101522 3/22/2007 14:28 07USNATO186 Mission USNATO CONFIDENTIAL 07SECSTATE36204|07USNATO183 VZCZCXYZ0017 OO RUEHWEB DE RUEHNO #0186 0811428 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 221428Z MAR 07 FM USMISSION USNATO TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0657 INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 0349 RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS PRIORITY 0117 RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 0534 RUEHSL/AMEMBASSY BRATISLAVA PRIORITY 4415 RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY 6244 RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST PRIORITY 2371 RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 0185 RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN PRIORITY 0464 RUEHDL/AMEMBASSY DUBLIN PRIORITY 0273 RUEHHE/AMEMBASSY HELSINKI PRIORITY 0857 RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 0305 RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0563 RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON PRIORITY 0383 RUEHLJ/AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA PRIORITY 1095 RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0171 RUEHLE/AMEMBASSY LUXEMBOURG PRIORITY 0774 RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 0598 RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 0536 RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0446 RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0272 RUEHPG/AMEMBASSY PRAGUE PRIORITY 3939 RUEHRK/AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK PRIORITY 0038 RUEHRA/AMEMBASSY RIGA PRIORITY 7088 RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 0511 RUEHSQ/AMEMBASSY SKOPJE PRIORITY 3282 RUEHSF/AMEMBASSY SOFIA PRIORITY 2339 RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM PRIORITY 0754 RUEHTL/AMEMBASSY TALLINN PRIORITY 6984 RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY 0880 RUEHTI/AMEMBASSY TIRANA PRIORITY 4418 RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA PRIORITY 0358 RUEHVL/AMEMBASSY VILNIUS PRIORITY 7230 RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW PRIORITY 4039 RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 0051 RUEHVB/AMEMBASSY ZAGREB PRIORITY 5390 RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY C O N F I D E N T I A L USNATO 000186
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/22/2017 TAGS: NATO, PREF, PTER, PREL, AF, IT SUBJECT: DEMARCHE RESPONSE: RELEASE OF TALIBAN PRISONERS
REF: A. SECSTATE 36204 B. USNATO 183
Classified By: Ambassador Victoria Nuland, for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. (C) SUMMARY. Anticipating reftel A, Ambassador Nuland, during the March 21 North Atlantic Council meeting, joined the UK in criticizing the evident Taliban-for-hostage exchange in the release of kidnapped Italian journalist Mastrogiacomo. She also raised the issue separately with SYG de Hoop Scheffer, who will address it with PermReps in a more restricted forum, but is leaning toward pushing for an Alliance-wide hostage policy. USNATO believes NATO consensus on a common policy will be hard to achieve, but the subject is worth discussing to raise awareness. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) During the March 21 NAC meeting, Ambassador Nuland reinforced criticism by the UK Charge and noted strongly the intrinsic dangers of bargaining with terrorists, plus concern for all Allies if the Taliban thought that hostage taking was a route to future prisoner exchanges (ref B). She and the UK Charge also asked the Secretary General and Chairman of the Military Committee if ISAF had been consulted over the process of Mastrogiacomo's release. Both committed to investigate. The Italian Charge declined to comment on how the journalist was freed without more details from capital, but expressed the Italian government's gratitude to Karzai for his help.
3. (C) SYG de Hoop Scheffer told PermReps during the March 21 NAC that he intends to raise this issue at an informal lunch or coffee gathering of PermReps in the near future. In a separate conversation with Ambassador Nuland, he said he is leaning toward pushing for an Alliance-wide hostage policy.
4. (C) COMMENT: Raising awareness on this issue among NATO Allies is important and necessary, with the goal of reaching agreed guidelines. However, achieving consensus on a binding NATO hostage policy, similar to NSPD 12, for example, will be very difficult. Few Allies are likely to want a discussion like this which they consider sovereign to be collectively decided. END COMMENT. NULAND