wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
07VILNIUS629 2007-09-07 05:36:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
Cable title:  


pdf how-to read a cable

DE RUEHVL #0629/01 2500536
O 070536Z SEP 07
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000629 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/30/2017

REF: A) STATE 116194 B) STATE 109669 C) USNATO 445


1. (C) Summary: U.S. HLTF Representative Deputy Assistant
Secretary Karin L. Look led CFE consultations with Estonia,

Latvia, and Lithuania on August 29 and 30, 2007 in Vilnius,
Lithuania. On 29 August with Lithuanian MFA Under Secretary
Pavilionis and on 30 August with all three Baltic
delegations, the U.S. delegation explained and argued for the
U.S. parallel action plan (ref A), sought Baltic support for
it and, in particular, emphasized the special role of the
Baltic States in it. While all three Baltic delegations
praised the initiative and U.S. leadership in trying to
achieve the key Alliance goals of Russia,s fulfillment of
its Istanbul commitments and entry into force of the Adapted
CFE Treaty (A/CFE), their skepticism regarding Russia,s
intentions (and thus the U.S. plan,s viability) was
considerable and to a large extent, unwavering. DAS Look
made clear that that while the U.S. too is clear-eyed about
Russia,s intentions and willingness to work seriously on
fulfilling its remaining commitments, we also do not believe
that simply maintaining the status quo is an option that
would achieve consensus within the Alliance. Putin,s threat
to suspend CFE coupled with related Russian assertions
regarding A/CFE has created a new situation. We need a way
ahead on Istanbul and ratification of A/CFE; and we need to
address who will be limited by A/CFE and how.

2. (C) The Baltic States, core concern about the U.S.
parallel action plan was its proposal for early consultations
by the Baltic States and Slovenia with,inter alia, Russia on
accession to Adapted CFE. The U.S. explained that this
question appeared to be a core Russian concern despite public
statements that each of the Baltic States hoped to join the
Adapted CFE Treaty as soon as possible. At the outset the
Lithuanian delegation simply opposed this idea; by the end of
the second day they appeared to accept the importance of
Alliance unity with regard to the plan and thus were warming
to early consultations with CFE parties as proposed in that
plan. Their less hostile attitude was due, in large part to a
helpful Estonian message that underscored the need to get the
conditions right for such consultations. The U.S. argument
for the parallel action plan, including our proposal for
consultations, which gained the most traction was the need
for Alliance unity. DAS Look and EUR/RPM Dep Dir Jennifer
Laurendeau observed that Russia,s focus on the Baltic States
being part of CFE made it imperative that all three States
play an early and visible role in the parallel action plan.

3. (C) Estonian Head of Delegation Margus Kolga clearly
understood that the Baltic States will need to play an active
role; the Lithuanian delegation remained skeptical and
Latvian Head of Delegation Kaspars Ozolins was unconvinced.
That said, all three argued that there must be consultations
within NATO before engaging Russia. NATO Allies would need
vocally to support Baltic statements and positions in broader
consultations. The Latvian delegation submitted a non-paper
which called for a NATO Contingency Operations Plan (COP) as
a prerequisite for launching talks on Latvia,s accession to
A/CFE (NOTE: Text included in para 21. END NOTE) All three
delegations requested that the U.S. provide a readout of the
11 September U.S.-Russia Paris bilateral meeting. It was
agreed that the U.S. would seek to do so both on the margins
of the 12 September V-10 in Tallinn with EUR PDAS Volker and
on the margins of the 13 September HLTF meeting in Brussels
with VCI DAS Look. End summary.

Viability of Parallel Action Plan: the Trouble with Russia
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

4. (C) Discussions at the 29 August meeting, chaired for
Lithuania by MFA U/S Pavilionis, and at the 30 August meeting
amongst all four delegations, were frank and substantive,
centering on the U.S.- proposed parallel action plan for
ending the current stalemate with Russia, and the key role of
the Baltic States in that plan. Although all expressed much
support for U.S. leadership and initiative, they also laid
out a number of concerns with the viability of the U.S. plan
largely due to Russian inflexibility.

