2008-01-18 16:21:00
Embassy Warsaw
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DE RUEHWR #0081/01 0181621
P 181621Z JAN 08
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 WARSAW 000081 




E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/16/2018

Classified By: Ambassador Victor Ashe for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 WARSAW 000081




E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/16/2018

Classified By: Ambassador Victor Ashe for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary: A/S for European and Eurasian Affairs Dan
Fried during his January 16-17 visit discussed Missile
Defense (MD),Iraq, and Afghanistan during his meetings with
President Lech Kaczynski, Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Foreign
Minister Radek Sikorski, Deputy Defense Minister Stanislaw
Komorowski, Speaker of the Sejm Bronislaw Komorowski, and the
leadership of the Left and Democrats (LiD) opposition in the
Sejm. During government meetings A/S Fried emphasized that
Poland's recent press statements critical of MD had raised
questions in Washington about whether Poland wanted a deal at
all and had hurt efforts to build support in NATO for the MD
project. He asked a calming of discussion in the media.
Polish officials took the point. Fried described U.S.
efforts to bring Russia into cooperation on MD. He also
relayed that SecDef Gates had conveyed to Polish Minister of
Defense Bogdan Klich that we recognize Poland's interest in
increased security cooperation, especially on air defense.
For their part Polish officials asked that we respond to
their proposed Security Cooperation Agreement and what they
acknowledged were unrealistic security assistance requests to
let them know what sort of cooperation might be possible. PM
Tusk in particular emphasized the need for Poland's security
to be increased, both in real terms and in the public
perception, for an MD agreement to go forward. Both sides
agreed that the upcoming calendar of visits, starting with
the planned February 1 FM visit to Washington, provide a
context for moving forward. On Iraq, Fried assured officials
that we accept their commitment to have all troops out of
Iraq by October 31, but ask that Poles work with us to remain
in Iraq and active as long as possible at as high troop
strength as possible. On Afghanistan, he thanked Poles for
their addition substantive contribution. End Summary.

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FM Sikorski- and a possible timeline for progress on MD
-------------- --------------

2. (C) A/S Fried met one-on-one with FM Sikorski for 30
minutes before being joined by the Prime Minister's Chief of
Political Cabinet, Slawomir Nowak, MFA Deputy Minister Witold
Waszczykowski, the Directors for the Americas and for
Security Policy, and other staff. A/S Fried was accompanied
by the Ambassador, PolCouns and Poloff (notetaker). During
the one-on-one meeting, Fried bluntly told Sikorski that
Poland's public offensive on MD was unhelpful, and had raised
questions whether Poland sought a deal at all. It had to
stop. If Poland wanted a deal, we needed to intensify our
efforts. Sikorski accepted the point on the Polish public
tone and promised to change it. He agreed that both sides
can get to a deal on MD if we work hard at it. Fried
conveyed that Secretary Gates had acknowledged in his meeting
with MinDef Klich that Poland's security, in particular its
air defense, can be discussed. Fried also thanked Sikorski
for Poland's increased troop commitments to Afghanistan, and
for its contribution to the effort in Iraq. He affirmed that
the U.S. respects the Tusk government's political commitment
to have the troops home from Iraq by October 31, but urged
that Poland keep troops there at as high level possible and
active for as long as possible, and that Poland backload,
rather than front load, its withdrawal. Sikorski said that
the exact timetable was negotiable. He made a commitment to
raise this with the Prime Minister.

3. (C) The expanded meeting opened with the Ambassador
presenting to Minister Nowak a letter from the President
inviting PM Tusk to Washington March 10, setting a positive
tone for the discussion. After reviewing their one-on-one
discussion for the larger group, Sikorski described his
recent MD consultations with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister
Kislyak. Waszczykowski chimed in, speaking somewhat
sarcastically, that the Russians came with the "information"
that there is no threat from Iran, that Iran is far from
developing an ICBM, that it cannot possibly reach Poland or
any other European country, and so the U.S. position that the
MD project is designed to protect Europe is not legitimate.
He said Kislyak argued that the proposed MD site in Poland
was really part of the U.S. plan to encircle Russia. Kislyak
did not want to discuss MD-related confidence building
measures, but rather rejected the premise for MD. Kislyak
threatened the Poles that, if the site is built in Poland, it
will lead to an arms race; Russia will put missiles near
Poland's borders. A/S Fried said that through our
consultations with the Russians we had offered a joint
architecture, and said we will continue this dialogue. We do
not know how seriously to take Russia's threats, but we know
Poland must take them seriously. We will continue to work

