Viewing cable 09BRUSSELS1048, JULY GAERC - SWEDISH PRESIDENCY OUTLINES
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|09BRUSSELS1048||2009-07-30 17:05||2011-01-13 05:05||CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN||USEU Brussels|
VZCZCXRO0571 PP RUEHAG RUEHKW RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR DE RUEHBS #1048/01 2111750 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 301750Z JUL 09 FM USEU BRUSSELS TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY INFO RUCNMUC/EU CANDIDATE STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RHMFITT/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BRUSSELS 001048 NOFORN SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/27/2019 TAGS: PREL PGOV ECON EUN AF AL BO GG GR HR IC IR KN, MK, SI, SO, SW SUBJECT: JULY GAERC - SWEDISH PRESIDENCY OUTLINES PRIORITIES AND TENDS TO BUSINESS Classified By: USEU Pol M-C Christopher Davis for reasons 1.4 (b) and ( d). ¶1. (SBU) Summary: EU Foreign Ministers (FMs), meeting in Brussels July 27 as the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC), received an overview of Swedish Presidency priorities for the next six months. The GAERC adopted without discussion numerous decisions, to include U.S.-EU negotiations on payment data ("Swift"), and adopting a Common Position extending the scope of restrictive measures against the DPRK in line with UNSCR 1874. Discussions in the General Affairs Council focused on the work program of the Swedish Presidency, the Baltic Sea Strategy, and Iceland's EU membership application. While unanimously deciding to refer Iceland's membership application to the European Commission for its opinion, the Council reiterated its support for Western Balkan EU aspirants. The External Affairs Council devoted its attention to the situation in Somalia, Georgia, Iran, Afghanistan-Pakistan, and the Western Balkans. The next GAERC will be in September. The press confernc also confirmed diffs place in Europe." Rehn declined to commit on thQ timetable for the presentation of the CommisQion's opinion, saying the Commission "will ue the same methodology as for any other appliQant." Rehn noted, however, that Iceland is aQready a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Schengen, implying that "the distance to the EU" may therefore be shorter. Iceland already completed 22 of 35 EU accession negotiation chapters in order to become a member of the EEA, Rehn acknowledged. To this, Swedish FM Bildt added, "It took Sweden a longer time to negotiate its membership in the EEA than its membership in the EU" ¶6. (SBU) Responding to pressure from some Ministers, the Council also sent "a very clear message" to Albania (whose application is to be handled when the June election procedure has been completed) and the other countries of the Western Balkans, reiterating the EU's full support for their "European perspective.Rehn stressed, too, that the EU must continue to focus on "the need to stabilize and integrate more Eastern European countries." External Affairs ---------------- ¶7. (SBU) Chaired by Swedish FM Bildt, the External Affairs Council discussed - and issued formal Conclusions related to - Somalia, Georgia, and Iran. Following recommendations from HR Solana, Ministers decided to step up EU engagement for promoting peace and development in Somalia. Priority will BRUSSELS 00001048 002 OF 003 reportedly be given to activities that produce quick yet sustainable results to promote peace and recovery for the Somali people. Capacity building of public institutions will be of particular importance in this context, FM Bildt saying that "the EU is looking for every step that could contribute to stability." External Relations Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner stressed the importance of incorporating "all groups" into any stabilization efforts and noted that pledges for UNISOM in the amount of 60 million Euros had been obtained at a recent pledging conference. ¶8. (C) High Representative Javier Solana welcomed Norway's participation in Operation Atalanta, and added, "We are also continuing our mission on the ground." Solana alluded to a mission "for training security forces in Somalia" and how to cooperate with the African Union mission there, adding that the formal mission will "clarify our agreement on how to cooperate." On July 29, the French pol-mil counselor told PolOff that while Member States had not yet agreed on a particular course of action to support the Somali security sector, he expects the EU to launch an SSR initiative of some kind. France is still looking to &Europeanize8 future training efforts for Somali security forces in Djibouti, following the recently launched French national effort. Paris wants to make sure, however, that any EU action along these lines is a truly shared effort, not one where France takes on the bulk of the military and financial burden, as in Chad. In addition to the announced EU mission, contacts from the French and UK missions say they support EU participation in the security sector assessment mission that begins August 12, in which the U.S. is participating, but that some Member States, including the Swedish Presidency, need assurance that the assessment mission ties in with UN efforts. ¶9. (SBU) Turning to Georgia, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the EU's Monitoring Mission (EUMM) for an additional 12 months (until 12 