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E.O. 12958: N/A
USNATO 00000595 001.2 OF 003

1. (U) Below is a written summary provided by Secretary General Rasmussen of his December 15-17 visit to Moscow. The SecGens schedule included meetings with President Medvedev, Premier Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, and Russian Parliamentarians. He also visited NATOs Information Office and Military Liaison Mission in Moscow and gave a speech at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). We will report septel regarding how Allies will follow-up on the SecGens visit.

2. (U) Text of written summary:

3. (SBU) My visit to Moscow took place in a constructive and forward-looking atmosphere. I met with President Medvedev, Prime Minister Putin, Foreign Minister Lavrov, the Secretary of the Security Council Patrushev, the Chairman of the Federation Council Mironov, and the Chairman of the State Duma Gryzlov. I found my interlocutors well disposed to cooperation with NATO, and ready for a constructive dialogue on a wide range of issues, including on those where we disagree.

4. (SBU) I delivered the following messages to Moscow: Russia is one of my top priorities as NATO Secretary General. Allies remain committed to improving relations, as well as broadening cooperation in the NRC. NATO and Russia are now facing common threats and challenges, in particular in Afghanistan and stemming from issues such as terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, piracy. Therefore, we need to unite our efforts in order to face them more efficiently. The Joint Review on 21st Century Common Security Challenges will allow us to identify our common threats. Based on the Review, we can proceed to broaden our practical cooperation using the new and reinvigorated NRC structure. I underlined that timely and efficient implementation of the three Ministerial deliverables will be crucial and that we rely on the full and productive engagement of the Russian side in this process.

5. (SBU) My interlocutors underscored their commitment to the full-fledged resumption of NATO-Russia relations and their intention to quickly and effectively implement the three deliverables agreed by NRC Foreign Ministers on 4 December. Russia seems ready to broaden and deepen cooperation with NATO, including in the military sphere, despite current disagreements on some key issues.

6. (SBU) With regard to Afghanistan, I underscored the need to strengthen our cooperation and asked Russia for further contributions in three concrete areas:

7. (SBU) First, a comprehensive helicopter package: I asked my interlocutors to consider donations of helicopters to the Afghan National Army. Training of Afghan helicopter pilots by Russian instructors within the NRC framework could be an additional useful contribution. Additionally, I proposed that Russia consider the provision of helicopter spare parts, maintenance and fuel as part of such a package.

8. (SBU) Second, based on the on-going Russian assistance to Afghan security forces, I asked Moscow to consider expanding training of Afghan police forces in its centers of excellence, within the framework of the NRC.

9. (SBU) Third, building on the successful experience of the NRC Project on Counter-Narcotics Training of Afghan and Central Asian Personnel, consider expanding further the scope of the Project by following up on the Afghan authorities request for longer in-country training of counter-narcotics personnel.

10. (SBU) I underlined that a positive reaction by the Russian Federation would underscore our joint commitment to contributing to the Afghan Governments efforts aimed at the stabilization of the country, as well as highlighting the new and constructive atmosphere in the NATO-Russia Council. I also urged the Russian side to consider NATOs June 18 invitation to re-deploy one ship in Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR.

11. (SBU) President Medvedev, Prime Minister Putin and Minister Lavrov all agreed with the need to do more on Afghanistan, and underscored Russias determination to support the NATOs ISAF mission (sic). President Medvedev tasked the relevant Russian agencies to consider my concrete proposals for additional contributions. Minister Lavrov was optimistic about possibilities related to joint training of Afghan police, and an eventual extended in-country counter-narcotics training of the Afghan security forces. He was, however, more cautious on the feasibility for a positive decision on the „helicopter package“. Prime Minister Putin underlined that if NATO expected donations, this would have effect on the budget of the Ministry of Defence, something which would take time to sort out. Still, he affirmed that the proposals would be given serious consideration.

