98848 3/2/2007 15:26 07LONDON809 Embassy London CONFIDENTIAL 07STATE23592 VZCZCXRO3651 OO RUEHAG RUEHROV DE RUEHLO #0809/01 0611526 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 021526Z MAR 07 FM AMEMBASSY LONDON TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2105 INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST 0401 RUEHSF/AMEMBASSY SOFIA 0309 C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LONDON 000809
STATE FOR EUR/ERA/GRAY
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/02/2017 TAGS: PREL, EUN, KPAL, PGOV, BK, YI, IS, IR, AF, SU, UZ, UK SUBJECT: UK EXPECTATIONS FOR MARCH EU GAERC MEETING
REF: STATE 23592
Classified By: Political Counselor Richard Mills for reasons 1.4 (b) an d (d).
1. (C) The UK Government expects Iran and Bosnia to be issues of focus at the March General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) meeting. Martin Sherman, FCO's EU External Affairs head, provided Poloff on March 1 with a readout of UK expectations for the GAERC in response to ref non-paper. Sherman also provided some initial assessment of the German Presidency, from the FCO's viewpoint. Key points are summarized below.
2. (C) IRAN. The UK expects the GAERC to endorse the European Commission's "autonomous list" of individuals and entities subject to an asset freeze and travel ban. Sherman said that the list to be approved at this month's GAERC contained information on specific individuals and entities largely drawn from open source materials to help ensure the list would not be subject to much challenge. The UK views adoption of this list as laying the groundwork for additional, and more controversial, individuals and entities to be considered at subsequent GAERCs. The current list is what the "traffic will bear," Sherman said, but once the GAERC has adopted a list of entities for sanctions beyond those specified in UNSC Resolution 1737, the principle will have been established and London can then press for the listing of more controversial entities. Sherman said that finalizing the regulations necessary to implement the "EU Common Position on Restrictive Measures Against Iran" is on track. The regulations should be adopted by the end of March.
3. (C) WESTERN BALKANS. Sherman said discussion of Bosnia will focus on the new mandate for the Office of the High Representative (OHR), which the UK supported, and some line-drawing from other EU Members about the future of the OHR. Most EU members are of the view that this should be the last extension of the OHR, Sherman told Poloff, a view London "generally supports" because the Bosnian Government is now able to carry out many of the OHR's current duties. Several EU Members will want to be on record as making this point at next week's GAERC. Sherman did not expect any formal debate or statement from the GAERC on Kosovo or Serbia. Sherman noted in passing that there was a great deal of "lobbying" underway by the Kosovars and the Serbians with the UK Government in advance of the Vienna meeting. Sherman said that the UK was clear with both sides that it strongly supported the Ahtisaari recommendations.
4. (C) ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN ISSUES. Sherman said there will be no formal GAERC discussions on this issue. Sherman added that the EU remains committed to the Quartet Principles, but told Poloff there was "increasing belief" in London and other EU capitals that it would be more productive to judge the new National Unity Government on its actions, rather than on whether or not it formally endorses the Quartet Principles. Sherman added that, for now, the EU's position remains unchanged, but he "foresaw" more discussion about this in coming weeks.
5. (C) SUDAN. Sherman said the German Presidency is attempting to "squeeze" more funding out of EU member states for an AU Mission in Sudan, but London had no information on the status of those efforts.
6. (C) UZBEKISTAN. According to Sherman, the German Presidency is interested in easing sanctions, but no action would be taken for another three months, when the current EU restrictions are due for rollover. The UK's view is that although there has been some progress, the Uzbek Government still needed to improve the human rights situation before lifting of EU sanctions was appropriate.
7. (C) AFGHANISTAN. The EU's decision to send a police training mission to Afghanistan was good news, Sherman said. Sherman welcomed the close cooperation between the EU and the USG in planning the mission; in that regard, Sherman wondered if "a USG contribution to the mission would be possible" at some point.
8. (C) GERMAN PRESIDENCY. Evaluating the German Presidency thus far, Sherman said that the UK was finding EU meetings "more comfortable" these days because Berlin and London are in sync on most of the important EU foreign policy issues, especially after the Finnish Presidency. That said, Sherman speculated Berlin was unlikely to make headway on its foreign policy goals as EU President -- in particular on EU-Russian relations -- which made it more likely President Merkel would
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push for progress on the EU Constitution, an issue which, Sherman noted, "there is little room for discussion on our side."
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