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09PRAGUE263 2009-05-15 15:46:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Prague
Cable title:  

CZECH EU PRESIDENCY: COMMENTS ON UPCOMING MAY GAERC

Tags:   EUN EZ EG PGOV PREL CE XF ZJ XA 
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1. (SBU) Summary: On May 14 emboff spoke with Magdalena
Janesova of the Czech MFA Department of Common Foreign and
Security Policy in advance of the May 18-19 EU General
Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC). Of note were
her comments on: the EU's Anti-Piracy efforts, Georgia, the
EU-Russia Summit, Moldova, Bosnia, Iran, Israeli-Palestinian
Peace, and Sri Lanka. End Summary.



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


Anti-Piracy Efforts to be Extended


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




2. (SBU) According to Janesova, the EU will announce at the
GAERC the extension of the Atalanta mandate through December


2010. The discussion at the May GAERC, will thus simply
focus on evaluating the mission to date and addressing the
limited EU assets available for this mission. She noted that
the European Commission (through its "Stability Instrument")
has provided just over one million euros to Kenya since Kenya
has agreed to assume responsibility for prosecuting captured
pirates. Janesova noted that the EU is also in talks with
the Seychelles about prosecuting captured pirates. When
asked whether the EU member states were contemplating
prosecuting pirates in Europe, Janesova noted that this was
unlikely now that Kenya had stepped forward to assume this
role.



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


Georgia


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




3. (C) French Foreign Minister Kouchner has sent a letter to
his counterparts regarding what to do in Georgia, which like
Iran, will be discussed during the restricted luncheon
session. The focus will be on strengthening relations with
Georgia and they plan to discuss visa facilitation. The idea
is to perhaps lower visa fees, shorten the application, and
perhaps provide easier access for Georgian students to the
EU. The EU FMs will also cover the internal situation, the
international presence in Georgia, and the status of the
Geneva talks. Janesova expects that given everything that is
in train (Geneva talks, OSCE developments, and UNOMIG), it
may not be possible to have a thorough discussion, although
she fully anticipates Georgia will be on the June GAERC as
well.



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


EU-Russia Summit - an Update on Preparations and Goals


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




4. (SBU) The Czechs are planning that the EU-Russia Summit
discussion at the GAERC will be mostly a technical update on
summit negotiations. With respect to Czech goals for the
Summit, these fall into four areas. First, the Czechs hope
that this summit will help restore confidence in the
EU-Russia relationship, which has been badly shaken by
Russian actions in Georgia and during the gas crisis.
Second, they plan to "take stock" of where things stand with
PCA negotiations. Third, they will discuss regional problems
(such as Georgia and Moldova). Fourth, they plan to discuss
coordination on global issues (such as the financial crisis
and climate change). Janesova noted that as agreed early in
the Czech EU Presidency, Czech President Vaclav Klaus will
lead the Czech delegation, which will include Czech FM Jan
Kohout and Czech European Correspondent Vaclav Balek.



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


Moldova - Dropped


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




5. (C) Moldova has been dropped from the GAERC agenda.
According to Janesova, the Romanians pressed hard (apparently
the pressure came from the President's office) to add Moldova
to the agenda. The Czechs, however, have pressed back that
the GAERC is not the appropriate place for Romania to air
bilateral issues. (Note: Apparently Romania wanted to
discuss the issue of Moldovan visas and Romanian passports.
End Note.)



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


Bosnia - ALTHEA to Stay the Same for Now


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



PRAGUE 00000263 002 OF 002




6. (SBU) Acknowledging that the EU would like to see Bosnia
stand on its own two feet soon, she did note that the EU does
not want or plan to reconfigure EUFOR ALTHEA at the moment.
While some member state want to scale back the mission,
Janesova commented that the idea of going to a 200-person
training mission is perhaps something to consider far into
the future. She emphasized that the EU plans to keep things
as they are, at the very least until the Office of the High
Representative closes.



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


Israeli-Palestinian Peace


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




7. (C) Janesova stated that the EU shares a similar
perspective to the U.S. on Israeli-Palestinian peace and the
need to uphold the Quartet principles. She did note,
however, that certain EU member states (and here she cited
France, Ireland and Belgium) continue to raise the idea of
engaging directly with Hamas. The EU consensus remains,
however, in support of the Quartet principles.



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


Strategic Discussion of Iran


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




8. (SBU) The EU plans to have a strategic discussion of Iran
during the restricted luncheon session. Janesova noted that
the EU is trying to be careful not to send mixed signals to
Iran. With respect to our point encouraging the EU to
tighten sanctions, she noted that while the Czechs may be
"hawks" on this issue, it is not easy to achieve consensus
within the EU. She pointed to the EU's "Southern Flank" as
having a different philosophical approach to the efficacy of
sanctions (Portugal and Cyprus for example) and that certain
countries with economic interests in Iran resist pressure to
tighten sanctions (here she mentioned Austria, Sweden, and
Italy). With respect to the recent release of Roxana Saberi,
Janesova noted that the EU was pleased with the decision,
although she noted that the EU has also raised the Durabi
case with Iran, which unfortunately ended with her execution.



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


Sri Lanka


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




9. (SBU) Janesova noted that the Brits and French pressed to
have Sri Lanka added to the agenda of the GAERC. The
discussion will primarily focus on a readout of the EU
mission to Sri Lanka led by DFM Helena Bambasova earlier this
week.
Thompson-Jones