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Viewing cable 10STATE13750, READOUT OF JANUARY 20 U.S.-FRANCE STRATEGIC DIALOGUE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10STATE13750 2010-02-17 03:03 2010-11-29 12:12 SECRET//NOFORN Secretary of State
VZCZCXRO5206
PP RUEHSL
DE RUEHC #3750/01 0480313
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 170309Z FEB 10
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 8385
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
ALL NATO POST COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 1309
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 6409
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 6148
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0360
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 7288
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 STATE 013750 
 
SIPDIS 
NOFORN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 1/26/20 
TAGS: PREL MARR MOPS NATO RS FR IR TU
SUBJECT: READOUT OF JANUARY 20 U.S.-FRANCE STRATEGIC DIALOGUE 
IN WASHINGTON 
 
Classified By: Under Secretary Bill Burns for reasons 1.4(b, 
d). 
 
1.  (S/NF) Summary.  On January 20, 2010, Under Secretary Bill 
Burns and Defense Under Secretary for Policy Michele Flournoy 
hosted the third U.S.-France Strategic Dialogue with 
counterparts Jacques Audibert and Michel Miraillet. 
Discussions focused on Afghanistan, Pakistan, NATO Reform, 
Missile Defense, Turkey, Russia, Iran, and the Middle East 
Peace Process.  The French indicated an announcement of 
further civilian contributions to Afghanistan would be made at 
the London Conference, but hedged on a decision regarding 
additional combat troops.  On NATO's new Strategic Concept, 
the French highlighted the potential for a split in the 
Alliance between old and new members, and agreed that a 
document that linked to NATO reform measures was needed.  The 
French requested more information on the U.S. proposal to make 
Missile Defense a mission for NATO.  Both U/S Burns and USD(P) 
Flournoy underscored that the potential sale of a French 
Mistral-class Helicopter carrier to Russia would be unhelpful 
in terms of regional stability.  Next steps on Iran were 
discussed with the French agreeing that the European Union 
(EU) was more unified than ever on the need for increased 
pressure and welcoming U.S. efforts to engage the EU as a 
whole on this issue.  End Summary. 
 
 
 
------------------------ 
AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN 
------------------------ 
 
2.  (S/NF)  U/S Burns praised the French contributions and 
previewed U.S. goals for the London Conference on Afghanistan, 
which included agreement on growing the Afghan National 
Security Forces (ANSF), reintegration, and choosing a new UN 
Senior Representative for Afghanistan.  USD(P) reviewed the 
POTUS decision and highlighted that July 11, 2011 was an 
inflection point -- the beginning of a process.  She noted 
that POTUS was careful to not create an artificial timeline 
for transition to Afghan responsibility and that the U.S. 
message to the region is that "we are not leaving."  Deputy 
SRAP Jones described the new U.S. regional stability strategy 
and our efforts to align Karzai with the international 
community's civilian priorities. 
 
3.  (S/NF)  Audibert remarked on France's "special" commitment 
to Afghanistan based on France leading the invocation of 
NATO's Article 5 after 9/11.  Nine years later, the French 
cite Allied unity as the mission's principal success.  France 
believes the President's announcement of 30,000 more troops 
substantively changed the operation.  While the London 
conference is a chance to impress upon Afghan President Hamid 
Karzai that he must implement the commitments in his 
inauguration speech, the French are concerned it might be too 
early to put too much political pressure on Karzai.  Audibert 
suggested a second international conference on Afghanistan in 
the spring would be helpful and was pleased to hear about 
plans for an April conference in Kabul.  Audibert also stated 
that France will make an announcement about its "civilian 
surge" at the London conference, but that commitments on 
further troop deployments were not ready.  Miraillet lamented 
French public opposition to the war in Afghanistan, but 
believed that the government was making progress in convincing 
the French people of the necessity for the operation.  He also 
explained that the military staff had developed several plans 
for additional contributions, which were now with President 
Sarkozy for action. 
 
