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08USNATO174 2008-05-16 15:28:00 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Mission USNATO
Cable title:  

NORTH ATLANTIC COUNCIL READOUT - MAY 14, 2008

Tags:   NATO PREL AF 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 08 USNATO 000174 

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/15/2018
TAGS: NATO PREL AF
SUBJECT: NORTH ATLANTIC COUNCIL READOUT - MAY 14, 2008

USNATO 00000174 001.2 OF 008


Classified By: DCM Richard G. Olson, Jr., for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (C/NF) Summary from the NAC Meeting:

-- Afghanistan: Independent Directorate for Local Governance
Head Jelani Popal briefed the NAC in ISAF format on his goals
and challenges, and took questions on the Paris Conference,
the delivery of assistance by PRTs, reconciliation, and Musa
Qala. He called for the international community to focus on
the second tier of provinces in Afghanistan such as Ghor and
Badghis, where violence had the potential to develop if
underlying conditions were not addressed. At the same time,
he stressed that the international community should not
ignore the development and reconstruction needs of the
peaceful provinces. In a separate NAC meeting of only the 26
Allies, the Deputy Chairman of the Military Committee (D/CMC)
noted that seven new force offers had been confirmed by SHAPE
from the Bucharest Summit. He quickly added, however, that
these offers would have minimal impact on longstanding ISAF
force shortfalls. SHAPE DCOS for Operations MG Wright stated
that ISAF would begin incrementally transferring security
responsibility for Kabul to the Afghans in August 2008.

-- Balkans: The SYG will travel to New York next week to meet
with UN SYG Ban Ki-Moon to address NATO-UN issues,
particularly with regard to the situation in Kosovo. The
D/CMC reported that the Military Committee had received
SHAPE's input to Revision 3 of the Balkans Operations Plan
and had forwarded it to nations for comments by May 16. MG
Wright briefed the PermReps on the situation in Kosovo,
including election participation and his recent trip with
SACEUR's to the region. He commented that NATO was in danger
of not being able to properly prepare to implement the new
tasks associated with security sector development and
training of the Kosovo Security Force.

-- Africa ) Support to the AU: No discussion.

-- Iraq: The SYG noted that the PCG will discuss the
out-of-cycle guidance on the PMR this week.

-- Statements on Political Subjects: The UK reported on the
UNSC's debate on Security Sector Reform in the context of the
UNSYG's report on Security Peace and Development. The UNSC
will debate post-conflict stabilization May 20 under UK
auspices. Slovenia reported that U.S., Slovenian, Latvian,
Lithuanian, Portuguese and Swedish representatives visited
Tbilisi to meet with Georgian and UNOMIG representatives.
Following German objections to a proposal to ask the
International Military Staff to provide intelligence updates
on the situation in Georgia, Ambassador Nuland reported that
she was seeking authorization to share more U.S. intelligence

USNATO 00000174 002.2 OF 008


on the situation with NATO Allies. The SYG welcomed this
offer, asking other Allies also to provide what they could.

-- AOB: The UK will host an informal NATO ministerial on
Transformation and Reform September 18-19. The D/CMC
confirmed a generous Canadian offer of helicopters for NATO
operations. Ambassador Nuland informed PermReps that U/S of
Defense for Policy Edelman would visit Brussels in early
June, adding that USNATO would arrange a briefing by him for
Allies.

END SUMMARY.



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


Afghanistan


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





2. (C/NF) IDLG HEAD POPAL BRIEFS THE NAC IN ISAF FORMAT: In a
broad overview of his efforts, Independent Directorate for
Local Governance Head Jelani Popal told the NAC his main
mission from President Karzai was to "bridge the gap" between
the Afghan central government and provincial and local
governments. He pointed to the existence of this gap as a
failing by the government of its responsibility to its
people, arguing that the Taliban had filled this void through
the use of murder and intimidation to gain influence.
Highlighting the quandary faced by the Afghan government,
Popal said that the Constitution allowed for more authority
to be delegated to the provinces and districts than ever
before, but the government had been unable to strengthen
"fragile, moribund" structures or sort out clear roles for
provincial, district, and village councils. He stated that,
for the five years prior to the formation of the IDLG,
neither the Afghan government nor the international community
paid sufficient attention to the importance of developing
local governance. He highlighted some accomplishments
achieved in the seven months of the IDLG's existence: 12
governors replaced with successors chosen on merit; the
creation of a new counternarcotics department within the
IDLG, responsible for assisting provincial governments
coordinate eradication with robust alternative livelihoods
programs; and the recently approved Five-year Strategic
Workplan. Popal drew Allies' attention to the Afghanistan
Social Outreach Program (ASOP), an IDLG initiative to link
communities more closely with government, while also using
traditional social structures to improve security in rural
areas.



