Viewing cable 10USNATO67, FRENCH MISTRAL SALE TO RUSSIA RAISED AT NATO
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|10USNATO67||2010-02-12 10:10||2010-12-06 21:09||CONFIDENTIAL||Mission USNATO|
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C O N F I D E N T I A L USNATO 000067 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/12/2019 TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR NATO FR RS SUBJECT: FRENCH MISTRAL SALE TO RUSSIA RAISED AT NATO Classified By: Ambassador Ivo Daalder for reasons 1.4 (b/d). ¶1. (C) Lithuania's NATO PermRep Linkevicius raised France's potential sale to Russia of a Mistral class ship during a February 9 PermReps' lunch, noting that the sale was not simply a national issue but a subject for discussion within the Alliance. French PermRep Andreani did not respond. However, the following day, the February 10 NAC meeting, Andreani made a point of highlighting France's commitment to Baltic security by reporting that France had been participating since January 4 in Baltic air policing. She cited this as evidence of France's commitment to the collective defense of the Baltics. The French Political Counselor told us afterward that he was waiting for guidance from Paris on the Mistral sale as the French Mission here had not previously been involved in this issue. On February 11, Estonian PermRep Luik complained about the sale over lunch with Ambassador Daalder, noting that inclusion of Allied equipment could trigger third county transfer rules - in particular the case of Canadian technology. ¶2. (U) NATO Spokesman James Appathurai was asked about the sale during a February 10 press conference, in light of Russia's newly released military doctrine that identifies NATO enlargement as a key threat. Appathurai noted that, while Secretary-General Rasmussen recognized the concerns of some Allies over the sale were real and understandable for historic and geographic reasons, Rasmussen had told Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov that he did not view Russia as a threat and hoped Russians did not see NATO as a threat. ¶3. (C) Comment: The Mistral sale had not been a topic of debate at NATO prior to the Lithuanian-French exchange. Several Allies have been reluctant to raise an Ally's bilateral arms sales at NATO, even if they preferred that France not sell the ship to Russia. In the past, discussion of bilateral arms sales have traditionally not been seen as an appropriate topic at NATO. Given the significance of the potential Mistral sale and broader discussions on reassurance and NATO's relations with Russia, the Mistral may be viewed as an exception in light of some Allies' concerns regarding Russia's military capabilities and intentions, and possible third party transfer rules. End Comment. DAALDER