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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09ROME754
2009-06-26 16:37:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Rome
Cable title:  

U/S BURNS' JUNE 25 MEETING WITH FM LAVROV: SUMMIT

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  MARR  KNNP  AF  RS  IR 
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VZCZCXRO0056
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHRO #0754/01 1771637
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 261637Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2298
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0508
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 ROME 000754 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/26/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR KNNP AF RS IR
SUBJECT: U/S BURNS' JUNE 25 MEETING WITH FM LAVROV: SUMMIT
DELIVERABLES, DPRK, IRAN, MEPP

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Elizabeth L. Dibble for Reason 1.4 (b)
and (d)



1. (C) Summary: In a June 25 meeting with U/S Burns,
Russian FM Lavrov expressed confidence that key Moscow summit
deliverables would be finalized. On a post-START framework
agreement, Lavrov expressed concern that specifying a range
of reductions would create an expectation that the lower
targets would be achieved, but urged further negotiating
rounds prior to the summit. Lavrov noted Medvedev's
instructions to reach a compromise on the Afghanistan lethal
transit agreement and said a joint statement on missile
defense was achievable, while reiterating that implementation
of U.S. missile defense plans in Europe would halt Russian
cooperation. The Bilateral Commission could be announced,
and Lavrov asked for a U.S. response to the GOR proposal to
expand cooperation on UNSCR 1540, as well as clarification on
presidential participation in inaugurating the Boeing joint
venture on titanium. Lavrov was non-committal on Russian
actions to lift meat and poultry restrictions, but promised
to pursue in Moscow and also to revisit Medvedev's
participation in a joint civil society event. Lavrov
undertook to reinforce calls for full implementation of UNSCR
1874 with Burma, and requested further information on U.S.
rules of engagement with the Kang Ram. Lavrov conceded that
the images out of Iran were bad, but pushed for continued
diplomatic engagement rather than sanctions, maintaining
chances were still better than a year ago to reach agreement
on resolving Iran's nuclear program. Lavrov conceded that
holding a Moscow follow-on peace process conference to
Annapolis required greater clarity on the ground. End Summary

START Follow-on


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



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




2. (C) In a June 25 meeting with U/S Burns on the margins
of the G8 Foreign Ministerial meeting in Trieste, FM Lavrov
was confident that substantial steps had been achieved to
reach agreement on the primary deliverables for the July
Moscow summit. U/S Burns stressed the importance of
finalizing a substantial START follow-on framework agreement,
emphasizing the President's priority in specifying a
numerical target for reducing strategic warheads and delivery
systems below those set by the Moscow Treaty. The framework
statement could clarify that any final decision on numbers
would be contingent upon the resolution of other issues.
Lavrov explained that he had not been fully briefed on the
results of the third round of negotiations in Geneva, but
argued that a range of numbers inevitably would build
expectations that the lower target would be achieved. If the
lower target was not reached, Lavrov stressed, "we will send
the wrong message" to the international community on

nonproliferation objectives. Characterizing the U.S. and
Russian positions as "not that far apart," Lavrov argued for
a short presidential "blessing" of the negotiations, with the
focus on the joint statement on nuclear security.



3. (C) U/S Burns reiterated the importance of a strong
framework agreement, noting that a clearly specified range of
reductions would put the U.S. and Russia in a strong position
to lead nonproliferation discussions at the G8 summit.
Lavrov noted that President Medvedev was committed to
reductions, with his recent statement urging "several times
fewer" strategic delivery vehicles. Lavrov welcomed
U.S.-Russian compromise language on the relationship between
offensive and defensive weapons, agreement to the
non-deployment of strategic systems outside national
territory, as well as progress in narrowing differences over
the use of conventional weapons on strategic delivery
systems. He urged that the negotiating teams meet once or
twice more before the Moscow summit.

Afghanistan: Lethal Transit
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -


4. (C) Lavrov noted that Medvedev had instructed him and
MinDef Serdyukov to reach agreement on the transit of lethal
equipment to Afghanistan. Lavrov confirmed Russian readiness
to exclude categories of weapons deliveries that would need
to land for inspection, with document formalities undertaken
by Russian officials at the point of embarkation. Lavrov
stressed that Russia was prepared to a "make a contribution"
by paying the costs of overflight and navigation fees, but
was sensitive to the need that the Russian government did not
undermine private sector companies, such as Volga-Dnieper,
which provide support to ISAF operations. Lavrov and DFM
Borodavkin stressed that the Kremlin sought broader language
on U.S.-Russian cooperation in Afghanistan, which should not
be solely focused on lethal transit. U/S Burns agreed on the
need to underscore support for Afghanistan's economic
development and counternarcotics efforts.