3. (C/NF) PermReps warmly welcomed Popal to the NAC, praising
his efforts and offering words of support. Ambassador Nuland
assured Popal of strong U.S. support for his efforts, and
urged him to return to the NAC in the future for updates.

USNATO 00000174 003.2 OF 008


She commended Popal's efforts to remove poor governors,
particularly in Farah, Ghazni, and Konar. Noting that the
U.S. has been encouraging nations around the world to make
generous pledges at the upcoming Paris Support Conference,
she asked him what concrete deliverables he hoped to see at
Paris for his work. The German, Greek, and Lithuanian
PermReps asked Popal about resentment they sense among some
in Afghanistan that insecure provinces receive the bulk of
the development assistance. Asserting that the Taliban was a
weak enemy, D/CMC General Eikenberry said weak governance
posed a far more serious threat to ISAF and the future of
Afghanistan than did the Taliban. The D/CMC asked how NATO
could better help Afghan security forces help Popal's
mission. The Canadian PermRep asked for Popal's views on
reconciliation. The UK PermRep asked what lessons should be
learned from the success in retaking Musa Qala from the
Taliban.



4. (C/NF) On PRTs, Popal encouraged PRTs to work alongside
and through Provincial Development Councils, as well as
helping the PDCs develop budgeting and planning capabilities.
He acknowledged the problem that some PRTs have significant
resources, while others have less, citing Ghor (Lithuanian
PRT), Badghis (Spanish PRT), and Baghlan (Hungarian PRT) as
under resourced PRTs. He encouraged creative thinking to
resolve these inequities, suggesting that at a minimum
resources could be moved between the PRTs of EU nations to
where they were most needed. At the same time, he recognized
that each PRT is a national effort. (Note: In the Allies-only
meeting which followed, Lithuania made a point of supporting
Popal on the need for a more coordinated approach among PRTs,
including possibly the need for common funding. Lithuania
suggested that NATO's Policy Coordination Group be tasked
with examining this issue.) In this context, he stated he
has categorized Afghanistan's 34 provinces into three types:
those with active, ongoing violence; those that are presently
peaceful, but show early signs of developing conflict; and
those without conflict, but which need much development
assistance. He called for the international community to
focus on the second type, citing Dai Kunai, Ghor, Badghis,
Badakshan, Nuristan, and Bamyan as examples. At the same
time, he said it was also important that the international
community not inadvertently "penalize" the "peaceful"
provinces by denying them the development assistance they
require. To the Canadian PermRep, Popal stated his focus was
on eliminating the root causes that turn people against the
government in the first place. To the UK PermRep, he stated
that the Afghan government was able to overcome the
skepticism of the people that the government would not stay
and that the Taliban would return; it is a powerful sign to
the people when the government is able to demonstrate to them
that it is working for them, in a unified way.

USNATO 00000174 004.2 OF 008





5. (C/NF) BUCHAREST FORCE GENERATION FOLLOW-UP: In a separate
NAC session that did not involve the ISAF contributors, SHAPE
DCOS for Operations MG Wright and the D/CMC stated that SHAPE
had submitted its final tally of Bucharest force
contributions and their effect on the ISAF CJSOR to the IMS
(e-mailed to State EUR/RPM). The D/CMC noted that many of
the Bucharest "pledges" were in fact merely reiterations of
offers that had already been made two, three, and even four
times previously, and that SHAPE was somewhat limited in its
effort due to the fact that some national military
representatives at SHAPE were unable to confirm their
nations' offers. Of nine "new" offers identified by SHAPE at
Bucharest, seven had been confirmed. The D/CMC singled out
the French offer of one battalion in RC-East and their
continued leadership in RC-Capital as particularly
significant, pointing out it would let the Italians leave
RC-Capital in August 2008. He also noted the Italian offer
of additional UAV assets. The D/CMC stressed that
longstanding force shortfalls remained unfilled: two
maneuver battalions for RC-S; one "border security" battalion
for RC-S; PRTs for Dai Kundi and Nimroz provinces; airborne
ISR and electronic warfare assets; and military rotary wing
aircraft. Defense Ministers will discuss this in June.



6. (C/NF) TRANSFER OF KABUL TO ANSF: In his overview of
ongoing operations, MG Wright stated that early work on the
transfer of security responsibilities for Kabul and
RC-Capital, per President Karzai's announcement in Bucharest,
had begun. Wright said that the present intention was to
begin an incremental transfer of responsibility in August
2008, beginning in Kabul and moving on district-by-district
throughout the rest of ISAF's RC-Capital region as conditions
permit.



