202249 4/14/2009 15:25 09BUCHAREST253 Embassy Bucharest CONFIDENTIAL 09BUCHAREST222|09STATE31102 VZCZCXRO9462 OO RUEHSR DE RUEHBM #0253 1041525 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 141525Z APR 09 FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9429 INFO RUEHXP/ALL NATO POST COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE C O N F I D E N T I A L BUCHAREST 000253
STATE FOR SCA/A TOM REOTT, EUR/RPM AARON COPE AND EUR/CE AARON SCHEIBE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/13/2019 TAGS: PREL, MOPS, MARR, NATO, AF, RO SUBJECT: ROMANIA ON SPECIFIC ASKS FOR AFGHANISTAN
REF: A. STATE 31102 B. BUCHAREST 00222
Classified By: Political Counselor Ted Tanoue; reasons: 1.4(b) and (d).
1. (C) POLOFF delivered reftel a demarche on April 1 to MFA Director Security Policy Daniel Ionita, who said the MFA engaged the interagency coordination process nearly immediately at that time, including the Ministry of National Defense (MND) and the Office of the President (Cotroceni Palace), in order to build elements of Romania's contribution to Afghanistan into President Basescu's remarks at the NATO Summit plenary in Strasbourg/Koln. On April 14, POLOFF met again with Ionita to ascertain if there were more details about Romania's specific contributions in response to the April 1 demarche that the embassy could convey to Washington authorities. Ionita did not have much to add.
2. (C) Ionita referenced President Basescu's remarks at the 2009 NATO Summit, specifically his commitment to provide "critical enablers" (medical, intelligence and "other specialized units" like a counter-IED team) in support of the Afghanistan mission. Ionita noted that Basescu also referred to providing OMLTs ("note the plural," Ionita pointed out). He also noted that Romania has 955 soldiers in ISAF and Basescu said there was the possibility of an additional 150. He added Romania is discussing within the interagency coordination group the timing and details to fulfill the President's commitments made at the Summit, including possibly assigning a staff member to RC-South Civil-Military Planning and Coordination Cell. Ionita explained that this latter point was complicated by Romania not having an embassy in Kabul that would provide the necessary staff support. In response to a question on military police, Ionita referred back to earlier discussions about the possibility of assigning the role to Romanian Gendarmes (as reported ref b), but that the Ministry of Interior was resisting taking on this responsibility.
3. (C) In regards to the "specific asks" directed to EU member states, Ionita noted that the request -- especially in terms of staffing the EU Police Mission in Afghanistan, is in the same boat as the request for additional ISAF contributions. He also pointed out that the new task from the Summit, standing up a NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, needs further development and staffing before countries like Romania can judge how best to address the requests for more resources given the lack of clarity on command and control issues, as well as efficient use of limited and dwindling resources. Responding to a question about the state of conversation on these issues within the EU, he noted that until the Easter holiday passes, there will likely not be much substantive discussion on new Afghanistan taskings.
4. (C) Comment: The GOR has made a commitment to meet many of the ISAF "ask fors" but that the budget crisis has made many of the ministries gun shy about offering up more resources. MFA and MND are on board philosophically, but Romania's economy is among the smallest of the NATO and EU members states, and is projected to get smaller over the next year. End Comment. GUTHRIE-CORN