2008-02-12 16:20:00
Mission USNATO
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DE RUEHNO #0055/01 0431620
O 121620Z FEB 08
C O N F I D E N T I A L USNATO 000055 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/11/2018


Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Richard G. Olson, reasons 1.4 (b
and d)

C O N F I D E N T I A L USNATO 000055



E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/11/2018


Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Richard G. Olson, reasons 1.4 (b
and d)

1. (C) SUMMARY. NATO Allies used the January 31 HLTF to
reaffirm and refine their strategy for a unified NATO
response to Russia,s decision to suspend implementation of
CFE. Allies see themselves united behind a substantive
approach (the parallel actions plan) and accompanying
diplomatic game plan at least through the Bucharest Summit,
although one can expect increased nervousness as we approach
that point if we are still without agreement with Russia on
the plan. Highlights:

-- Most Allies acknowledged that Russia was unlikely to
negotiate seriously on a CFE solution prior to the Russian
Presidential elections, and many registered doubts about what
would be possible thereafter.

-- Allies view the NATO Bucharest Summit as the next decision
point in the three-phased approach agreed by Allies for
assessing and responding to the Russian suspension (reaction,
observation and recording, and re-assessment and

-- Allies welcomed U.S. ideas for fruitful use of the JCG to
discuss concerns about the lack of Russian CFE data, register
compliance concerns and respond (again) to Russia,s six
concerns about CFE in a manner that supports on going
bilateral efforts and discussions in the HLTF.

-- The next HLTF meeting is scheduled for February 28;
Allies agreed to propose to Russia that we hold a NRC(ACE) on
the same day as that HLTF. END SUMMARY.


2. (C) The U.S. Representative, VCI DAS Karin L. Look,
briefed Allies on the status of U.S.-Russia bilateral
discussions and distributed the summary of recent Russian
inputs to the updated parallel actions package contained in
guidance (reftel). She noted that the only substantive
development since Madrid was Russia,s decision to provide
the U.S. with specific language for the Moldova portion.
While fully consistent with positions Russia had articulated

in Geneva and Madrid, the language was not likely to promote
resolution. Look noted that the U.S. had, following receipt
of the Russian text, incorporated it and provided an updated
package to the foreign ministry on December 26; no reaction
was received from Russia until January 14, when Russia
proposed that Assistant Secretary Fried and Russian MFA
Director for Security and Disarmament Anatoly Antonov should
meet at the end of the month. Due to scheduling
difficulties, a meeting is likely during the week of February
18 in Washington. Look noted that while U.S. expectations
for that meeting are modest, we will look for ways to engage
in a meaningful discussion. She called attention to a
question the Russians had raised regarding the possibility of
a provisional application arrangement of CFE states if the
parallel actions package had been agreed, and a majority of
CFE states had actually ratified the Adapted Treaty (this was
posed in the final tick of the paper contained reftel).

-- German Rep Biontino briefed on Foreign Minister
Steinmeier,s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov on
December 17, 2007. Steinmeier reiterated to Lavrov that
Parliaments would only move forward with ratification of
Adapted CFE in parallel with steps by Russia on fulfillment
of its Istanbul commitments. Steinmeier noted that the
"parallel actions package" is a good basis for negotiations.
He urged that the discussions should concentrate on the core
issues, meet on a more regular schedule, and include European
Allies as well as the U.S. Biontino said Steinmeier urged
Lavrov to consider a good faith gesture, like beginning work
on documentary transfer of the Gudauta base to Georgia, or
resumption of withdrawal of munitions from Moldova. He
indicated that Lavrov rebuffed the idea of a schedule of
meetings, appeared to be interested only in the U.S.
bilateral channel, and showed no interest in gestures on
Moldova and Georgia.

-- Turkey informed the HLTF that its Chief of the General
Staff had sent a letter to Russian Chief of the General Staff
Baluyevsky regarding Turkey,s position on the Flank Regime.
Turkey believes that the flank limits are a vital, core
element of the Treaty. Eliminating the flank is not
acceptable and would create further problems for ratification
by the Turkish parliament.

