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2007-10-24 15:09:00
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DE RUEHNO #0578/01 2971509
O 241509Z OCT 07
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 USNATO 000578 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/24/2017


Classified By: U.S. HLTF Representative DAS Karin L. Look for reasons 1
.4 (b and d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 USNATO 000578



E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/24/2017


Classified By: U.S. HLTF Representative DAS Karin L. Look for reasons 1
.4 (b and d).

1. (C) Summary. The October 19 High Level Task Force
meeting focused on discussion of the "way ahead" for
maintaining the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty
(CFE) in the face of Russia's stated intent to suspend
implementation. HLTF representative Karin L. Look provided
Allies with a readout of the October 10-13, 2007 Moscow
discussions on CFE, making clear there was an active
bilateral process ongoing between the U.S. and Russia. Rep
Look reiterated that it was critical for Russia to take steps
to fulfill its commitments, although the U.S. was seeking to
develop creative ways to resolve the current impasse. She
noted the U.S. remained committed to the CFE and Adapted CFE
Treaties, and was concerned that Russia had already decided
to suspend Treaty implementation on December 12 unless a
creative solution could be put forward on the Treaty and
Russia's remaining Istanbul commitments. There was a
groundswell of support from Allies at the HLTF for the U.S.
CFE package approach delivered in Moscow. Allies also
praised the U.S. for its transparency in providing them with
Look,s talking points on the Moscow talks as well as further
details of the package. Allies backed the U.S. request for
the NATO International Staff (IS) to begin worst case
contingency planning should Russia suspend implementation on
December 12. France called for a CFE Seminar in Paris to be
held on 5-6 November, for which invitations have been sent,
as a means to keep the dialogue moving among all Treaty
States Parties. U.S. Rep Look noted that the Paris meeting
might be ill-timed, given the need to allow the U.S.-Russia
bilateral process time to gain momentum. Allies agreed to a
German proposal to discuss CFE at the October 31 NATO-Russia

Council (NRC) Ambassadorial. The International Military
Staff was tasked to work with the Baltic Allies concerning
force levels required for accession, while the HLTF Deputies
will continue to discuss the IS-drafted accession food for
thought paper. The next HLTF meeting is most likely to be
held on November 15. End Summary.


HLTF: Contacts and Bilaterals

2. (SBU) Germany (German Head of Delegation Leudeking)
provided a brief read out of the October 1-2 Bad Saarow CFE
seminar, noting that Russia had been put on the defensive by
Allied unity on the parallel actions approach. The key open
issues, according to Leudeking, remain the flank regime
("most likely purely political for Russia") and the linkage
of A/CFE ratification to the Istanbul commitments. Germany
called for using a constructive approach to move forward
including events such as the French-proposed CFE seminar to
demonstrate that Allies would leave no stone unturned in the
search for a resolution. This was particularly critical,
Leudeking emphasized, as a Russian suspension might lead to
an erosion of the CFE regime that cannot be stopped once
begun. The Germans provided HLTF delegations with a
food-for-thought paper on the "Potential consequences of a
collapse of the CFE Regime."

3. (SBU) Two plus Two read out and specific ideas: U.S. Head
of Delegation Karin L. Look briefed Allies on the October
10-13 two plus two CFE meetings in Moscow, including
discussions with Russian President Putin, between the
ministers, and among experts. She noted the U.S. had
reiterated its commitment to CFE, the Adapted CFE Treaty, and
concern that Russia,s announcement to suspend implementation
of the CFE Treaty on December 12 would ultimately undermine a
cornerstone of security in Europe. Russia had responded
positively to the U.S. parallel actions plan, but added that
it insufficiently addressed Russia,s substantive concerns.
Russia stated emphatically that it did not accept NATO,s
linkage between A/CFE ratification and the Istanbul
commitments, arguing there was no need for Russia to take
further steps regarding those commitments in the CFE context.

