|09LONDON2690||2009-12-02 17:40:00||CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN||Embassy London|
1. (C/NF) Summary. Prime Minister Brown was "very pleased" by President Obama's December 1 speech describing the way forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and HMG would like U.S. and UK public statements to remain in synch, Philip Barton, Director, Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the Cabinet Office's Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat, told the Political Minister Counselor December 2.(Barton's boss, Foreign Policy Advisor Simon McDonald, passed the same message to the Ambassador in a telephone call, noting that U.S. and UK positions were very much in synch and this was appreciated by PM Brown). Barton outlined the UK's goals for the January 28 international Conference on Afghanistan in London, which include discussing ways to empower the Afghan authorities, addressing reintegration of Taliban elements, and determining the most effective mechanism for international civilian leadership in Afghanistan. According to Barton, Prime Minister Brown is "personally involved and engaged" in planning for the Conference. The UK will invite foreign ministers, and President Karzai and UNSYG Moon have said they will attend. The Conference will provide an "opportunity" for participants to announce civilian or military contributions but the Conference should not be a donor or force-generation conference, Barton stated. During his December 3 meeting in London with Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani, Prime Minister Brown will press Gilani on the need for Pakistan to: expand its fight against extremism; target terrorist sanctuaries; develop a plan for governance and development in the FATA; and, increase dialogue with India, Barton stated. HMG believes that now is an opportune moment to engage Gilani since his power is increasing at the same time that President Zardari's power is declining. End Summary.
U.S. and UK Messages In Synch
2. (C/NF) Philip Barton, Director, Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the Cabinet Office's Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat, told the Political Minister Counselor December 2 that Prime Minister Brown was "very pleased" by President Obama's December 1 speech describing the way forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan. "The President's statement was great," Barton said.
3. (C/NF) Barton expressed appreciation for the fact that U.S. and UK leaders have publicly issued statements that are in synch regarding Afghanistan and Pakistan. (Note: Barton's boss, Foreign Policy Advisor Simon McDonald, passed the same message to the Ambassador in a telephone call, noting that U.S. and UK positions were very much in synch and this was appreciated by PM Brown. End Note.) He noted that recent consultations in Washington between Simon McDonald and U.S. officials had helped to ensure that U.S. and UK policy are in track with each other. Barton, who accompanied McDonald on his visit to the U.S., stressed the importance of continuing this synchronization, especially since the UK media would be eager to stress any perceived "daylight" between U.S. and UK policy. (Note: Prime Minister Brown publicly called on NATO allies "to unite behind President Obama,s strategy." Foreign Secretary Miliband stated that President Obama,s speech was a &very significant moment in the development of a full counter-insurgency strategy." Chief of the Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Jock Stirrup said he was &delighted" with the President,s speech. End Note.)
Planning for the January 28 Conference
4. (C/NF) UK planning for the January 28 London international Conference on Afghanistan is not yet "fully formed," Barton acknowledged. Prime Minister Brown is "personally involved and engaged" in planning, Barton said. He said that the UK will invite foreign ministers. President Karzai and UNSYG Moon have said they will attend. (Note: Barton did not elaborate about which countries would be invited to the conference, but in response to a Prime Minister's Question, PM Brown stated that China and Russia would receive invitations. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) website describes the Conference as "an opportunity for the international community and Afghanistan to discuss plans for handing control of the country back to local authorities." End Note.)
5. (C/NF) HMG has five broad goals for the conference, Barton said. First, the Conference should agree on a "process for transferring power to the Afghans, province by province and district by district." "NATO, ISAF and the Afghan government need to work out a transition" so that LONDON 00002690 002 OF 002 "even if there is no timetable, we need to discuss the process" of turning power over to the Afghan authorities. Second, the Conference should address the issue of reintegration of Taliban members, including the funding of the costs associated with reintegration. Third, the Conference should be the venue for an announcement on civilian leadership of international efforts in Afghanistan. "Enhanced, improved civilian leadership" in Afghanistan is crucial and could take different forms under, for example, NATO or UN leadership, Barton said. Fourth, the Conference should address issues of Afghan governance. The Kabul Conference, possibly in March, will be a venue to further address governance issues, Barton noted. Fifth, the Conference should address "effective mechanisms to involve key regional and other players." One formulation would be a "tightly knit formation" of key countries. Barton stated that the proposed fifth theme is "the least well-formulated" of the proposed topics. The Conference will take place at London's Lancaster House and the FCO will coordinate logistics, Barton said.
What the Conference is NOT
6. (C/NF) HMG does not plan to invite defense ministers to the Conference, as the Conference should not have an exclusive, or even primary, security focus, Barton stated. The Conference will be a "platform" and an "opportunity" for participants to announce civilian or military contributions but it should not be a donor or force-generation conference. "We are not rattling the tin cup," Barton emphasized. He acknowledged that much work needed to be done before the Conference and that the UK has not prepared an agenda yet.
PM Gilani's Visit to the UK
7. (C/NF) Barton confirmed that Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani will meet with Prime Minister Brown in London December 3. Brown will press Gilani on the need for Pakistan to: expand its fight against extremism; target terrorist sanctuaries; and, increase dialogue with India, Barton stated. The Prime Minister will also stress the importance of Pakistan's developing a plan for governance and development in the FATA. "The Pakistanis have done nothing" in this regard, Barton stressed. Other topics on the agenda include counter terrorism cooperation and UK support for educational programs in Pakistan, Barton said.
8. (C/NF) Gilani will probably raise his concerns about Prime Minister Brown's recent calls for Pakistan to take more robust measures to fight extremism; Gilani is "unhappy" with Brown's language, Barton said. (Note: Brown told President Zardari in a recent telephone call that Pakistan should &take out8 Osama Bin Laden. He stated in press interviews that Pakistan needs to target and capture Al-Qaeda,s leadership. End Note.) HMG's assessment is that Zardari's "powers are on the wane" and that "Gilani's star is in ascendancy...so now is the time to invest more in Gilani," Barton stated.
9. (C/NF) PM Brown will visit British troops in Afghanistan sometime before Christmas, and Foreign Secretary Miliband may visit Pakistan in January, Barton said. (Note: Opposition leader Cameron will visit Afghanistan starting December 3rd through the weekend. End Note.) Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX Susman