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2006-02-03 15:03:00
Embassy Warsaw
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 WARSAW 000176 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2016

Classified By: DCM Kenneth Hillas, reasons 1.4 (B)&(D)

1. (C) Summary: Septel reports on security and defense
issues discussed by EUR A/S Dan Fried and ASD/ISP Peter Flory
at the Third U.S.-Polish Strategic Dialogue (SD) January 25
in Warsaw and provides a list of the principal U.S. and
Polish participants. This cable covers the SD sessions on
Eastern Policy (Russia, Ukraine and Belarus) and U.S-EU
foreign policy cooperation worldwide, as well as the general
discussion of U.S.-Polish bilateral issues. The "Eastern
agenda" was a dominant theme throughout the SD and at
bilateral meetings with PM Marcinkiewicz and President Lech
Kaczynski. End Summary.

2. (C) Acknowledging the efforts of President Bush to turn
the page on the difficult dialogue with certain European
allies over Iraq, A/S Fried said that the United States was
pleased that voices in Europe advocating the EU as a
"counterweight" to the United States had been pushed to the
background, and that we were on a surer footing looking for
trans-Atlantic partnership. Fried pointed out that
Chancellor Merkel had set a new tone in Germany specifically
and the EU more generally, that was "good for the U.S, good
for Europe, and good for Poland."

Eastern Europe


3. (C) Ukraine: MFA Americas Department Director Henryk
Szlajfer addressed the Russian cutoff of gas to Ukraine at
the new year. Although Russia had lost political face and
galvanized the West on energy security issues as never
before, he argued, the actual terms of the renegotiated gas
agreement were rather disadvantageous to Ukraine. Szlajfer
suggested that the deal should be seen as a temporary measure
and that the issue would likely reappear after the March 2006
elections. Recalling his participation in Polish FM Meller's
recent visit to Kiev, Szlajfer expressed concern over the
deep divisions in the Orange Revolution group. He emphasized
the need to drive home to Yushchenko, Tymoshenko and others
the great risks that such political disunity posed to
Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration. A/S Fried said his
meetings in Kiev had suggested that cooperation within the
Orange camp could still be possible after the elections. In
any case, it was important to continue pressing a pro-reform
agenda with whatever government took power. Yushchenko would
be well advised to follow Lech Walesa's example as president
and to lead his country toward Euro-Atlantic integration,
regardless of changes in government.

4. (C) Belarus: U/S Waszczykowski reviewed Polish government
support for democratic forces in Belarus, including a planned
election monitoring mission, external broadcasting, and
expanded people-to-people contacts. He noted that Belarusian
opposition presidential candidate Milinkevich was being
hosted by the Polish parliament and president even as the
Strategic Dialogue was going on. (Septel reports on A/S
Fried's meeting with Milinkevich.) A/S Fried sought the
Polish side's thoughts on a joint U.S.-EU mission to Belarus,
tentatively planned for the following week. Waszczykowski
replied that the mission could be worth the inherent risk of
giving Lukashenko a propaganda opportunity, provided that
those involved believe they could get their message out to
the people.

5. (C) Russia: MFA Policy Planning Director Jaroslaw
Bratkiewicz argued that Russia was suspended in the
transition "between post-empire and nation-state," and that
this identity crisis was at the root of Russian behavior,
especially towards its neighbors. Russia requires clear
signals from its western partners that there is no
"post-Soviet space" and no "special rights" for Russia. A/S
Fried observed that the best course would be to continue
trying to strike a balance between realism about Russian
intentions and the desire to work with Russia where we can.
A/S Fried and ASD Flory emphasized that U.S. policy toward
Russia could not be separated from U.S. values. The U.S.
would not abandon its values, or its friends and allies, in
pursuit of cooperation with Russia. DAS Pekala noted that
the Russians had been very good at "knocking on doors" until
they received the answers they were looking for, which
underscored the need for a common approach. U/S
Waszczykowski suggested that, in addition to NATO's taking up
energy security, the Alliance should also look more broadly
at the strategic implications of economic policy and security.

