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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06VILNIUS969 2006-10-25 13:05:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
Cable title:  

LITHUANIA PLEASED WITH ENERGY TALK AT LAHTI SUMMIT

Tags:   PREL EUN LH RS GG 
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VZCZCXRO9704
RR RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHVL #0969/01 2981305
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 251305Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0702
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000969 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/24/2016
TAGS: PREL EUN LH RS GG
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA PLEASED WITH ENERGY TALK AT LAHTI SUMMIT


Classified By: Pol/Econ Chief Rebecca Dunham for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d
)



1. (C) Summary. President Adamkus's silence at the October
20 EU-Putin dinner notwithstanding, Lithuania was pleased
that EU leaders reached a stronger consensus on external
energy policy. Lithuanian officials believe that Putin's
comments on Georgia may help them build sympathy for the
Georgian side among their European partners. End Summary.



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Lithuanians pleased overall with Lahti energy talk


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



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





2. (C) Political Director Zygimantis Pavilionis traveled to
Lahti with President Adamkus and debriefed us October 24.
The good news, he said, was that all EU leaders agreed that
the EU should push Russia to sign the Energy Charter,
increase transparency in the energy sector, and allow mutual
investment in the Russian and European energy sectors.
Still, he said that he was not as upbeat as others, and
expressed frustration with the Finnish presidency in
particular, and called Germany, France and Italy too
conciliatory. The question, he said, was if the line would
hold through negotiations on the new Russia-EU Partnership
and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) negotiations and the (troika
format) November 24 EU-Russia Summit.



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Engaging the Commission


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3. (C) Pavilionis was optimistic about receiving continued
political support from the EU Commission, saying that Barroso
was the strongest voice on energy policy at the Putin dinner.
The Lithuanians had (wrongly) assumed a letter of support to
Adamkus and Polish President Kaczynski from Barroso had been
an attempt to discharge the energy issue quietly, so they
were surprised at the strength of Barroso's comments at
Lahti. They were pleased that Barroso spoke not only about
general energy concerns but in particular about Russia's
closure, ostensibly for repairs, of the pipeline serving
Lithuania's Maziekiu Nafta refinery.



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


Crossing the Finnish line


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





4. (C) The Finnish Presidency was a problem, said Pavilionis.
Lithuanian officials earlier expressed frustration at
Finnish efforts to restrain Lithuania's expression of its
views to Russia, denying Adamkus's request to speak and not
incorporating his points elsewhere. He said Halonen was
"dead silent" on energy and Georgia at the summit, although
she told the Lithuanians that she discussed Maziekiu Nafta
with Putin on the 100 km ride from the airport to Lahti. He
also complained that the Finnish press statement on the
summit with Putin was "romantic" about EU-Russia relations,
neglecting the many troubling current issues.



5. (C) Finnish Ambassador Timo Lahelma told us October 23
that Pavilionis had lobbied him hard to let Adamkus make a
statement about Mazeikiu Nafta at the Lahti dinner. He said
the Presidency had already told the Lithuanian Ambassador in
Helsinki "no," and that it was unusual for the Lithuanians to
re-approach the question through a different channel.
Lahelma said the Presidency had decided that Adamkus could
not raise Maziekiu Nafta because it was a bilateral issue.
They gave other leaders the chance to raise multilateral
issues to which Russia was sensitive, he said, mentioning
Poland's statement on Georgia. He added that the Lithuanians
were also miffed that the Finns wouldn't give them another
seat at the dinner for PM Kirkilas.



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


Lithuania: We told you so.


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





6. (C) Putin's comments at Lahti were intransigent and may
actually help Lithuania garner support for its positions in
the EU, according to Pavilionis. (Pavilionis's impression is
second hand, as President Adamkus was the only Lithuanian at
the dinner.) Putin completely rejected criticism that
Russia's energy policy was unreliable or nontransparent. He
irritated Adamkus by saying that Russia does the Baltic
states the favor of selling them cheap gas because they need
time to develop.



7. (C) Putin's comments on Georgia were a shock to Adamkus,
he said, and probably decreased sympathy for Russia's case
among EU leaders. Putin thrice mentioned imminent bloodshed
in Georgia as though it were unavoidable. Pavilionis said
that he thought Putin's comments may have been a mistake that

VILNIUS 00000969 002 OF 002


will play into Lithuania's ambitions to build EU support for
Georgia. But he also feared they could have the opposite
effect -- of scaring EU capitals away from supporting
Georgia. Lithuania will try to exploit Putin's comments to
turn on the EU's "soft tools." Pavilionis said that
Lithuania would encourage redoubled technical assistance
programs to customs and police services in Georgia in the
October 24 Political and Security Committee.



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

--
Lithuania: Kosovo independence may hurt Georgia


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

--



8. (C) Pavilionis suggested that the international community
should "go slower" towards Kosovo's independence, as Russia
is not bluffing about using any move towards independence for
Kosovo as rationalization for its actions in Georgia's frozen
conflicts. Prolonging a forced settlement on Kosovo, he
said, could help "Georgia survive a cold winter."



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


Moldova


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





9. (C) According to Pavilionis, the EU-25 also discussed
support for an international (rather than Russian)
peacekeeping force in Moldova, along the lines of the recent
Belgian OSCE papers. The problem lies with the Germans, he
said, saying that German Political Director Michael Scheffer
had personally supported the Belgian proposals but had been
overruled. Pavilionis claimed that President Voronin had
serious talks with Putin and felt that support from the EU
was lacking. He said that Putin was offering a free trade
arrangement that included allowing the import of Moldavian
wine, in exchange for reorientation towards Russia and the
undermining of GUAM.



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


Lithuania selling ENP


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





10. (C) Following the summit Pavilionis traveled to France
October 23-24 to sell ENP (a deeper neighborhood policy
focused on eastern neighbors), about which the Lithuanians
delivered long non-papers to all EU members states this
summer. The French are open to the idea as a "substitute"
for membership ambitions. The Lithuanians don't want ENP to
substitute for the open-doors policy, but are willing to have
France buy into it that way in the meantime. Pavilionis told
us France was concerned that ENP would damage their
Mediterranean policy.



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


French "stuck on Georgia"


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





11. (C) Pavilionis said that the French were upset that
Georgia had provoked Russia only days after NATO took the
decision on Intensified Dialogue. They are "stuck on
Georgia," he said, and don't want Georgia on the NATO agenda
for Riga. The French were nevertheless positive about
increased Technical Assistance to Georgia in the framework of
the EU Action Plan, although he found dispiriting the French
Political Director's conclusion that "Abkhazia is lost."



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


Comment


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





12. (C) Following the frustration over the Finns' refusal to
let Adamkus read his prepared statement at the Lahti dinner,
Lithuanian officials and press were pleasantly surprised that
Barroso and other leaders borrowed from Lithuania's talking
points on energy and specifically raised Mazeikiu Nafta.
They are hopeful that Putin's comments will consolidate
skepticism of Russia's reliability, rather than reinforce the
need to placate their large neighbor.
CLOUD