4. (SBU) Look said that in response to the Russian initial
position, the U.S. had suggested possible elements of a
package, building on our parallel actions plan, for progress
on CFE and related issues. There was a groundswell of

USNATO 00000578 002 OF 005

support for the U.S. CFE package approach. A number of
Allies (Germany, Turkey, UK, Norway, Italy, Greece, Romania,
France, Denmark, and Poland) spoke in favor of it, none
expressed any major objection, and a few offered some
additional ideas. Rep Look provided Allies with cleared
talking points on the basics of the U.S. ideas (for getting
Russia to move forward on its Istanbul commitments and to
rescind its suspension decree presented to the Russians at
the two plus two CFE talks in Moscow). Allies praised the
U.S. transparency in describing the two plus two talks and
package deal. Rep Look said that based on the U.S. offer it
appears that Russia might be prepared to take limited
additional steps on its Istanbul commitments regarding
Georgia and Moldova, and to reconsider its plan to suspend
CFE implementation in December, in the context of steps by
NATO toward ratification of A/CFE and engagement on Russia's
security concerns. She reported the U.S. will be following
up soon at the A/S Fried-DFM Kislyak level to clarify Russian

5. (C) Allies (particularly Norway, Turkey and Greece)
expressed appreciation for the U.S. firm stand on the flanks
issue in talks with Russia, and generally agreed that we
cannot offer more than a political commitment to review the
operation of A/CFE once it has entered into force and such a
review would cover all aspects of A/CFE and not just the
flanks specifically. Germany concurred with the U.S.
assessment that the flanks might be the ultimate deal
breaker, but suggested there was more room for creativity,
including a commitment to exercise restraint. Germany,
however, acknowledged that Russia,s flank arguments could
stem purely from domestic political concerns, which could
mean that nothing less than an agreement to abolish the flank
limits for Russia would be persuasive.

6. (C) Romania Head of Delegation (Micula) proposed several
ideas be incorporated into the U.S. package approach,
including a trigger date for ratification, better balance
between the Allied ratification tranches, a defined mechanism
for monitoring fulfillment of Russian obligations, and a
method to formalize the agreement. The need to achieve a
firm, possibly formal, agreement to document Russian
agreement with the package resonated with several others,
especially as it would assist with ratification procedures.
Although Spain said it was willing to accept a hand shake,
others that spoke strongly advocated a formal process, with
Luxembourg reminding Reps that the suspension was not simply
an informal undertaking, but rather a presidential decree.

7. (C) Romania,s trigger date idea (establishing a NATO
plan for a D-day plus 1 response if/when Russia rescinds
suspension) included a suggestion for developing windows for
when groups of Allies would begin publicly visible
ratification procedures. The D-day timeline would be
front-loaded with those who have lengthier processes. Allies
would make clear to Russia that no country would start to
ratify before Russia agrees to rescind its suspension
notification, and Allies would avoid setting tentative
deadlines for the end of the ratification process (since the
time to complete ratification is unpredictable). According
to the Romanian suggestion, no Ally would actually transmit
its instrument of ratification until all were ready and
agreed to do so. Allies discussed the Romania D-Day concept
and how it might work with or substitute for the ratification
matrix. Germany and France suggested the Allied ratification
matrix tranche groupings may have been overtaken by events
and no longer relevant. (Comment: The Romanian idea might
work within the context of our previously developed
ratification matrix, but would be less dependent on end
dates. End Comment.)

8. (C) Greece introduced what it described as a fallback
position, based on the concept of "unilateral parallelism,"
that could be used in the event negotiations were bogged down
in the details of timelines and procedures. Under this
proposal, States Parties would initiate their ratification
procedures as desired, but delay the deposit of ratification
instruments as the "trump card". Greece stated that using a
specific timetable for starting ratification procedures could
lead to procrastination and delay. Moreover, starting
ratification procedures now would serve as a public sign to
Moscow that Allies are serious about entry into force of
A/CFE. Italy, Spain and Netherlands noted that we should be
willing to explore new ideas to speed the process along, and
Luxembourg stated it was willing to live with the Greek

USNATO 00000578 003 OF 005


9. (C) Canada responded that the Greek proposal would "lead
us down a dangerous course" since it did not require Russia
to do anything first. U.S. Rep Look agreed, saying that the
U.S., as well as many others, needed a commitment from Russia
on elements of a package that maintained parallelism and
included a Russian agreement to rescind suspension.
Presenting A/CFE to the U.S. Senate otherwise was not a
viable option. Look also cautioned the Greek proposal could
end up with some countries isolated, especially those that
could not stop ratification once put in motion. The UK rep
echoed these concerns, adding that the UK had largely already
done what Greece suggested and the Russian attitude had
hardened instead of improved.