7. (C/NF) OPERATIONS: MG Wright noted increased attacks by
Opposing Militant Forces (OMF) on highways, bridges, and
other infrastructure and predicted continued OMF interest in
such attacks following the recent destruction of a bridge in
Zabul province. MG Wright cited the easing of pressure by
the Pakistani government on militants in the Federally
Administered Tribal Areas as a factor in the rise of OMF
activity in RC-East. He anticipated that the Pakistani
Taliban would profit from any deals with the government,
gaining freedom of movement both within the FATA and into
Afghanistan. He stated that 50 percent of activity over the
past week in RC-S was due to the 24th Marine Expeditionary
Unit (MEU) operations in Garmsir. He said joint operations
by ISAF and ANSF in the Lashkar Gah, Nahr-e-Saraj, and Sangin
areas of Helmand were pressuring OMF up and down the Helmand
river valley. He pointed to continuing positive cooperation
by the local population in the Surobi district of RC-Capital

USNATO 00000174 005.2 OF 008


with an Italian task force, resulting recently in the
discovery of nearly 70 weapons caches and the delivery of
nearly 10,000 kilograms of poppy to Afghan authorities by
local nationals.



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


Balkans


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





8. (C/NF) The SYG informed the Council that he would be
traveling to New York on May 21 to meet with UN SYG Ban
Ki-Moon to address NATO-UN issues with a particular emphasis
on the Kosovo situation. Noting that he had written to Ban
requesting assistance in maintaining a fully capable UNMIK
police presence in Kosovo, the SYG intends to press Ban on
the status of UNMIK, including its current composition. He
also said he would seek clarification on UN's plans after
Kosovo's constitution comes into effect on June 15, including
the UN's views on the transition to the EU's EULEX mission.
The SYG also mentioned that he was planning to hold a meeting
of the 26 NATO ambassadors in New York during his visit. The
D/CMC said the Military Committee had received SHAPE's input
to Revision 3 of the Balkans Operations Plan and that this
had been forwarded to nations for comments by May 16.
Following their input, the MC working group will take up
discussion of the plan and hope to have it agreed by the
beginning of June. General Wright briefed the PermReps on
the situation in Kosovo, saying that 46 percent of Kosovo
Serbs voted in the May 11 elections and KFOR continued to
maintain a high operational tempo both before and during the
election period. MG Wright also briefed on his and SACEUR's
visit to Kosovo, specifically to Gate 1 in the north, which
is being secured by UNMIK and Kosovo police with support from
KFOR. Wright describing the current situation at the gate as
calm. He said, however, that if things deteriorated to a
worst case scenario where Kosovo Serbs were taking action
against the gate KFOR would need to deploy at least two
additional maneuver companies. They would have to secure the
gate and access to it, presenting significant logistics and
operational challenges that would reduce COMKFOR's
flexibility to respond to other threats. Lastly, MG Wright
noted that NATO was in danger of not being able to properly
prepare to implement the new tasks associated with security
sector development and training of the Kosovo Security Force.
Currently NATO has a requirement to fill approximately 112
civilian and military positions related to the new tasks in
Pristina and only a quarter of the slots have been staffed
with voluntary national contributions. As a result, NATO
might not be well positioned to assume responsibility for the
KPC by June 15.



9. (C/NF) All Allies who spoke (Spain, Italy, UK, Belgium,

USNATO 00000174 006.2 OF 008


Bulgaria, Turkey, Norway, Slovenia, Greece and the U.S.)
welcomed the news that the SYG would meet with Ban and urged
him to press for more details regarding the UN plans for
Kosovo and future composition of UNMIK. Spain cautioned
against anticipating what the UN or the EU might do and to
avoid "demonizing" other international actors, such as
Belgrade. He further questioned SHAPE's briefing over what
was driving COMKFOR's "worst case scenarios" in Kosovo.
Italy and Belgium seconded Spain's remarks regarding
inflammatory statements, but also said that any discussions
with Belgrade needed to be transparent to other stakeholders
-- such as NATO -- and should not put KFOR in the position of
being the first and only responder in Kosovo. Norway echoed
this last point and added that there should be no re-opening
of the Ahtisaari plan. Norway also announced that they were
contributing two personnel as VNCs for the civil-military
teams in Pristina. The UK applauded the SYG's upcoming trip,
saying that NATO needed clarification on UN plans, but pushed
back against Spain's remarks (with Turkish support), arguing
that NATO's military authorities needed to be able to engage
in prudent planning against worst case scenarios -- which
they said would not constitute NATO recognition of Kosovo.
The D/CMC also pushed back, saying that COMKFOR needed to be
prepared for all eventualities, including worst case
scenarios. The UK also asked about the possibility of NATO's
policy coordination group starting its work on the revised
OPLAN in parallel with the military authorities. The D/CMC,
in response to the UK, said that there are already agreed and
established procedures for the NATO military authorities to
provide their input on a joint operations plan prior to it
being referred to the political authorities and ultimately
the NAC for final approval -- a point strongly supported by
Turkey. The D/CMC assured the UK that the military committee
was working on trying to have it ready as soon as possible.



