|07VIENNA2602||2007-10-12 08:20:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Vienna|
1. (C) Austrian MFA European Correspondent Andreas Riecken
reported to Econ/Pol Couns Oct. 11 that Austria will
reluctantly support the draft conclusions on Iran drawn up by
the French, British and Germans and endorsed by HighRep
Solana. He also reported that he expects the entire Council
to endorse the conclusions. Riecken confirmed as well the
account contained in Ref A, paras 5-6 and Ref B on the
development of the conclusions.
2. (C) As further background on the Austrian position,
Riecken maintained that there was a fundamental difference
between some states (read: France, Britain, perhaps others),
on the one-hand, and Austria and many other states on the
other. The latter group, claimed Riecken, sought to preserve
international unity under the leadership of the Security
Council and EU harmony as a necessary component of successful
ESDP. Riecken further argued that it was important that the
Iranian regime not be able to exploit the nuclear issue to
strengthen its domestic hand by alleging a "Western"
conspiracy. For these reasons Austria (and most other EU
states, Riecken implied) had opposed drawing any conclusions
- especially before the mid-November report on the Iran-IAEA
work plan. Nonetheless, because the EU-3 and Solana had all
agreed on the draft conclusions, Austria and the rest of the
EU felt obligated to support the EU's designated
representatives in the P5 2 process. Riecken also described
the EU-3 plus Solana grouping as irregular and was clearly
unhappy with it.
3. (C) Riecken, however, was not entirely unhappy with the
outcome. He described the language of the conclusions, which
does not mention "autonomous" EU sanctions, as a minimum
outcome, and acceptable only because of that minimalism.
4. (C) In a separate conversation Oct. 11 with Charge, French
DCM van Rossum corroborated the scenario described above.
Van Rossum expressed cautious optimism: "Progress is not
impossible, he said, "but it will take time."