September 2010). The Council adopted joint actions extending both the duration of EUMM and the mandate of the EU Special Representative (EUSR) for the Crisis in Georgia. Responding to a question about whether the Council had had an initial debate about inviting non-EU members to participate in EUMM, FM Bildt said that the emphasis of the day's discussions had been to "convey a message of stability and continuity," implying that the issue of third-country participation "was not really addressed." ¶10. (C) On Iran, FM Bildt reported the Ministers had "a rather thorough discussion over lunch." While expressing satisfaction that "we managed to get release of people working for the UK Embassy," Bildt also reported "deep concern" about the detention of French citizen Clothilde Reiss. Bildt added, "We expect her immediate release," and noted that Ministers had expressed deep concern about the human rights situation in the country. Concerning the upcoming inauguration of President Ahmadinejad, Bildt said that the EU lacked "a definitely clear picture of the ceremonies, but would make its views known on the human rights situation and French citizen detained." Swedish Presidency contacts told Poloff on July 29 that a consensus view on EU participation at the upcoming inauguration did not emerge because details surrounding the event remained unclear (no formal invitations received to date) and Ministers wanted to gauge Iran's response to requests that Reiss be freed from detention. External Affairs - Other Issues ------------------------------- ¶11. (U) Concerning Afghanistan-Pakistan, FM Bildt reported that the EU and SRAP Holbrooke had sent a very clear message to Afghan authorities and candidates for the upcoming elections that they expect a credible election. Bildt said that the EU was "preparing for an even more active role" and that the post-election period would be critical for the future development of Afghanistan. ¶12. (U) Concerning the ongoing name dispute between Macedonia and Greece and reports in the Greek press that the Greek FM had claimed that accession negotiations could only move forward once the dispute was settled, Enlargement Commissioner Rehn said that there was "still a realistic chance to find a solution to the name issue." He added that the Niemetz-led mediation efforts were moving ahead and stressed that the necessarily unanimous decision to open BRUSSELS 00001048 003.2 OF 003 negotiations will depend on Macedonia meeting eight benchmarks. Speaking to the Western Balkans more broadly, Rehn said that it would be a "busy fall," especially since the Commission recently recommended visa-free travel for three countries in the region. He expressed his belief that it should be possible to find solutions to bilateral issues (referring specifically to the Slovenia-Croatia dispute and Macedonia name issues), adding, "We need to tackle the issues one by one. That requires patience and determination, but there is no other choice than that." Other Business -------------- ¶13. (U) Following the test of nuclear device by the DPRK in May, the Council adopted a Common Position extending the scope of restrictive measures against the DPRK in line with UNSCR 1874. Ministers also decided without discussion to allow negotiations with the U.S. on payment data ("Swift") to begin. EU-Macedonia SAA Council ------------------------ ¶14. (C/NF) Well-placed Council sources tell us the annual EU-Macedonia SAA Council was tense. Last-minute procedural changes demanded by the Greek Deputy FM nearly derailed discussions, and the Macedonian delegation itself took a noticeably harder line. "On orders from Athens," the Greek Deputy FM reportedly demanded that all name placards for Macedonian representative contain "FYROM" spelled out fully, not simply list the name and title of each representative. A number of Council officials successfully impressed upon the Greek Deputy FM that changing the placards was not possible given the imminent start of the meeting, and that such an action would undoubtedly result in the Macedonian delegation walking out. For their part, the Macedonian delegation reportedly insisted on a variety of editing changes to references to their country, Milososki reportedly telling a Council official that the current references to Macedonia in EU-internal documents amounted to "ethnic cleansing." Ultimately, it took FM Bildt's personal involvement to get the Macedonians to back down and allow for the issuance of a joint statement upon conclusion of the meeting. EU-Belarus Troika ----------------- ¶15. (SBU) Taking place on July 28, the EU-Belarus Troika revealed that while both sides recognize the need to develop relations, it also confirmed differences on their expectations from one another. Describing relations as being at "a crossroads," External Relations Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner made it clear that the EU was ready to reengage with Belarus. Trade, energy and visa facilitation were discussed, the latter being of particular interest to Belarus FM Martynov. Characterizing the discussions as "frank and open," FM Bildt expressed hope in progress, but left Martynov with no doubt (alluding to Georgia's breakaway provinces) about "the importance we attach to the principle of territorial integrity." Concerning the Eastern Partnership Initiative, Bildt noted that its implementation was just in the "start-up phase." CHASE .