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Viewing cable 08STATE114173, NORDIC AND BALTIC POLITICAL DIRECTORS, OCTOBER 2

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08STATE114173 2008-10-27 16:04 2011-01-13 05:05 CONFIDENTIAL Secretary of State
VZCZCXYZ0008
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #4173 3011616
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 271610Z OCT 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHCH/AMEMBASSY CHISINAU IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHHE/AMEMBASSY HELSINKI IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHRK/AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHRA/AMEMBASSY RIGA IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHTL/AMEMBASSY TALLINN IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHVL/AMEMBASSY VILNIUS IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE IMMEDIATE 0000
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 114173 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/24/2018 
TAGS: KNEI PREL EUR BO GG RS UP XG SW NO LG LH IC EN FI
DA, AF, IZ, MD 
SUBJECT: NORDIC AND BALTIC POLITICAL DIRECTORS, OCTOBER 2 
CONSULTATIONS IN VILNIUS 
 
Classified By: Classified by EUR Assistant Secretary Daniel Fried, 
Reasons: 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
 1. (C) Summary.  On October 2, political directors and other 
senior officials from the nine members of the Expanded 
Partnership 
in Northern Europe (E-PINE), including EUR Assistant 
Secretary Dan 
Fried, met in Vilnius for semi-annual consultations.  The 
principal 
issues discussed were Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, 
Iraq, and 
Afghanistan.  On Georgia, PolDirs exchanged views on how best 
to 
support that country's territorial integrity and democratic 
processes. 
With respect to Belarus, they agreed that the recent 
elections 
were disappointing, but that too much isolation might only 
serve 
to force the GOB closer to Russia.  The participants shared 
concerns 
over the political infighting in Ukraine, as well as over the 
possibility of Russian subversion in the Crimea.  They 
concurred that 
5 2 format remained the best way forward for Moldova. 
Participants 
reviewed the positive trends in Iraq, as well as recent areas 
of 
concern in Afghanistan, which they agreed reflected in part 
the 
need for stronger government institutions.  The U.S. will 
host 
the next e-PINE Political Directors' meeting in Washington 
in 2009.  End Summary. 
 
Georgia 
------- 
2. (C) Swedish Political Director Bjorn Lyrvall led off the 
discussion on Georgia noting that Russia had failed to 
achieve 
its primary goal there, i.e. regime change.  He said it is 
important to maintain pressure on Russia to abide by the 
terms 
of the ceasefire.  He stressed the need to show support for 
Georgia, and to ensure Ministerial-level attendance at the 
October 22 donor conference.  Getting observers into the 
disputed 
regions is also very important.  The EU should work towards 
rollover 
to international observers in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, 
adding that 
Russian demands for restrictions on Georgian military and 
police 
movement are unacceptable.  He emphasized that business as 
usual 
with Russia is not possible. 
 
3. (C) A/S Fried agreed that regime change was the ultimate 
goal 
of the Russian invasion and that while the GOR had failed for 
now, 
it is unlikely to give up.  It is therefore important to 
shore up 
the Georgian economy, help stabilize the political system, 
keep 
pressure on the GOG to reform and strengthen its democratic 
institutions, and to strengthen the military so Georgia can 
defend 
itself.  Russia and Georgia must be treated equally at 
negotiations; 
it should be clear that South Ossetia and Abkhazia are not on 
the 
same footing as Georgia.  Should Russia pull out of 
uncontested 
Georgia, then the acute phase of the crisis will be over. It 
is 
important to find a way forward that prevents Russia from 
shoring 
up any gains. 
 
4. (C) Estonian Political Director Kull noted that there are 
challenges ahead in maintaining Georgia's territorial 
integrity 
and in ensuring EU cooperation.  The problem is that not all 
EU 
members agree about what needs to be done, especially on visa 
facilitation.  Danish Political Director Damsgaard agreed 
that 
there is a need to stress territorial integrity, and that the 
EU 
mandate concerns the whole of Georgia, including the 
contested areas. 
 
5. (C) Latvian Political Director Usubs was most concerned 
about 
the October 15 international talks on security and stability 
in 
the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as 
provided 
for in the September 8 Sarkozy-Medvedev agreement.  He 
worried that 
Russia will pressure CIS countries, especially those with a 
need 
for energy, to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  The 
engagement 
of the EU in monitoring missions lends an element of 
credibility. 
Finland's Vierros agreed that the EU presence is welcome; she 
found 
it worrisome, however, that monitors are still having trouble 
accessing South Ossetia. 
 
6. (C) A/S Fried reiterated that the August ceasefire should 
not be renegotiated - the six point plan calls for Russia's 
withdrawal to the lines of August 7.  If Russia shows it is 
serious in the October 15 conference, then we can respond 
seriously. 
If they are non-compliant, then we still have something to 
talk 
about.  However, if Russia wastes everyone's time with talk 
of no fly zones and arms embargoes, then we'll know how to 
respond to that as well.  We will not accept arrangements 
where South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Georgia are treated as 
equals - they are not.  Russia may be testing the limits of 
the 
international community to see whether it can turn the 
meetings 
into a circus.  On the other hand, Russia itself may not know 
what it wants. 
 
7. (C) Denmark's Damsgaard opined that the issue of MAP 
probably 
will not be solved in December for either Georgia or Ukraine 
and that there is a need to think constructively about how 
to get around that problem.  Estonian Political Director Kull 
was also concerned about Georgia's prospects for MAP 
in December, as some countries that had previously been 
supportive 
are now hesitant.  A/S Fried said that MAP is the right thing 
to do 
and that the U.S. is supportive.  Norwegian PolDir Ellefsen 
mentioned 
that there will probably be no agreement in December and that 
the 
allies will need to be creative, not confrontational.  It is 
also 
important that Russia understand that its actions have 
instilled 
fear in its neighbors. 
 