---------------------- 
NATO STRATEGIC CONCEPT 
---------------------- 
 
4.  (C/NF) Audibert noted that the Strategic Concept (SC) was 
"not a redrafting of the Washington Treaty," and should not 
open troublesome issues such as new missions and redefining 
Article 5.  He further emphasized that France wanted to stay 
as close to the 1999 Strategic Concept as possible on language 
 
STATE 00013750  002 OF 004 
 
 
relating to NATO nuclear issues.  Audibert highlighted the 
risk of a split between old and newer members of the Alliance 
on these questions and advocated for a short, simple document. 
The French want to use the Strategic Concept to drive reform 
at NATO.  He noted that France had submitted several proposals 
on reform and that France was keen for U.S. support. 
Miraillet added that with the dire state of NATO financing, it 
was important to stress financial reform even before the 
drafting of the Strategic Concept.  Miraillet also warned that 
SecGen Rasmussen might put a tight grip on drafting the 
concept and cautioned that Turkey would play a stronger role 
in drafting than in 1999. 
 
5.  (C/NF)  USD(P) asserted that the U.S. has played a leading 
role in the Senior Officials Group (SOG) because of our strong 
commitment to NATO reform.  On the SC, she said it was 
important that the key Allies make their input to the SecGen 
before pen was put to paper.  Further, USD(P) clarified that 
the U.S. did not believe Alliance transformation could happen 
without financial reform and that it was a priority for the 
U.S. State Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian 
Affairs Phil Gordon agreed; any misperception that the U.S. 
did not want to link the Strategic Concept to reform must be 
corrected.  OSD Assistant Secretary for International Security 
Affairs Alexander Vershbow added that the new concept must put 
a public face on the Alliance and address issues for the 
future, such as Article 4 and crisis management capacity.  He 
agreed that reform of financing was critical as the current 
budget crisis evidenced.  ASD Vershbow stressed that we must 
work with the UK to solve the financial crisis at NATO and 
suggested that the idea of "zero real growth" be put aside. 
Audibert was pleased to hear that the U.S. was on the same 
page as France regarding reform and that this was a priority 
goal for the French side during the Strategic Dialogue. 
 
--------------- 
Missile Defense 
--------------- 
 
6.  (S/NF)  USD(P) briefed the French on the current state of 
play regarding worldwide U.S. missile defense plans.  She 
noted that the Ballistic Missile Defense Review (BMDR) would 
soon be submitted to Congress and noted the Phased Adaptive 
Approach (PAA) would be a U.S. contribution to a NATO Missile 
Defense project.  This plan would protect both U.S. forces and 
interests in Europe and our NATO Allies.  USD(P) requested 
French support for securing NATO approval for the Active 
Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense (ALTBMD) program to 
become the Command and Control (C2) backbone of a wider 
European Missile Defense program.  USD(P) stressed that NATO 
approval for the C2 relationship between ALTBMD and the PAA 
was important as Turkey was unlikely to approve participation 
unless it was part of a larger NATO enterprise. 
 
7.  (S/NF)  Miraillet conveyed that France was pleased with 
the Obama administration's swift action on Missile Defense and 
welcomed the U.S. development of the PAA.  France shared the 
U.S. perception of the threat and had ideas on ways it could 
participate in the U.S.-proposed system. However, Miraillet 
emphasized that France needed more information before the 
government could endorse a NATO-PAA linkage through ALTBMD, 
and argued that the Lisbon Summit may be too early for a NATO 
decision.  He said that France wanted information on phases 
three and four of the PAA and whether the SM-3 Block 2B could 
be perceived as a threat by the Russians.  Audibert added that 
France needed much more detail on the potential costs to NATO 
Allies before endorsing ALTBMD as the C2 for the European 
Missile Defense system.  He also asked how the C2 
relationships in the system would work in a NATO context. 
Audibert concluded by underscoring that French hesitation on 
accepting a NATO role for European-wide Missile Defense is not 
reluctance, but a reflection of the need for greater clarity 
on what was being proposed. 
 
