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Cablegate: Dusd Fata's Missile Defense Brief to Nato Pa

VZCZCXRO8502
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHLI #1498/01 1491035
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291035Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY LISBON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5937
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LISBON 001498

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR MCAP MNUC PARM PO PREL
SUBJECT: DUSD FATA'S MISSILE DEFENSE BRIEF TO NATO PA

1. Summary. DASD Fata provided a missile defense briefing to
the NATO Parliamentary Assembly meeting in Portugal,
stressing that the proposed long range system was to detect,
deter, and defend against missile threats from the Middle
East and that the system posed no threat to Russia. Fata
stressed that the USG has consulted regularly with Russia on
this issue for two years. End summary.

2. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Daniel Fata provided
a comprehensive briefing regarding US missile defense (MD)
intentions to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Madeira,
Portugal on May 26. The Science and Technology Committee's
standing-room only crowd received an overview of the policy
aspects of missile defense from Fata, including his stress on
the points that the US is pursuing a missile defense system
in Europe to enhance trans-Atlantic security as well as to
reaffirm the indivisibility of the security link between the
US and Europe. Such a system, he said, would detect, deter,
and defend Europe from long range missile threats from the
Middle East.

3. Fata said the US has been briefing allies for some time
now on what the MD system is, is not, why the US is pursuing
the system, and how the system complements NATO's ongoing
efforts. The US, he said, intends to pursue the development
of its long range system in parallel with NATO's short and
medium range (ALTBMD) efforts. He said the US had consulted
with Russia at the highest levels regularly over the last two
years and that the proposed ten interceptor missiles are
entirely unarmed and are meant for defensive purposes only,
points that several parliamentarians and journalists noted
were new information to them. The Missile Defense Agency's
chief MD engineer, Dennis Mays, added a briefing on the
technical aspects of the system.

4. During the Q&A session, a Russian delegate noted worries
regarding the effect of US missile defense on the
Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty and previous
agreements to avoid permanent stationing of troops in former
Warsaw Pact countries. Fata reminded delegates that Russia
had expressed concern about the applicability of INF long
before the advent of this MD proposal and noted that no
agreement permanently prohibited assets in partner nations;
the world had changed significantly in recent years, Fata
recalled, and Poland and the Czech Republic are allies.

5. Russia does not and will not have a veto over this system,
Fata stated, regardless of how much we would welcome Russian
approval. Secretaries of Defense Rumsfeld and Gates have
briefed the Russians regularly for two years and the US has
invited them to participate in the project. The Russians,
said Fata, have neither rejected nor accepted these offers.
Secretary of Defense Gates has proposed to Moscow an experts

SIPDIS
meeting to pursue the issue.

6. Responding to a related question, Fata noted that if
Poland and the Czech Republic choose not to participate, the
system would not be placed there. As sovereign states, they
have the ultimate responsibility for their national territory
and our defense proposals are entirely based on voluntary
partnerships. A Czech parliamentarian responded that his
government had made the proposed MD system a priority and
that it would not go to a referendum; parliamentary approval
being all that was necessary. The US, Fata later noted,
would shoulder the financial cost entirely.

7. Congresswoman Tauscher responded to a delegate's assertion
that the US House of Representatives was divided on party
lines regarding MD, noting the bipartisan approach in her
subcommittee and in the House as a whole to ensure a viable
and interoperable MD system is achieved that guarantees
security for all of Europe.

8. Much attention was paid to interoperability and
coordination with NATO MD proposals. Fata identified the
complimentary aspects of the system; i.e., a US long-range
counter and a NATO short-range counter. He also noted that
NATO continues to identify a real threat of missile attacks
from the Middle East, most recently affirmed at the Riga
Summit. Fata stressed US hopes to have these systems in
operation as soon as possible and that NATO approval of our
efforts up to and including adopting the program as its own
would be welcome.

9. A Latvian delegate, having noted that Fata's briefing was
utterly convincing, suggested an extensive public diplomacy
campaign by the US in general and Fata in particular. Fata
agreed that the public efforts came late in the process, but
that the USG had needed President Bush's final policy
decision before we could engage the public. Fata himself
provided extensive interviews to Portuguese press following
the meeting to reaffirm the basic points of his speech

LISBON 00001498 002 OF 002


(particularly useful as Portuguese was not one of the
translation languages offered during the session). Fata
agreed to meet regularly with journalists and expressed
interest in doing digital video conferences from Washington
with journalists around Europe and elsewhere.

10. DASD Fata and Rep. Tauscher cleared this cable.
Hoffman

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