U.S. Foreign Policy Cooperation with the EU


6. (C) Cuba: Szlajfer said there was a serious problem within
the EU on Cuba policy. The Spanish had been attempting since
2004 to revise EU policy towards Cuba, saying that the EU's
hard line had brought no results and that therefore there
should be a shift towards engagement with both the government
and the opposition. The Polish government still opposed
engagement with the Castro regime, which would be used by
Havana to justify its repressive policies. The GOP wanted to
strengthen the opposition, and took steps in 2005 to
encourage other governments to sponsor the families of
imprisoned Cuban opposition figures. Szlajfer reported on his
own recent visit to Havana, where he met with opposition
figures. He stated that the GOP would work with other
European countries -- especially the "Visegrad Four" -- to
develop a consistent policy and to secure a smooth transition
towards democracy. He noted, however, that not only Spain,
but also France and Great Britain might be "playing a
different game". Szlajfer said that the GOP would press
other Latin American governments to work for the release of
Cuban prisoners, but noted that Poland's tough line on Cuba
had diminished the GOP's influence with these countries and
was affecting Poland's commercial opportunities in the
region. (COMMENT. This is similar to the common GOP concern
that their tough "pro-U.S." line on issues as the Iran and
the China arms embargo has put them at a commercial
disadvantage vis a vis older EU members with a "more flexible
approach.") Szlajfer concluded that we could expect modest
progress in EU policy toward Cuba, but no major breakthroughs.

7. (C) A/S Fried expressed appreciation for Polish leadership
on Cuba, in contrast to the approaches of other European
states that appear to be motivated by economic interests. We
recognize that Poland's principled engagement carries some
costs, and that the Polish government does not wish to be
isolated on this issue. A/S Fried lauded the bravery of the
Polish mission in Havana, particularly its Charge, and
highlighted the recent videoconference between Lech Walesa
and Cuban opposition figures as a great example of Polish
initiative. "We are working on Spain," he assured the Poles.

8. (C) Iran: U/S Waszczykowski (who had served previously as
Polish ambassador to Tehran) maintained that Poland had
enjoyed historically good relations with Iran, and observed
that U.S. policy on Iran had been too harsh over the years.
The U.S. expected the impossible of an Iranian society that,
having neither a Solidarity-type movement or a leader like
Lech Walesa, was simply not at a stage where major political
changes could be expected. Moreover, Waszczykowski asserted,
continuing high oil and gas revenues and generous domestic
subsidies ensured public acquiescence and allowed the GOI to
resist the appeal of international "carrots." Waszczykowski
argued that the U.S. had ignored GOI overtures, preferring
instead to pursue a policy of waiting for the regime to
collapse. Was there any possibility, he asked, of a
loosening of American policy?

9. (C) A/S Fried pointed out that the GOI had "gone out of
its way" to be provocative and ugly, most particularly since
President Ahmadenijad had taken office, and had demonstrated
little interest in reaching an agreement with the EU-3 on the
nuclear issue. The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran was of
serious concern to the whole world, he underscored, and
Iran's approach had to be met with isolation and referral to
the UN Security Council. He argued that it was wrong to rule
out progress on democracy in Iran and asserted that
diplomatic pressure could in fact bring real results. U/S
Waszczykowski acknowledged Fried's points and allowed that
his own remarks had been "somewhat provocative."

Bilateral Issues


10. (C) Over lunch the participants discussed bilateral
issues, including goals for President Kaczynski,s planned
February visit to Washington. A/S Fried reviewed the
schedule for the visit, and emphasized that Kaczynski should
view the visit as an opportunity to get to know President
Bush and his senior advisors. He emphasized that President
Bush will be interested in Kaczynski,s background as a
fighter for freedom, as a strong leader, as evidenced by his
decision to maintain troops in Iraq, and for his role in
promoting democracy in Ukraine and Belarus.

11. (C) Szlajfer said that he thought that the U.S. tourist
visa regime and U.S.-Polish political-military cooperation
were two substantive issues that the two presidents should
discuss. The Poles did not, he said, want to "dwell" on
visas, but only to have a positive statement that President
Bush wanted to see Poland in the Visa Waiver Program. He
also expressed the hope that something could be done to
eliminate visa fees for student travel, an idea former
President Kwasniewski had raised with President Bush in 2005.
A/S Fried explained it was not possible to establish such a
program for Poland alone. On military assistance, Szlajfer
said that Kaczynski would not want to get into figures, but
would want President Bush to repeat the United States,
strong commitment to close bilateral military cooperation.



12. (C) In concluding remarks, both sides expressed their
desire to continue the Strategic Dialogue, noting that
U.S.-Polish military cooperation would be discussed the
following day and that energy security would be discussed
further in the framework of NATO. The U.S. and Polish
delegations reaffirmed their commitment to sustaining the
missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Looking ahead to the
upcoming visit of President Kaczynski to Washington, A/S
Fried observed that it was now time to take the
Polish-American partnership to the next level.