8.  (S/NF)  In response, USD(P) Flournoy said we would soon 
share additional details on C2 arrangements, noting that 
authorities would need to be delegated given the short 
decision time for a response.  She and ASD Vershbow pressed 
the importance of a political decision at Lisbon to adopt 
territorial Missile Defense as a NATO mission, both to secure 
Turkish agreement to host the forward-based radar and to 
demonstrate that NATO was addressing real Article 5 threats. 
 
 
STATE 00013750  003 OF 004 
 
 
------ 
Turkey 
------ 
 
9.  (S/NF)  Miraillet and Audibert were remarkably downbeat on 
Turkey and lamented poor French bilateral relations with 
Turkish leadership, though they believed ties were slowly 
improving.  Miraillet believed the military leaders were no 
longer what they once were as the recent Ergenekon scandal had 
weakened the influence of the Generals in Turkish politics. 
Miraillet asserted that FM Ahmet Davutoglu had kept with his 
theory of "strategic depth," which he had described in his 
previously published books, through Turkey's continued 
engagement with neighbors like Syria and Iran and in Turkey's 
proactive approach to the Caucasus and recognition of the 
Iraqi Kurds.  Miraillet, in noting that the Turkish military 
had of late established a better relationship with the 
Pakistani military, stated that Turkey was a nuclear threshold 
country and that France did not know if there were similar 
civilian nuclear cooperation linkages with Pakistan.  In 
highlighting Turkey's unwillingness to engage in combat in 
Afghanistan, its improved relationships with Syria and Hamas, 
its willingness to negotiate with Iran outside the P5-plus-1 
process, and its position on selecting a new NATO Secretary 
General at the April 2009 Strasbourg Summit, Miraillet summed 
up that Turkey was becoming more of a global actor, but not 
always a positive actor in the international system. 
 
10.  (S/NF)  USD(P) asked whether the EU was closer to 
identifying a way that it could signal to Turkey that the door 
was open to a closer relationship, such as observer status in 
the European Defense Agency.  Audibert noted that President 
Sarkozy had been particularly upset with the Turkish position 
on Rasmussen at Strasbourg and that Sarkozy's objection to 
Turkish membership in the EU was one of five pillars on his 
political campaign that the public still remembered.  Further, 
when France tried to move forward with closer NATO-EU ties 
during its 2008 EU presidency, Turkey rejected every plan that 
was put on the table.  For these reasons, it would be 
difficult for France to see any opening on EU membership for 
Turkey in the near future.  All French interlocutors agreed 
that a "more arrogant" Turkey could present a problem during 
NATO Strategic Concept discussions this year.  In response, 
Flournoy, Vershbow and Gordon reiterated that by closing the 
door on the Turks, the EU was creating a vicious circle that 
fueled Turkish obstructionism at NATO. 
 
------ 
Russia 
------ 
 
11.  (S/NF)  Audibert began by stating that France was taking 
pragmatic approach to Russia, but that President Sarkozy had a 
"problem of confidence" and did not fully trust Russia. 
Audibert said Russia's two treaty proposals on new European 
Security Architecture were unacceptable and mere provocations, 
but that the French position was to use the proposals to 
engage the Russians on new approaches to crisis management, 
the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, and on the 
adoption of the Open Skies/verification measures. However, he 
noted, these issues will continually be bogged down over the 
situation in Georgia, which Audibert saw as intractable as 
Russia will never "derecognize" the sovereignty of Abkhazia 
and South Ossetia while also never recognizing Georgian 
sovereignty over its territory, including the two enclaves. 
 
