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2007-12-17 19:41:00
Mission USNATO
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DE RUEHNO #0640/01 3511941
O 171941Z DEC 07
						C O N F I D E N T I A L USNATO 000640 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/06/2017


Classified By: A/DCM W.S. Reid for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L USNATO 000640



E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/06/2017


Classified By: A/DCM W.S. Reid for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).


1. (C) At the December 14 HLTF all NATO Allies - without
exception - called for a continuation of NATO,s unified
response to Russia,s unilateral actions on CFE and urged
that the U.S. keep its "parallel actions" package on the
table for negotiation with Russia. Praise for U.S. efforts
to date was accompanied by pleas from several Allies for
continued or increased transparency and consultation as
negotiations with Russia go forward. On practical questions
relating to Allies, response over time to Russia,s
"suspension" of CFE implementation, the response was equally

-- All Allies who spoke did so in terms of a step-by-step
approach to developing a collective response to Russia,s
suspension. The first step - a unified public reaction
regretting Russia,s action and pledging continued openness
to dialogue - had already been accomplished via NATO,s
agreed statement on December 12. Step two - observation of
the impact of Russia,s "suspension" - would require what
would amount to weeks or months; assessment and reaction
would be step three.

-- A large number of Allies had reflected on key benchmarks
for the first quarter of 2008. They underscored the
criticality of political considerations - such as Russian
presidential elections in March and the Bucharest Summit in
April, as well as Russia,s response (or failure to respond)
to the parallel actions package on the table - that would
need to be considered in "step 2" in determining an effective
timeline for a longer term response.

-- On CFE implementation by NATO, all Allies who spoke said
NATO would be best positioned to advance discussion of a
solution with Russia and win the public diplomacy battle if
Allies continued to take the high road on CFE implementation,
fulfilling CFE obligations ourselves even if Russia did not.

-- While no Ally disagreed with that view, several suggested
that it would be useful to review Russia,s actions and
NATO,s tactical approach at intervals prior to Bucharest.
For most, an initial late January review of the impact of
Russia,s suspension made sense, and an HLTF will be
scheduled to accommodate that.

-- For its part, the U.S. promised to report Allies'
thinking to Washington; endorsed the need for a unified NATO
approach and an effective common line throughout this period
and in Bucharest; and expressed appreciation for Allies,
consistent support of the parallel actions package, which
remains on the table.

2. (C) An extended discussion on managing Russian
participation in the CFE Joint Consultative Group yielded one
conclusion: unless Russia withdrew from the CFE Treaty, it
retained the right to participate in JCG discussions. Allies
should neither plead with Russia to attend future JCG
sessions, nor seek to abridge that Treaty right. Care must
also be taken to ensure that nothing done in the JCG appears
to legitimize the Russian decision to cease implementation of
the Treaty.

3. (C) Allies also used the HLTF to share information on
steps they had taken nationally in response to the Russian
suspension. Four Allies (Romania, UK, U.S., and Turkey) said
they had already sent, or would send, diplomatic notes to the
depositary protesting the Russian suspension. Several also
indicated that they had or would issue national statements
commenting on the Russian action, but underscored that those
would be consistent with the NATO statement agreed December


4. (U) Next steps: The International Staff (IS) was tasked
to produce a paper addressing the key benchmarks and
technical issues that will come into play in the coming
months as a basis for the late January HLTF discussion; the
I.S. will also develop a plan to exploit opportunities to
express NATO solidarity over the coming months through a
solid public diplomacy effort. The next HLTF is likely to
take place in the last week of January, with subsequent
meetings monthly in the run-up to Bucharest.

End Summary.

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

Contacts and Bilaterals
-------------- --------------

5. (C) Turkish rep Ahmet Gun noted that the Russian CHOD had
sent a letter to the Turkish CHOD requesting confirmation of
Turkish support for the Russian position on the flank. This
disclosure met with stunned silence followed by universal
laughter over Russian brazenness. Gun indicated that Russia
would receive a response clearly outlining the actual Turkish
position. He noted Turkey expected to host consultations
with DFM Kislyak later in December (previously postponed).
Italy reported on a meeting between the Italian Vice Minister
and DFM Grushko that involved a short exchange on CFE during
which Grushko reiterated well-known Russian positions and
disputed any linkage of Russia,s Istanbul commitments to the
Treaty. The Chair, Robert Simmons, reported that in his
separate consultations with Armenia and Azerbaijan on CFE (in
which he had argued that neither should mimic Russia,s
course on suspension), Armenian authorities had indicated
that Russia had assured them it would allow inspections of
its stationed forces on Armenian territory.

