Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 2497 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YE YM YI

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 09STATE81957, REPORT OF U.S.- RUSSIA MANPADS EXPERTS MEETING

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #09STATE81957.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09STATE81957 2009-08-06 16:04 2010-12-08 21:09 SECRET Secretary of State
VZCZCXYZ0003
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #1957 2230144
ZNY SSSSS ZZH ZDS
O 061630Z AUG 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW IMMEDIATE 2593-2599
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA IMMEDIATE 3806-3812
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI IMMEDIATE 1072-1078
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS IMMEDIATE 1216-1222
S E C R E T STATE 081957

NOFORN

SIPDIS

C O R R E C T E D COPY CAPTION AND REMOVING CLASSIFICATION
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/04/2019
TAGS: PARM PREL RS
SUBJECT: REPORT OF U.S.- RUSSIA MANPADS EXPERTS MEETING
JULY 9-10, WASHINGTON, D.C.

REF: A. A. STATE 152989 B. STATE 100646 C. STATE 112304
B. D. STATE 32213 E. STATE 33076 F. STATE 27306

Classified By: EUR/PRA Acting Director Kathleen Morenski
for reasons 1.4 (a,b,c,d)

Summary

1. (S/NF) On the same week as the successful U.S.-Russia
Presidential Summit in Moscow, the United States and Russia
held their sixth Experts Meeting under their bilateral
Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) Arrangement July
9-10 in Washington. Several items of interest were covered,
including: 1. a framework for the exchange of information on
domestic MANPADS destruction; 2. the risk of diversion of
MANPADS from Venezuela to the FARC; 3. illicit MANPADS
proliferation from Eritrea; 4. potential cooperation on
MANPADS destruction projects with other states; and 5. next
steps to facilitate the transfer of Russian-made Finnish
MANPADS to the U.S. for countermeasures testing. The Russian
side again requested U.S. help preventing the spread of
MANPADS in the Caucasus, in particular information on
Polish-supplied MANPADS to Georgia that were discovered in
Chechnya following the August 2008 conflict. In response to
our non-paper on the subject, the Russian MFA informed us it
had begun a dialogue with the Polish government. The next
Experts Meeting was tentatively scheduled for fall 2010 in
Moscow, at the earliest. The U.S. delegation was co-chaired
by Steven Costner (Deputy Director of PM/WRA) and Anita
Friedt (Director of EUR/PRA). The Russian delegation was
chaired by Col. Oleg Skabara from the MOD. See para 31 for a
full delegation list. End Summary.

Information Exchanges

2. (S) Both sides provided the details of their quarterly
MANPADS transfers. The U.S. submitted its first quarter
report, which reported no transfers from January 1-March 31,
prior to the meeting. The U.S. provided its second quarter
report (due by September 30), which covered April 1 through
June 30, during the meeting, which also reported no
transfers. The Russians provided their first quarter
exchange prior to the meeting, which reported the transfer of
100 IGLA-S missiles and 90 associated gripstocks to
Venezuela. (see below para for more details on the Venezuela
discussion).

Destruction Information Exchange

3. (S) The U.S. side raised the issue of the exchange of
information on the destruction of obsolete MANPADS,
referencing the U.S. non-paper which detailed our proposal
for the exchange that was provided to the GOR in advance of
the meeting. The Russian delegation acknowledged receiving
the U.S. non-paper and expressed gratitude for starting a
dialogue on this topic. The sides agreed in principle that
the exchange should take place on an annual basis, that both
sides would consider reporting information starting with
2005, and that information on the quantity and type of
missiles and gripstocks destroyed should be included. The
sides also agreed that the quantities - but not types - of
batteries should be reported in this exchange.

4. (S) The Russian delegation expressed a willingness to
discuss the issue further, but insisted that they needed more
time to clear the U.S. proposal with other executive agencies
within the Russian government. The Russians recognized the
U.S. has taken serious steps on this issue and suggested that
the sides continue this dialogue through diplomatic channels.


