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Cablegate: Demarche Response: Release of Taliban Prisoners

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNO #0186 0811428
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 221428Z MAR 07
FM USMISSION USNATO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0657
INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 0349
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RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 0305
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RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L USNATO 000186

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/22/2017
TAGS: NATO PREF PTER PREL AF IT
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE RESPONSE: RELEASE OF TALIBAN PRISONERS

REF: A. SECSTATE 36204 B. USNATO 183

Classified By: Ambassador Victoria Nuland, for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY. Anticipating reftel A, Ambassador Nuland,
during the March 21 North Atlantic Council meeting, joined
the UK in criticizing the evident Taliban-for-hostage
exchange in the release of kidnapped Italian journalist
Mastrogiacomo. She also raised the issue separately with SYG
de Hoop Scheffer, who will address it with PermReps in a more
restricted forum, but is leaning toward pushing for an
Alliance-wide hostage policy. USNATO believes NATO consensus
on a common policy will be hard to achieve, but the subject
is worth discussing to raise awareness. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) During the March 21 NAC meeting, Ambassador Nuland
reinforced criticism by the UK Charge and noted strongly the
intrinsic dangers of bargaining with terrorists, plus concern
for all Allies if the Taliban thought that hostage taking was
a route to future prisoner exchanges (ref B). She and the UK
Charge also asked the Secretary General and Chairman of the
Military Committee if ISAF had been consulted over the
process of Mastrogiacomo's release. Both committed to
investigate. The Italian Charge declined to comment on how
the journalist was freed without more details from capital,
but expressed the Italian government's gratitude to Karzai
for his help.

3. (C) SYG de Hoop Scheffer told PermReps during the March
21 NAC that he intends to raise this issue at an informal
lunch or coffee gathering of PermReps in the near future. In
a separate conversation with Ambassador Nuland, he said he is
leaning toward pushing for an Alliance-wide hostage policy.

4. (C) COMMENT: Raising awareness on this issue among NATO
Allies is important and necessary, with the goal of reaching
agreed guidelines. However, achieving consensus on a binding
NATO hostage policy, similar to NSPD 12, for example, will be
very difficult. Few Allies are likely to want a discussion
like this which they consider sovereign to be collectively
decided. END COMMENT.
NULAND

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