146319 3/18/2008 14:38 08TALLINN111 Embassy Tallinn CONFIDENTIAL 08STATE19516|08TALLINN66 VZCZCXRO8216 OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR DE RUEHTL #0111/01 0781438 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 181438Z MAR 08 FM AMEMBASSY TALLINN TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0560 INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO BRUSSELS BE RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TALLINN 000111
FOR EUR/NB-KATHERINE GARRY
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/18/2017 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, MOPS, NATO, EN SUBJECT: ESTONIAN AGENDA FOR 2008 NATO BUCHAREST SUMMIT
Classified By: DCM Karen Decker for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d).
REF: A) 08 TALLINN 66 B) 07 IIR 6954003408 C) STATE 19516
1. (C) Summary. Afghanistan is Priority One for Estonia at the upcoming NATO Summit in Bucharest. Estonia has announced it will send a mortar platoon to Afghanistan this spring as an additional commitment to ISAF, but is unlikely Estonia will be ready to contribute to a new PRT in Nimroz. Other Government of Estonia (GOE) priorities at Bucharest include NATO enlargement and cyber security. While the GOE is not satisfied completely that the "Adriatic 3" are fully prepared for NATO membership, it is largely satisfied with the pace of reforms and wants NATO to extend invitations to all three nations at the Summit. Estonia has consistently supported Membership Action Plans for Ukraine and Georgia (especially the latter), but GOE officials accept that other Allies may prefer to see further reform before MAP invitations are issued. The GOE strongly supports reference in the Summit's final declaration to the commitment of NATO allies to cyber defense. End Summary.
2. (C) The GOE believes that Afghanistan is the most important agenda item for Bucharest. In addition, Estonia has pressed for improved NATO-EU cooperation in Brussels (Note: Estonia has also pressed for inclusion of Afghanistan on the GAERC agenda. End Note.) GOE interlocutors expect the Parliament to approve another extension of Estonia's own military mandate in Afghanistan (which will expire in December 2008), but acknowledge they understand that other countries who have sustained significant losses want to see the burden better shared between European allies (Ref B).
3. (C) MOD and MFA contacts, up to and including the Undersecretary of Political Affairs (Harri Tiido), who is also Estonia's non-resident Ambassador to Afghanistan, are actively engaged in looking for more ways Estonia can contribute in Afghanistan. (Note: The GOE plans to more than double development assistance to Afghanistan - from USD 146,000 in 2007 to almost USD 390,000 in 2008. GOE also sent a Health Advisor to Helmand March 10. End Note.) It is unlikely, however, that the GOE will announce plans at this time to contribute to a new PRT in Nimroz (suggested Ref C) or to provide an OMLT. There continue to be unofficial discussions on these possibilities, but at this point, no decisions have been made. "Sustaining Estonia's current contributions in Afghanistan and other operations will be difficult enough," our MOD contacts note.
4. (C) That said, the GOE will be sending a mortar platoon in May to reinforce its current contingent in Helmand Province. This mortar platoon will provide general support to all coalition forces in the Task Force Helmand Area of Operations, not just to the Estonian contingent. (NOTE: Final approval by the MOD for the deployment of the mortar platoon is pending. As the deployment was not anticipated during budget preparations, the UK will be funding ammunition this year. Other issues of interoperability have been resolved. Deployment of the mortar platoon (approximately 20 soldiers) does not require additional parliamentary approval. The mandate approved by Parliament in December 2007 allows Estonia to deploy up to 150 troops in Afghanistan. Right now, there are 121 troops on the ground. End Note.)
VIEWS ON ENLARGEMENT
5. (C) Estonia has been a consistent, vocal supporter of both NATO and EU enlargement. Among the Adriatic 3 (Croatia, Macedonia and Albania), the GOE views Croatia as the best prepared. However, GOE officials have voiced concerns to us about the Croatian public's lack of popular support for NATO. GOE interlocutors have also stressed their interest in encouraging Greece and Macedonia to settle the name issue, but feel that it is unfair to deny Macedonia membership if all other stipulations have been met. GOE interlocutors are least optimistic about Albania's chances at Bucharest. However, FM Paet commented on the eve of his March 5 trip to the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels that if the Adriatic 3 continue making the necessary reforms at their current pace, Estonia supports issuing an invitation for accession to each of them during the Bucharest summit.
6. (C) The GOE considers Georgia and Ukraine as two of its top priorities with respect to development assistance and has been very active in fostering democratic, security and economic reforms in the two countries. The GOE has also been a strong advocate of MAP for both Georgia and Ukraine at Bucharest as an acknowledgement of the achievements of both countries. Our contacts in the MOD and MFA have told us they are concerned that if MAP is not offered to these two countries at Bucharest, it could cause a regression in their progress
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and provide Russia with an opportunity to destabilize the region (Ref A). GOE officials have publicly acknowledged that the events in Georgia in November damaged Georgia's reputation and potentially its MAP aspirations. The GOE is also concerned that Ukraine has not implemented all the necessary reforms and still needs to convince an openly hostile public as to the benefits of NATO membership. As Bucharest approaches, GOE officials have begun stressing the importance of encouraging further reforms by giving clear and positive signals regarding eventual MAP offers to Ukraine and Georgia at Bucharest. This was reflected in a recent statement by FM Paet that Estonia supports further Euro-Atlantic integration in Georgia and Ukraine, and that both partners could receive a MAP "during this year."
7. (C) The GOE views a public reference to cyber security as a priority deliverable at Bucharest. From the Estonian perspective, this declaration would not only confirm NATO's willingness to build up the cyber defense network of the Alliance, but also would serve as a public example of NATO's willingness to tackle emerging threats to society. The GOE is also hopeful that any statement will highlight progress already achieved and prioritize implementation of the cyber defense policy agreed upon at the Defense Ministerial in Vilnius in February. At the same time, the GOE is not seeking a statement that specifically defines current NATO thought regarding the relationship between Article 5 and cyber security.