Venezuela MANPADS transfers

5. (S) In response to the U.S. paper outlining U.S. concerns
about the possibility of diversion to non state actors of
IGLA-S systems being delivered to the Government of Venezuela
(GOV), the Russian delegation stated that they understood the
concerns raised at high levels between our Secretary of State
and the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs as well as
between Russian Ambassador Kislyak and WHA A/S Shannon.
Skabara assured the U.S. delegation that Russian law provides
specific measures to prevent illegal transfers to third
parties. He then stated that the issues raised in the paper
were reflected in end user checks as well as in the contract
between the GOR and GOV, and that the GOR has required an
end-user regime that guarantees that transfers to third
parties will not take place. Skabara said that the U.S.
delegation had seen how well the Russians secure their
stockpiles and assured the U.S. that these same controls were
written into the contract with Venezuela. Along with this,
the GOR has had dialogue with the GOV evaluating the GOV's
physical security of the systems, which specifically featured
a discussion about the FARC. GOR assured the U.S. side that
transfers from Venezuela to the FARC cannot take place.

6. (S) Questions and comparisons were raised by the U.S.
side about Russian ammunition, sold to Venezuela, and found
in possession of the FARC. Skabara first suggested that the
ammunition did not come from Russia, but was probably a sale
from "unlicensed production" a suggestion that it was
manufactured in a third country without appropriate permits
from Russia. When the U.S. side pointed out that the
ammunition carried factory stamps, and that we provided this
information, the Russians responded that the meeting was to
discuss MANPADS, not ammunition, and that these are different
weapons and the approach, scale, and control applied to them
are different. He said the U.S. did not provide enough
information to the Russians on the confiscated ammunition for
them to fully investigate the discovery; however Russia is
carrying out an investigation. He added that it would be
"impossible" for a similar scenario to take place with
MANPADS, as they have an ongoing dialogue with Venezuela that
allows them to evaluate the security and use of these
MANPADS, and thus none of these MANPADS can be transferred to
the FARC.

7. (S) Giovanni Snidle from WHA/FO said that he was pleased
to be able to report to Ambassador Shannon that an
investigation is ongoing into the Russian cartridges found
with the FARC and that the U.S. would appreciate if the
Russians shared the findings. Snidle expressed that the
concerns were not Venezuela-specific, but a concern with the
Western Hemisphere as a whole, noting that when new MANPADS
were provided to the Venezuelans, it was possible that the
older, excess MANPADS could be transferred to others in the
region. He asked the Russians to consider the following
parameters (also outlined in a non-paper provided in advance
of the meeting) when signing MANPADS contracts with western
hemisphere countries:

--Vehicle-mounted variants as opposed to shoulder-fired.
--Limited numbers.
--One-for-one replacement of old/outdated MANPADS.
--Destruction of old stockpiles.

He stated that he was pleased to hear of the level of
accountability and encouraged them to continue end-use
assurances in future transfers.

The Russians noted that Venezuela didn't want vehicle mounted
systems, it only requested shoulder-fired systems, and that
the two systems are not interchangeable. Skabara agreed to
take the suggestions on one-for-one replacement and stockpile
destruction back to Moscow for consideration.

8. (S) ISN's Ann Ganzer asked about the "surprise
inspections," mentioned to Secretary Clinton by Minister
Lavrov. Skabara stated that these were not exactly surprise
inspections. He explained that an inspection would be
triggered if the GOR believed the contract had been violated
or had information that indicated an inspection was
necessary. (Comment: This is consistent with what the
Russians have told us in previous MANPADS meetings. End
Comment) He added that, to date, no inspections have been
conducted and that no future inspections are scheduled. He
did not consider the ammunition transferred to the FARC to be
an indication that an inspection was warranted, as ammunition
is not the same as MANPADS. He assured the U.S. side that
the contract endowed the GOR with the right to perform a
spontaneous inspection at any time. Costner noted that, if
fully implemented, the surprise inspections would lessen the
likelihood of a diversion and urged the GOR to perform these
inspections regardless of the presence of a "triggering
event."