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with the Russians to seek cooperation, not confrontation on

4. (C) Fried said he would be constructive in discussing
Polish-U.S. MD talks in public, adding that we have much work
to do if we are to reach an agreement. Sikorski acknowledged
we are entering a "delicate stage" and agreed that more
discretion was necessary in public discussion of the
negotiations. (Sikorski used almost this exact language in
the follow-on press conference.) He said the public is
concerned about tension between Russia and Poland, asking
that we help calm public sentiment. Sikorski then asked
about a "calendar" for moving discussions forward. Fried
noted that the upcoming sequence of visits and meetings
(Sikorski's February 1 lunch with the Secretary; Tusk's March
10 meeting with the President; the April NATO summit in
Bucharest) provided a good framework. By the time of
Sikorski's visit to the U.S. some elements needed to be in
place. He acknowledged that the details of military
cooperation had to be further addressed not to "buy" Poland's
support on MD, but as a goal in its own right in response to
Russian threats. Fried emphasized that Poland's earlier
requests had been unrealistic. Sikorski acknowledged that
elements of the list presented to us were "outdated," but
asked that the U.S at least respond to the proposed Security
Cooperation Agreement and be willing to discuss security
cooperation. He said that a "deal," if it could be worked
out before the PM's visit, had to be on a whole package, and
not just the basing agreement. Also, Poland wants a Security
Cooperation Agreement to be a government-to-government
agreement and not just a political statement. Fried
reiterated that if we are to go forward, we need to have
elements in place by the time of Tusk's March visit, even if
details remained to be worked out.

Deputy Minister of Defense Asks
We Respond on Security Assistance Request

5. (C) A/S Fried also began the meeting with Deputy
Minister of Defense Stanislaw Komorowski with a one-on-one
meeting, before joining a larger meeting at which Komorowski
was joined by several military advisors and the head of the
Defense Policy Division. He reiterated the same message:
that the recent press campaign had raised questions in
Washington about whether Poland wanted a deal, and had
created difficulties in arriving at an agreement on MD
language for the NATO summit--an effort we had undertaken
partly in response to Poland's request. He noted our efforts
to work with Russia on MD (which Poland also had asked us to
do),and reiterated that Secretary Gates had acknowledged the
need to discuss military modernization including air defense.
Describing his meeting with Sikorski, Fried noted we want to
make use of the upcoming FM and PM visits to make swift
progress on the MD discussions. He emphasized the benefits
of success, particularly that Poland and much of Europe will
be defended, that an installation will create a whole new
level of day-to-day military cooperation, that contingency
plans for the base would of necessity impact Poland more
broadly. He described the way ahead as discussed with the
Foreign Minister, and suggested using his February 1 visit to
outline the shape of a final agreement, so that there is
something ready by the time of the PM's visit in March. He
urged that Poland not take a transactional approach to MD,
and emphasized that, although Iran may pose less of a threat
to Poland than to the U.S. or U.K., NATO security must be
indivisible. Regarding the NATO effort, Fried asked
Komorowski that Poland be active in bringing NATO allies back
on board, to urge France and Germany to be more supportive of
MD. We have been working on them, but need Poland's help.

6. (C) Komorowski expressed pleasure with Fried's
description of a calendar, and for his acknowledgment that
Poland had real concerns about its security because of
statements Russia had been making. The Prime Minister has
made clear, he said, that the outcome of MD negotiations must
be that Poland is more secure; without a secure Poland there
will not be a secure NATO. Regarding the military assistance
requests, he, like Sikorski, complained that we had not even
responded to the requests, other than to say they needed to
be more realistic. He urged that we tell them what would be
more realistic, to provide them some feedback. Fried
undertook to convey this message. Komorowski emphasized that
Minister Klich was pleased with his meetings, but that he
wanted to reiterate that Poland was concerned that there was
a real threat from Russia over the proposed base, and that
Poland's air defense, in particular, needed to be strengthen

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in conjunction with this. Addressing this and the overall
modernization of military forces would contribute to a
positive outcome of the discussions. "We need as much
progress as possible on security cooperation," he said, for
the Prime Minister to be able to tell the public that MD
would make Poland safer.