10. (C/NF) The SYG thanked the Council for the support on his
visit to New York and promised to impress upon the UN that
NATO needs to know its post-June 15 plans, as well as current
UNMIK force levels. The SYG stressed that NATO could not
address NATO recognition, but made equally clear that Allies
should not underestimate the "mental switch" which will be
flipped in the region on June 15. In response to a U.S.
inquiry over how the information will be obtained regarding
UNMIK levels and deployments, both the SYG and D/CMC said
that they would follow through at both the political and
military level on providing to the NAC the required
information.



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


Iraq


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




USNATO 00000174 007.2 OF 008




11. (C/NF) The SYG noted that the PCG will discuss the
out-of-cycle guidance on the PMR on May 16.



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


Statements on Political Subjects


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





12. (C/NF) The UK reported that the UNSC debated Security
Sector Reform May 12 in the context of the UNSYG's report on
Security Peace & Development. The UNSC will debate
post-conflict stabilization May 20 under UK auspices.



13. (C/NF) In regards to the situation in Georgia, Slovenia
reported the U.S., Slovenian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Portuguese
and Swedish representatives visited Tbilisi, meeting with
Georgian and UNOMIG representatives. They stressed the
importance of media freedom, democratic reform, and free and
fair elections on May 21, while also making clear their
support for Georgian territorial integrity. According to
Slovenia, Slovenian FM Rupel had said that the EU was closely
following Abkhazia. He also had recognized that Russia was
"an important partner" in resolving the conflict. When
Lithuania suggested that the IMS be tasked with providing
regular intelligence briefings on the military situation on
the ground, Germany objected. In justifying their objection,
Germany said that such briefings were useful primarily to
those that were involved in trying to resolve the situation.
Germany argued that while the UN and EU had a role to play,
NATO did not and should not give the impression that it does.
At the same time, Germany acknowledged the legitimate role
NATO's Political Committee could play in keeping the
situation under review. The Netherlands and Italy voiced
caution, saying a tasking to the MC to brief Allies was
"premature." The D/CMC stated that NATO did not have an
independent intelligence function and was forced to rely on
information supplied by Allies. Ambassador Nuland reported
that the U.S. has "turned up the lamps" on the region and was
seeking authorization to share more relevant intelligence
with NATO. Lithuania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Portugal, Canada,
Latvia and the Czech republic all welcomed the U.S. offer to
brief Allies, most expressing grave concern about Russia
"testing Georgia's red lines." The SYG concluded by
welcoming the U.S. offer to provide more info and asking
other Allies also to provide what they could, while at the
same time stressing that NATO itself was a consumer and not a
provider of intelligence. He also said that NATO should
complete its own "homework" by completing its Air Situation
Data Exchange link with Georgia.

---
AOB
---

USNATO 00000174 008.2 OF 008





14. (C/NF) UK PermRep Eldon announced that there would be an
informal NATO ministerial meeting on transformation and
reform at London's Lancaster House on September 18-19. Eldon
stressed that this has been scheduled to allow synergy with
other ministerials crowding the calendar -- the June 2008
Defence Ministerial, Krakov and Budapest. The SYG insisted
that Ministers attend all of them, stressing that he did not
intend to chair meetings with non-ministers "in the chair."
He said that ministers should not to consider the London
event a replacement for other ministerials in lead-up to the
2009 Summit.



15. (C/NF) Responding to earlier NAC discussion on ISAF, the
D/CMC confirmed that the Canadian CHOD had just announced a
generous offer of air assets for use by NATO, including 8
Bell 412s, 6 CH-47s, and 8 MI-17s.



16. (C/NF) Ambassador Nuland informed PermReps that U/S of
Defense for Policy Edelman would be in Brussels in early June
and that the U.S. Mission would arrange a briefing with him.
NULAND