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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09BERLIN576 2009-05-18 12:02:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Berlin
Cable title:  

GERMAN VIEWS ON THE MAY 18 EU GAERC MEETING

Tags:   PREL MARR EUN IR NATO RU XF SO GG MD BK 
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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRL #0576/01 1381202
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 181202Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4109
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L BERLIN 000576 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/15/2019
TAGS: PREL MARR EUN IR NATO RU XF SO GG MD BK
SUBJECT: GERMAN VIEWS ON THE MAY 18 EU GAERC MEETING

REF: MAY 9 GIAUQUE E-MAIL

Classified By: POLITICAL MINISTER COUNSELOR JEFF RATHKE. REASONS: 1.4 (
B) AND (D).



1. (C) SUMMARY. The German MFA completely agrees on the need
to tighten EU sanctions against Iran to give credibility to
the double-track strategy, but says several EU members are
likely to continue to block any such moves until a new
(hopefully) Iranian president and government are in place
later this year and have a chance to respond positively to
the offer of dialogue. The MFA also confirms reports about
the EU being on the verge of expanding the area of deployment
of its Atalanta counterpiracy mission to deal with pirates
operating further off the coast. While supportive of the
planned NATO counterpiracy operation, Germany seems likely --
at least in the short run, before the September Bundestag
election -- to keep all of its counterpiracy assets under
Atalanta. The MFA agrees with our points on Middle East
peace and believes "much will depend" on the May 18 meeting
between the President and PM Netanyahu. Germany is playing
down the May 21-22 EU-Russia Summit, from which it expects
"no big breakthroughs." Germany agrees that there should be
no unilateral withdrawals of forces from EUFOR Althea in
Bosnia, and that Althea must remain as long as the Office of
the High Representative is open. END SUMMARY.

DEMARCHE



2. (U) Post delivered reftel points on the May 18 "Jumbo" EU
General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) to MFA
EU Correspondent Michael Fluegger on May 13 and followed up
with him on May 15 to get his reaction. Post also provided
the points to and received feedback from MFA Near East Office
Director Boris Ruge, MFA South Caucasus Deputy Office
Director Maria Gosse, MFA OSCE Deputy Office Director Karin
Goebel, MFA Bosnia Desk Officer Michael Geisler, Chancellery
Georgia Desk Officer Agapi Nehring, and Chancellery Deputy
Head of Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union Christoph
Israng.

IRAN



3. (C) Fluegger said that Germany was fully in line with the
U.S. points and agreed that the credibility of the
double-track strategy required a tightening of EU sanctions.
He added, however, that several EU members -- he named Spain,
Greece, Austria, Sweden -- continue to see the tightening of
sanctions as incompatible with the recent offer of dialogue.
They oppose any possible moves on sanctions until after
Iran's presidential election in June and the subsequent
formation of a new Iranian government. Fluegger noted this
effectively means not taking any action until the fall
(assuming Ahmadinejad loses), given the time it would take
for the new president to take office and name a cabinet. (If
Ahmadinejad were to win, the time line could be advanced to
as early as August.) Fluegger said he thought these EU
members were concerned about a slippery slope -- i.e., that
additional sanctions could extend beyond Iranian firms
associated with proliferation to other economic sectors or
the Iranian economy as a whole. He thought the key to move
these reluctant EU members was Russia and China -- if they
came in line, the EU would quickly follow.

EU ATALANTA COUNTERPIRACY MISSION



4. (C) Fluegger confirmed recent press reports that the EU is
considering expanding the area of its Atalanta deployment to
respond to the fact that pirates are operating further and
further off the coast. He said that EU military authorities
had already formally made the recommendation and that the
Political and Security Committee (PSC) was expected to
approve it on May 19. Fluegger thought that expanding the
deployment area would not require a full-blown revision of
the parliamentary mandate under which the Bundeswehr
participates in Atalanta, but could be approved through an
abbreviated process. (Comment: The counterpiracy mission is
not controversial in Germany and there is expected to be
little or no political opposition to the proposed widening of
the deployment area. End Comment.)