-------------- --
The Way Ahead - Unified Message and Next Steps
-------------- --


L. Look summed up the status of U.S.-Russian discussions per
reftel, indicating that the U.S. was waiting for a Russian
contribution to the current text of the parallel actions
paper (on Moldova). She said A/S Fried did not expect that a
follow on U.S.-Russian bilateral meeting would take place
until January, particularly given the holiday period. Look
underscored U.S. appreciation for Allies, contributions and
support during the last months, but especially at the Madrid
and Brussels Ministerial meetings.

-- Without exception, all Allies who spoke on this issue
(France, UK, NETH, RO, BELG, CZ, GER, HU, BU, Italy, LUX,
Greece, Lith, Den, Estonia, Slovenia, and CAN) supported
keeping the U.S. CFE package on the table as the only viable
option to resolve the CFE impasse.

-- Many recalled that the package was a constructive,
generous offer that represented the limit of NATO
flexibility. Several asked for a continuation of regular
U.S. briefings on the package. Bulgaria and Turkey said they
would like the opportunity to review any changes to the
package before the next iteration was presented to Russia.

7. (C) Timeline for moving forward: HLTF Chairman Simmons
recalled that previous HLTF discussion had focused on the
French idea of a phased or step-by-step approach to
responding to the Russian suspension. NATO,s unified public
statement had sent a message of regret at Russia,s action
and continued NATO commitment to CFE. He said that NATO,s
public statement that it would fulfill data exchange
obligations despite Russia,s approach had taken the
diplomatic high ground. French rep Camille Grand recalled
that the next stage in the phased process should be an
observation of Russia,s actions regarding CFE implementation
and related issues, such as their engagement (or not) with
the U.S. in negotiations on a package resolution. The third
step would be an assessment of the impact of Russia,s
actions, and consideration of NATO,s next steps. Grand made
clear that these two stages might overlap; it would be
difficult to say how long each phase should last. What was
important was for NATO to keep the high ground; keep pushing
for a constructive resolution of the CFE impasse; monitor
developments; take Russia to task for any implementation
failures; and stay unified.

8. (C) Grand introduced into this phased approach two
benchmarks and an idea: he observed that it was hard to
believe that a resolution on CFE would be possible prior to
the Russian Presidential election. While we could not say
definitively that Russia would be ready to negotiate at that
time, he argued, it was probably fair to say that a
breakthrough would not happen earlier. If Russia continued
to engage the U.S. in negotiations, this would be a good
sign, but NATO would need to think about 1) how to position
ourselves to maximize prospects for progress on CFE after the
election; and 2) how to manage CFE so that it was a positive
element, not a distraction, at Bucharest. He suggested
Allies could consider using Bucharest to call for a CFE
Extraordinary Conference in order to create a framework for
resolution or Russian re-engagement in CFE implementation.
Alternatively, an extraordinary conference might occur
between the Russian election and Bucharest (subsequent to the
meeting, several Allies privately suggested that the calendar
made this latter scenario somewhat unrealistic).

9. (C) Several Allies endorsed the idea that NATO should
treat the Russian elections and Bucharest as key benchmarks
in our strategy for managing CFE in 2008 (Ger, FR, UK, IT,
GR, DN LX, PO). The German and UK reps (Biontino and Ford)
argued that it made sense for NATO to continue to implement
the Treaty and hold the high ground on this matter while we
were seeking to negotiate a resolution. Ford echoed Look in
arguing that it would be essential for Allies to keep close
account of Russia,s failures of Treaty implementation, and
use the JCG as a place to take Russia to task, since we did
not recognize Russia,s suspension as legitimate.

10. (C) Look noted, per reftel, that it would be important to
keep account of Russia,s actions with regard to CFE
implementation from a number of perspectives: whether Russia
provided routine notifications and received inspections was
important, but we would also need to monitor whether Russia
engaged in any troop movements that might be contrary to
Treaty provisions. Politically as well as militarily, if
Russia moved armor into the flank this would be a serious
concern that would necessarily affect our approach; if Russia
failed to re-engage the U.S. on the parallel actions plan
this would likewise be a negative message that we would need
to take into account.

11. (C) Romania (Micula) was an unlikely ally in the call for
a step-by-step approach and continued implementation of CFE
by NATO. Micula said NATO should maintain the high ground on
this issue for the time being, continue negotiating on the
U.S.-Russia track, and keep good records. He agreed that the
benchmarks identified by France, Germany, and the UK were
important, but Treaty implementers (in Romania) would want a
review of the status of Russian implementation after 6-12
weeks. Canada, Turkey, Poland, Romania, and the UK agreed on
both the need for a review of Russian implementation, and
consideration of a longer term plan that took NATO to
Bucharest while holding the high ground.

