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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07USNATO409 2007-07-10 15:16:00 CONFIDENTIAL Mission USNATO
Cable title:  

NATO/HLTF MEETING, JUNE 28 2007

Tags:   PREL PARM KCFE NATO RS OSCE 
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DE RUEHNO #0409/01 1911516
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FM USMISSION USNATO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1035
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHSS/OECD POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 5708
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE  PRIORITY 0391
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JCS WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
					C O N F I D E N T I A L USNATO 000409 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/09/2017
TAGS: PREL PARM KCFE NATO RS OSCE
SUBJECT: NATO/HLTF MEETING, JUNE 28 2007

REF: (A) HLTF-N(2007) 0033-NATO STATEMENT (B) STATE
089390 (GUIDANCE)

Classified By: Classified by VCI DAS and U.S. HLTF Representative Karin

L. Look for reasons 1.4 (b and d)



1. (C) Summary. The all-day HLTF June 28 was focused on
both assessing the Extraordinary Conference June 12-15, 2007
and preparing to deal with the likelihood that Russia may
soon trigger a 150 day countdown to suspension of
performance of its CFE obligations or (less likely) of
Russia,s suspension or withdrawal from the CFE Treaty. This
information from the NATO SYG-President Putin meeting on June
26 also included news that Russia would &correct8 its delay
of CFE inspections (by Bulgaria, Hungary and the U.S.). Led
by U.S. HLTF Rep Look and UK Rep Tissot, HLTF deliberations
resulted in agreement on a NATO statement (ref A) that would
be issued in response to a notification of Russian action on
suspension of (or withdrawal from) the CFE Treaty,
reaffirming the high value NATO Allies place on the CFE
regime and their respective commitments to it, expressing the
hope that Russia will join in constructive and creative
dialogue, including at an Extraordinary Conference (EC), and
calling for continued implementation of Treaty obligations.
This statement will be updated as appropriate when Russia
issues a statement or letter. Allies generally agreed on the
way ahead, although several including Germany, France, and
Italy were reluctant to commit to including in the statement
a reference to calling for another Extraordinary Conference
(EC). In their view, any EC this fall needs to have a
positive component so that we can lure Russia into continued
adherence to the Treaty. While all Allies indicated
continued support for the NATO position as articulated at the
Extraordinary Conference, it is clear that some are thinking
of how to move beyond it, rather than make good on it.
There was a shared concern, however, about the future of
Europe,s cornerstone agreement and a recognition that the
months ahead will be challenging. The date for the next
HLTF meeting was left open pending more information about
Russia,s actions. End Summary.



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


Meetings on the Margins


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





2. (C) Meetings on the Margins. U.S. HLTF Rep DAS Karin L.
Look and team held a number of meetings with Allies while in
Brussels, in addition to the all-day June 28 HLTF, including:


-- Hungary and Bulgaria, June 27: Discussion focused on
Russia,s effective denial of recent requests for CFE
inspections due to &a force majeure situation.8 Drawing on
ref (b), Look outlined the U.S. objectives for the upcoming
HLTF meeting. Both reps welcomed the discussion, stressed
the importance of Alliance unity in responding to any Russian
actions, and were generally supportive of the overall U.S.
approach.

-- Canada and Romania, June 27. Both were supportive of the
overall U.S. approach and Canada especially stressed the
need for NATO to make clear to Russia the benefits it would
lose under the CFE Treaty and the Adapted Treaty (if/when it
goes into force) if it suspends or withdraws. Additionally,
Canada highlighted the importance of working with other
States Parties, such as Azerbaijan which has threatened its
own suspension if Russia makes good on its threats.

-- Turkey, June 27. At the ®ular8 U.S.-Turkey pre-HLTF
meeting Turkish Rep Gun emphasized the importance of
continued alliance solidarity in the face of Russian pressure
tactics and wedge-driving, and the need to press on the
Istanbul commitments. Regarding suggestions that when and if
the Adapted CFE Treaty comes into force, States Parties can
reconsider the flank, Turkish Rep opined that we should not
give out wrong signals. The flank limitations are important
for Turkey and the Alliance as a whole. As for hints about
leaping over the Adapted Treaty to negotiate a new regime,
Turkish Rep Gun was highly skeptical that an entirely new
agreement could ever be reached. Gun agreed with U.S. Rep
Look,s suggestion to pre-position an Alliance statement in
response to Russia,s next steps, which would require
instructions from Ankara with regard to the issue of
requesting another Extraordinary Conference. Turkey also
disclosed that their legal advisors had concluded that a
Russian moratorium would constitute a material breach of
Treaty obligations.