9. (S) Skabara was receptive to U.S. inquiries on the
exchange and its end-user controls and stated that if
provided with specific questions, through diplomatic
channels, they will be able to respond. The U.S. pointed out
that it had already provided detailed questions in the
non-paper, passed to the GOR in advance of the meeting, and
that a written response to these inquiries would be
appreciated. Skabara said that there had not been enough
time to prepare a response to the paper, but that the answers
could be provided in written form once they get back to
Moscow. He sought a U.S. briefing on end-user controls in
response. Skabara said that every state has a right to self
defense under the United Nations Charter; however, the GOR is
aware of the strategic, practical, and technical norms. He
added that there is a line that should not be crossed, but
that the MANPADS provided to Venezuela would not destabilize
the region. He finished by stating that he could not get into
details about any future shipments and highlighted that
Russia is willing to engage in an open dialogue on this
issue.

Horn Of Africa/Eritrea

10. (S) The U.S. delegation then raised the issue of
Russian-made Eritrean MANPADS discovered in Somalia which was
discussed at the Experts Meeting in 2008 (ref F). The
Russian delegation confirmed that the MFA raised this issue
with the Government of Eritrea (GOE), and had not revealed
the U.S. as the source of the allegation. According to the
Russian MFA representative the GOE denied that the transfer
took place, accusing "enemies," namely Ethiopia, of
fabricating the accusation. The GOE demanded further
information on the transfer including the source and other
supporting information (i.e. photographs). The U.S.
delegation offered to discuss the question of photographs
with relevant U.S. agencies and report back to the GOR
through diplomatic channels. The Russian side then stated
that its relationship with Eritrea is not strong, thus Russia
cannot guarantee any further useful information on this
issue.

11. (S) The U.S. delegation then reiterated a request from
the 2008 Meeting for a detailed list of all Soviet and
Russian MANPADS transfers to Eritrea and the HOA in general.
The Russian delegation responded that this was impossible, as
all records of MANPADS transfers prior to the year 2000 were
destroyed in accordance with Russian laws governing
classified information. Further questioning by the U.S.
delegation on this issue raised a series of translation
problems. The Russian side did not understand requests from
the U.S. delegation for "records" of these transfers. The
Russian delegation stated that records of MANPADS transfers
(but not serial numbers) after 2000 (possibly from 2003) may
be available and offered to investigate the issue and report
back via diplomatic channels. The Russians asked for a
formal, written request on this issue. (Comment:
Misunderstandings related to translation errors during this
discussion may warrant a follow up with the GOR to confirm
Skabara's statements. End Comment.)

Georgia

12. (S) The Russian delegation then raised the question of
Georgian MANPADS proliferation. Skabara first outlined the
GOR's concerns about the build-up of weapons in Georgia and
potential "Georgian aggression" in the Caucasus. Skabara
continued by invoking Section 5 of the Bilateral Arrangement
where Russia and the U.S. are bound to the obligation of
preventing the transfer of Polish MANPADS to Georgia. The
Russian delegation acknowledged receipt of our non-paper in
response to Russia's concerns and confirmed that the Russian
MFA had begun a dialogue with the Polish government on this
issue.

13. (S) Costner acknowledged the mutual interests the U.S.
and Russian sides have, and the connection that exists
between stemming MANPADS proliferation in Venezuela/Horn of
Africa and the Caucasus, respectively. He noted the U.S. has
raised concerns with the Georgian government on stockpile
security and controls of excess munitions. He emphasized
that the key difference lies in the fact that the U.S. has
never transferred MANPADS to Georgia.