-- Bulgaria, Hungary, and Slovakia reported on bilateral
meetings with Russian arms control representative Ulyanov in
Vienna in which Ulyanov reiterated Russia,s position of
A/CFE now and without a flank regime for Russia or nothing at
all, suggested that NATO should readjust their ceilings, and
said that A/CFE is not possible without accession by the
Baltic Allies and Slovenia.

-- France reported that Director of Disarmament Phillip Carre
met with Russian MFA Director for Security and Disarmament
Antonov in Moscow in December. Antonov said Russia was
prepared for more discussions but was not prepared to make
any decisions and that movement would not be possible until
after the Presidential elections in early March. Carre
responded that the "ball" was in Russia,s court and that the
Parallel Actions Package was the best tool to move from the

--(SBU) Canada reported that on the eve of the HLTF it had
sent to the CFE Treaty Depositary a note verbale on Russia,s
"suspension" of CFE Treaty implementation.

-- The Chairman (NATO ASYG Erdmann) debriefed Allies on the
NRC meeting held on January 30, noting that it was difficult
to determine which ideas on CFE were official Russian
positions, and which were Ambassador Rogozin,s personal

and described below, Allies endorsed the idea of continuing
NATO implementation of the CFE Treaty at least until
Bucharest noting that by April Allies would need to review
their strategy. All agreed continued implementation must
include continued NATO efforts to conduct CFE inspections in
Russia (i.e. continue to ask for them),both to the end of
this Treaty year and in Treaty year 2008 that begins
mid-March. (NOTE: Despite the general theme of continuing
full implementation, German Rep Biontino suggested Berlin had
not yet decided whether to notify its upcoming quota
inspection of Russia, the only quota inspection remaining to
NATO in this Treaty year. ENDNOTE). Allies agreed that it
would be important to think creatively about how to use the
NATO Summit, or the communiqu, to make progress.

4. (C) Discussion of NATO,s game plan for getting to
Bucharest keyed off of the I.S. Food for Thought Paper on
"From Now to Bucharest- The HLTF and CFE"

-- Germany (Biontino) opened discussion with a long
intervention lamenting that a protracted Russian suspension
might irrevocably erode the CFE regime. Criticism of the
U.S. was barely veiled: there had been no bilateral meeting
since Madrid, and Germany ("without blaming the U.S.") was
concerned that the fate of the CFE Treaty hung in the balance
of bilateral meeting schedules. Biontino repeated the
prescription Steinmeier had proposed to Lavrov: CFE should
be the focus of regular meetings including all the relevant
parties, so it does not get put on the back burner. This
theme of "inclusive" discussions won some adherents (Belgium,
Greece, Italy); what Biontino did not say in the full plenary
was that Germany,s focus is on Key Allies plus 1 (the plus 1
is Russia) meetings, not meetings at 30 on the model of the
Bad Saarow seminar they hosted. The role of the JCG should
continue to include "constructive" ideas like a fact-finding
trip to Gudauta, and other topics that would present a
positive attitude for solution to include discussing
provisional application.

-- Turkey (Gun) asked for views on paragraph 7 of the Food
for Thought paper, which seemed to suggest a rather confusing
Alliance decision schedule. Gun,s idea was simply that NATO
should continue on its current path to Bucharest, try to use
the Summit effectively, and reassess afterward. Gun asked
how Allies can best support the U.S. bilateral effort. Gun
was skeptical about the value of a CFE Extraordinary
Conference any time soon. With regard to the provisional
application question raised by Russia (to the U.S.),Gun made
clear that this was not something he was prepared to consider
in the context of Russian proposals to abolish the flank

-- The U.S. (Look) began the U.S. intervention by welcoming
the benchmarks portion of the Food for Thought paper. She
noted that it did not, however, mention the March 2 Russian
elections and should. She urged that Allies continue to
maintain their current, unified course in the run up to
Bucharest: the package is a very generous deal for Russia
and the best that the Alliance can support; it remains on the
table and we hope Russia will work with us on it. In
addition to remaining unified in support of the package,
Allies should continue to demonstrate their commitment to CFE
by seeking to implement it: including by requesting
inspections in accordance with the inspection schedules for
2007 and 2008. Rep Look also recommended that we record
Russian actions or inaction in the JCG, in order to maintain
our legal rights and shape post-Bucharest decisions. She
argued that Allies should be very reserved in FSC discussion
of new CSBMs in Vienna, and seek to make effective use of the
JCG and NRC-ACE to send our message to Russia.