-- UK, June 27. U.S. Rep Look and deputy Jennifer Laurendeau
met on Wednesday evening with U.K Rep Philip Tissot regarding
the UK draft statement for the HLTF meeting the following
day. In addition to sharing and agreeing on a few changes to
the draft, they discussed the EC and the likely upcoming
challenges to CFE.

-- Norway, June 28. In an informal meeting following the
HLTF, Look, Laurendeau, and CFE expert James Starkey
emphasized that the U.S. has not forgotten commitments it
made at the time of the 1996 flank agreement to consult with
Norway on flank issues when there were important developments
with respect to that regime. The two teams brainstormed on
avenues for NATO flexibility on CFE, short of changing our
position of principle on fulfillment of Istanbul
commitments. Discussion focused on the position of the
Baltics in CFE (flank or non-flank; equipment
limits/territorial ceilings), Russia,s desire to eliminate
specific legal limitation s on its flank forces, and possible
political commitments. Norway emphasized that a unified
Alliance position on the way ahead was critical.



3. (C) Quad Meeting (U.S., UK, France, Germany). At the
French-hosted June 28 Quad Meeting in advance of the HLTF,
all agreed that while Russia,s unwillingness to engage at
the Extraordinary Conference was disappointing, it was not
surprising; Russian Rep Antonov seemed to be &going through
the motions,8 in spite of NATO,s forward-looking proposals.
The fact that we were able to maintain Alliance solidarity
was nonetheless important in signaling resolve, as well as a
willingness to have a dialogue. In looking forward, all
agreed on the importance of maintaining NATO unity, as well
as on the value of being more proactive. French Rep Grand
argued that NATO should seek to set the agenda, and outlined
two ways forward: success in fulfilling some aspects of the
Istanbul commitments (i.e., internationalize PKF in Moldova),
and presenting new proposals. German Rep Biontino expressed
&alarm8 at the hardening Russian position, counseling
against counterproductive steps and urging patience and
openness to preserve the CFE regime. U.S. Rep Look
demurred, arguing that there is nothing alarming or fearful
in the Russian position; we must remain steady and firm, but
not be alarmed. She agreed on the importance of maintaining
the CFE regime, but not at any cost. Russia,s threats to
suspend the CFE Treaty do not drive us to negotiate a new one
Look said. Look pressed for reaching agreement at the HLTF
on what to do in the immediate days ahead, including an
agreement on elements for an Alliance statement to use in
response to Russian actions, such as the foreshadowed letter,
and the convening of another Extraordinary Conference in the
Fall. France agreed with U.S. Rep Look that the Alliance not
fall prey to Russian threats, and must look beyond the next
three months.



4. (C) UK Rep Tissot tabled a draft for use by NATO in
responding to Russia (as worked up before the meeting with
U.S. Rep Look). The Quad fine-tuned the text, which was
passed to the International Staff (IS) for their tabling at
the HLTF meeting. Germany and France were not opposed to
calling for an additional Extraordinary Conference, but said
they could not commit without knowing what Russia would do
next and without an exit strategy. Look, supported by the
UK, pushed back, opining that the Treaty provided this
mechanism to facilitate dialogue which would be needed if the
Russians suspended implementation of the Treaty. The Quad
agreed to include placeholder language to be worked by
Deputies after knowing Russian next steps.



5. (C) Other issues discussed among the Quad were the
possibility of a NATO-Russia Council proposal for an
international peacekeeping force in Moldova as envisaged by
the U.S. France proposed Alliance discussions. Options
mentioned were: OSCE/RF; NRC; and EU/RF. Germany recalled
that the EU would not agree on military options until there
was a political settlement. U.S. Rep Look noted that
development of an alternative PKF for Moldova was not within
the HLTF,s purview, but urged that individual Allies take
the message back to their capitals that some country or
organization must &step up to the plate8 to both lead and
supply troops/civilians for an alternative PKF if it is to
become something real that can help us all get Russia on
board fulfilling its remaining commitments. Echoing
comments by French Director of the MFA,s Department of
Strategic Affairs, Security and Disarmament Phillipe Carre,
French Rep Grand suggested Allies consider next future arms
control steps that might involve leapfrogging the Adapted CFE
Treaty. Look disagreed. German Rep Biontino shot back at
Grand that there was very little prospect for meaningful
future arms control that was not built on the CFE Treaty.