14. (S) Following Costner's remarks, EUR/PRA Office Director
Anita Friedt added that the U.S. deeply regrets the loss of
life on both the Georgian and Russian sides resulting from
the August conflict. She underscored that the U.S. has not
transferred MANPADS systems to Georgia and affirmed the USG
policy of non-lethal weapon assistance to Georgia. She said
the U.S. and Georgia had a strong nonproliferation
partnership and expressed appreciation for Russian efforts to
reach out to Poland on this issue. The Russian delegation
reiterated its concerns on this issue, the importance of not
blaming each other by continuing this dialogue, and requested
that the U.S continue to work with both Georgia and Poland.

15. (S) Skabara thanked the U.S. side for working with
Poland and Georgia on this issue and stated that the GOR has
had a pragmatic and active dialogue with Poland and hopes
that in the future this dialogue will generate specific
results on this question. Russia would continue to share
the outcome of this dialogue with the U.S. in the future.

Black Markets in Latin America

16. (S/NF) The U.S. side then gave a briefing on the MANPADS
black market in Latin America. The MANPADS black market in
the region is small, the number of potential users is low,
and prices are high compared to other regions such as the
Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. Central American
countries historically have posed the largest proliferation
risk because of the availability of systems unrecovered after
civil conflicts in the 1980s. The U.S. side stated concerns
about the FARC's apparent desire to obtain MANPADS, but said
that the likelihood that they have already is very low.
Specific instances where there would be heightened risk of
proliferation could include when MANPADS are deployed to
forward operating bases (as in the case of Venezuela).
MANPADS are generally secure when they are in central
stockpiles; however, when they are deployed they may be lost
in combat, corruption, or to the black market. The U.S. side
reiterated that any proliferation to the FARC is important
and is likely to lead to a significant increase in the air
defense threat to Colombian and US aircraft operating in the
region.

17. (S/NF) The U.S. briefing laid out possible steps to
limiting illicit proliferation of MANPADS, including:
inventory of existing stockpiles, avoidance of
destabilizing-sized sales, destruction of old stockpiles, and
limitations to the portability of systems. This complemented
directly the U.S. requests for curbing the threat posed by
sales to Venezuela, including offering vehicle- or pedestal-
mounted variants rather than shoulder-fired systems.

18. (S/REL RUSSIA) The Russian side responded positively to
the brief and asked if the U.S. exports MANPADS to South
America. The U.S. side responded that the U.S. exports very
few MANPADS anywhere and since at least 2005 (i.e., when the
Arrangement was signed and quarterly transfer exchanges
began) there has not been a single MANPADS transferred to
South America. There are no STINGER MANPADS in South America
and that obsolete, U.S. REDEYE MANPADS would have been pulled
out years ago.

Regional Cooperation Efforts

19. (S) Snidle then gave a brief presentation on U.S.
efforts with the OAS to provide for the security of MANPADS
in Latin America. Snidle explained that the International
Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) had urged the region in
2004 to take concrete steps to protect themselves against
MANPADS threats. The OAS states have since signed Resolution
2145 which urged them to adopt strict national MANPADS
controls, ban transfers to non-state actors, destroy excess
and unsecured weapons, and recommended physical security and
stockpile management guidelines. The OAS produced a set of
MANPADS regulations, originally written in four languages, to
adhere to the resolution. Snidle urged the Russians to
adhere to these guidelines when selling/transferring MANPADS
to the region.

20. (S) For the final item of the first day, the Russian
delegation responded by outlining its cooperation with CIS
member states. According to the Russian delegation, the GOR
has recently concluded frameworks for information exchange on
MANPADS stockpile security measures in Uzbekistan and
Ukraine, and is working to establish similar agreements in
Moldova and Azerbaijan. The agreement with the Uzbeks has
entered into force; the agreement with the Ukrainians was
signed in May 2009 and is expected to enter into force this
year. The GOR sought a similar arrangement with Georgia, but
has not received a Georgian reply on this question since
April 2008.

