Wikileaks - DCCCLXVII

Sunday, 04 September, Year 3 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

128951 11/6/2007 19:50 07USUNNEWYORK958 USUN New York UNCLASSIFIED 07SECSTATE133814 VZCZCXYZ0007 PP RUEHWEB --
--------------------------------------------- -- DIVERGENCE ON GEORGIA MAP
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5. (C) U/S Burns stated to Araud that the USG strongly supports giving Georgia a Membership Action Plan (MAP) at Bucharest in April. However, for tactical reasons, he said that a firm decision on this issue was not needed until after Kosovo was decided this December. That said, every country has a right to choose its alliances and if NATO turns down Georgia's application, it would be tantamount to allowing Russia to make membership decisions for the alliance. Araud agreed that this is a decision for NATO to make, but the Russian obsession about encirclement is real, something we had to contend with. There is also a real danger of a harsh Russian reaction, possibly even military action against Georgia, putting the credibility of the alliance at stake. Araud also criticized "inflammatory" Georgian actions that have led to increased tensions with Russia. The GOF is prepared to offer a "significant package" to Georgia, but does not want it to be called the MAP (or have any word associated with "membership"). He suggested simply calling it the "Georgia Action Plan" and said the alliance could include a declaration of concern about Georgian security. This is the plan the French and Germans are currently working on.

6. (C) U/S Burns quickly noted that Russia had been given 16 years to integrate more fully into the Alliance, but had chosen partnership instead, and had since done nothing in the NATO-Russia Council and had pulled out of most military missions. In his view, the Russians wouldn't dare to react militarily against Georgia, knowing how damaging such a move would be to its standing. A "Georgia Action Plan" (GAP) would not work; NATO needs to make a decision on its own without Russian interference. Philippe Carre, Director of Strategic Affairs at the MFA, noted that the GOF recognizes Georgia's aspirations and takes them seriously. The French consider MAP to be a promise of full membership and the alliance should not accept a country as a member just to spite Russia. The French have concerns about Saakashvili's government and corruption in Georgian politics. U/S Burns responded that Saakashvili had matured in office and that NATO had never used corruption as a bar for membership for other countries. Closing the discussion, Araud noted that the French position was not cast in stone: MAP for Georgia would eventually go to Sarkozy for a decision, a decision that could not be pre-judged.
7. (C) Araud stated that the GOF supports Croatia becoming a full member of NATO at the April 2-4 summit in Bucharest. The French do not consider Albania and Macedonia ready to join the alliance yet, but if the USG insists on including them as well, the GOF will not resist. U/S Burns said that the USG didn't have a firm position yet. Ambassador Nuland would be visiting all three candidate countries November 7-9 and NATO could debate membership in January/February 2008. He added that the greatest difficulty was being posed by Greece, which is threatening to veto membership for Macedonia over the name dispute. While we understand the domestic Greek politics driving that position, we do not agree that Greece should risk of destabilizing Macedonia over the name issue. The United Nations Matthew Nimitz is continuing efforts on this issue. Araud agreed that this was a real problem, but said that the GOF was unwilling to put any pressure on Greece on this issue; Greece is also a member of

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the EU and France will align itself in solidarity with Athens.
--------------------------------------------- -- FUTURE STRATEGY AND CAPABILITY IN AFGHANISTAN
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8. (C) U/S Burns stated that the international structure to provide assistance in Afghanistan was not working well. The USG supports the appointment of a more senior civilian coordinator with an appropriately expanded mandate to focus on economics, narcotics control, rebuilding of infrastructure and uniting civilian and military efforts. He hoped that France and the UK could agree on a job description and person to fill it in in December. Araud agreed and suggested nominating Paddy Ashdown as someone with requisite civilian and military experience. He noted that the GOF does not/not think the representative should also wear an EU hat.

9. (C) Burns then raised the problems stemming from lack of military commitments in the east and south of Afghanistan. Araud responded that the GOF recently decided to send a new Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) to work with the Dutch in Uruzgan. However, President Sarkozy had not made any military decisions for 2009 and beyond, and noted that the GOF is currently undertaking a comprehensive defense and security review. He said the French are against staying "indefinitely" in Afghanistan and the Europeans want a clearer vision of the benchmarks that will trigger a drawdown of NATO forces. The problem for many in Europe is public opinion; Europeans don't understand why they should have forces in Afghanistan; the difficulty is compounded in countries where parliament has a say in troop deployments. U/S Burns responded that in our view, the U.S. and NATO forces will be in Afghanistan for the long-term. Unfortunately, the lack of burdensharing (particularly by west European countries) is causing resentment in those countries whose troops are shouldering the greatest burden. Until the Afghan government has the capacity to defend itself, it is in the interest of all NATO countries to make a sufficiently strong military effort to support it. That was the decision agreed to in 2003 and the USG is prepared to discuss future strategy in Afghanistan in greater detail if that will assist the French to move troops into the east and south in greater numbers. A strategy discussion of the kind the French were calling for could be linked to the appointment and mandate enlargement of the new UN rep.
10. (C) U/S Burns expressed appreciation for FM Kouchner's statements on Burma and his presence in the region. He added that it was important for UN Special Representative Gambari to return to Burma soon, and that the UN needed to be more forceful about whom he would see (and not leave these decisions to the Burmese generals). Araud agreed and added that the last EU GAERC meeting had agreed on no new investment in the country. He clarified that Kouchner's recent call for "financial incentives" for Burma referred to a proposed foundation to support the opposition in Burma and not/not financial incentives for the Burmese generals. Araud noted that FM Kouchner will want to discuss Burma at the next opportunity, possibly at Istanbul.
11. (C) Araud informed U/S Burns that a proposed French-Indian agreement on nuclear cooperation was on hold until the U.S. agreement could be signed by India and ratified by the U.S. Congress. The GOF would like to quickly sign an "Agreement of Cooperation," which alone would not have commercial implications. Burns expressed hope that the Indian government would find a way to move forward as soon as possible. The USG hopes that India would move forward on agreements with the U.S. before moving forward with agreements with third countries if they remained blocked on an agreement with the U.S. Araud, saying he fully understood, suggested that perhaps the Indian government could consider signing cooperation agreements and letters of intent at the same time with the three interested countries (U.S., Russia and France). This might dilute domestic opposition and allow the process to move forward. He added that the GOF would like to see progress on this issue before President Sarkozy's visit to India at the end of January,
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12. (C) In a brief one-on-one discussion of Iran, Araud expressed pessimism about an Iranian willingness to negotiate or suspend enrichment, and was negative about El-Baradei. He said he expected the EU would wait until Dec. 19 before coming up with fairly weak sanctions -- and possibly none at all if a new UNSCR is not adopted.

13. (U) This message was reviewed and cleared by U/S Burns.

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