131774 11/27/2007 17:08 07STATE160560 Secretary of State UNCLASSIFIED 07PRETORIA3674 VZCZCXYZ0012 PP RUEHWEB DE RUEHC #0560 3311718 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P R 271708Z NOV 07 FM SECSTATE WASHDC TO RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY 5890 INFO RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 2243 UNCLAS STATE 160560
SIPDIS, UNVIE IAEA FOR ASTARZ
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ENRG, TRGY, KNNP, IAEA, SF SUBJECT: INVITATION TO GSA TO ATTEND GNEP STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING IN VIENNA IN DECEMBER
REF: PRETORIA 3674
1. THIS IS AN ACTION REQUEST FOR EMBASSY OFFICERS TO DELIVER TALKING POINTS (PARAGRAPH 3 BELOW) INVITING GSA OFFICIALS TO PARTICIPATE AS OBSERVERS during the first meeting of the Steering Group for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) in Vienna, Austria, from 11 to 13 December 2007. Request that Embassy Officers draw upon the following talking points during a meeting with DME officials, preferably with Tseliso Maqubela, Chief Director of Nuclear Affairs. Points may be left as a non-paper.
2. BEGIN TALKING POINTS
U.S. GNEP representative, Ed McGinnis, has been attempting to make contact with the point of contact (Tseliso Maqubela) that South Africa identified during our last bilateral discussion with Ambassador Abdul Minty in Vienna, Austria, during the IAEA General Conference. However, to date, Mr. McGinnis has been unsuccessful in making contact.
We would like to extend an invitation to South Africa to send representatives as observers to the first meeting of the GNEP Steering Group in Vienna, Austria, from 11 to 13 December. -- 5. (C) But the project will deepen Armenia's regional isolation. The railway will effectively replace the Kars-Gyumri (Armenia)-Tbilisi railway that had earlier served as the only rail connection between Turkey and the former Soviet Union. Turkey closed the line in 1993 following the Armenian occupation of Azeri territory in the Nagorno-Karabakh war. President Gul used the ground-breaking to reinforce a message he delivered two weeks earlier in Baku (ref C): regional projects developed by Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan are meant to benefit the entire Caucasus, but Armenia's hostility toward Azerbaijan and Turkey excludes it. He was, however, somewhat more magnanimous in Tbilisi: "When peace and stability dominate the region, we will not want to exclude anyone. Everybody can participate in these projects; all peoples of this region can gain the use of these projects without being discriminated against on the basis of race or religion...I hope that the realization of these projects is not misunderstood. I believe that these projects will one day serve the entire region, not only three countries."
ECONOMIC TIES DEEPEN
6. (C) Trade was high on the agenda of both visits. Accompanying Gul to Georgia, State Minister for Trade Kursad Tuzmen signed a long-awaited free trade agreement and an agreement eliminating dual taxation. While the Georgian side had wanted trade liberalization without restrictions, reduced tariffs will remain on agricultural products such as tea, wine, wheat and citrus. The Georgian DCM told us the GOG is satisfied, however, with the greatly expanded quota of wine Georgia can now export duty free. In partnership with the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), the two sides have already begun to modernize border crossings, and have ended visa requirements for travel between the two countries. In a joint press conference with PM Noghaideli, PM Erdogan celebrated these achievements, emphasizing that Turkey is Georgia's number one trading partner and that the value of goods and services traded annually has reached $1 billion. Speaking alongside Gul one week later, Saakashvili expressed his appreciation for Turkish investment and the employment it has brought to Georgia. With the problems of dual taxation solved, Kul said he believes that Turkish companies -- already impressed by the improved business environment in Georgia -- are set to further expand their investments.
LESS INCLINED TO SUPPORT MAP FOR GEORGIA AT BUCHAREST
7. (C) President Gul reaffirmed during his visit that the integration of the South Caucasus with Euro-Atlantic institutions is a high priority for Turkey. But the GOT is concerned that Georgia is trying to drag NATO into solving its political problems, notably Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The recent political crisis, in which the GOT believes President Saakashvili unnecessarily antagonized Russia, has further dampened GOT enthusiasm for extending MAP to Georgia. MFA Deputy U/S Unal Cevikoz recently told Ambassador that the domestic political situation in Georgia is likely to become more complicated for Saakashvili, even after his expected re-election. The GOT is not sure that April 2008, in Bucharest, is the right time to go ahead with MAP. He described the GOT position as having gone from "neutral plus to neutral-minus." Despite its lack of enthusiasm, Turkey will not block an Allied consensus in favor of Georgia's bid for MAP, should one emerge.
TURKEY PREPARED TO FACILITATE REPATRIATION
ANKARA 00002847 003 OF 003
OF MESKHETI TURKS
8. (C) Turkey is pleased that the Georgian parliament has passed legislation authorizing the repatriation of the Meskheti Turks to Georgia from Russia and Central Asia, where they were exiled during Soviet times. The GOT has consistently raised this issue with Georgian leaders. The GOT expects the process to begin in 2008 with applications. Georgia has not allocated any specific region for resettlement, and the GOT understands GOG concerns about upsetting the demographic balance of the majority-Armenian Javakheti region, which most Meskheti are native to. The GOT is confident, however, that once the Meskheti return to Georgia, they will not be restricted from resettling wherever they choose, including Javakheti. Meeting with PM Noghaideli, Erdogan remarked that Turkey would advocate projects to assist the return of the Meskheti Turks "to their homeland," and ensure the development of the region. He said the Meskheti Turks would constitute "a new bridge of friendship and cooperation" between Turkey and Georgia.
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