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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08TALLINN298 2008-08-27 12:50:00 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tallinn
Cable title:  

TFGG01: ESTONIA AND GERMANY CONDEMN RUSSIAN

Tags:   PREL PGOV RS GG EN 
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0784
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 2611
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 0186
RUEHYE/AMEMBASSY YEREVAN 0016
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/19/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV RS GG EN
SUBJECT: TFGG01: ESTONIA AND GERMANY CONDEMN RUSSIAN
RECOGNITION OF GEORGIA DURING MERKEL VISIT TO TALLINN

Classified by: DCM Karen Decker for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)



1. (C) SUMMARY. In Tallinn August 26th, German Chancellor
Angela Merkel called Russia's decision to recognize the
independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia "completely
unacceptable" and "illegal" and stressed the need to
maintain EU unity vis-a-vis Russia. Estonian PM Ansip
proposed the EU launch discussions on an EU-Georgia visa
facilitation agreement, open negotiations on a free-trade
agreement o bolster Georgia's economy and increase the EU's
physical presence in Georgia by deploying a monitoring
mission. President Ilves asserted Russia has to "feel the
consequences" of its actions in Georgia, but suspending the
EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) or
discussions on Russia's WTO accession would "not be
enough." Ilves also noted the Georgia crisis has created a
"paradigm shift" in security terms. Allies no longer
unanimously understand how NATO Article V works; the
situation has gotten more abstract. END SUMMARY



2. (SBU) During her visit to Tallinn on August 26th German
Chancellor Angela Merkel met with both Prime Minister
Andrus Ansip and President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. Merkel
participated in a joint press conference with PM Ansip and
delivered remarks to a large crowd of senior officials,
diplomats and others at Tallinn's modern art museum. In
her remarks, Merkel called Russia's decision to recognize
the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia "completely
unacceptable" and illegal and stressed the need to maintain
EU unity vis--vis Russia.



3. (SBU) On August 27th, Kyllike Sillaste-Elling, Foreign
Policy Advisor to PM Ansip and Sven Jurgenson, Foreign
Policy Advisor to President Ilves jointly briefed EU and
NATO diplomats on the substance of Chancellor Merkel's
meetings in Tallinn. Sillaste said the GOE was extremely
pleased with the substance of the visit and the high level
of international media coverage it had generated (more than
60 journalists participated in the joint press conference.)

What should the EU Do?



4. (C) Sillaste-Elling emphasized that Merkel and Ansip had
agreed that maintaining EU unity is a priority and that it
is important to show "very visible solidarity" with Georgia
now. At the Extraordinary EU Summit to take place on
September 1, the EU needs to send a clear signal to Russia
that its behavior is unacceptable and its decision to
recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia is illegal. Merkel
said Georgia "needs our support now even more than it did a
few weeks ago." PM Ansip proposed three specific steps the
EU could take to support Georgia. (Note: In addition to
discussing these with Merkel, the GOE plans to circulate
these proposals to EU members for discussion at the EU
Council meeting on September 1. End Note.)



5. (C) First, the EU should make a political decision to
launch visa facilitation talks with Georgia, Ansip told
Merkel. This issue has been on the EU-Georgia agenda for a
long time, Sillaste-Elling noted, but talks have not
progressed. The EU already has visa arrangements with
Russia, Ukraine and even Moldova and the situation is
unbalanced. Sillaste-Elling noted that Merkel liked PM
Ansip's idea "very much" and agreed that it should be
discussed at the EU level. (Note: Merkel also highlighted
her interest in this proposal during the joint press
conference with PM Ansip following the meeting. End Note.)
Second, Ansip proposed the EU open negotiations with
Georgia on a free trade agreement. Like the visa issue,
this is not a new proposal, Sillaste-Elling pointed out,
but one that requires an EU political decision to move
forward. The Prime Minister stressed that Georgia needs
more, not less, encouragement now, especially in the
economic field. The Georgian economy had been doing well
prior to the crisis, but the Russians had destroyed
Georgian infrastructure and the conflict has had a "severe
effect" on Georgia's economy. Reconstruction is one of the
things the EU does well, Ansip added. As with visa
facilitation, Merkel agreed the idea was worth looking into
and the EU should discuss it as a real way to show support
for Georgia.