21. (SBU) On the second day of talks, Louis Ganem from
ISN/CATR briefed on regional security seminars hosted by the
U.S. for several regional partners. He provided information
on how the United States coordinates and implements
multinational conferences and seminars on small arms and
light weapons, with a focus on MANPADS proliferation. Ganem
explained that the seminars are designed to identify regional
threats, common security goals, exchange information on
security programs and training, identify requirements, and
provide program assistance. He added that regional partners,
sharing the same security goals, are invited to discuss how
to improve existing and implement new regional security
capabilities. The focus of such seminars is on identifying
preventive security measures, such as export controls and
border security programs and training to eliminate the risks
of illicit proliferation. The intent is to improve regional
security capabilities by promoting partnership and
cooperation among partner nations. Ganem concluded
contemplating the possibility of future events in South and
Central Asia and Latin America, and asked the Russians to
consider participation.

22. (S) The Russian delegation responded to this
presentation positively, stating that they had sent
representatives, including Col. Kuts, to similar multilateral
seminars in the CIS region. The Russians also agreed in
principle that the U.S. and the GOR could potentially
collaborate on future regional seminars. Skabara invited the
U.S. to send proposals for future MANPADS seminars or similar
events to the GOR for consideration.

Destruction Cooperation

23. (S) Costner then provided an update about U.S.
destruction cooperation efforts with other states. Since
2003, the U.S. has helped destroy over 30,000 MANPADS
missiles in 27 states, with approximately 4,000 destroyed
since the last update provided at the 2008 meeting. The
Russian delegation praised these efforts, and proposed that
the U.S. and Russia collaborate on joint destruction projects
in the future under the auspices of the Arrangement. The
U.S. agreed that such efforts would be worthwhile, and
expressed a willingness to look for opportunities for
collaboration.

FINNPADS

24. (S) The U.S. delegation then followed-up with the
Russian delegation about the transfer of Russian-made Finnish
MANPADS to the U.S. for countermeasures testing. The Russian
delegation stated that the GOR would agree to the transfer
under two conditions: 1. that Russian experts be present for
the tests, and 2. that the results of the tests be shared in
writing with the GOR. This offer, and its decision to allow
the transfer, had not yet been presented to the Finnish
Government, as it represents a change in Russian policy on
this question. Skabara highlighted the fact that the "new
relationship" between the U.S. and Russia had inspired this
change in policy. The Russian delegation was unable to
provide further detail about the specifics of this proposal,
such as how many Russian visits would be required or how
thorough the report to the GOR would need to be. The U.S.
requested that the GOR formally submit its decision,
including its two conditions in writing. Both sides agreed
to discuss further the details of the conditions and then
inform the Finnish Government about the decision. (Comment:
The Finns have almost 2,000 SA-16s and SA-18s to dispose of
because of shelf life issues. This dialogue has been going
on sporadically for almost two years; the first Russian
response cited almost the same conditions as Skabara
presented on July 10. End Comment.)

VERBA MANPADS

25. (S) The U.S. side provided the Russians with an
open-source (2007) article that described a new Russian
MANPADS system called the VERBA. Costner read key passages
in the article to the Russian side, pointing out that the
article suggests the VERBA would enter into service in 2008.
The article also states that the VERBA will replace the
STRELA and IGLA family of systems and have a payload twenty
percent larger than either of its predecessors. Costner
asked the Russian delegation to provide additional
information on the VERBA, including if it was operational,
and if it would be marketed.

26. (S) The Russian side responded that they had no further
information. Skabara questioned the legitimacy of the
article saying that scientists can "write whatever they want"
and stated that there was no official position on the system.
Skabara stated that if the U.S. wanted more information on
this system, it would have to forward a written request
through diplomatic channels with its questions. The U.S.
agreed to do this.

Legislative updates

27. (S) Neither side had anything to report. Skabara
stated that the GOR is on track to implement all of its legal
mechanisms and before it develops new ones, wants to make
sure they implement those they have.

