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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08MOSCOW955 2008-04-08 07:46:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow
Cable title:  

DFM SALTANOV DISCUSSES IRAQ, MIDDLE EAST, WITH S/I

Tags:   PREL PGOV MARR EPET ENRG IR IZ RS 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 000955 

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/02/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR EPET ENRG IR IZ RS
SUBJECT: DFM SALTANOV DISCUSSES IRAQ, MIDDLE EAST, WITH S/I
SATTERFIELD:

REF: A. LAVROV-RICE LETTER FEBRUARY 7 2008

B. MOSCOW 912

Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns. Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary. In a meeting with DFM Saltanov in Moscow
April 2, Senior Advisor to the Secretary and Coordinator for
Iraq (S/I) Ambassador David Satterfield urged Russia to
encourage Iraq's neighbors to play a greater role in helping
to stabilize the country, noting that Iraq was important for
much broader issues than Iraq itself. Saltanov said Russia
supported increasing assistance to Iraq, and would continue
to press Iraq's neighbors to be more active there, including
urging Syria to stem foreign fighters to Iraq. Saltanov
stressed, however, the need for greater political
reconciliation among Iraqi leaders, and pressed for a
timeframe for withdrawal of multinational forces.
Satterfield said he would look into Russia's request for more
access to and more information on the detainees held in
connection with the 2006 murder of Russian diplomats in
Baghdad (ref A). Saltanov also mentioned the Middle East
Peace Process, noting that Russia still supported the Roadmap
as well as Egypt's efforts to reduce the violence in Gaza.
End Summary.



2. (C) Satterfield told Saltanov the U.S. welcomed Russia's
engagement in Iraq and encouraged Russia to do more, both in
the political and economic spheres. He emphasized that
stability in Iraq was important, not just for Iraq, but for
the larger strategic picture. The future of Iraq affected
issues such as Iran, terrorism, Sunni extremism, and the
stability of the region as a whole. He urged Russia to
increase its political and economic investment in Iraq, and
to encourage Iraq's Arab neighbors to become more active and
to establish diplomatic representations there. Iran should
not be the only regional country with a presence in Iraq.



3. (C) Saltanov said Russia supported the idea that
international assistance, including Russia's, had to be more
intensive and active. He said Russia had urged Iraq's
neighbors to do more to reduce the level of terrorism in
Iraq, including telling Syrian President Assad he needed to
implement "real" measures to reduce the flow of foreign
fighters to Iraq. Such efforts, together with those of
MNF-I, the Iraqis themselves, and other countries supporting
Iraq's sovereignty, Saltanov said, had led to the reduction
in terrorism and violence. During his February visit to
Moscow, Iraqi FM Zebari had told him that the level of
foreign fighters through Syria had dropped three-fold.

Political Dialogue, MNF Timeframe for Withdrawal


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

---



4. (C) But, Saltanov said, both Iraq and the U.S. admitted
there had not yet been a significant enough breakthrough, and
Russia agreed there needed to be increased international
cooperation as well as a "real" dialogue among the political
factions. The GOR had encouraged the Iraqi government to
step up their efforts at political reconciliation. He noted
that as a result of his visit to Iraq in March, the GoI had a
better understanding of Russia's concerns and interests, both
political and economic. Russia also believed the
international community should encourage assistance to the
UN's efforts to facilitate municipal elections.



5. (C) Saltanov reiterated the GoR's argument that there
needed to be a timeframe for withdrawal of MNF troops. This
was essential to get the Sunni elements to move forward on
the reconciliation and dialogue process. Russia understood
that the idea of a "timeframe" (not a "timetable," Saltanov
emphasized) was sensitive, and that an immediate withdrawal
could lead to chaos. Russia also acknowledged that the GOI
wanted the MNF to stay until their own security forces were
stronger, and that Iraq's Arab neighbors linked their own
safety to the presence of the MNF. But, Russia still
believed that more certainty about a timeframe for MNF
withdrawal would both encourage the GOI to seek greater
political stability, and promote greater international
cooperation.