5. (C) The Lithuanian delegation used the 29 August bilateral
meeting for U/S Pavilionis to express his concern that Russia
would use any NATO flexibility on Adapted CFE ratification
for further wedge-driving within the Alliance, and produce an
escalation of Russian demands, but no action on Istanbul. He
argued that Russia should fulfill the Istanbul commitments as
a prerequisite for the Baltic States to move beyond public
statements to set up consultations and called for a firm
multilateral Allied approach in a broader context (leveraging
energy security, trade, and other instruments) to "force"
Russia into action. Pavilionis emphasized the familiar
Baltic concern about the possibility of any discussions about
the Baltics without the Baltics present. He said he trusted
the U.S. but doubted that the U.S. could control the process
proposed in the parallel action plan (namely with regard to
Germany and to some extent France) which could result in a
fractured Alliance.

6. (C) The importance of the CFE Treaty to European security
was echoed by each of the delegations during the 30 August
discussions, as were concerns with maintaining Allied unity
and skepticism about Russia,s intentions. Latvian Head of
Delegation Kaspars Ozolins, Director of the Security Policy
Department of the MFA, praised the U.S. idea of a parallel
action plan as a method to show Russia a way forward that
helps Moldova and Georgia, while noting the hope that the
Baltics would also benefit from the process. Ozolins
cautioned that Russia would string the process along by
partially fulfilling the requirements of the timeline and
prolonging negotiations to squeeze further proposals from the
Allies which would then be taken as promises. Estonian Head
of Delegation Margus Kolga, Director General of the First
Political Division of the MFA, expressed skepticism about
Russia,s readiness to move forward on Istanbul and their
commitment to CFE. Russian behavior and statements could not
all be explained by upcoming presidential elections, and
there was a risk that U.S. proposed flexibility might be
premature. Lithuanian Head of Delegation (on 30 August),
Algis Dabkus, Director of the Security Policy Division of the
MFA, underscored that NATO unity was a key element of the
process but reiterated Lithuanian concerns with Russian
intentions and where discussions may lead.

Status Quo Not an Option
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

7. (C) DAS Look made clear that that while the U.S. too is
clear-eyed about Russia,s intentions and willingness to work
seriously on fulfilling its remaining commitments, we also do
not believe that the status quo -- simply maintaining the
NATO position that Allies will not ratify the Adapted CFE
Treaty until Russia,s remaining Istanbul commitments are
fulfilled -- is a viable option. Laurendeau noted that at
the moment, if no new ideas or steps were agreed, there
appeared to be little prospect for progress on Istanbul and
thus, every reason to believe that in the absence of movement
by Allies on ratification of Adapted CFE, Russia would
suspend implementation of the current CFE Treaty in December.
If we made no attempt to break the stalemate, Look
explained, that could lead to the possibility of no Istanbul
commitments fulfilled, no A/CFE on the horizon and the
current CFE Treaty on life-support come December.

8. (C) DAS Look and Laurendeau made the case for why the
Balts should consider consultations on accession to CFE as a
way to assist in making this best effort with Russia to get
the Istanbul commitments fulfilled and CFE preserved. The
reasoning behind the parallel action plan was only partly
directed at Russia: the U.S. believes that a forthcoming
NATO message on CFE is also the best way to maintain, and
sustain, a unified NATO position. This position will need to
hold even if Russia does not agree to work with us and
ultimately the CFE Treaty is placed at risk. In the event
our effort fails, all Allies need to believe that it was
Russia that refused to accept a fair, reasonable and
pragmatic offer if we are to maintain Alliance unity.

9. (C) Dabkus (Lithuania) asked if the USG was sure it would
be able to control the process of the action plan, noting
specifically the German plans to hold a conference on CFE 1-2
October. DAS Look explained that we have informed Germany
that the timing for this conference is not good and could be
counterproductive. As Germany remains insistent on holding
it, she said, we will attend and try to steer the process.
She continued that this serves as a case in point as to why
it was necessary for the U.S. to seize the initiative in
developing a substantive plan before other Allies created
plans that could potentially undermine Russian fulfillment of
its remaining Istanbul commitments. (NOTE: The Lithuanian
delegation seemed to be under the impression that it was only
Germany that is dissatisfied with the status quo and willing
to devalue the Istanbul commitments for traction on a new way
forward. END NOTE) All delegations agreed that it would be
important to try to define a constructive focus for the
German conference, perhaps focused on the value Allies all
place on CFE and the desirability of maintaining the regime.