Conclusion

28. (S) Costner summarized the meeting and noted the
following action items and "due-outs" by both sides ahead of
the next meeting:

U.S. side:

1. On Eritrea/Somalia, the U.S. will seek authorization to
release photographic evidence of Russian MANPADS diversion to
Somalia for the purpose of Russia following up with the
Eritrean government.
2. On Finland, the U.S. will respond to Russia's
conditions on participating in MANPADS destruction and
countermeasure testing.
3. The U.S. will follow up on the open source article
handed over and produce an official request for information
regarding the VERBA MANPADS system.

Russian side:
1. Official comments regarding U.S. proposal in the
non-paper passed regarding exchange of destruction
information, in particular our clarification on quantity and
types of items to be reported.
2. On Venezuela, the Russian side promised to provide a
written response to questions and recommendations made in our
non-paper handed over prior to the meeting.
3. On VERBA MANPADS, written response to our official
request for additional information, once it is received by
the Russian side.
4. The Russian side will detail in writing its conditions,
as described by the MFA during the meeting, regarding
authorization for Finland to transfer Russian-origin MANPADS
to the U.S. for countermeasure testing.
5. The transfer notice by the end of September covering
the time period of April through June.

Both sides:
1. The U.S. side will look into the possibility of having
both sides brief each other on the conduct of our respective
inspection regimes (derived from our discussion on Venezuela).
2. The delegations agreed that more work and dialogue
needs to take place between the annual meetings and proposed
a date of September 30, 2009 as a target date for having the
due outs complete.
3. Propose dates for the next MANPADS Experts meeting,
possibly to be held in Moscow in the fall of 2010.

The Russian side did not have anything to add regarding these
due-outs. Skabara promised the Russian side would look into
the matter of diverted ammunition to the FARC. He then
requested that the U.S. provide pictures and cartridges found
for technical analysis.

Comment:

29. (S/NF) Both sides agreed the July 9-10 meeting was a
success; the tone of the meeting was more positive than in
previous years, consistent with the "reset" of U.S.-Russia
relations. Two potentially unsettling differences from years
past was the reduced size of the Russian delegation (only 2
from MOD, 1 from MFA) and a desire on the Russian side to
extend the time before the next meeting to eighteen months or
even two years. Both sides have settled on the routine and
relatively less controversial elements of the Arrangement
(such as information exchanges), but challenges remain on
transparency over the more controversial issues we discussed,
such as on Venezuela.

30. (S/NF) Comment continued: Both sides recognized the
utility of holding a continuous dialogue on MANPADS issues
through diplomatic channels and along the sidelines of other
SA/LW meetings, such as the UN Biennial Meetings of States on
SA/LW in New York in June of 2010. The Counter Terrorism
Working Group (CTWG) would also present another opportunity
for follow-up. Additionally, both sides indicated a
willingness to deepen cooperation on MANPADS issues to
include potential joint destruction programs, regional
seminars, and other bilateral efforts. These more robust
programs would likely increase the utility of the
Arrangement, as the sides broaden their MANPADS cooperation
beyond the scope of info exchanges and an annual meeting.
Yet, as Costner summed up in response to the Russian proposal
to hold these meetings less frequently, it is much harder to
play a game of chess by mail than in person. End comment.


31. (S/NF) Delegation List

U.S. Delegation:
DOS
Steven Costner (Deputy Director, PM/WRA), Co-Head of U.S.
Delegation
Anita Friedt (Office Director, EUR/PRA), Co-Head of U.S.
Delegation
Ann Ganzer (Acting DAS, ISN)
Stephanie Pico (PM/WRA)
Nate Young (EUR/PRA)
Louis Ganem (ISN/CATR)
Lindsay Gardner (PM/WRA)
Luke Champlin (EUR/PRA)
Giovanni Snidle (WHA/FO)

CIA/CTC
Eric Arnett
Nils Talbot

DOD
Kimberly Crusey
Trish Johnson
Rodney Ratledge

Russian Delegation:
MOD
Col. Oleg Skabara, Head of Delegation
Col. Andreiy Kuts

MFA
Denis Davydov

Russian Embassy
Alexei Markov
Maxim Elovik
CLINTON