6. (C) Satterfield described the current situation in Iraq,
noting that despite the tensions and set-back caused by the
recent events in Basra, there was a rough, fragile, political
center forming. He concurred on the need for greater

MOSCOW 00000955 002 OF 003


stability, political dialogue and progress in building
institutions, but pushed back on the argument for a
timeframe, emphasizing that all but Muqtada al-Sadr saw the
international military presence as essential to preserving
the fragile path to stability. He said the U.S. wanted to
see the UN Chapter 7 mandate replaced by the end of the year
by an agreement giving sovereign authorization for the
presence of combat forces. While not setting a calendar, the
new agreements with Iraq would give the sense of a
conditions-based horizon for the international military
presence.

Russia to Increase Engagement with Iraq's Neighbors


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



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





7. (C) Saltanov said Russia would seek to increase the
effectiveness of the Neighbors Process launched at
Sharm-el-Sheikh, and would heighten its engagement with
Iraq's neighbors. Syria had more of an economic incentive to
see Iraq become more stable, as it would benefit from both
the Kirkuk-Banias oil pipeline, and a possible gas pipeline
transiting Syria. The approach to Iran, he contended, should
include all elements of the environment and aspects
surrounding the country. The more pressure the international
community tries to impose on Iran, the more stubborn Iran
becomes and the more the Iranian people rally around their
government. He encouraged the U.S. to continue its dialogue
with Iran on Iraq, and said he would consider what more
Russia could do to encourage other regional countries to
establish diplomatic missions in Iraq.



8. (C) While the U.S. was willing to engage in another round
of direct talks with Iran, Satterfield said, we were not
optimistic they would yield any better results than the
previous rounds. The recent volley of Iranian-provided
rockets into the embassy compound in Baghdad showed that Iran
was still pursuing its violent support for the terrorists in
Iraq.

Russian Economic Investment


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





9. (C) Satterfield said he had told Lukoil the day before
that the U.S. and Russia were on the same page on energy
investment: both were telling the GOI it needed to modernize
and open its hydrocarbon sector, by agreeing to
production-sharing arrangements, not just service contracts
(ref B).



10. (C) Saltanov replied that Russia was prepared to
facilitate a settlement in Iraq through economic means, by
investing in Iraq's hydrocarbon sector, if Russian companies
could work out their problems, including in the West Qurna
(2) oilfield. This would send an important signal to other
international companies and investors. He also noted that
Russian companies were still involved in other economic
sectors, such as power generation, which they had never
abandoned. The Russian business sector wanted to keep
working in Iraq, and even to expand, but this depended on the
security situation. The GOR could not encourage greater
Russian company participation unless the security situation
was stable.

Russian Diplomats Killed in Iraq - Follow-Up Requests


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



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





11. (C) Satterfield told Saltanov he would look into how the
U.S. could best address Russia's request for information
regarding the detainees held in connection with the murder of
Russian diplomats in Baghdad in 2006, as set forth in FM
Lavrov's February 7 letter to the Secretary (ref A). He
would also explore the GOR's request for access for its
investigators to several of the detainees (septel). Saltanov
expressed appreciation for Satterfield's efforts, saying it
was a matter of great importance to Putin and to the families.

Kuwait Conference


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





12. (C) Saltanov said he would attend the April 22 Expanded
Neighbors Ministerial in Kuwait.

Middle East Peace Process - Annapolis Follow-Up


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

--

MOSCOW 00000955 003 OF 003





13. (C) Saltanov veered into a lengthy discussion of Middle
East peace efforts, noting that Russia still supported the
Roadmap as "the only document we have," and had seen
significant steps on mutual measures needed to implement the
first stage of the Roadmap as a result of the Secretary's
efforts. What was important now was for all sides to
implement them. While Russia believed that the security of
Israel was still one of the paramount issues, and that the
shelling of Israel needed to stop, Russia was also concerned
by the building of new complexes in the settlements. These
did not add to confidence-building and could be seen as
recognition of Israeli occupation of the territories.
Therefore, Russia was supportive of Egypt's efforts to
resolve the issues in the Gaza Strip. Saltanov noted that
Russia had support from the Palestinians and Israel, as well
as Washington, to hold a follow-on conference to Annapolis
later this year.



14. (U) Ambassador Satterfield has cleared this cable.
BURNS