TALLINN 00000298 002 OF 003





6. (C) Finally, PM Ansip emphasized the need to consider
ways to strengthen the EU's physical presence in Georgia -
e.g. through a monitoring mission or other mechanism.
Ansip said that while it is beneficial for the OSCE to send
people to Georgia, the EU needs to have a strong presence
there. Sillaste-Elling explained in her briefing that that
there are already different ideas under discussion in the
Political and Security Committee (PSC) in Brussels,
including a proposal by Sweden. One proposal under
consideration, she said, is using the EU mission in the
Congo as a model for EU monitoring in Georgia. Details
still need to be discussed, she continued. For example the
EU would needs to decide what the task of monitors would be
(e.g. keeping humanitarian assistance corridors open or to
verifying compliance with the French six-point plan).

What about the Neighborhood?



7. (C) According to Sillaste-Elling, Merkel told Ansip the
Neighborhood Policy should be "strengthened." The two
leaders discussed the implications of the crisis on Ukraine
and other countries in the region and agreed the EU should
look at ways to strengthen relations with Ukraine now.
Merkel also mentioned (but did not go into detail on)
Germany's proposal for the EU to hold a Neighborhood policy
conference in Tbilisi and invite other regional actors like
Azerbaijan and Armenia. The conference would provide a
forum to discuss ways to strengthen EU ties with the region
as a whole.



8. (C) President Ilves emphasized to Merkel that the
conflict in Georgia has given "new meaning" to the
Neighborhood Policy. For some countries, the policy has
been a "total failure" Ilves said - there has not been
enough "flesh on the bones." Ilves and Merkel also
highlighted their specific concerns about the leadership in
Ukraine and the potential for conflict with Russia over the
Crimea. The president and prime minister (in Kiev) cannot
work together and this is damaging Ukraine as well as
western efforts to support the country, Ilves said. We
have to find a way to get the message to the Government of
Ukraine to "get its act together," Ilves told Merkel. NOTE:
The German Ambassador later told DCM that Merkel intended
to press for a discussion at the EU Summit of ways to
support Ukraine: such as regular and more frequent contact
with Ukrainian politicians. END NOTE.

What to do about Russia?



9. (C) Ilves and Merkel discussed the need for a two-tiered
approach to Russia - focused on both Russia and the
surrounding areas. Merkel explained in greater detail the
need to provide massive support for reconstruction in
Georgia. By providing political and economic support and
helping Saakashvili, the West will make sure Russia's "end
goals" are not met. Ilves emphasized that it was not a
question of "punishing" Russia, but said the West needs to
do what is necessary to make Russia pull back from Georgia
and not repeat its actions elsewhere. Russia needs to feel
the "consequences" of its actions in Georgia but simply
suspending EU-Russia PCA renewal or WTO talks would not be
enough.



10. (C) Ilves told Merkel about an article written by
Senator Richard Lugar in 2000 called "Out of Area or Out of
Business." In his text, Lugar argued there were no longer
any threats to Europe, so NATO had to go out of its
traditional area of responsibility. This is not longer
true, Ilves told Merkel, there is a new security paradigm
in the world now. During the Cold War, Allies unanimously
understood how NATO Article V worked. However, the concept
has gotten more abstract and Allies have only just begun to
think about what this means.

What about MAP?



11. (C) Sillaste-Elling said Merkel and Ansip had "some"
discussion on MAP. The two leaders had agreed it was
impossible to determine whether NATO's decision not to
offer MAP to Georgia at the NATO Summit in Bucharest in

TALLINN 00000298 003 OF 003


April had any impact on events leading to the current
crisis. They agreed, however, that it is Russia, not
"certain members of the Alliance" which is behaving badly
now. PM Ansip also reaffirmed the Estonia was willing to
grant MAP to Georgia in Bucharest and still believes NATO
should offer MAP to Georgia as soon as possible now.
Jurgenson noted that while Ilves and Merkel did not discuss
the timing of MAP, the two had agreed it is important to
"look ahead." Ilves cautioned that recent events should be
used to accelerate a NATO decision to offer MAP, not hinder
it.

PHILLIPS