12. (C) No Plan B: The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway,
Turkey, the UK, Germany, Belgium, and Italy highlighted
another aspect of longer term thinking: the sense that if we
lose the CFE Treaty, it will be impossible to replace it.
For many Allies, in particular those who see their security
directly affected by the Treaty's status (e.g. Turkey and
Norway), NATO,s primary goal should be to save the CFE
Treaty. Public diplomacy and implementation choices should
be geared to promote that outcome. The Netherlands said it
most sharply: the U.S. parallel actions plan is generous and
creative, and offers not only the best, but likely the only,
way to save CFE. NATO should stay unified behind the plan,
hold the high ground on implementation, and see whether
Russia will at some point (perhaps after the elections,
Biontino noted) be prepared to negotiate a resolution.

Technical Issues

13. (C) Implementation: All Allies who spoke called for NATO
to retain the high ground on CFE implementation by continuing
the routine exchange of notifications and conduct of
inspections. No Ally suggested that NATO Allies should cease
routine Treaty implementation. No Ally suggested moving up
NATO,s next inspection in Russia in order to test the
moratorium early. Those who addressed the inspection issue
said that NATO should adhere to its current inspection
schedule, and keep account of Russia,s response. Romania
said that Allies would also need to develop an approach on
Treaty-related outreach issues: should Russia be barred from
access to NATO's CFE database (Verity), which is open to all
Treaty partners? (In a private bilateral meeting with the
U.S., Micula said his personal view was that keeping Russia
out of NATO outreach on CFE was a bad idea, but he might get
pressure from Treaty implementers to do so.)

14. (C) Russia in the JCG. With regard to Russian
participation in the JCG post-suspension, Turkey and Spain
sought an HLTF view on how to respond to Russia,s lobbying
in Vienna for some form of written assurances that Russia's
participation in the JCG will not be contested. The Czech
Republic and Slovakia were isolated in their call for
creative ways of minimizing Russian participation in the JCG.
Almost all who spoke (US, FR, UK, BE, RO, CA, LUX, IT, DE,
HU, GR, PL, BU, SP, NL) advocated the benefit of Russia's
participation for continued dialogue and a means to
officially note concerns with compliance issues.

-- No Ally supported any form of an invitation because
Russia remains a State Party to the Treaty with the right,
and some believe the obligation, to attend the JCG. Care
must be taken to avoid the risk that any statement appears to
legitimize the Russian "suspension."

-- The Spanish rep noted that Spain in its capacity as
Chairman of the JCG intended to factually note at the
December 18 JCG that there would be no change in procedure,
participation and contributions of future JCG meetings and
this statement would be appended to the Journal of the Day.
Some (RO, CA, US, UK) noted there was no need for even a
statement and supported a UK idea of simply ensuring Russia
received the agenda for the next meeting; all agreed any form
of statement could not include an invitation to Russia
specifically or any mention of suspension, and many rejected
any solution that required a JCG consensus. The Chair noted
that all wanted Russia to continue to participate and
deferred to the delegations in Vienna, primarily Spain as the
JCG Chair, to finalize a response consistent with the
concerns discussed.

Baltics Harden the Message

15. (C) Estonian rep Kolgas welcomed Allies' support for a
unified NATO position on issues relating to their eventual
accession to Adapted CFE, and looked forward to
intra-Alliance consultations. On behalf of the three
Baltics, he tabled a paper sketching Baltic thinking on
accession. In the HLTF plenary the paper (which was not
shown to the U.S. during an hour-long meeting the previous
day with DOD experts) drew no immediate reaction. On the
margins, however, several Allies (notably Germany) expressed
consternation, arguing that this "unified Baltic position"
would be impossible to negotiate with Russia. The Baltic
paper (text below) insists that the Adapted CFE Treaty,s
Exceptional Temporary Deployment provision must be available
to the Baltics: the ETD equals two divisions per country;
the flank temporary deployment provision, in contrast,
involves a heavy brigade. German rep Biontino commented
privately to the U.S. that "NATO doesn't have 6 divisions
available in Europe... but if the Russians see this they will
say it,s a huge step back from the parallel actions

Meetings on the Margins

16. (C) Look and team met on the margins with the UK, France,
and Germany; Canada; Romania; Turkey; and the Baltic States.
In most cases these meetings echoed the main themes outlined
above. In the "Quad" meeting, German and French reps decried
comments by Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, and the Baltics at
Madrid and in NATO discussion of the NAC communiqu which
seemed to call into question NATO,s unified support for the
parallel actions plan. The U.S. noted this concern, but
underscored that we regarded Allies, overall message of
support as a key to potential progress.

