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Cablegate: Portugal's Views On Bucharest Nato Summit

VZCZCXRO7627
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHLI #0777/01 0881651
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281651Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY LISBON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6727
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHPD/AMCONSUL PONTA DELGADA 0440
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LISBON 000777

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR MOPS PREL RS PO
SUBJECT: PORTUGAL'S VIEWS ON BUCHAREST NATO SUMMIT

REF: A. LISBON 755
B. LISBON 611

LISBON 00000777 001.2 OF 002


1. Summary. The Government of Portugal expects the NATO
Summit to be dominated by three topics: Russia, operations,
and enlargement. On Russia, the Portuguese stress engagement
and believe that true progress is available regarding CFE and
missile defense. The Portuguese avoided discussions
regarding the size of Portugal's contribution to ISAF, noting
only that the reduced contribution planned for August was a
"qualitative answer" to ISAF shortfalls. Portugal supports
membership invitations for Croatia, Albania, and Macedonia,
but does not support even a Membership Action Plan for
Ukraine or Georgia, preferring an undefined new status for
those countries. End summary.

2. Portuguese MFA Deputy Political Director Ambassador Carlos
Frota and Director for Security and Disarmament Joao
Corte-Real briefed diplomats from NATO member states March 28
on Portugal's views on the upcoming NATO Summit in Bucharest.

3. Frota stated that although allies and partners would meet
on many issues and in many formats, three main topics would
dominate: Russia (including CFE and Missile Defense),
operations (ISAF and KFOR), and enlargement.

Russia
------
4. Frota suggested that hosting the summit in Bucharest sent
a clear message to Russia that allies would develop whatever
relations they desired to maximize European stability. This
was in no way a return to cold war tactics, he opined, merely
a signal that all interested parties need to recognize the
new realities of European security architecture. In
particular, Frota noted that the summit coincided with a
shift from a Putin administration in Russia to a
Medvedev/Putin administration.

5. Regarding Missile Defense (MD), Frota was pleased that
multilateral and bilateral efforts to engage Russia appeared
to have been positive endeavors. It was not clear to the
Russians, he posited, that MD was not aimed at Russia. Frota
said he expected some allies to stress the "indivisibility"
of alliance defense during the summit. Although we explained
the reach of current MD proposals and why these proposals do
not leave allies unprotected, Frota maintained that the
potential evolution of threats still requires consideration
of coverage for all allies.

6. Corte-Real added that the MD paragraphs for the summit
declaration were still under discussion and that he expected
allies to ask the USG for further information on deployment
during the summit. Frota noted that Portugal encourages NATO
bodies to continue to study MD proposals with the aim of
bringing all MD systems under NATO command and control and
sharing the financial burdens across NATO's membership.
Frota also stated that NATO is a military alliance; thus, it
is entirely appropriate for defense planners to consider
future threats such as those current MD plans are designed to
counter.

7. Regarding CFE, Frota stressed Portugal's desire that all
parties sign and ratify the adapted CFE treaty as soon as
possible. Frota congratulated the U.S. for its negotiations
with Russia and said that Russia was apparently ready to join
with NATO in simultaneous and complementary steps to put the
provisions of adapted CFE into practice before it enters into
force.

8. Corte-Real stated that he had received a communique from
NATO that morning that the alliance had agreed upon the joint
Germany-U.S. draft text for a statement on CFE in the HLTF
(Ref A). The text, said Corte-Real, was under silence
procedures until 1400 hours on March 28. He continued that
Portugal fully supports this "timely and substantive" text.

Operations
----------
9. Frota expressed Portugal's pleasure that the new UN
Coordinator for Afghanistan was in place, given that NATO's
ISAF operations needed support from the UN, the EU, and other
institutions. Frota said he looked forward to the
development of a joint strategy among these institutions,
particularly during the summit. Frota also underlined the
need for greater EU and NATO coordination and suggested that
the status quo was unacceptable given its effect on
operations.

10. Corte-Real noted that Portugal had committed a second
Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) and a C-130 to
ISAF (Ref B). Frota declined to state how many troops would

LISBON 00000777 002.2 OF 002


comprise Portugal's contribution starting in August, with the
planned withdrawal of its Quick Reaction Force company,
noting only that Portugal's contribution of two OMLTs was a
"qualitative answer" to ISAF's shortfalls.

11. Regarding KFOR, Corte-Real said allies had made "tangible
progress" towards language for a summit declaration,
recognizing KFOR's role as a stabilizing influence under UNSC
1244 and how well KFOR had responded to recent incidents.

Enlargement
-----------
12. Frota stated that Portugal supported membership
invitations for Croatia, Albania, and Macedonia (although he
referred to Macedonia as "Skopje"). He then said Georgia and
Ukraine deserved praise for their accomplishments and
encouragement to continue on the reform path, but that they
were too "immature" for consideration at Bucharest. When
pressed, Frota said that importing frozen conflicts was no
contribution to the alliance's security and that Portugal
supported a prudent approach.

13. When pushed further, Frota said that Membership Action
Plans (MAP) had always been seen as equivalent to membership.
Frota stated again that Georgia and Ukraine needed formal
encouragement, but under some other name or structure.
Warming to the subject, Frota said that allies were not
restricted to a rigid process and that we could find a
flexible formula for a new status for Georgia and Ukraine.
He repeated several times that "Portugal is not alone in this
view."

14. Regarding the Macedonia name issue, Frota suggested that,
if no resolution is found, Macedonia could be given a
conditional acceptance pending a future resolution. Frota
echoed his earlier statement regarding the allies' ability to
be flexible at the summit.

Comment
-------
15. We spoke extensively on MAP for Georgia and Ukraine and
on MD during the open discussion. It was clear on MAP that
Russian sensitivities are the most important consideration
for the Portuguese, even though MAP is an extremely prudent
approach, requiring resolution of domestic and regional
conflicts before acquiring membership. On MD, it was clear
that the facts surrounding recent proposals -- numbers of
interceptors, the lack of any warhead, etc. -- were known
only to technical specialists and not to diplomatic
representatives.
Stephenson

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