12. (SBU) All interlocutors asked NATO to consider positively CSTOs request for establishing formal relations with NATO, and referred to the fact that several allies already participate as observers to CSTOs annual drug interdiction operation „Kanal“ conducted on Afghanistans Northern border. Furthermore, Minister Lavrov signaled that Russia would expect to participate in relevant meetings, such as those conducted in the 28 5 1 format, although he did not explicitly mention participation in ISAF meetings. Lavrov and President Medvedev further suggested possible joint logistics cooperation in repairing the tunnel on the Uzbek-Afghan border. Minister Lavrov underlined that next years London conference should be used better in terms of raising more tangible contributions for Afghanistan, and in terms of emphasizing the regional dimension also by broader inclusion of China and India.

13. (SBU) President Medvedev underscored Russias interest in pursuing cooperation on counter-piracy with NATO, but did not specify how. On Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR, Minister Lavrov reiterated that there are no political obstacles to Russias reintegration, although a deployment has not been envisioned in 2010 for budgetary reasons. However, ships transiting the Mediterranean for anti-piracy duty off Somalia could possibly participate in OAE on short-term basis.

14. (SBU) Turning to more contentious issues in our relations, I reiterated the Alliance positions on Georgia, CFE and NATOs Open Door policy. I maintained that the Open Door Policy has actually benefited Russia by providing stability along its Western borders and increased economic opportunities. I emphasized the need to be creative and forward-looking in seeking mutually acceptable solutions to these issues. I pointed out that activities, such as the recent large scale military exercises did not contribute to the climate of transparency and confidence building we have been aiming for since our joint decision to re-launch NRC relations.

15. (SBU) President Medvedev, Prime Minister Putin and Minister Lavrov all spoke about what Russian authorities perceive as continued military build-up by Georgia, with the assistance of some Allies, which, they claimed, undermined stability in the region. Prime Minister Putin pointed out that the Russian troops that had „suppressed“ the Georgian aggression had long left the territory of Georgia beyond Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and, that Russia had fulfilled its commitments under the cease-fire agreement. Further, he maintained that the EU commissioned report had concluded that Georgia started the August 08 war. Approximately 100 Russian peacekeepers had been killed, and in his view Russia had had no option but to act.

16. (SBU) On NATOs Open Door policy, Minister Lavrov pointed out that while Russia respected the OSCE principle that all states are free to choose their security affiliations, Article 10 of the Washington Treaty was a product of the run-up to the Cold War and NATO should consider its implications in the current European context. Georgias perception, rightly or wrongly, that the country was well on its way to NATO membership had only encouraged irresponsible behavior. The Foreign Ministers recent decisions on MAP with regard to Bosnia Hercegovina and Montenegro were not mentioned by any interlocutors.

17. (SBU) As regards the new Russian draft Agreement on Basic Principles governing Relations Among NRC Members in the Security Sphere, presented by Minister Lavrov at the NRC Foreign Ministers meeting, as well as the draft European security treaty initiated by President Medvedev, it struck me that Minister Lavrov appeared to be very well-informed about the contents of our confidential discussion at 28 that we had at the beginning of this week. I informed the Russian side that Allies were now examining closely these drafts. I also pointed out that Allies questioned the need to re-cast in a legally binding form already existing joint commitments, such as the indivisibility of security, which are contained in documents such as the 1999 Helsinki Final Act, the OSCE Charter, as well as in the Founding Act and the Rome Declaration. Therefore, the existing security arrangements in Europe provide a comprehensive and sufficient framework in which each countrys security interests can be addressed effectively.

18. (SBU) Mr. Medvedev and Mr. Putin explained that Russia was seeking legally binding documents, as, in their view, the existing political assurances were not sufficient in preventing, for example, last years Georgian aggression on Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In relation to the draft NRC agreement, Minister Lavrov pointed out that Russia had long sought to define „substantial combat forces“ referred to in the Founding Act. Following the Alliances long-standing reluctance to do it, Russia felt compelled to suggest a starting point for such negotiations. He added that Russia would be ready to renew negotiations on the Parallel Action Package and the future of the CFE regime. Minister Lavrov also noted, however, that Russia was not considering a resumption of its obligations under the CFE at the current time.

19. (SBU) Prime Minister Putin, in his turn, tied the need for progress on CFE to the proposed European Security Treaty. He led me to understand that lack of progress on the CFE front had forced Moscow to table the proposed treaty on European Security, as it in his view was clear that Allies have no legal reason not to ratify the CFE treaty, but had made a political decision not to do so. END TEXT.