wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09WARSAW643 2009-06-23 15:39:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Warsaw
Cable title:  

SCENESETTER FOR CODEL BEN NELSON TO WARSAW, JUNE

Tags:   MARR OREP PGOV PREL PL 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHWR #0643/01 1741539
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 231539Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY WARSAW
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8485
					  UNCLAS WARSAW 000643 

CODEL
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

H FOR CODEL NELSON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR OREP PGOV PREL PL
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR CODEL BEN NELSON TO WARSAW, JUNE
28-30, 2009



1. (SBU) Mission Poland warmly welcomes your upcoming visit
to Warsaw. Your focus, Missile Defense, is front and center
in our on-going conversation with the Poles, along with the
rotation of a Patriot battery to Poland and on-going Status
of Forces Agreement (SOFA) Supplemental negotiations.
President Obama publicly and privately reiterated his
commitment to Missile Defense (MD), assuming it is proven to
work and cost-effective, and he repeated assurances that the
Administration would stay in close consultation with Poland
and the Czech Republic as it moves toward an MD decision.
The Poles closely follow all discussions related to MD, the
most recent of those being the Senate Armed Services
Committee hearing on the Ballistic Missile Defense FY10
Authorization Request on June 16.



2. (SBU) The August 2008 agreement with Poland to station ten
interceptors as part of a European Missile Defense System
followed months of protracted and at times difficult
negotiations. It was hard for Poland's government to agree to
MD, and now some quietly question whether it was smart to
expend so much political capital to conclude an agreement
with an outgoing U.S. administration. At times last summer it
seemed the Poles were negotiating as much among themselves
as they were with us. In the end, the Poles signed on --
largely to accommodate a direct request from us, their
longtime ally.



3. (SBU) The prolonged negotiations in and of themselves are
in interesting story. When President Kaczynski clamored for
the newly-elected Tusk Government to complete an MD deal
initiated by his brother (former Prime Minister Jaroslaw
Kaczynski) Prime Minister Tusk held back. Public opinion was
running heavily against MD, and that gave Tusk pause. As late
as last July, the Prime Minister declared that a good deal
needed on balance to enhance Poland's security, and that
condition was not yet fulfilled. The element that tipped the
balance for the final deal was our offer of a U.S. Patriot
battery rotation in Poland, starting in 2009. The Patriots
are seen by Poles as an American tripwire, and as such
enhance Polish security. That clinched the agreement, and
Russia's near-simultaneous invasion of Georgia pushed Polish
public support in favor of MD.



4. (SBU) So what to do now that a project made in America
faces questions in America? The Tusk government has chosen
to exercise "strategic patience," noting that the decision to
move forward on MD must be an American one. Polish media
ricochets from one day to the next about the fate of MD, but
the GoP position has not wavered. You will hear this during
your visit. You will also hear that regardless of the fate of
MD, there is an expectation that we will move forward with
the Patriot rotation, and we have been reassuring on this
point to date. The form that Patriot rotation will take has
received much attention as of late with headlines such as
"Naked Patriots," and "Don't Touch the Patriots" highlighting
that the initial rotation of a Patriot battery from Germany
will likely not meet the Polish expectation of a
combat-ready, fully operational system capable of being
integrated into the Polish air defense system. The USG
interagency continues to work these issues. The Poles will
certainly deliver a message regarding their interpretation of
the August 2008 Declaration on Strategic Cooperation with
regard to the Patriot deployment to Poland.



5. (SBU) Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski recently sent a
letter to Secretary Clinton, expressing concern about plans
for the Patriots. In it, he requested confirmation that the
Declaration on Strategic Cooperation would be honored, and
made specific reference to the Polish expectation that the
Patriot rotation would become interoperable with the Polish
Air Defense System. The Minister is also quoted in the press
as saying, quote We want to see to what degree the Americans
value their Polish ally, end quote.



6. (SBU) The Missile Defense Agreement, and the Patriot
commitment, had kept momentum going in our Supplemental
Status of Forces Agreement (SoFA) talks, begun last fall.
Recent negotiations, however, have resulted in disagreements
over such issues as jurisdiction, taxation of contractors,
and the scope of the Army Postal Operations. The overriding
Polish concern appears that Polish companies would be
competitively disadvantaged. The SOFA Supplemental is both a
precondition for building the interceptor site as well as for
the Patriot rotation. SoFA ratification should not be overly
contentious, since both the government and the largest
opposition party are solidly in favor of MD and a greater
U.S. military presence on Polish soil. During the April 2009
visit of Senator Levin, the constant refrain from the Poles
was a desire for US "boots on the ground," although they see

the Patriots in this same light.



7. (SBU) For historical reasons, Russia casts a long shadow
here, and Warsaw is watching the reviving U.S.-Russian
dialogue closely. MD may irritate Polish-Russian relations,
but the Poles calculate that a deeper security relationship
with the U.S. is still needed to help offset growing Russian
assertiveness. The current Polish government has taken a
less-confrontational, more constructive tack in relations
with Russia than its predecessor. This doesn't mean Russia
gets a pass, however -- Warsaw will be the first to insist
that the EU and NATO press Moscow to play by the rules. They
also are promoting the EU's EUR 600 million Eastern
Partnership initiative, co-sponsored by Poland and Sweden.
The Partnership seeks to draw countries on Europe's eastern
border, especially Ukraine and Georgia, closer to Western
institutions. The Poles are not absolutely convinced that
Russia would not violate her sovereign border as was done to
Georgia. And there are some who question NATO's resolve to
respond to a resurgent Russia. Reaffirming U.S. commitment
to NATO's Article 5 obligations would serve to reinforce
messages they heard from visiting U.S. delegations.



8. (SBU) Beyond MD, you should know that the Polish
government is pressing for a Tusk visit to the White House,
and is also seeking regular high-level consultations. Once
courted intensively on MD and Iraq, Warsaw worries that it is
now an afterthought in Washington circles. In this regard,
your visit is a welcome expression of U.S. interest and is
being warmly welcomed. You will want to take the opportunity
to again express our thanks for the Poles' significant
contributions in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as keep in
mind the heavy rancor Poles feel for their continued
exclusion from the Visa Waiver Program.
ASHE