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Cablegate: Russian Views From the Czech Republic On Missile

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPG #0226 0991436
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 081436Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY PRAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0231
INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0767
RUEHPS/USOFFICE PRISTINA 0040
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEAMDA/MDA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS PRAGUE 000226

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR PGOV NATO EZ RU
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN VIEWS FROM THE CZECH REPUBLIC ON MISSILE
DEFENSE, KOSOVO, AND US-RUSSIA RELATIONS

REF: PRAGUE 0208

1.(SBU) Summary: On March 27, the Embassy's Political
Military Officer met with Denis Grischenko, Russian Political
Counselor, and Yevgenia Litvin, an attache in the Russian
Embassy's external political unit. Grischenko highlighted the
Russian Government's desire to work together with the U.S.
However, he felt the US was wrong to think that the Czech
Parliament would pass the Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement
(BMDA) and the Supplemental Status of Forces Agreement
(SOFA). He said the Czech Government's inability to recognize
Kosovo showed the fragility of Prime Minister Topolanek's
government. End Summary.

US-Russia Relations

2.(SBU) Grischenko began the meeting by highlighting how the
USG and the Russian Government have recently worked together
in the Czech Republic on non-proliferation (e.g., the Global
Threat Reduction Initiative, the DOE-funded repatriation to
Russia of fuel from Soviet-era nuclear research facilities.)
He expressed the hope that the meeting between President Bush
and President Putin in Sochi would signal a new basis for our
relations and allow our two Embassies to work again on
initiatives where our interests coincide. He cited
Afghanistan and nuclear non-proliferation as the two most
likely areas of cooperation to come out of Sochi.

Missile Defense

3.(SBU) The majority of the conversation centered on our
progress on the BMDA and the SOFA agreements. Grischenko was
very interested in how quickly we expected the agreements to
be completed. He doubted the Czechs could finish both
agreements in the next couple of months. He said he hoped the
US understood why Russia wanted to monitor the radar
facility. He emphasized Russia's concerns about possible
future expansion of the missile defense system beyond the ten
interceptors we plan to put in Poland.

4.(SBU) In regards to ratification, Grischenko kept
emphasizing the overwhelming public opposition to the radar.
He said he believed it would be political suicide for
politicians to support the radar agreements. Therefore, he
said he feels confident "telling Moscow" that they should not
worry too much about the agreements. (Note: The Czech
Government has stated in the press and privately that Russia
is actively funding Czech anti-radar groups, utilizing
commercial contacts to pressure Czech businesses to oppose
the radar, and possibly bribing members of parliament. End
Note)

Kosovo

5.(SBU) On Kosovo, Grischenko strongly argued his
government's belief that Kosovo's independence violates
international law. He cited a study by the Russian Ministry
of Foreign Affairs that found 200 similar cases to Kosovo,
including the Dakota Indian Tribe in the United States. He
said that the Czech Government's inability to recognize
Kosovo was the beginning of the end of Topolanek's
government. In his view, if the Czechs could not even get a
governmental quorum to recognize Kosovo, they will find it
impossible tackle pension reform or gain parliamentary
ratification for the MD agreements. (Comment: As discussed in
reftel, the Embassy continues to believe that the Topolanek
government can win approval for the MD agreements, although
this will be an uphill battle. End Comment.)
Graber

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