Role of the Baltic States vis-a-vis the parallel action plan
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

10. (C) All three Baltic States are prepared to continue to
state publicly their willingness to accede to A/CFE once
it,s in force, although Lithuania questioned the utility of
these statements when they have already done so many times
before. All were not comfortable with the U.S. proposal for
consultations with Russia (and others) on accession to A/CFE.
They were particularly wary of making clear publicly the
conditions of their accession prior to entry into force of

11. (C) Ozolins (Latvia) observed that adding another promise
(Baltic consultations) to the mix would not entice Russia to
fulfill its Istanbul commitments. Russia could use
consultations to try to split the Alliance by making specific
proposals for ceilings that are acceptable to some Allies and
not others. Linking Baltic consultations to Russia
rescinding its announcement of suspension could result in
Russia making Baltic consultations on A/CFE a precondition
for Russia to move on Istanbul commitments.

12. (C) Kolga expressed Estonia's willingness to accede to
A/CFE when the time comes and willingness to make public
statements about Estonia's intentions. He said that it might
be premature to even discuss consultations with Russia and
rushing into consultations might back the Baltic countries
into a corner. Equipment ceilings and other details could
only be set through a collective defense strategy; and
therefore, consultations within the NATO context to determine
what the Alliance can support must happen before any
consultations with Russia. Dabkus (Lithuania) echoed
concerns about such early consultations noting support for
the Estonian proposal to start discussions within NATO. He
questioned the proposed formats for broader consultations
since the Joint Consultative Group is a forum where the Balts
are not States Parties and the NATO Russia Council is a forum
where Russia is at the table.

13. (C) Look and Laurendeau said that Russia,s focus on the
Baltic States being part of CFE made it imperative that all
three States play an early and visible role in the parallel
action plan. Look underscored that the Baltic States have an
essential role as partners in this pragmatic plan; their role
directly impacts the ability of the U.S. to lead the process
and maintain a unified approach. Look and Laurendeau
explained that consultations on accession are not the same as
formal accession negotiations, and perhaps there could be a
parallel process of intra-Alliance and NATO-Russia
consultations. Look emphasized that the consultations
envisioned could begin with sharing principles related to
accession to Adapted CFE, rather than specifics (e.g.
numbers). The effect would be to give the Baltic States a
seat at the table as a key player in the Alliance on CFE.
This would involve taking an active role as a member of the
Alliance in saving the CFE Treaty, rather than refusing to be
part of the process. The importance of Alliance unity to
retaining a working CFE Treaty, getting Russia to fulfill its
Istanbul commitments and having an orderly plan for ratifying
A/CFE was the line of argument that gained the most traction
throughout the discussions.

Baltic Proposal(s)
- - - - - - - - -

14. (C) By the end of the day,s discussions the three were
no longer adamant in refusing to consider the possibility of
consultations with Russia on accession, but they had not
agreed to the idea, either. All three Baltic delegations
emphasized that consultations within NATO must occur before
broader consultations involving Russia; it would be
imperative that all NATO States support Baltic statements and
positions in broader consultations. In the right
circumstances, if questions regarding the Alliance dimension,
and an appropriate venue could be worked out, Estonia, and
Latvia to some degree, appeared willing to consider the
possibility of broader preliminary consultations which would
key off of principles underpinning their previous statements
about their willingness to join CFE. The Latvian rep
worried, nonetheless, that Russia might use statements of
general principles against the Balts to demonstrate their
"aggressiveness" or turn Baltic commitments into
preconditions for Istanbul commitments.

15. (C) Ozolins (Latvia) presented a non-paper which called
for a NATO Contingency Operations Plan (COP) as a
prerequisite for launching talks on Latvia,s accession to
A/CFE. It reiterated Latvia's willingness to negotiate
accession to A/CFE, but stated that acceding to A/CFE should
not undermine Latvia's National Security. Full text appears
in para 21. Latvia intends to distribute this paper to
Allies after receiving input from the U.S. Estonia expressed
support for the initiative to start contingency planning and
Lithuania noted the paper was of interest.