12.  (S/NF) Audibert, noting he was raising his "if-raised" 
point, brought up the issue of France's potential sale of a 
helicopter carrier Mistral-class ship to Russia.  He asserted 
that the French had merely agreed to negotiate with Russia on 
the potential sale, but then argued that sale would be only 
for the ship without armament systems.  Audibert also said 
that while France understood U.S. concerns over the potential 
for Russia to use the ship for projection of power, it was 
important to note that any decision on the issue would, in the 
end, be political in nature.  Miraillet stated that this sale 
would be a gesture of good will to Russia as France assessed 
the Russian Navy was in dire condition.  In any case, 
concluded Miraillet, if France did not make the sale, the 
Netherlands and Spain would likely sell similar technology. 
 
13.  (S/NF)  On Mistral, USD(P) observed the optics and policy 
behind the sale were perplexing as it would "fly in the face" 
 
STATE 00013750  004 OF 004 
 
 
of President Sarkozy's personal engagement on resolving the 
Georgia crisis in 2008.  She asserted that this sale would 
send a confusing political signal to Russia as well as to 
other Europeans.  U/S Burns concurred with USD(P), noting the 
sale would feed Georgia's fears and could lead to an arms 
race, increasing the chance of miscalculation by one or both 
sides.  USD(P) concluded that while we understood that France 
wanted to actively engage Russia, the U.S. would prefer that 
France find a different confidence-building measure than a 
Mistral sale. 
 
---- 
Iran 
---- 
 
14.  (S/NF)  U/S Burns stated that the international community 
had reached a point where it had to begin looking for further 
consequences for Iran as the credibility of our efforts was at 
stake.  U/S Burns noted that other actors were watching 
Western actions on Iran.  He cautioned that moving China 
toward greater sanctions would not be easy, but that we need 
to continue engaging them. 
 
15.  (S/NF)  Audibert noted that France was using every means 
possible to bring the EU together on Iran.  He noted a 
recently EU Council decision to task Foreign Ministers with 
developing new ideas on the way forward with Iran.  Briens 
stated that since the Iranian regime cracked down following 
the June 2009 elections,  the EU was more solid as a block on 
sanctions.  In particular,  Spain and Sweden, who were 
reluctant to support sanctions in the past, were more 
supportive because of recent gross human rights violations. 
 
------------------------- 
Middle East Peace Process 
------------------------- 
 
16.  (S/NF)  Audibert hailed U.S. efforts to reestablish peace 
talks between Israel and the Palestinians.  He asked pointedly 
where the U.S. saw the process in the next six months, and how 
to further involve Europe, especially regarding a possible 
settlement.  Notably, the French did not advocate for a Middle 
East summit in Paris. 
 
17.  (U)  Participants: 
 
United States: 
 
Department of State 
William Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs 
Phil Gordon, Assistant Secretary of State for European and 
Eurasian Affairs 
Paul Jones, Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and 
Pakistan 
Maureen Cormack, Director for Western Europe 
Tamir Waser, Special Assistant to U/S Burns 
Andrew Lorenz, Senior France Desk Officer 
 
Department of Defense 
Michele Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy 
Alexander Vershbow, Assistant Secretary of Defense for 
International Security Affairs 
Jim Townsend, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for 
European and NATO Policy 
Andrew Winternitz, Deputy Director for European Policy 
 
France: 
 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
Jacques Audibert, Under Secretary for Political and Strategic 
Affairs 
Martin Briens, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear 
Nonproliferation 
Nicolas Roche, Political Counselor, Embassy of France 
 
Ministry of Defense 
Michel Miraillet, Director for Strategic Affairs 
Gen Gratien Maire, French Defense Attache to the U.S. 
Gen Emmanuel de Romemont, Deputy Director for Disarmament and 
Proliferation 
Col Cyrille Claver, Deputy Director for European and NATO 
Affairs 
Col Frederic Pesme, Director for North America 
 
18.This cable was cleared by U/S Burns and USD(P) Flournoy. 
CLINTON