Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09WARSAW1187
2009-12-02 16:51:00
CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
Embassy Warsaw
Cable title:  

POLAND'S POLDIR ON AFGHANISTAN, MIDDLE EAST, IRAN,

Tags:  PREL PGOV KNNP EFIN IR PL 
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VZCZCXRO5516
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHWR #1187/01 3361651
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 021651Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY WARSAW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9219
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 WARSAW 001187 

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/CE, EUR/ERA, NEA/IR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/02/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV KNNP EFIN IR PL
SUBJECT: POLAND'S POLDIR ON AFGHANISTAN, MIDDLE EAST, IRAN,
MACEDONIA, AND TURKEY

Classified By: Deputy Political Counselor Craig M. Conway
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 WARSAW 001187

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/CE, EUR/ERA, NEA/IR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/02/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV KNNP EFIN IR PL
SUBJECT: POLAND'S POLDIR ON AFGHANISTAN, MIDDLE EAST, IRAN,
MACEDONIA, AND TURKEY

Classified By: Deputy Political Counselor Craig M. Conway
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).


1. (C) SUMMARY: Poland will respond positively to a U.S.
troop increase in Afghanistan and, after interministerial
consultations, hopes to announce its own increase soon,
according to MFA Political Director Witold Sobkow. Poland
prides itself on being a pro-Israel voice within the EU,
Sobkow said, but Israel's ongoing settlements and blockage of
Gaza humanitarian aid are impeding the peace process.
Forging EU unity on Iran sanctions will prove difficult
unless the U.S. and EU can bring other like-minded countries
-- e.g., Japan, South Korea, Australia -- on board. Poland
is trying to create a Group of Friends of the Eastern
Partnership -- countries and financial institutions that
would contribute to or coordinate with the EU initiative.
Although resolution of the Macedonia name dispute is unlikely
in the short term, Poland hopes the new Greek government will
agree to allow accession talks to proceed. Poland is
concerned the new German Government will take too tough a
stance on Turkish accession, which could worsen anti-Western
sentiment in the country. END SUMMARY.

NEW EU LEADERSHIP


2. (C/NF) MFA Political Director Witold Sobkow, who travels
with FM Sikorski to all meetings of EU foreign ministers,
told PolCouns November 25 it would take newly named EU
President Van Rompuy and EU High Representative Ashton at
least two years to get established in their new positions.
The biggest foreign policy challenge facing Lady Ashton will
be bringing together the "two legs" (i.e., the Commission and
the intergovernmental Council). In particular, the process
of transforming Commission representative missions into EU
embassies and developing an EU External Relations Service
will require a great deal of attention.

AFGHANISTAN


3. (C) Sobkow stressed Poland's commitment to the NATO
mission in Afghanistan, pointing to Poland's strategic
decision to prioritize NATO operations over EU/UN

peacekeeping missions elsewhere -- "Afghanistan is our top
priority." Poland wants to respond positively to the
expected U.S. announcement of more troops for Afghanistan.
Sobkow refused to be drawn out on PM Tusk's position, but
expressed optimism that Poland -- "after further
interministerial consultations" -- would announce an increase
of between 600 and 1,000 soldiers. Deployment of additional
soldiers would likely not take place until March 2010 at the
earliest.

MIDDLE EAST


4. (C) Poland continues to be a strong pro-Israel voice and a
proponent of balance in the EU's Middle East policy, Sobkow
said. That said, Poland is concerned that Israel's refusal
to freeze construction of settlements and to open Gaza border
crossings to humanitarian aid has only strengthened Hamas.
Sobkow said issues like refugees can be worked out at a later
stage in negotiations. Poland continues to press other EU
member states to support assistance projects in the West
Bank. The EU should step up its lobbying of Arab states --
in the EU-Gulf Cooperation Council and other fora -- to
increase financial support for the Palestinian Authority and
to take symbolic steps toward recognizing Israel, including
granting overflight requests and opening trade offices.
Poland continues to stress to other member states that the EU
should follow the U.S. lead on the peace process.

IRAN


5. (C/NF) Asked about the prospect for another round of EU
autonomous sanctions on Iran, Sobkow said most EU member
states prefer to wait until the USG indicates Iran has run
out of time -- "no-one wants to overtake the Obama
Administration." Even with a clear signal from the U.S.,
forging EU unity on Iran sanctions will be difficult,
especially given certain member states' economic interests.
Sobkow said the U.S. and the EU should coordinate action to
convince like-minded states -- e.g., Australia, Japan, South
Korea -- to support far-reaching sanctions. Such a move
would help to address some EU member state concerns that
banks and exporters in non-EU countries would undercut EU
autonomous sanctions on Iran.

EASTERN PARTNERSHIP


6. (C) Poland remains keenly interested in U.S. participation

WARSAW 00001187 002 OF 002


in the Eastern Partnership initiative to draw Eastern
European countries closer to Western institutions. Sobkow
said the Commission would likely not be in a position soon to
present a clear set of guidelines concerning the
participation of third country NGOs. In the interim, Poland
hopes to push forward plans to set up a Group of Friends of
the Eastern Partnership, such as the U.S., Canada, Japan,
Switzerland, and Norway. He noted that Japan, in particular,
seems eager to contribute financially. Poland and Sweden, as
co-authors of the initiative, are prepared to add funding;
Poland is also pushing for increased EU coordination with the
European Bank for Regional Development and the European
Investment Bank.

MACEDONIA


7. (C) On the Macedonia name dispute, Sobkow said the new
government in Athens might present an opportunity for
resolution. However, Macedonia seems dissatisfied with
recent Greek proposals, which are little more than repackaged
versions of earlier proposals. Sobkow expressed hope that
Greece would accept a compromise solution, under which both
sides would agree to move forward with accession talks even
without an agreement, i.e., both sides would settle for a
commitment to address the name issue in the future. He noted
that during the Macedonian foreign minister's November 18
visit to Warsaw, Sikorski had pledged Poland would share its
experience with EU accession, just as the Netherlands had
done before Poland's own accession to the EU.

TURKEY


8. (C) Sobkow volunteered that the Macedonia name issue "was
nothing" compared to the looming difficulties on Turkey. He
predicted the new German Government would take a tough
position on Turkish accession, an unwelcome development from
Poland's perspective. "We cannot afford to lose Turkey,"
where anti-EU and anti-U.S. sentiment is on the rise. More
troubling is the increasingly Russophile attitude among young
Turkish military officers. Strong French and German
opposition notwithstanding, Sobkow expressed hope the EU and
Turkey would soon be able to open another accession chapter
-- environmental issues.
FEINSTEIN