-- France (Grand) noted that there was not much substance
discussed in the JCG and that more could be done in the JCG-T
to coordinate responses to Russia and Belarus. Like
Biontino, Grand regretted that U.S.-Russian engagement had
slowed for understandable reasons, and worried that
circumstances, including Russia,s inability to move forward
prior to the elections, would be corrosive. Allies nodded
when he quipped we can,t get accustomed to "suspension."
France commented on the need to keep Russia involved in the
JCG keeping it positive and not making it into a bigger
crisis. We should continue with the observation Phase (I)
and seek to use the period between the Russian elections and
Bucharest, as well as the Summit itself, to make progress.
Concerning a CFE Extraordinary Conference, we should only
agree to conduct another conference if we can manage the
agenda: either we have a success to celebrate, or we hold a
conference to confirm that the Treaty is in "trouble."
Regarding PD themes, France felt we needed more balance, by
highlighting the positive results by giving our efforts a
higher profile using diagrams and charts, and press with a
pro-active program.

-- Netherlands, as it stated at the previous HLTF meeting,
was very positive in its support for the "high ground"
approach on implementation, and the parallel actions package,
which however might require "fine tuning." In what was
easily the most forward-looking intervention of the day, the
Dutch argued that it was axiomatic that NATO should continue
to implement the Treaty while seeking a solution with Russia.
We should seek to use Bucharest to make progress, and take
stock afterward. Taking stock should include reviewing the
detailed record of Russian non-compliance. NATO should
consider whether some form of retaliatory steps were called
for, but no decision should be taken in haste. If we want to
retaliate, we need to consider all the consequences first,
most particularly what the implications of any steps would
actually be on our ability to preserve the Treaty. The idea
of a CFE Extraordinary Conference also needed to be reviewed
in that light: what would it achieve? NATO Allies can alter
our strategy and negotiations as required. The Dutch Rep
closed with his main message, which resonated within the
group: any actions we choose to take on CFE should be taken
by the Alliance as a whole, through a decision process that
can produce a consensus all could stand by.

-- Italy suggested utilizing the JCG more extensively in
order to maintain the dialogue for a solution. If another EC
was required, it should be later. Italy also agreed that the
PD program should be proactive and aimed at thorough
explanations of the NATO position.

-- Belgium urged Allies to continue using all forums
available to continue the dialogue with Russia, which
includes the Open Skies Consultative Commission, the JCG, and
FSC. However, in the FSC, Allies should not discuss CSBMs
that would reflect measures that are contained in the CFE
Treaty or Agreement on Adaptation. Belgium joined Turkey in
making clear that with so many issues unresolved, it was too
early to discuss provisional application.

-- U.S. Rep Look intervened for the second time to underscore
that the U.S. approached the bilateral exchange with Russia
in a constructive and positive spirit. The immediate
prospects may not look bright, but we continue to do
everything we can to achieve success. Our detailed briefings
to Allies in the HLTF are an attempt to share and
cross-fertilize ideas with Allies as we progress to settling
the impasse. Regarding the role of the JCG, Look noted that
the JCG is an excellent venue to discuss the vital
information left out of the aggregate data Russia provided in
lieu of its required annual information exchange. The JCG
could also readdress the Russian six concerns using the 2008
data as the basis for rebutting those concerns, and call on
Russia to explain its public statements regarding plans to
change its force posture. What the JCG should not do is
attempt to break up the parallel action package. The U.S.
had taken to heart a basic message from all Allies: the
elements of the package could not be discussed or pursued
piecemeal. The package could only be agreed as a unit. In
supporting the public diplomacy program, U.S. rep Look
highlighted how our responses would provide a visible measure
that sends a powerful message through various media lines.