10. (C) Several Allies (the UK, Romania, Germany, and
Canada) supported the U.S. position that we cannot begin
ratification until Russia agrees to the package deal. A few
Allies, however, stated that they would be willing to begin
internal, non-visible, administrative ratification procedures
now so as to be ready when/if Russia rescinds suspension.
France, Greece and Spain indicated they had already done so.
The UK noted the parallel actions concept seemed to have
gained forward momentum and called for Allies to be patient
and to allow the necessary time and space for the "deal" to
come to fruition. Delegations should consider ways to help
the process rather than ways that could risk stalling it,
such as support of alternative measures.

11. (C) Most Allies stated that the Russian proposal of
provisional application of A/CFE was not possible, although
Germany argued for considering a partial provisional
application of some elements of the adapted Treaty, such as
the limits on holdings). (In the HLTF Quad, the French and
Germans pressed for "testing" certain elements of A/CFE, like
new inspection regimes, as a confidence building measure.)

The Way Ahead - Agreed NATO Priorities

12. (C) Allies agreed to the U.S. request for the NATO
International Staff to begin worst case contingency planning
in the event Russia suspends CFE implementation on December

12. Allies should start considering what they would do on
December 13 and in the weeks that follow, and also what we
should say the week before at the NATO ministerial. All
agreed that NATO needed to be ready to make a public
statement (as we did in July after the Russian announcement
of intended suspension) and to consider issues such as
continuation of inspections, data exchanges, and Russian
participation in the JCG

French Seminar

13. (C) France introduced its November 5-6 CFE seminar in
Paris, for which invitations have been sent, as an urgent
need to keep the dialogue moving and as another opportunity
engage Russia on what is and what is not possible. France
also said that the November 5-6 date had been chosen to fall
between the Bad Saarow seminar and the upcoming NATO and OSCE
Foreign Ministerial meetings in late November and early
December. France noted that the seminar would be conducted
using a different format than Bad Saarow, including more time
for informal consultations. U.S. Rep Look said we would not
object to the proposed Nov. 5-6 dates (for now), but noted
that the meeting might be ill-timed, given the need to allow
the U.S.-Russia bilateral process time to gain momentum.
Nevertheless, many Allies supported the seminar not only as
another opportunity to discuss CFE issues, but also as a key
element of a public diplomacy effort (pushed by France and
Germany) that would demonstrate Allies were actively engaged
in an effort to maintain the CFE regime. (COMMENT. As the
French seminar takes shape, it would be useful for the U.S.
to provide input on the format and substance as soon as
possible to maintain momentum and support the on-going
U.S.-Russia bilateral process. END COMMENT).

Other Issues

USNATO 00000578 004 OF 005

14. (SBU) Preparation for the NRC Ambassadorial: Allies
agreed to the German proposal to discuss CFE at the October
31 NRC Ambassadorial, but agreed to keep dialogue at a
general level with appropriate pre-coordination of a unified
message to present to Russia. The goal for the meeting would
be to express unity behind the package deal.

15. (SBU) Accession Paper: The HLTF agreed on the need to
move beyond the IS food for thought paper on accession to a
military analysis of A/CFE limits that could be appropriate
for the Baltic States and Slovenia, taking into account
relevant current NATO defense planning. The International
Military Staff was tasked to work with the Baltic States and
Slovenia while the HLTF Deputies continue discussion of the
accession food for thought paper. NATO solidarity, all
agreed, would be key as the process moved forward.

