145238 3/11/2008 13:35 08MOSCOW677 Embassy Moscow CONFIDENTIAL 08MOSCOW520 VZCZCXYZ0000 RR RUEHWEB DE RUEHMO #0677/01 0711335 ZNY CCCCC ZZH R 111335Z MAR 08 FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7090 INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 3863 RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000677
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/11/2018 TAGS: MARR, PGOV, PREL SUBJECT: NATO AND GOR OFFICIALS DISCUSS BUCHAREST SUMMIT
REF: MOSCOW 520
Classified By: Political M/C Alice G. Wells. Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Summary: Isabelle Francois, the Head of the NATO Information Office in Moscow, told us that NATO Deputy Secretary General Martin Erdmann used his February 28-29
SIPDIS visit to discuss deliverables for the NATO Summit in Bucharest, including: making training of Afghan counternarcotics officers "on-going," as opposed to permanent (reftel); concluding a NATO-Russia joint declaration that would highlight areas of cooperation; and creating a public forum. DFM Grushko told Erdmann that Putin's remarks in Bucharest would differ in tone from his 2007 Munich speech, and would set the framework for his successor. Grushko also urged KFOR to uphold UNSCR 1244 in Kosovo, and complained of Western attempts to link the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty to the Istanbul Commitments. In a March 3-5 visit NATO Secretary General Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia Robert Simmons sought to finalize the agreement on transit of non-lethal military goods via road and rail to Afghanistan and on air transportation. Local press misinterpreted remarks made by Simmons to indicate a renewed U.S. presence in Uzbekistan as well as the unlikelihood of MAP for Ukraine and Georgia. End Summary.
2. (C) Isabelle Francois, the Head of the NATO Information Office in Moscow, told us NATO Deputy Secretary General Martin Erdmann, in a February 28 meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Grushko, and a February 29 meeting with Russia Duma Deputy Speaker Lyubov Sliska, spent much of his time discussing deliverables for the upcoming NATO Summit in Bucharest. According to Francois, Grushko made clear the GOR's desire to see the training of counternarcotics officers at Moscow's Domodedevo Airport continue. While the GOR would like to see the project labeled "permanent," it may have to be content to see it become simply "ongoing." Francois argued that the success of the program had encouraged Russian support of the center.
3. (C) Erdmann and Grushko also discussed the text of a possible NATO-Russia joint declaration, in which the two sides would highlight areas of cooperation, such as Operation Active Endeavor, while acknowledging areas of disagreement, such as missile defense (MD), the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, and Kosovo. The approximately one-half-page document would conclude by mentioning common threats and challenges, such as Islamic terrorism and the reconstruction of Afghanistan, and then talk about renewed momentum in the NATO-Russia relationship. Erdmann, Sliska, and Grushko also discussed briefly the creation of a Public Forum, which would focus on the work of the NATO-Russia Council. Sliska cited bilateral precedents with individual countries, but raised concerns that Russia might not be given a strong enough voice in the body. The idea of the Public Forum was recognized by both sides as a less mature deliverable.
4. (C) Francois told us after the March 3-5 visit by NATO Secretary General Special Representative for the South
SIPDIS Caucasus and Central Asia Robert Simmons, NATO and Russia were close to an agreement on the transit of non-lethal military goods to Afghanistan from the West via Russia (including Kaliningrad), Belarus, and Central Asia. The GOR reopened the issue of the Air Transport Agreement, Francois said, because Russia wants to collect taxes on these flights. Francois posited that the source of the problem is the GOR does not recognize NATO as an international organization. On March 18 there will be another meeting on this issue in Brussels. Francois predicted the final resolution would call for the GOR issuing one letter that gives authorization for air transport, rather than there being an exchange of letters.
Putin and the Bucharest Summit
5. (C) According to Francois, Grushko told Erdmann that Putin's speech in Bucharest will differ in tone from his Munich address. Instead, Putin will touch on some of the problem areas in the NATO-Russia relationship and lay the groundwork for his successor, Dmitriy Medvedev. Francois speculated, however, that if Ukraine and Georgia were offered NATO MAP, then Putin would most likely leave the summit.
6. (C) Francois told us the GOR is mulling over the possible date change of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) meeting. Francois told us that Putin planned to attend the NRC meeting scheduled for April 4, after the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC). GOR officials told Francois that it was unclear if Putin will be able to attend an NRC meeting on the evening of April 3 instead (before the NUC meeting). Francois speculated that some of Putin's hesitation was due to a concern that NATO will offer MAP to Ukraine during the NUC meeting.
7. (C) Local press reports misinterpreted comments made by NATO Special Representative Simmons to indicate a renewed U.S. interest in a presence at Uzbekistan's Termez and Khanabad military bases, and the unlikelihood of NATO MAP offers for Ukraine and Georgia at Bucharest.
Kosovo and CFE
8. (C) Grushko told Erdmann he recognized that Kosovo independence was not, strictly speaking, a NATO issue, but stressed the need for NATO to uphold UNSCR 1244. Erdmann told Grushko that KFOR would follow its mandate. Grushko also complained about perceived Western attempts to link CFE with the settlement of frozen conflicts.
9. (C) Despite profound differences between the GOR and NATO on issues such as MD, CFE, and Kosovo, the visits by Erdmann and Simmons indicate that practical cooperation on issues such as Afghanistan still seems possible, and indeed desirable. BURNS