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


HLTF: Contacts and Bilaterals


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





6. (C) NATO SYG,s meeting with Russian President Putin. The
HLTF meeting commenced with an I.S. report on the meeting
between the NATO SYG and Russian President Putin. I.S.
reported that based on these discussions, it was clear that
Putin was personally engaged on the CFE and Adapted Treaty
issues. Putin told the SYG that the deferrals of CFE Treaty
inspections by the Russian military was a mistake, an error
that would be corrected. Russia would abide by the Treaty,s
requirement to provide 150 day advance notification of
suspension (or withdrawal). (Comment: The Russians have
stated that they view the option of suspension as implicitly
included within the Treaty provisions for withdrawal. End
comment.) Grushko later clarified that a Russian letter to
be circulated in the JCG would start the 150 day clock. The
Dutch Rep (Netherlands is CFE Depositary) noted that while
the CFE provided 150 days for a notification of withdrawal,
which would also trigger an Extraordinary Conference in 21
days, there were no Treaty provisions for suspension. The
I.S. legal expert explained that the Law of Treaties allows
for temporary suspension under specific conditions. Turkey
opined that according to their legal advice, to suspend
Russia must be able to prove a violation by other States
Parties; it is arguable that Russia can make such a case,
since its own position is more political than legal.



7. (C) CFE Inspection Delays by Russia/Implementing the
Treaty. Hungary, Bulgaria, and the U.S. reported on the
negative Russian responses to their respective requests for
inspection, with U.S. Rep Look arguing forcefully the
importance of all Allies continuing to implement the Treaty
fully, and exercise their rights under the CFE Treaty
regardless of what Russia does. Allies should protest
Russian failures and keep a careful record to preserve all
policy options in the event we need to respond to a Russian
moratorium on CFE implementation. During the course of the
meeting, Hungary, the U.S., and Bulgaria learned from
capitals, and announced, that Russia just had notified that
the conditions requiring the invocation of force majeure
(used to delay inspections) had passed. Responding to U.S.
Rep Look,s point, Germany, Romania and Turkey indicated that
they would proceed with their upcoming inspections as
planned, and France and the UK jumped in to support Look,s
point as well. (As a result, national and IS experts met on
the margins to slot in the three inspections, and
deconflicted the inspection schedule.)



8. (C) Other Contacts. UK Rep reported Russian DFM Kislyak
and Deputy NSC Chairman Nazurov took a tough line in a
meeting with FCO Political Director, arguing that Russia,s
security concerns were being undermined, Russia was not being
treated as a partner, the NRC doesn,t work, and the CFE
Treaty was being abused by NATO Parties. Spain reported on
the recent Vienna OSCE/ASRC meetings held under its
Chairmanship, circulated an information document, and
proposed that the HLTF discuss a number of the on-going
issues address therein so as to give advice to the NATO
Caucus in Vienna. I.S. (Simmons) reported that Armenia
raised with him concerns regarding Azerbaijan,s plans to
exercise force majeure and suspend the CFE, if Russia does.



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



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


HLTF: Assessment of the Extraordinary Conference


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



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





9. (C) Almost all Allies that spoke to this item (Germany,
U.S., Turkey, UK, France, Italy, Netherlands, Romania,
Poland, Norway, Canada, Slovakia, Luxembourg) stressed the
importance of maintaining Alliance unity, and the positive
approach demonstrated by the Alliance with its proposal for a
final document, which seemed to catch Russia unaware. There
was shared disappointment that Russia did not seem interested
or prepared to engage on substance, but rather seemed to be
marking time. U.S. Rep Look pointed to the mixed message
emanating from Russia: is Russia really interested in
bringing the Adapted Treaty into force, or are both CFE
Treaty and the Adapted Treaty so &humiliating8 that it is
really seeking another regime (without either Istanbul
commitments or flank limitations)? The Turkish Rep stated
that the Russian desire for a renegotiated adapted Treaty was
unworkable; nothing better than the Adapted Treaty was
achievable. Suggesting that Russia was seeking to absolve
itself of its Istanbul commitments and flank limitations, he
also made a passionate pitch for retention of flank limits,
noting that it was not just a numerical issue (pockets of
rivalries, frozen conflicts are all flank issues) nor was it
just a Turkish issue. Norway agreed. France,s suggestion
that Allies think how to impose their own agenda was followed
by an Italian proposal, supported by the Netherlands,
Slovakia, Norway, Luxembourg, and later Belgium, to develop a
&roadmap8 containing new ideas for presentation to Russia
to avoid further deterioration. (Note: On the margins,
Norway and Slovakia clarified their positions, stating that
the &roadmap8 could not dilute the principles behind flank
limitations and host nation consent. End Note.) We should go
beyond repetition and well-known formulas and try something
new, the Italian Rep opined. In the subsequent discussion
on the way ahead, both U.S. and UK Reps said &no8 to a new
roadmap, but &yes8 to dialogue. Both indicated it was too
soon to leap to the conclusion that we should bend to
Russia,s demands. Germany later recalled its almost year-old
proposal for a roadmap had not been supported within the
Alliance; some strategic thinking is needed. (Comment: The
German &roadmap8 was opposed because, among other failings,
it was an ill-disguised attempt to revise the substance of
the Istanbul commitments. End Comment.)