Meetings on the Margins

16. (C) Quad Meeting (U.S., UK, France, Germany): At the
German-hosted Quad the day prior to the HLTF, discussion
centered on the way forward. Germany made a strong pitch for
Allies to do everything possible to save the CFE Treaty.
Germany expressed interest in ensuring Allies avoided blame
for a possible Russian suspension. Look briefed on the
discussions held in Moscow at the two plus two and related
meetings between A/S Fried and DFM Kislyak on October 10-12.
Other issues briefed were the flank regime discussions
(ceilings, sub-ceilings, and elimination of), ratification of
A/CFE and Russia,s desire for provisional application,
accession of the Baltics/Slovenia, possible definition of
substantial combat forces, Russia's Istanbul commitments
regarding Georgia and Moldova, Russian comments on the
parallel actions approach, and the need for a Russian
commitment not to suspend Treaty implementation. The Quad
agreed with the U.S.,s call for a solution with "meat".
France questioned whether anything would satisfy Putin, who
appeared to find A/CFE limits on Russia unacceptable.
Germany outlined four issues which would need resolution:
continuance of the CFE and A/CFE Treaties; military
restraints in the flank; defining substantial combat forces;
and early participation by the Baltic Allies and Slovenia.
The French noted they had sent out invitations for their
Paris November 5-6 Seminar on CFE. The U.S. stated a
preference for postponing the French seminar, noting that it
could distract from the now moving U.S.-Russia bilats, and
stressing that a meeting later in November might be used, if
all went well, to announce agreement on the parallel package
approach with Russia. The UK suggested Allies should not
expend its attention on the Vienna FSC special meeting and
Russia's CSBM proposals there, as the Russians continued to
undermine the biggest CSBM in Europe (i.e., the CFE regime).
France noted that a 4 1 in Vienna prior to the FSI Special
meeting would provide political cover). In a very brief
discussion of the Allies' Ratification Matrix, the Quad
discussed whether we needed three or two tranches, and
whether the plan should include a specific sequencing
timeline. The Quad also agreed to press HLTF Deputies to
consider options for an Allied response should Russia carry
out its threat to suspend the Treaty December 12. Germany
cautioned that Allies must consider all options before any
references to non-compliance or a declaration of material

17. (C) Look and team held bilateral meetings with Allies
primarily to preview the U.S. discussions in Moscow and to
discuss other country specific issues:

-- Romania, Oct 18: DAS Look briefed Romanian HLTF rep
Micula on the two plus two CFE meetings in Moscow. Micula
indicated he had received a back brief from EUR/RPM Deputy
Director Jennifer Laurendeau,s read out in Bucharest earlier
that day. With regard to the peacekeeping force in Moldova,
Micula understood the package deal included an OSCE mandate
and a slow transformation beginning with just a few
civilians. Micula reviewed for Look several suggestions for
incorporation into the U.S. package approach (which he
presented to the HLTF on October 19). Of note, he emphasized
the need to formalize Russian agreement to rescind
suspension. To move to its parliamentary ratification
process, Romania will need certainty on the "deal" and clear
confirmation from Moldova to demonstrate that conditionality
(host nation consent) has been maintained.

USNATO 00000578 005 OF 005

-- Turkey, Oct 19: DAS Look discussed with Turkey HLTF rep
Gun the U.S. talking points describing the Moscow two plus
two talks and U.S. package deal on CFE. The discussion also
covered the Russian flank regime proposal, the Allied matrix
on ratification timing, Romania,s suggestion of a D-day plus
1 concept as a means to signify the start of the parallel
package approach, possible legal actions in response to
suspension, and the proposed French Seminar. Turkey stated
it was satisfied with U.S. actions at the two plus two and
Fried/Kislyak meetings. Turkey agreed that we had common
ground among Allies to agree to discuss the operation of the
flank limits after entry into force of A/CFE, but could make
no commitment on its outcome. Turkey, like the U.S., wanted
Russia to announce it would rescind its earlier announcement
to suspend implementation of the Treaty. Look emphasized the
need for a NATO response plan if Russia suspends December 12.
Turkey agreed, suggesting a "cooling-off" period before any
actions were taken Turkey also cautioned against getting
distracted by legalities, when the most important questions
are political matters. Concerning the proposed French
seminar, Turkey had no objections.

Next HLTF Meeting

18. (SBU) The HLTF discussed dates for an HLTF meeting in
November. The HLTF proposed November 15 for its next
meeting, agreeing with the U.S. that a meeting the week of
November 5 would be too early and also agreed not to hold it
during the week of Thanksgiving. The NATO IS has, therefore,
tentatively scheduled the next HLTF for November 15.