16. (C) U.S. delegation member Lieutenant Colonel Olejasz,
Joint Chiefs of Staff, remarked that the paper raised two key
issues: individual national security requirements and
collective alliance responsibilities. Each country needs to
consider its individual security requirements while also
assessing collective responsibilities and requirements. Each
member has responsibilities to the Alliance and the Alliance
has responsibilities to each member. While making clear that
he does not speak for NATO, LTC Olejasz said that NATO values
the Baltic States as members of the Alliance and is showing
strong support with the Air Policing mission. He said that
the U.S. has strong relationships with each Baltic country
and highlighted their efforts to be good partners noting
their support for and participation in the U.S. led coalition
in Iraq and NATO led efforts in Afghanistan. LTC Olejasz
said that the military supported development of the U.S.
parallel action plan which serves as a means for NATO to put
forward a best effort that maintains emphasis on host nation
consent and continued Alliance solidarity. Laurendeau
pointed out that the Latvian non-paper seemed to indicate
that the security benefits provided by the CFE Treaty regime
were in Latvia's national interest, which reinforced the
position that all members of the Alliance should not only
want this Treaty, but bear responsibility for working
together to maintain it.

Presentation on northern flank forces
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

17. (C) U.S. delegation member James Starkey provided an
informal presentation on conventional armed forces in the
Leningrad Military District and the Kaliningrad Oblast' of
Russia, and in Belarus. He noted the there had not been any
significant changes in the forces during the past year, and
that Russia,s focus remains in the south. Overall, Russian
forces have been gradually improving since the mid-1990,s
because of increased capital investment in facilities,
increased training, and in recent years, the conversion of
selected units to contract service. In the Leningrad
Military District, active forces include one air assault
(formerly airborne) division, two separate motorized rifle
brigades, and one naval infantry brigade, as well as inactive
brigades. There are some indications that changes may be
under way that will lead to a decreased capability to
activate additional forces. In the Kaliningrad Oblast,,
there is a small active force (two low-strength separate
motorized rifle brigades and one naval infantry brigade), but
large holdings of tanks, ACV,s and artillery pieces provide
a latent capability to activate at least three additional
brigades. Belarus has a small portion of its combat
equipment in active units and the capability to create a
larger force after a period of mobilization and training.
Ozolins inquired whether the active level of training of the
airborne division in Pskov was a specific trend or more
general. Starkey indicated the high level of training was a
reflection of increased resources but also noted that
airborne units train more than most others as they are kept
at high readiness and usually are the first units deployed in
a crisis. Ozolins also asked about Belarusian and Russian
cooperation on training and procurement. Starkey responded
that their air defense systems are integrated, and there is
some combined training, but that neither has been doing much
procurement. Both countries were keeping a substantial
portion of their forces at a lower level of combat readiness.
Starkey estimated it would take more than a month for the
less ready and inactive units to be brought to full strength
and trained to be capable of offensive operations.

Further Consultations
- - - - - - - - - - -

18. (C) Estonian Head of Delegation Margus Kolga said he
understood that the Baltic States will need to play an active
role as the Alliance engages Russia on CFE. Kolga noted
Alliance unity is key, just as one Alliance voice is key with
regard to Baltic accession negotiations. This means it is
now time to start consultations within the NATO context on
Baltic accession to CFE. The Lithuanian delegation remained
skeptical, with Dabkus affirming that Lithuania is ready to
support unified alliance approach and to do its part, but
underscoring they do not want to be held hostage. As team
players, Lithuania is open to consultations in NATO, but in
no rush to hold consultations with Russia. Latvian Head of
Delegation Kaspars Ozolins was unconvinced and remained
particularly concerned with the Baltic role in the timeline.
Latvia envisions internal consultations first which will in
turn determine what can be done in a broader context.
Latvians would like a Washington reaction to their non-paper
as soon as possible.

19. (C) All three delegations requested that the U.S. provide
a readout of the 11 September U.S.-Russia Paris bilateral
meeting. Look agreed that the U.S. would follow up on the
margins of the 12 September V-10 in Tallinn with EUR PDAS
Volker and that she would debrief on the margins of the 13
September HLTF meeting in Brussels.