17. (C) Baltic States. At the request of U.S. rep Look, Mr.
Powell Moore, SECDEF Rep to the OSCE, hosted a meeting with
Baltic states to discuss A/CFE accession planning. The
meeting focused on ongoing NATO IS efforts and planned US
bilateral military planning with the Baltics.

-- Moore emphasized the importance of this effort and the
commitment of the U.S., and as a practical matter, the DOD.
U.S. bilateral contacts will support NATO efforts to make
sure that this process meets the needs of our Allies and the
Alliance. Tony Aldwell, OSD-P, outlined the DOD plan. He
stated that the U.S. is sensitive to the Baltics, situation.
He said that this will be defense planning with a military
focus. We are committed to helping the Baltics and
supporting their interests. He said that DASD Dan Fata plans
to initiate this process next month and USEUCOM will lead the
technical discussions.

-- Aldwell outlined the three key aspects: 1) helping Baltics
establish appropriate NCs, TCs, and temporary deployment
levels; 2) helping Baltics balance homeland defense and
expeditionary capabilities; and 3) assisting the NATO IS
effort by providing complementary planning. LTC Steve
Olejasz, JS, said that NATO IS had begun their planning
efforts and had invited each Baltic state to schedule initial
meetings. He said that this process follows from the visit
U.S. HLTF rep Look and team made to Vilnius in August where
they met with all three Baltic states. Olejasz emphasized
today and during the August meeting that Baltic security
needs and Alliance requirements would have to be considered
when the Baltics undertook their A/CFE accession
requirements. This is an A/CFE requirement that demands
operational planning analysis.

-- All the Baltic reps were very pleased with this process
thus far and welcomed U.S. offer of assistance. Latvia said
that national security was their priority and that CFE was
part of the process. They offered to host the first DOD
meeting in Riga. Lithuania expressed appreciation for U.S.
sensitivities to Baltic concerns. They are not members of
CFE and do not want the Baltics to be seen as "scapegoats"
for A/CFE problems. Estonia said it supported the process
and asked for a "roadmap" once the details were worked out.
All the Baltics expressed support for the balanced approached
of NATO and U.S. planning assistance and were willing to work
with the U.S. as a group and bilaterally as required.

-- After a few references by the Baltics to contingency
planning, Aldwell and Olejasz reminded the Baltics that NATO
does not do contingency planning. The NATO IS and USEUCOM
efforts will provide sufficient information to allow them to
meet their requirements. In a follow on meeting between the
IS and U.S. HLTF mil reps it was clear that very little
action had occurred on the IS efforts concerning Baltic
discussions with NATO pursuant to the parallel action plan.

Next HLTF Meeting

18. (SBU) Dates for the next HLTF meeting were left open with
the IS proposing January 24 and several Allies indicating
that the following week (31st) would perhaps be preferable in
order to allow us to collect information on Russia,s actions
and to allow for the possibility of another meeting on the
parallel actions plans. There was also interest expressed in
scheduling HLTF meetings around every four weeks until

Text of Baltic Non-PAPER

Begin text:


Joint position of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania concerning
their eventual accession to the Adapted CFE Treaty

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania find Russia's decision to
suspend the implementation of the CFE Treaty as detrimental
to arms control principles, confidence and security in Europe.

On a number of occasions Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have
expressed their readiness to enter into negotiations on
potential accession to the Adapted CFE Treaty as soon as it
has entered into force.

The eventual accession to the Adapted CFE Treaty can only be
voluntary, based on national security interests. The future
membership in the Adapted CFE Treaty should enhance the
security and stability in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and
in the wider European security context.

The terms of accession should first be discussed and agreed
within NATO, with a view to reaching a NAC decision on
accession criteria and territorial ceilings for Estonia,
Latvia, and Lithuania.
The consultations within NATO should follow the set of
principles Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania consider important:

- the process should be guided by:

-- long-term defence development plans of Estonia, Latvia,
and Lithuania and their commitments in the Alliance;

-- the principles of collective defence as defined in the
Article V of the Washington Treaty;

-- NATO's joint capabilities-based defence planning process.

- all three nations are still building up their defence
forces and the accession should not impede the long-term
development of their defence capabilities;

- the application of general flexibility mechanism as set
forth in the Adapted CFE Treaty, including the right to
immediate and full access to exceptional temporary Deployment;

- the accession terms have to be in balance with the terms of
other State Parties and non-discriminatory with respect to
possible new acceding states.

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania consider that before the
adapted CFE Treaty has entered into force, it is premature to
enter into negotiations on their accession modalities with
any non-NATO party to the CFE Treaty.