-- Romania (Micula) acknowledged that Russia is attempting to
renegotiate measures in CFE, CSBM, and naval activities in
the Black Sea, which it has sought in the past fifteen years
and has not found success. Micula encouraged universal
responses form all NATO Allies to not compensate Russia for
its bad behavior. Romania,s parliament would never agree to
provisional application as long as Russia is non-compliant
with Treaty obligations. Micula supported and urged Allies
not to split the parallel actions package through
negotiations in the JCG. In closing, Micula supported a
robust public diplomacy program that was proactive in nature.

-- Bulgaria noted that Russian issues associated with the
flank, provisional application, lower NATO ceilings, naval
additions, and proposing a new Treaty would prevent
provisional application, even with a revised parallel action
package. Bulgaria cautioned Allies to the Russian tactic of
dividing the issues for discussion by small groups. Russia
is seeking to divide the Alliance.

-- The Czech Republic (Zvonkova),in an attempt to counter
some of the "soft statements," spoke of more stringent
measures against Russia such as not allowing Russia to attend
implementation Working Group meetings in Vienna. The Czechs
urged Germany to request the only remaining quota inspection
to Russia as soon as possible. (NOTE: Germany (Biontino)
responded that the decision to conduct the quota inspection
was a political one and that decision has not been made. We
don,t know if this was a personal view or something larger.
It had no support from the larger group. END NOTE).

-- Norway (Lokens) vigorously supported the U.S. efforts and
thanked us for our transparency. However, Lokens questioned
how long would the Alliance stay in Phase I (observation of
Russia) before we moved onto the next phase. Norway
supported the idea presented by the U.S. to have a NRC (ACE)
with Russia following the next HLTF. Norway too was
skeptical of the utility of calling another EC and agreed to
cautiously discuss provisional application only after Russia
has agreed to a solution: "the parallel actions package or a

-- Greece proclaimed that the Summit was not a deadline for a
final decision. It had hopes to keep CFE on the NRC agenda
at NATO (support from Italy),and it made good sense to
discuss provisional application as Belarus had proposed in
the JCG.

-- Spain was short and to the point that it supported the
German drumbeat for "inclusiveness" and for discussion of
provisional application in the JCG. (NOTE: What some may
have not understood, since Germany did not go into greater
detail, was that "inclusiveness" is actually a "Key Allies
plus one" with Russia as the plus one. END NOTE).

-- Canada (Arpin),the United Kingdom, and Hungary followed
with strong support for the parallel actions package, a
robust public diplomacy package, and for Allies to continue
to implement the CFE Treaty at least until Bucharest.
Hungary emphasized that the Allies should take every
advantage to use each forum to our advantage and we should be
"considering steps now that we may want to take down the

-- France (Grand) also intervened for a second time agreeing
with the point that we should not be looking at CSBMs in the
FSC that reflects substance of the CFE Treaty or adapted
Treaty. Grand noted that the Alliance cannot allow Russia to
take the &moral high ground8 and criticized its attitude.
France also agreed with many others who did not support the
use of new informal seminars like that in Bad Saarow and

5. (C) Raising NATO,s Profile in the Fields of Arms
Control, Disarmament and Non-proliferation. Germany, the
U.S., Italy, UK stated that the text would be studied and
commented on later as Allies had only received the text
within the past 12 hours. France noted that the paper needed
some work on the way it was written, and Belgium, Bulgaria,
and Romania thought it was a good paper. Turkey also liked
the paper and emphasized the importance of paragraph 9 of the
text. The HLTF Chairman (Erdmann) announced a final version
would be circulated but did not mention a proposed date.