7. (C) On the Iran threat, Komorowski asked for more
material to enable the Poles to counter Russia's arguments
that there was no real Iran threat. Fried undertook to
arrange a briefing for Komorowski should he visit Washington,
and outlined our continuing concerns about Iran's ongoing
activities in developing missiles and enriching uranium,
noting that even if Iran did not intend to use such missiles,
the threat would have a bad impact on Europe. He also urged
Komorowski to think ahead 10-15 years, and consider the other
countries of concern that might develop ballistic missiles
armed with nuclear weapons. We don't want NATO to be left
only with the less desirable options of either pre-emptive
strikes or retaliation against Iran.

8. (C) On Iraq, Fried reiterated our commitment to get
Polish troops out of Iraq by October 31, but urged Poland
work with us to make the withdrawal as close as possible to
that date. Komorowski responded that, if Poland is to do
this, they will need more of your help to transport the
troops. He said they do not expect much equipment to be
transported from Iraq to Afghanistan. On Afghanistan,
Komorowski noted Klich's request to Secretary Gates that
Poland consolidate its efforts in one province, either
Paktika or Ghazni. He noted the lack of an airfield in
Ghazni, expressing hope that one would be constructed should
Poland take over this province (Sikorski also made this
request). He emphasized that PM Tusk felt that consolidating
the troops would provide them with more visibility, which
would help build public support for the continued

Prime Minister Tusk

9. (C) Fried met briefly with PM Tusk prior to his
departure January 17. Tusk, accompanied by FM Sikorski,
Chief of Staff Nowak, Deputy FM Waszczykowski, and Security
Policy Director Kupiecki, emphasized that he thought the
current series of meetings could advance our cooperation
overall, particularly on MD. A/S Fried repeated our
appreciation for Poland's efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan,
and hope that Poland can structure its withdrawal from Iraq
as late as possible, reviewed our efforts on Russia, and
reviewed his discussions on MD, including the desire to use
upcoming visits to advance our discussions. He emphasized
that a strong Poland in Europe was better for us. Tusk
recalled a conversation with Fried two years ago when Fried
had emphasized that it was important for Poland to have good
cooperation with its neighbors--especially Germany and
Russia--if it were to play a strong role in Europe, something
his government was trying to achieve. With better relations
with those neighbors, Poland could help more in the region
and the world. But Poland needs a real sense of security,
something that can be subjective, and the key to this is
partnership with the U.S. Our efforts on MD must, he said,
increase Poland's real security and its sense of security.
We need to work out the details on financing and other
technical issues, and have a joint political strategy to make
sure the project is accepted in the region. He expressed
appreciation for U.S. efforts in international organizations
(NATO) to build acceptance for MD, and said he believes that
in coming weeks discussions will clarify the whole project.
Fried emphasized that the upcoming visit of FM Sikorski would
be a substantive one, as would the PM's visit in March,
reflecting the depth of our relations.

Meetings with Opposition and
Sejm Leadership

10. (C) A/S Fried met with the leadership of the opposition
Left and Democrats (LiD) at a breakfast on January 17 with
Ambassador Ashe and separately with Sejm Speaker Bronislaw
Komorowski. Most of the breakfast discussion concerned MD
and the Assistant Secretary,s meetings with the government.
Former FM Cimoszewicz questioned whether an incoming U.S.
administration might walk away from Poland, or at least the
project. Marek Borowski, formerly Speaker of the Sejm and
Minister of Finance, and a long-time opponent to MD, offered

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that the security threat to Poland posed by Iran was
exaggerated, and the United States had failed to engage
seriously with Poland, particularly with respect to the needs
to upgrade Polish air defenses. LiD party leader Wojciech
Olejniczak criticized the government for failing to widen the
debate to include the opposition, calling the Tusk government
"more nationalistic" than its predecessor. Solidarity icon
Bogdan Lis voiced concern that other pro-American leaders in
Europe, citing French President Sarkozy and former British PM
Blair, had misgivings about the viability of MD. Fried
responded to each of these concerns, and also discussed Iraq,
Afghanistan, and briefly discussing Russian foreign policy
goals. He reiterated similar points to Sejm Speaker

11. (U) A/S Fried has cleared this cable.