20. (SBU) Listing of delegation members:

-- Estonia: Margus Kolga, Head of Delegation, MFA; Arti
Hilpus, Deputy Head of Delegation, MFA; Peeter Helme,
Security Policy Department, MFA; Kristjan Prikk, MOD
International Cooperation Department; Kai-Helin Kaldas, MOD
International Cooperation Department; Villu Tamul, Arms
Control Group of the Estonian General Staff.

-- Latvia: Kaspars Ozolins, Head of Delegation, MFA; Raimonds
Oskalns, Deputy Head of Delegation, MFA; Diana Krieva,
Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Division, MFA; Janis
Garisons, MOD Crisis Management and Mobilisation Department;
Sintija Visnevska, MOD Defense Policy and Planning
Department; Liga Mikucevska, National Armed Forces Joint
Headquarter Arms Control Department; Ieva Jirgensone, NATO
Permanent Mission.

-- Lithuania: Algis Dabkus, Head of Delegation, MFA; Donatas
Ziugzda, Deputy Head of Delegation, MFA; Andrius Krivas, NATO
Division, MFA; Jonas Daniliauskas, Non-proliferation and
Disarmament Division, MFA; Dovydas Spokauskas, Arms Control,
Non-proliferation and Disarmament Division, MFA; Martynas
Lukosevicius, Arms Control, Non-proliferation and Disarmament
Division, MFA; Robertas Sapronas, MOD International Relations
and Operations Department; Liutauras Kavoliunas, Major of the
Armed Forces.

-- United States: DAS Karin L. Look, Head of Delegation;
Jennifer Laurendeau, Deputy Head of Delegation; Kathryn
Ducceschi, Military Advisor to Department of State; Jeff
Gibbs, Legal Advisor to Department of State; Hugh Neighbour,
Chief Arms Control Delegate, U.S. Mission to the OSCE; Steve
Olejasz, Joint Chiefs of Staff; Peter Perenyi, Office of the
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe-NATO; James
Starkey, CFE Expert for Department of State; Joe King,
Defense Attache to Lithuania; Lauren Charwat, Regional
Affairs Officer; Michael Dickerson, Political Officer.



*Latvia,s reflection on prospective negotiations on
accession to Adapted CFE Treaty*

Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) is an
important mechanism for European security. It is a
cornerstone of conventional arms control and confidence
building in Europe. Hence efforts should be made to maintain
and observe the CFE regime. Keeping the CFE Treaty in force,
however, should be prime responsibility of States Parties to
the Treaty. Burden of maintaining the CFE regime can not be
shifted to non-member states.

Latvia notes that on a number of occasions it has expressed
its readiness to negotiate potential accession to the Treaty
as soon as Istanbul commitments are fully implemented and
other corresponding provisions are in force. Simultaneously,
Latvia shall give due consideration to the terms and
conditions under which it may proceed to negotiations on the
accession to the Treaty.

*Acceding to the CFE regime should not undermine Latvia,s
national security.*

Based on the principle of collective security and defense,
Latvia expects support from its Allies in case of military
crisis. CFE Treaty on the other hand sets restrictions on
armed forces and military equipment to be deployed on the
territory of Latvia thereby directly affecting Latvia,s
national security. In addition, changes to the immediate
vicinity of Latvia,s borders constitute its security
concerns. Thus, the terms under which Latvia accedes to the
Treaty must take into account the potential deployment of
Alliance,s forces on our territory that are adequate to the
security needs of Latvia.

Since accession to NATO, the Baltic States have requested
Contingency Operations Plan (COP). Latvia sees as one of the
prerequisites for launching talks on Latvia,s accession to
the CFE Treaty the elaboration of NATO COP. Eventually the
NATO COP will form a basis for estimating the "territorial
ceilings" for Latvia under CFE Treaty.

Furthermore taking into account latest changes in the
security environment ni Latvia,s neighborhood, Latvia would
see a need for closer cooperation in the field of capability
development of Latvian Armed Forces that require additional
financial means.



22. (U) DAS Look has cleared this cable.