6. (SBU) Next Meeting. Allies agreed to the IS proposal for
the next meeting to be held on 28 February in the morning
followed in the afternoon by an NRC-ACE. When discussion
moved to the March meeting, many Allies balked at agreeing to
27 March since it would interfere with scheduled Easter
holiday observances. Germany discounted such excuses noting
that the NATO summit was the next week and that a meeting in
late March could be used to finalize any Summit Declaration
language on CFE.

7. (C) Bilateral Discussions. U.S. Rep Look and her
delegation conducted bilateral meetings prior to the HLTF
with Canada, Turkey, Norway, the UK and Romania. France
hosted the Key Allies meeting (UK, GE, FR, and U.S.).

-- Turkey (Gun) said Turkey was open to future use of the
"like-minded" group for discussion, but was reserved on using
such a group at NATO HQ; in any case Turkey did not want this
to substitute for U.S.-Turkish bilateral exchanges. Gun
informed us that the Chief of the Turkish General Staff had
written a letter to Russian Chief of the General Staff
Baluyevsky explaining Turkish views on the flanks and
"suspension", and that Turkey recently sent a note verbale to
the CFE Depositary (the Netherlands). Turkey strongly
supports the U.S. leading the negotiations with Russia. U.S.
Rep Look informed Gun that a date during the week of 18
February was most likely for a follow-on Fried-Antonov
discussion. The U.S. also handed Turkey a copy of the
summary of the December 26 proposal letter the U.S. had sent
to Russia, which others received at the HLTF. In an aside on
the margins of the HLTF, Gun asked Look if Turkey could get a
copy of the December 26 text of the Parallel Actions Plan.
She said she would pass that request to A/S Fried.

-- Norway (Lokens),which requested the meeting, discussed
the issues of concern which included the bilateral
negotiations, a meeting of the like minded, and U.S. thoughts
on the next steps we felt Allies should be taking. Look also
delivered a copy of the summary of the December 26 proposal
letter the U.S. had sent to Russia, which others received at
the HLTF. Norway was curious if our flank position had
changed and if we thought Russia was serious about
negotiating a solution to the CFE impasse. Norway continues
to give the U.S. strong support on the parallel actions

-- Romania (Micula) continues to be a strong supporter of the
U.S. led parallel actions package negotiations and inquired
how the U.S. sees the game plan unfolding. Micula was
curious of the timing in which each phase of the NATO agreed
three-phase approach started and ended. Romania supports our
push for Allies to continue to ask for opportunities to
conduct CFE inspections in Russia as well as most all the
ideas identified in the U.S. guidance.

8. (C/NF) Dinner with the UK Reps. U.S. Rep Look,
Laurendeau and Schultz had dinner with UK Rep Ford and Gare.
In addition to a lengthy discussion of how to deal with our
German colleagues and the related matter of post-Bucharest
challenges, the main item discussed at dinner was the legal
issues summary associated with actions being looked at "down
the road." Ford thanked Look for the short summary that
STATE-Legal Branch had provided and responded that he (Ford)
would coordinate the legal issues presented in the summary
with the UK legal experts who were thought to have frequent
discussion with U.S. legal experts.

9. (C) The Key Allies Meeting. Germany wants the
U.S.-Russia bilateral negotiations to become an
"all-inclusive" negotiation. Germany defines "all
inclusive," as the Key Allies plus Russia. France supported
this idea but challenged a German assertion that wider
"inclusion" should also be considered. France made a strong
statement that "we can,t get used to suspension," and
Germany wants a collective approach for a step-by-step
approach with benchmarks to solve the impasse. All seemed to
agree for the present to continue with the proposed game plan
to Bucharest. It is after Bucharest that has created some
concern. France (Grand) also reported that France and other
unspecified members of the European Unio
n had received a very anti-Romanian letter form Moldovan
President Voronin, who complained about Romania meddling in
Moldova,s interests, which was also unspecified. Germany
eluded the question in the Key Allies and in the Plenary when
asked if it would seek to conduct its scheduled CFE section
VII (quota) inspection in Russia. Germany would only make
reference that the decision was a political one and it has
not been made. The Key Allies agreed to recommend an
NRC(ACE) to be conducted after the February 28 HLTF meeting.