Thursday, 09 July 2009, 16:15
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 06 STOCKHOLM 000418
EO 12958 DECL: 07/09/2029
TAGS EUN, PREL, PGOV, IR, RS, SW
SUBJECT: EUR A/S GORDON’S JULY 3 MEETINGS WITH THE EU
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Classified By: CDA LAURA J. KIRKCONNELL FOR REASONS 1.4(B) AND (D)
¶1. (U) Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Phil Gordon met with the 27 EU Member State Political Directors in Stockholm July 3. He then met with the EU Political Directors “troika,” comprising Swedish PolDir Bjorn Lyrvall, EU Council Secretariat DG Robert Cooper, EU External Relations Commission PolDir Karel Kovanda, Spanish PolDir Alfonso Lucini, and EU Council Secretariat Policy Coordinator Helga Schmid.
¶2. (C) On Iran, A/S Gordon emphasized that post-election developments have not altered the Obama Administration’s fundamental approach to the nuclear question, and UK PolDir Mark Lyall-Grant urged the EU to be in position “to move rapidly” with new sanctions at the beginning of the Spanish EU Presidency in January 2010. On the Middle East peace process, the United States was focused on creating the conditions necessary for peace before proposing full-scale negotiations. This would require a stop to Israeli settlements and efforts to build up Palestinian security capacity and an end to violence and incitement. French PolDir Gerard Araud raised the possibility of an EU security force in support of a possible agreement. Regarding the U.S.-Russia relationship, Gordon said that the Russians are testing the Obama Administration to see if it will compromise on its principles; it won,t.
¶13. (C) At Lyrvall’s request, A/S Gordon offered some impressions to the group on U.S. relations with Russia. He said that we are looking to restore relations while also stressing our core principles; e.g., no spheres of influence, democracies have the right to choose alliances, and non-recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Russians, for their part, are exploring U.S. willingness to compromise in the name of better relations, which we will not do. A/S Gordon said that with regard to the Medvedev proposals, the U.S. is not prepared to compromise on European security. Lyrvall asked about expectations for the Moscow Summit. A/S Gordon said we were not trying to overstate expectations, but we are talking seriously with the Russians on arms control and Afghanistan. Lithuanian PolDir Eitvydas Bajarunas urged a common U.S.-EU approach on Belarus and Georgia, and A/S Gordon replied that we can only interpret the Zeltser release as an expression of Belarus’s interest in better relations, and that he was planning to go to Belarus himself. He said Georgia was a good example of the U.S. not compromising its principles in the name of better relations with Moscow– in fact, Russia had been isolated on decisions regarding OSCE and UNOMIG ) and he noted the Vice President’s upcoming trip to Georgia and Ukraine.
¶15. (C) A/S Gordon conveyed that the U.S. may be making some progress with Russia on START follow-on negotiations, and may also be making progress with regard to cooperation on Afghanistan. We have little to no progress to report regarding Georgia. The Russians are testing the Obama Administration to see if it will compromise; it will not. Lyrvall commented that there have been no breakthroughs in EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) negotiations, and noted that the Russians see the EU’s
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Eastern Partnership initiative through a zero-sum lens; if it encourages closer EU ties with six former-Soviet states, it must be anti-Russia. Lucini recommended engaging Russia in the Eastern Partnership through cooperation on concrete projects. Helga Schmid praised the OSCE Ministerial in Corfu for its emphasis on the indivisibility of Euro-Atlantic security.
¶16. (C) Schmid commented that the Geneva process is useful because it is the only venue which includes all parties to the Georgia conflict. She encouraged the U.S. to press Georgia to work with the Abkhaz; the Abkhaz have been rebuffed in their overtures to the Georgians, and are left with no option but to seek Russia’s support. Kovanda similarly urged outreach to the Abkhaz; they are looking for some daylight with the Russians, and we should help. EU negotiations on visa facilitation with Georgia are not going well. Lucini said we need to let Georgians know we support them without giving Saakashvili “a blank check.”
¶17. (C) A/S Gordon said the Georgians have shown reasonable restraint with protesters lately, marking a departure from previous behavior. Vice President Biden’s upcoming trip to Georgia will emphasize the need to strengthen democratic institutions. A/S Gordon inquired about potential U.S. participation in the EU’s Georgia monitoring mission. An American contribution*either official USG or via NGOs–would showcase our commitment, and could potentially deter future Russian misbehavior. Schmid noted that U.S. participation would also mean opening the mission to Turkey and Ukraine; U.S. political support might be preferable. Cooper agreed that it would be hard for the EU to resist Turkish participation in the EU monitoring mission if the U.S. participated, as Turkey is an EU candidate country. Turkish participation would not necessarily be a bad thing, but it would “need some thinking about.”