution of shared European
values. President Adamkus called on the assembled leaders to
make a new class of commitments, using the hoary bicycle
analogy to illustrate the need to maintain momentum in
democracy,s expansion in Europe. Polish President Kaczynski
called on new EU members to support EU expansion and open
doors, noting that even though Poland may lose some EU
benefits as new members join, a democratic and free Eastern
neighborhood better serves its long-term interest. Poland
and Lithuania issued a joint statement calling on NATO and,
in particular, the EU to develop and realize the full
potential of the European Neighborhood Policy "to create a
Europe whole, free, and at peace."



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



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


New EU Members and Aspirants Endorse Open Doors Policy


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



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





4. (U) During their speeches, the presidents of Lithuania,
Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania all explicitly
endorsed "open-door" membership policies for EU and NATO.
Latvian President Vike-Freiberga called for "enhanced
cooperation between NATO and Ukraine, Georgia, and
Moldova...conceivably to include a membership action plan
with regards to Ukraine and intensified dialogue with
Georgia." In turn, the presidents of Ukraine, Moldova, and
Georgia linked the prospects of EU and NATO membership to
their ability to consolidate democracy, resolve frozen
conflicts, and cement a western orientation in their

VILNIUS 00000442 002 OF 003


countries. "We hope we will receive a clear signal from the
EU," said Yushchenko, "that the philosophy of our relations
will be based on the principle of open doors. Ukraine cannot
stay where it is now, in the uncertain zone between East and
West."



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


Solana: "Success Begins At Home"


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





5. (U) EU High Representative Javier Solana's message was
that Europe's new democracies cannot count on the promise of
EU or NATO membership in order to win domestic support for
reform. He counseled them to move the domestic reform agenda
ahead for its own sake; doing so will shape these countries'
relations with the EU. "The quality of relations between the
EU and the new democracies depends on the quality of the
reforms and democracy within these countries," said Solana.
"Success begins at home."



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


Western European Ministers More Cautious


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





6. (U) Representatives from Western Europe (who, unlike the
CDC members, sent ministers or, in France's case, a civil
servant rather than heads of state to the conference) echoed
Solana's reticence to endorse EU membership prospects for
Ukraine and Georgia prematurely. Nor can the EU accept all
aspirants at one time, added Belgian Foreign Minister Karel
De Gucht. German Minister of State for Europe Gunter Gloser
outlined the action plans for Ukraine and the Caucasus and
said that the first step is to move forward on those.
Austrian delegate Anna Haselbach, Vice President of the
Bundesrat, raised the possibility of offering something less
than full membership, suggesting a "third option," "something
like a European Economic Area." Haselbach and others focused
on providing assistance to the EU's neighbors. She noted
that "through existing structures, the EU has given
sufficient assistance to democracy and human rights in CIS
countries." Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos
suggested a "more global approach to neighborhood policy."
He advocated considering together Eastern Europe
neighborhoods and those of the South Mediterranean in
discussions of EU neighbors, distinguishing neighborhood
policy from EU accession. "Our southern neighbors need
reform too," he said.



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


EU's Role Resolving Frozen Conflicts


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





7. (U) Romanian President Basescu, Moldovan President
Voronin and Georgian President Saakashvili argued that the
prospect of European integration is an important motivation
for settling frozen conflicts. Voronin said that "choosing
European integration as a national strategy" is key to
finding a "settlement through democracy." EU HR Solana
offered help to facilitate settlement of frozen conflicts,
but said, "The mantra is always the same: success starts at
home. The lead must come from new democracies."



8. (U) As if to show how difficult that would be, Azeri Prime
Minister Rasizadeh next spoke perfunctorily about "profound
changes" in Azerbaijan "instituting democratic processes,
promoting rule-of-law, establishing freedom of speech and
human rights." He then turned to the Azeri-Armenian dispute
over Nagorno-Karabakh (N-K). He denounced "Armenia's
aggression against Azerbaijan," labeling "occupied and
uncontrolled territories" a "fertile ground for terrorist,
criminal groups." Armenian FM Vartan Oskanian described
Armenia's democratic second path, "evolution, not
revolution," and struck back on N-K issues, to the visible
frustration of Solana.



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

-
"A Conference without Russia" but about Russia


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

-



9. (C) "This is not an anti-Russia conference," Lithuanian
President Adamkus concluded. "This is a conference without
Russia." (Note: The Conference's organizer, MFA Special
Ambassador to Eastern Europe Edminas Bagdonas, told us that
Putin declined to participate in the conference, offering
instead to send an intelligence official resident at
Russia,s Embassy here, whom the Lithuanians refused to seat
at the table.) Russia,s absence did not spare it from
comment; several speakers followed Vice President Cheney,s
lead in discussing the Kremlin,s behavior. "Democracy is
under threat" from "political forces in Moscow," Georgian

VILNIUS 00000442 003 OF 003


President Saakashvili declared, criticizing what he called
other countries' "appeasement" of Moscow. He warned of
pressures to roll back the democratic advances that new
democracies have made. "The changes we once thought were
universal and irreversible in Tbilisi and Kyiv, here in the
Baltics, as also in Russia, are now confronted by very
serious forces intent on promoting very different outcomes,"
he said. Putin's former advisor, Andrei Illarionov, echoed
this theme in a panel discussion with heads of state,
speaking strongly against "contracting freedom and retreating
democracy" in Russia.



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


Spotlight on Belarus


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





10. (U) HR Solana, Lithuanian President Adamkus, Polish
President Kaczynski, British Minister of State Douglas
Alexander, and Austrian Vice-President of the Bundesrat
Haselbach criticized recent elections in Belarus as
"fundamentally flawed" and called on Lukashenko to release
jailed opposition members. Solana echoed the comments of
many delegations: "The people of Belarus showed bravery in
asserting their fundamental democratic rights. The EU has
taken tough measures against those individuals responsible.
But the EU also sent a clear message of engagement to the
population and long-term support for civil society."



11. (U) Representatives of the Belarusian opposition
participated in high-level meetings and high-profile events.
The wives of jailed opposition members Alexander Kozulin and
Alexander Milinkevich (whom Belarusian authorities detained
just days before the conference) and opposition Number Two
Anatoly Lebedko spoke at the lunch for heads of state and
their delegations. In addition, the Lithuanian MFA hosted
ten Belarusian student activists in the scarce NGO seats in
the conference room.



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


Media Response


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





12. (U) While the Vice President,s speech dominated
international press coverage, local press covered several
other aspects of the gathering as well. Covering President
Adamkus's assertion that the conference was not
"anti-Russian," one article called the event pro-Russian,
because it promoted values to which Russian citizens, too,
should aspire. Lithuanian press accounts quoted U.S. and EU
criticism of Lukashenko's regime in Belarus and statements of
jailed opposition leader Kozulin's wife. Citing Adamkus and
Yushchenko, the press compared the CDC to the Vilnius Ten,
which in 2000 pooled efforts of ten European democracies to
join the EU and NATO. These ten countries today strongly
advocate for regional cooperation and an open door to the
institutions they already joined.



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


Comment


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





13. (C) Now a two-year veteran member of the European Union
and NATO, Lithuania, like its Baltic neighbors and Polish
co-host, sees itself as a natural promoter of democracy east
of Europe's borders. Bringing newly admitted EU and NATO
member states together with aspirant states that are the
target of neighborhood policy, the CDC raised high-level
awareness of the intensity with which much of Europe,s
eastern flank wishes to join the West.
KELLY