73925 8/7/2006 13:30 06BUCHAREST1240 Embassy Bucharest CONFIDENTIAL 06STATE128442 VZCZCXRO2584 PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR DE RUEHBM #1240 2191330 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 071330Z AUG 06 FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4925 INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE C O N F I D E N T I A L BUCHAREST 001240
STATE DEPT FOR EUR/NCE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/07/2016 TAGS: PREL, PTER, MOPS, UN, IS, LE, RO SUBJECT: ROMANIA ENCOURAGED BY DRAFT UNSCR ON LEBANON
REF: A. A) STATE 128442
B. B) BUCHAREST 1219
Classified By: A/DCM RODGER GARNER FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) & (D)
1. (C) Ambassador, in separate August 6 conversations, discussed the draft UN Security Council resolution on the situation in Lebanon with Romanian FM Razvan Mihai Ungurianu and Presidential Senior Advisor Claudiu Saftoiu. In response to a request from the Ambassador for a statement of support from Romanian authorities, Ungurianu said unequivocally that "we will support you on this." Saftoiu said that he would communicate the text of the draft resolution and the Ambassador's request immediately to President Basescu.
2. (C) The Prime Minister's chief of staff, Mihnea Constantinescu, told PolChief on August 7 that Romania would issue a statement of support for the draft UNSC resolution on Lebanon, as it was "important to prevent a negative coaltion from forming against the UNSCR, especially since Lebanon and Syria have been so vocal in opposing it." He said he was surprised Lebanon and Syria did not readily accept the resolution, but instead appeared to take their talking points directly from Iran. Constantinescu said Romania was encouraged by the cooperation between the U.S. and France on the resolution. He said that cooperation was important for Romania's internal debate as to what extent it can be part of a possible UNSCR mandated international stabilization force. Constantinescu noted the Romanian media positively promoted the resolution, helping to "clarify the internal debate."
3. (C) However, Constantinescu brushed off Defense Minister Atanasiu's statements that Romania would contribute troops to an international stabilization force should there be a UN mandate and funding (reftel B) as "theoretical". He said the statement was a "sign of openness to participating" but had "no operational consequence." He said Romania would focus on "respecting its commitments" and mentioned it was "already settled that Romania would stay engaged in fulfilling commitments in other regions such as Iraq and Afghanistan." As for future contributions of troops to peacekeeping operations, he said it was "difficult to discern now." (Note: this tracks with similar comments made by Saftiou to poloffs in an August 4 meeting, where the Presidential Senior Advisor noted that it would be difficult to know whether Romania would contribute troops to an international stabilization force due to the conflict within the coalition government.) As to whether contributing troops would become a domestic political issue, Constantinescu said he did "not believe the issue would be high up on the internal debate." He added that the Romanian media was much more balanced towards Israel than the French media. He also said Romania takes the same approach as the U.S. in that the original causes of this conflict must be addressed in order to secure Lebanon's internal stability by removing the external pressures aiming at its continued destabilization. He also cited close contact with the Israeli Embassy.
4. (C) Comment: The Prime Minister's PNL party is unlikely to attempt to play domestic politics over whether Romania can afford to contribute troops to a possible international stabilization force for Lebanon. Despite the presidency's cautiousness due to the recent public dispute with the Prime Minister's party over Romania's continued deployment of troops to Iraq, there will likely be broad-based support for Romanian participation in Lebanon, with the major limiting factor being the availability of funding. In any case, such a deployment would unlikely entail more than 400 troops. Taplin