34525 6/13/2005 11:12 05BUCHAREST1350 Embassy Bucharest UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY 05USNATO394 This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available. 131112Z Jun 05 UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BUCHAREST 001350
DEPT FOR EUR/NCE - WILLIAM SILKWORTH
E.O. 12958, AS AMENDED: N/A TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PARM, MOPS, MD, RO, NATO SUBJECT: ROMANIA SEEKS FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR PFP PROJECT IN MOLDOVA
REF: USNATO 394
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PLEASE HANDLE ACCORDINGLY
1. (SBU) Summary. The GOR seeks financial support from the USG for participation as a "co-lead country" in a NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) trust fund project in the Republic of Moldova to destroy chemicals and pesticides. Post includes a nonpaper that outlines the GOR request. End Summary.
2. (SBU) MFA Strategic Policy Director General Cristian Istrate and NATO Division Director Mirela Maghiar told PolChief and PolOff June 9 that the GOR is close to making a positive decision to assume the role of a "co-lead nation," along with Belgium, for the first phase of a Partnership for Peace (PfP) trust fund project aimed at destroying obsolete pesticides and dangerous chemicals stored on military bases in Moldova. The MFA interlocutors expressed strong support for this project, but stated that severe financial limitations compel the GOR to seek funding support for the project. They asked if the USG would be willing to provide "some financial support" for GOR engagement in the PfP. We promised to raise this matter through appropriate USG channels and also urged the MFA to discuss their request with USMISSION NATO.
3. (SBU) Maghiar provided a nonpaper (set forth in paragraph 4) that outlines the GOR position. When asked for clarification about the potential level of GOR support as well as the level of support sought by the GOR, Maghiar replied, in an email, that the GOR is "considering" a "contribution of 150,000 euros and this proposal has been submitted to the Prime Minister for approval. It does not depend on other allies' contribution, but will not be enough to start the first phase. All allied contributions so far (including ours) do not match the total sum needed for the first phase and that is why additional pledges would be beneficial. Unfortunately, due to different budgetary constraints, including the floods, will not allow us to contribute more." (Note: Catastrophic flooding causing extensive losses of housing and major infrastructure damages this spring in western Romania has severely stretched the GOR's already-limited resources. End Note.)
4. (U) The text of the GOR nonpaper follows:
PfP TRUST FUND FOR R. MOLDOVA - Romania is very much interested in the preservation of the only PfP Trust Fund project in R. Moldova. The PfP project aims at destroying over 2000 tons of obsolete pesticides and dangerous chemicals improperly deposited in over 350 military bases, under military supervision, some of them in the proximity of our common border. - Guarding and monitoring these storage facilities place an additional burden to the R. Moldova's military forces as it requires a considerable number of military personnel. At least 800 military personnel out of a total of 6,800 are engaged in this undertaking. This commitment has a negative impact both on the speed of the military reforms and the limited financial resources of R. Moldova's Ministry of Defense. - Seen in the wider context of Moldova's defense reform, the re-packing and centralization of the stockpile and the subsequent release of military personnel currently engaged in guarding the excess sites, would have an encouraging effect with regard to the eventual reduction and restructuring of the armed forces in R. Moldova. - Moreover, as a result of their improper storage these dangerous substances can leak at any time in the ground or in the water flows in their proximity, presenting a clear thereat to the health of the local communities and their economic activities and last but not least, serious environmental problems. - The authorities in Chisinau are paying a special attention to this project. The issue was high on President Voronin's agenda during his recent talks with Mr. Jean Fournet, Assistant to the Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, on April 4, 2005 in Chisinau. Also, the leadership in Chisinau addressed Mr. Guenther Altenburg, Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs in writing several times on this issue. - The feasibility study made by the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency, with the financial support provided by the United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands and Norway- proposes a step-by-step approach - re-packing, centralization and destruction of Moldova's stockpile. The proposed project would be executed in four phases. The first phase of the project involves repacking and centralization of the stockpile in 28 centralized sites and amounts to 962,850 EUROS. Up to now, the total pledges of the allies amounts to 195,000 euros. - According to the NAMSA regulations, unless all the money required by the launching of the first phase is gathered, the project will be abandoned, and reopened only when all financial conditions are met. - Romania is in a very advanced process of generating a political decision on taking over the role of co-lead nation country, along with Belgium, for the first phase of the project, and in committing a financial contribution. We are also trying to identify financial ways to finance the next phases of the project through UN and the OSCE, although, from the research we did so far, it seems that the chances for positive results are really slim. - Through its broad positive implications - not only on the military reform but also on the health and the economic activities of the local communities - the implementation of the project could have a great impact on the NATO's image (also by dismissing the "bad guy" image of NATO, which was promoted by the old Soviet propaganda) and the level of support within the public opinion in the Republic of Moldova.
- Abandoning of the project would not be advisable, especially now, when the R. Moldova is being imposed economic sanctions by Moscow, who wants to punish the current leadership in Chisinau for its new orientation towards the West.
- In this context of an increased interest of R. Moldova for cooperation with NATO (R. Moldova has officially requested the IPAP on June 7), we have also to avoid the feelings of marginalization by the Alliance which might arise in Chisinau, if the only PfP Trust Fund project in Moldova is cancelled, while Ukraine and Georgia will continue to benefit from consistent contributions by NATO allies for their PfP Trust Funds projects. Therefore, any additional contributions by allies to the PfP Trust Fund for R. Moldova would be critical for launching the first phase of this project.
End Text of GOR Nonpaper
5. (SBU) Comment. The GOR's enthusiasm for this project reflects, in part, President Traian Basescu's increased foreign policy focus on Moldova since he took office late last year. It also reflects the GOR's ongoing efforts to, in the words of several MFA interlocutors, serve as a "motor" for regional stability and development of democratic institutions. Finally, the GOR's proposed engagement in this project reflects Romania's longstanding commitment to supporting NATO programs and activities, including the Partnership for Peace. End Comment.
6. (U) Amembassy Bucharest's reporting telegrams are available on the Bucharest SIPRNET Website: www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/bucharest .