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


HLTF: Way Ahead


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





10. (C) Meeting of Legal Experts: Not Yet. The IS clarified
its proposed legal discussion on CFE as an informal
discussion among legal experts to exchange views; it was not
designed to report consensual advice to the HLTF. Germany
(which opposed the meeting of experts proposed for the 28th)
said that it doesn,t preclude a legal discussion, but such a
meeting would need a defined mandate and task, and not deal
in the hypothetical. Supporting an informal exchange, U.S.
Rep Look picked up on Turkey,s earlier comment that while
the lawyers will inform us regarding what we could do,
decisions at the end of the day will be political; Belgian
Rep agreed. The French Rep admitted that France had no legal
expert familiar with the Treaty and that a meeting of legal
experts would not be their usual practice. He suggested as
an alternative that HLTF Reps simply come to the next meeting
armed with legal opinions. The IS said it would return to
this question at a later date.



11. (C) Way Ahead: Discussion. After summarizing the state
of play, the Chair suggested Allies focus on two issues ) a
statement the IS will circulate that could be made by the
Alliance and/or in the JCG regarding Russian actions, and
when to call an Extraordinary Conference. Drawing on ref
(b), U.S. HLTF Rep Look outlined key elements of a proposed
NATO strategy including: continue to implement the treaty;
be proactive and steady; provide a unified response to a
Russian letter, and request an Extraordinary Conference with
our own agenda, which could signal positive engagement with
Russia. She pressed for agreement on a NATO statement that
could be used, as appropriate, upon receipt of the Russian
letter. Although supportive of the need to react to the
Russian letter, Germany and France were not prepared to
commit to an EC before knowing what would be in Putin,s
letter. The Dutch Rep argued that an EC should be called
only when it is clear that it will be successful; U.S. Rep
Look disagreed, rejoining that an EC was a Treaty mechanism
not to be feared but to be used to further the dialogue and
our message. While an EC would be dependent on the text and
content of President Putin,s letter, French Rep agreed with
the U.S. that an EC was not a dramatic event, but should be
approached with caution and could be a contributing element
for the future. UK supported Look, noting that resuming a
dialogue with Russia will require a further EC to formally
engage.



12. (SBU) Seminars: Recalling its proposal for an informal
discussion on the CFE Treaty and the Agreement on Adaptation,
German Rep noted that such a discussion will only work if
others, including Russia, think it would be useful; such a
seminar should not be held in Vienna. U.S. HLTF Rep Look
cautioned that various seminar proposals for this fall should
be approached with a dose of reality; brainstorming on future
conventional arms control did not make sense at a time when
Russia is considering a moratorium on CFE implementation.
France recalled that the Russian, German, French proposed FSC
Arms Control Seminar is still in the works. The FSC is
broader than JCG and outside the HLTF jurisdiction; it will
not be a CFE Treaty discussion. Obviously, the French and
German sponsors will need to hear from Russia that they want
to keep the exercise going. Responding to the earlier
Spanish Report noting upcoming seminars, the IS commented
that, until the Russia letter is made public, it is
difficult to take a decision on how to take proposals
forward, noting that sponsors like Germany and France can
keep the IS and HLTF posted.



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


HLTF: Alliance Statement


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





13. (C) The IS circulated a draft statement for discussion
and agreement (note: as indicated in para 3 above this
statement was provided to the I.S. by the UK following the
earlier Quad discussions). The statement was worked by the
HLTF over the course of several hours. It was agreed to
leave a placeholder to include a sentence or two responding
to the Russian letter, once it is known. The only really
problematic issue was the U.S. and UK proposal for another
Extraordinary Conference this fall, and language leaving open
the possibility was finally agreed to refer to capitals. The
text (ref a) was agreed to ad ref at the HLTF and placed
under a 48-hour silence procedure, on the understanding that
HLTF Deputies will meet within 24-48 hours after the Russian
letter has emerged to fill in placeholder language. It was
agreed that the statement can be used at NATO Headquarters,
in the JCG in Vienna, and in public as appropriate.(NOTE:
Silence was not broken on July 2nd so the statement stands
agreed and ready for deputies to update when appropriate)



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


NATO-Russia Council


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





14. (SBU) The International Staff reported that it has been
holding July 19 for an NRC/ACE (Arms Control Experts) meeting
and asked if Allies were interested. U.S. HLTF Look,s
response that, should Russia ask for a meeting we should have
it, but not press for one ourselves, prevailed.



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


Next HLTF Meeting


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





15. (SBU) Dates for the next HLTF meeting were left open,
recognizing that events beyond NATO control will be
influential in determining when the next meeting will be
held. In principle, all agreed that as usual we will have an
HLTF in September.
NULAND