ROME 00000754 002 OF 004


Missile Defense


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



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




5. (C) Lavrov said a joint missile defense statement could
be finalized by the summit. While "some" in Moscow thought
that a de facto U.S. suspension of implementation of the
radar and interception facilities in the Czech Republic and
Poland was not sufficient for Russia to signal its readiness
to move forward bilaterally, Lavrov suggested that others
were prepared to overrule this cautious approach. For
instance, a joint ballistic missile assessment was a good
idea and would help revive planning for a Joint Data Exchange
Center. At the same time, Lavrov reiterated warnings that a
U.S. decision to move forward in Poland and the Czech
Republic would lead to a rollback in Russian cooperation.
Invigorated U.S. missile defense planning ("sites four, five
and six") was not acceptable, he warned, in light of the
"radical reductions" being contemplated beyond START. Lavrov
said that Russia would have to build a mechanism into a START
follow-on treaty that relieved Moscow of its treaty
obligations, in the event the U.S. pursued more expansive
defensive weapons systems, but said this discussion could
wait until closer to the draft treaty's completion.

Bilateral Commission, Action Plan


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



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



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



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




6. (C) Lavrov stressed that there was "no problem of
principle" in reaching agreement on the Joint Commission by
the summit, just technical difficulties in determining how to
align U.S. and Russian ministries and agencies. Lavrov said
he would instruct DFM Ryabkov to reach agreement on the Joint
Commission announcement, noting that correct Russian
counterparts could be thrashed out later. On the Action
Plan, Lavrov agreed with U/S Burns' assessment that we were
close to a final text.

Meat and Poultry Restrictions


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

---

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



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




7. (C) U/S Burns underscored the importance that the U.S.
attached to resolving Russian restrictions on the import of
U.S. meat and poultry, which inflicted economic losses on an
important domestic constituency. Noting U.S. disagreements
over the basis of Russian restrictions, U/S Burns urged
immediate Russian action in lifting the H1N1-related
delistings, as well as adoption of the draft presidential
decree that would bring Russian sanitary and phyto-sanitary
regulations in line with international standards. Lavrov
said Kislyak had reported the strong U.S. concern over this
set of issues, but noted that any linkage to lifting the
restrictions and support for Russia's accession to the WTO
was now ("unfortunately") misplaced. U/S Burns stressed that
U.S. concerns were independent of Russia's decisionmaking on
WTO. Lavrov was non-committal on whether Russia would take
action in advance of the summit, but acknowledged the
sensitivity of the issue to a domestic U.S. audience, noting
that Russian actions on meat and poultry similarly had
precipitated a strong backlash in Brazil. Clarifying that
the MFA was not the lead on this set of issues, Lavrov
concluded wryly that he was "less involved with the Russian
agriculture lobby" than his U.S. counterparts.

Civil Society Event


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



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



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




8. (C) U/S Burns explained the goals of the proposed
U.S.-Russia civil society event at the summit, urging Lavrov
to encourage Medvedev's participation with the President in
meeting the activists. U/S Burns clarified that the session
would bring together U.S. and Russian civil society
representatives for a wide-ranging discussion on challenges
facing both societies. The event was not designed to single
out Russia for criticism. Lavrov responded that Medvedev was
not afraid of criticism of Russia, but that the Kremlin was
sensitive to any optic that suggested Obama's presence in
Moscow was required for Medvedev to engage with Russian civil
society. Lavrov underscored several times that Medvedev had
made a point of meeting with a broad range of civil society
figures, including opposition political party leaders,
newspaper editors, and activists.



9. (C) U/S Burns reviewed the range of groups slated to
participate in the conference. Lavrov said he was unaware of
the details of the proposed event, but took the point that
the joint participation of U.S. and Russian activists
provided a logical backdrop for both Presidents to
participate in a discussion of the plenary conclusions.
Lavrov asked for detailed information on the participants and
structure of both the civil society and business gatherings,
undertaking to brief Medvedev when he sees him on June 28 in
Baku. (Note: Details on the proposed civil society forum
were passed to the Russian delegation on June 26.) U/S Burns
noted that the organizers were flexible with respect to the

ROME 00000754 003 OF 004


format of the Presidents' engagement, and underscored again
that the event served to underscore Medvedev's positive
disposition towards engaging with civil society.