5. (C) We pointed out to Fluegger that NATO was currently in
the process of establishing its own counterpiracy mission,
and we asked whether the Bundestag could consider providing a
parliamentary mandate to cover the Bundeswehr's participation
in that mission at the same time it is expanding the mandate
for the EU mission. Fluegger said that while Germany could
see valued added in a NATO mission -- primarily as a way to
organize and coordinate the contributions of non-EU Allies --
it wanted to avoid any "competition" between the NATO and EU
operations. He said that Germany saw little point in
dividing its counterpiracy assets between the EU and NATO,
and preferred to keep everything under Atalanta for the time
being. He also pointed out that unlike the EU, NATO does not
have a hand-over agreement with Kenya, which would complicate
the handling and prosecution of pirate suspects captured
under the NATO operation.

ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE



6. (C) MFA Near East Office Director Boris Ruge said that the
MFA was "very much in agreement" with the points and noted
that "much will depend" on the May 18 meeting between the
President and Israeli PM Netanyahu. Fluegger took special
note of our talking point on the linkage between Iran and
Middle East peace, which stresses that resolution of these
regional conflicts would help deal with Iran. Fluegger noted
that Israel also recognized the linkage, but unhelpfully
turned it around, arguing that no progress on Middle East
peace was possible until the Iranian issue was resolved.


RUSSIA/GEORGIA



7. (C) Fluegger praised U.S. efforts to re-set relations with
Russia and noted that the only area of serious difficulty was
Georgia. He regretted the apparent collapse of efforts to
renew the OSCE mandate in Georgia, for which he thought the
Greek OSCE Chairman-in-Office was partly to blame because of
its mishandling of the negotiations. MFA Deputy Head of the
South Caucasus Division Maria Gosse described the Russians as
"intractable," but thought the West had conceded as much
ground as it could regarding the status question.
Chancellery Georgia Desk Officer Agapi Nehring argued that
our joint efforts would be better spent on getting renewal of
the UNOMIG mandate. Nehring also thought that a discussion
of the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) and its
extension should be kept quiet until UNOMIG is renewed, as
the Russians may see an early EUMM renewal as a reason to do
without UNOMIG. Both the Chancellery and MFA appeared
confident that, in the end, the EU would agree to extend the
EUMM. Fluegger volunteered that the MFA viewed the U.S.
proposal to expand the UNOMIG mission to include a "robust"
(i.e., armed) police contingent as "unrealistic" in view of
objections from Russia and representatives from the two
break-away regions.



8. (C) Fluegger played down next week's EU-Russia Summit,
saying that "no big breakthroughs" were expected. Leaders
will review progress on negotiating an updated Partnership
and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and sign some minor technical
accords. Fluegger said that the EU would signal its
willingness to discuss Medvedev's proposals on a new European
security architecture and a European energy charter.
Chancellery Deputy Head of Eastern Europe and the Former
Soviet Union Christoph Israng emphasized, however, that the
Alliance needs a common response to the European security
architecture proposal that protects existing institutions,
especially NATO and the EU. MFA Deputy Head of OSCE Division
Karin Goebel stressed that Germany also sees the OSCE as the
correct forum for any discussion. More generally, the
Chancellery and the MFA continue to welcome U.S. efforts to
improve relations with Russia, but see little direct role for
Germany to play.

MOLDOVA



9. (C) Fluegger said he did not expect a detailed discussion,
but rather just a quick review of the latest developments.
He indicated that this was a Romania-driven agenda item about
which it is "very emotional." Fluegger noted that the
foreign ministers are expected to issue Council Conclusions
on Moldova at their next GAERC meeting in June.

BOSNIA



10. (C) Fluegger said Germany agreed that any draw-down of
forces in EUFOR Althea should be fully coordinated. There
should be no unilateral withdrawals. Fluegger also agreed
that the fate of Althea was directly linked to the existence
of the Office of the High Representative (OHR). As long as
the OHR remained open, EUFOR Althea had to stay in place.
MFA Bosnia Desk Officer Michael Geisler noted, however, that
with the transition from the High Rep to a EU Special
Representative, the EU's military presence would have to be
reconsidered, as its tasks evolve from enforcing Bonn Powers
to providing advice and assistance within a non-executive
mandate.
Koenig