Belarus 
-------- 
8. (C) E-PINE participants largely concurred that 
notwithstanding 
some positive developments in Belarus, the recent elections 
were disappointing.  A/S Fried noted the USG had responded 
quickly 
to the release of political prisoners by temporarily lifting 
the sanctions on some companies and sending DAS Merkel to 
Minsk.  Pavilionis thought that isolating the regime too much 
would be a strategic mistake; most other e-PINE countries 
supported 
limited engagement with civil society groups, the opposition, 
and 
mid-level officials as a means to break Belarusian isolation. 
 
All thought that it was important to offer Belarus 
alternatives to 
dependence on Russia, but were hesitant to do much more for 
fear of 
rewarding bad behavior. 
 
Ukraine 
-------- 
9. (C) The Ukraine discussion focused on continued domestic 
political turmoil, the need for reform, and the potential 
for instability in Crimea.  Damsgaard noted that Ukraine 
needs to realize there is more to democracy than holding 
free and fair elections, adding that the GOU's constant 
internal power struggles undermined effective governance. 
Turning to the issue of NATO membership, A/S Fried pointed 
out that although Ukraine is ambivalent about being issued 
a MAP, its increasing engagement with the EU is a good thing. 
 
He expressed concern about possible Russian subversion in 
Crimea, 
adding that there is a need for more social programs 
and investment there and the Russians should not be allowed 
to 
operate freely.  Lyrvall suggested that although getting 
observers 
into Crimea would be very difficult, it would not be a bad 
idea 
to set up EU information offices to get visitors into the 
area. 
Pavilionis continued to urge MAP for Ukraine, fearing 
that talk of compromise at this stage would leave ministers 
nothing to discuss in December. 
 
Moldova 
-------- 
10. (C) Vierros began the discussion on Moldova, saying that 
the OSCE's overall objective at present is formal 5 2 
negotiations.  Romania would like to be integrated into the 
format, but its participation should be channeled through 
the EU.  Russian influence in Transnistria is increasing 
and they are trying to re-launch their 2003 federation plan. 
A/S Fried said that Moldova should not feel compelled to 
adopt 
a plan that is bad for the country, reiterating USG support 
for the 5 2 talks.  The Moldovan constitution ensures 
neutrality 
and the USG is not needed as a guarantor of that.  If that is 
what Moldova wants, then it is their choice; neutrality is no 
hindrance to bilateral cooperation.  Lyrvall noted that the 
EU needs 
to make Moldova an attractive option for Transnistria and 
that 
the EU can be helpful in that regard through an enhanced 
agreement and confidence-building measures.  Pavilionis 
thought 
that Moldova is a partial success and that now is the time 
for 
the EU to get serious and complete its mandate, to prolong 
EUBAM 
and develop its role.  The EU also needs to be ready to 
develop 
a civilian mission there. 
 
Iraq 
---- 
11. (C) Estonia's Kull led off the Iraq discussion, noting 
that 
the on-going conflict is a challenge to trans-Atlantic 
relations, 
counter-terrorism efforts, and Muslim-Christian relations. 
He 
was pleased the GOI is more able to control the security 
situation 
now, but questioned how it will do when the number of foreign 
troops decreases.  The Maliki government's pressure to limit 
foreign 
troops is creating problems reaching agreement on the SOFA 
and 
he expressed hope that this will be resolved by the end of 
the year. 
A/S Fried thanked the e-PINE countries for their various 
contributions. 
 
Afghanistan 
----------- 
12. (C) Ellefsen led the discussion, noting the increasing 
pessimism in Kabul, which he said pointed to the need for 
stronger government institutions and more coordination. 
A/S Fried said that there are a number of problems that 
must be tackled including better civil-military coordination 
and the need for a stronger coalition. He emphasized the need 
to support the Afghan military as it expands and that the USG 
has asked most of the e-PINE countries to contribute to that 
effort.  We appreciate the efforts of contributors and know 
that there are many challenges ahead.  Lithuania agreed with 
A/S Fried's assessment of the situation and thanked the U.S. 
for its assistance with their PRT in Ghor Province and the 
Swedes for their assistance on the Herat road feasibility 
study. 
 
Participants 
------------- 
13. (U) Participants: 
 
Denmark 
A. Carsten Damsgaard    Political Director 
William Boe Deputy Director, 
      European Neighborhood and Russia Dept. 
 
Estonia 
Clyde Kull  Political Director 
Jaan Salulaid     Counselor 
 
Finland 
Pilvi-Sisko Vierros     Political Director 
Sari Rautio First Secretary 
 
Iceland 
Nikilas Hannigan  Deputy Political Director 
 
Latvia 
Peteris Ustubs    Political Director 
Kristaps Brusbardis       European Correspondent 
 
Lithuania 
Zygimantas Pavilionis   Political Director 
Egidijus Navikas  European Correspondent 
 
Norway 
Vegard Ellefsen   Political Director 
Stephanie Bjoro   Senior Executive Officer 
 
Sweden 
Bjorn Lyrvall     Director-General for Political Affairs 
Anna Hammarlund Blixt   European Correspondent 
 
United States 
Daniel Fried      Assistant Secretary for European 
and Eurasian Affairs 
Joseph Boski      Political Officer, Embassy Vilnius 
Julie-Anne Peterson     e-PINE Coordinator, EUR/NB 
RICE