Summit: UNSCR 1540 and Boeing Joint Venture


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



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



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

---

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



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




10. (C) Lavrov asked for clarification of whether there
would be a joint presidential visit to the opening of the
Boeing joint venture, and pushed for a U.S. response to his
proposal in Geneva on May 7 to intensify cooperation under
UNSCR 1540. U/S Burns undertook to get a formal reaction to
both proposals.

DPRK: Russian Outreach to Burma


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



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



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

--

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




11. (C) In addition to further U.S. intelligence on the
nature of the North Korean ship Kang Ram, Lavrov requested
further clarification of U.S. rules of engagement in
implementing UNSCR 1874, noting that Russian naval assets in
close proximity made this an important issue for Moscow.
Lavrov supported U.S. efforts to ensure implementation of the
resolution and said Russia would send a "polite but
insistent" message to Burma to uphold UNSCR 1874. Lavrov
characterized Beijing as being "at a loss." While Beijing
did not want to tolerate the "total disrespect" meted out by
Pyongyang, neither did it want to push events into an
"uncontrollable direction." (Note: On June 25, U/S Burns
conveyed further information on the status of the Kang Ram
and on U.S. rules of engagement to Lavrov.)

Iran


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




12. (C) U/S Burns noted the President's efforts to balance
condemnation of the Iranian government's violence against its
citizens, with the need to keep the door open for diplomatic
engagement to halt the Iranian nuclear program. Lavrov
conceded the images out of Iran were bad. While the
situation had appeared to be settling down on June 24,
reports on June 25 indicated a further rise in tensions.
Lavrov maintained that the Iranians had to sort this out on
the basis of "rule of law, procedures, and courts," and
asserted that this appeared to be the path chosen by Supreme
Leader Khamenei. Lavrov blamed both government forces and
elements within the opposition for provoking the crowds, but
rejected Iranian accusations of outside interference. The
lesson, Lavrov concluded, was that Iran's political
establishment and society were not monolithic; to the
contrary, the demonstrations revealed a vibrant political
culture, as well as elements of a democracy.



13. (C) Lavrov appreciated that the President's
condemnation of the violence did not constitute an end to the
policy of diplomatic engagement with Tehran. Regardless of
who rules Iran, he stressed, the international community will
need to engage Tehran on nonproliferation, Iraq, Afghanistan,
counternarcotics, and other strategically important issues.
Lavrov conceded that the post-electoral resumption of P5 1
negotiations would be delayed by the domestic discord, but
took strong exception to some European calls for new
sanctions as early as September. Stressing that the Iranians
would hold Obama to the "end of year" timeframe, Lavrov urged
sensitivity to the "Iranian mentality." While the
international community still had a chance - less than 50
percent, but still a better chance than a year ago - to deter
Iran from a nuclear program, Lavrov insisted that the
strategy would require incentives, patience, and time. U/S
Burns responded that the Administration had demonstrated it
was prepared to pursue serious direct diplomacy, but warned
that continued stalling by Iran was unacceptable.

Corfu: European Security Treaty


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



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



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



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




12. (C) Pressed by U/S Burns to describe Russian objectives
at Corfu, Lavrov broke no new ground in describing Russia's
approach to a new European Security Treaty. Stressing the
"principle of indivisible security," he argued for a "healthy
debate" on how to make this principle legally binding, noting
continued Russian neuralgia over NATO enlargement, the
definition of "substantial combat forces," the presence of
U.S. bases in Central and Eastern Europe, and missile
defense. Lavrov said that Russia expected a "respectful
attitude" towards Medvedev's initiative. OSCE provided for a
special security forum to discuss hard security issues. This
wasn't a debate about Khodorkovskiy's trial; likewise, Russia
would not seek linkage between "soft" issues and U.S. missile
defense plans. Lavrov urged bilateral and multilateral
discussions that would produce the elements of a new security
package.

MEPP

ROME 00000754 004 OF 004




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




13. (C) While noting Netanyahu's penchant to paint the
Middle East conflict as one pitting Arabs against Iranians,
Lavrov maintained that the situation was not hopeless.
Lavrov pointed to public comments by Hamas that it would
recognize previous agreements, and its readiness to
participate in a follow-on conference to Annapolis.
Nevertheless, Lavrov was pragmatic about the timing of a
possible Moscow conference, noting that it required greater
clarity on the ground. He welcomed the U.S. decision to
return an Ambassador to Damascus.
DIBBLE