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Cablegate: Open Skies: January/July 2008--Transparency And

VZCZCXRO2830
PP RUEHAST RUEHFL RUEHLA RUEHMRE RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHVEN #0200/01 2171503
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041503Z AUG 08
FM USMISSION USOSCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5880
INFO RUCNOSC/ORG FOR SECURITY CO OP IN COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/HQ USAFE RAMSTEIN AB GE//POLAD/XPXC//
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ5-T/ECCS/ECPLAD//
RUEAHQA/HQ USAF WASHINGTON DC//XONP//
RUEASWA/DTRA ALEX WASHINGTON DC//OSAO
RUESDT/DTRA-OSES DARMSTADT GE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5-DDPMA-E/DDPMA-IN/CAC//

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 USOSCE 000200

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR VCI/CCA, EUR/PRA, EUR/RPM, SCA/CEN
JCS FOR COL NORWOOD
OSD FOR ISA (PERENYI)
NSC - DEFENCE POLICY AND STRATEGY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OSCE PARM PREL RS
SUBJECT: OPEN SKIES: JANUARY/JULY 2008--TRANSPARENCY AND
COOPERATION, BUT NO DIGITAL CAMERAS AT SESSION'S END

REF: A. USOSCE 179
B. STATE 6161

1. (SBU) Summary: During its winter-spring session and under
U.S. chairmanship, the Open Skies Consultative Commission
(OSCC) commemorated the 500th observation flight since the
Open Skies Treaty entered into force. This "good news" event
garnered widespread press coverage which emphasized an arms
control treaty that is working, bringing benefits including
openness, transparency, and cooperation. While a collective
accomplishment for the 34 states parties to the treaty, the
commemoration also served to underline the positive role of
the U.S. in European security.

2. (SBU) An agreement to allow digital photography is still
badly needed. To this end, working group meetings during the
session included commercial aerial camera manufacturers. The
working group Chair (also U.S.) issued a very technical "best
guess" for an agreement in April. All countries agreed with
his proposal except for Russia, which blocked consensus in
May. Russian comments were received in July and are under
study. The OSCC approved the extension of the mandate for
this working group through 2008. During the January-July
OSCC session, there also was a minor deal with Russia on
refueling, a semi-reversal by an ally after U.S. demarches,
and more. The next OSCC meeting will be on September 22.
End summary.

U.S. Chairmanship and 500th flight Commemoration
--------------------------------------------- ---

3. (SBU) On April 14, the United States began its five-month
Chairmanship of the OSCC, following Germany's January-March
chairmanship. The U.S. emphasized the need for states to
complete work on the digital video sensor decision. The U.S.
delegation also began organization of the commemoration of
the 500th Open Skies observation flight under the Treaty,
noting that the 500 number would probably be reached during
the summer recess in August. As of July 10, the official
flight tracker included notifications for 488 flights
(OSCC.DEL/7/08/Rev 2); on August 1 it had reached 495
flights.

4. (SBU) On July 14, the OSCC held a special plenary session
to commemorate the conduct of 500 observation flights since
the Treaty's entry into force in January 2002. Mission's
Public Diplomacy section encouraged press coverage and
organized a media event, including the release of 500
balloons on the front steps of the Hofburg Palace in symbolic
commemoration. The U.S. initiative received strong support
from all delegations, including financial contributions from
Italy, Sweden and Lithuania to defray some of the costs.
U.S. leadership of the event was especially welcomed as a
sign of commitment to European arms control and security.
The historical significance of the Treaty on Open Skies was
linked (by Finnish Ambassador, speaking on behalf of the OSCE
Chairman-in-Office) under U.S. Chairmanship and former
President Bush's proposal in May 1989, which initiated the
successful talks that led to the Treaty.

5. (SBU) The 500 balloons provided a visual that garnered
widespread positive press attention around the world for an
arms control treaty that is working, bringing benefits
including openness, transparency, and cooperation. While a
collective accomplishment for the 34 states parties to the
treaty, the commemoration and its widespread press coverage
underlined the positive role of the U.S. in European
security. We are not unaware of any negative coverage or
comments. (More details ref A)

Sensor Working Group: No Deal on Digital Yet
---------------------------------------------

6. (SBU) On January 21, the OSCC adopted a Decision extending
the mandate for the Informal Working Group on Sensors (IWGS)
into 2008 (OSCC.DEC/1/08). The U.S. Delegation continued to
emphasize the priority for progress on digital sensor work,

USOSCE 00000200 002 OF 003


especially with regard to Revision One to Decision Number
Fourteen (video). The IWGS chairman (U.S.) held a meeting
from February 27-March 7 that included both traditional
working group sessions and meeting with commercial aerial
camera manufacturers.

7. (SBU) In April, the Chair issued a very technical "best
guess" version of Decision 14 with the hope that it would be
acceptable to all. He requested comments by May 1
(OSCC.SEN/4/08). In early-May, however, Russia said it was
withholding consensus. It provided comments on this version
in July. These comments were still under careful study when
the winter-spring session ended.

Brits Reverse on Outbound Missions after U.S. Demarche
--------------------------------------------- ---------

8. (SBU) In May, delegations learned that the UK would no
longer be able to fund operation and repairs of the aging
aircraft it had been using for Open Skies missions. It
indicated it would only be able to continue to receive all
passive quotas (i.e., inbound missions). Following a U.S.
demarche, extensive informal consultations, and an offer from
the U.S. to share an Open Skies flight on a U.S. aircraft,
the UK revised its position such that it will continue
flights with partners and/or leased aircraft in 2009. In
July, the UK delegation made a clarification statement
regarding its future intentions for participation under the
Treaty. The UK emphasized it continued to value the Treaty,
and remains committed toward its implementation.

Deal with Russia on Alternate Airfields for Refueling
--------------------------------------------- --------

9. (SBU) In May and June, Russia and the U.S. exchanged notes
verbale reflecting a bilateral agreement reached during two
previous bilateral consultations in August 2006 and 2007.
The notes specify the procedures for use of alternate
airfields for refueling stops prior to and during observation
flights. The draft decision under discussion in the working
group is compatible with these bilateral arrangements.

First time: Sharing Missions with Poland, Georgia
--------------------------------------------- -----

10. (SBU) The U.S. has fostered the opportunity to partner
with countries that can provide aircraft for some of the U.S.
active quotas. This year, USDel negotiated arrangements for
sharing such missions with Poland and Georgia (both for the
first time), as well as Turkey. The OSCC Decision on Quota
Distribution for 2008 was subsequently revised three times
this session to reflect these new arrangements. The Decision
also reflects the U.S. offer to bring representatives from
the UK and Latvia of joint missions (OSCC.DEC/5/08). U.S.
offers for sharing flights continue to build good will with
Allies.

Rules and Procedures: Alternate Airfields
------------------------------------------

11. (SBU) In April, Russian Chair (Kozlov) of the Informal
Working Group on Rules and Procedures (IWGRP) introduced
three papers (a food for thought and two draft decision)
regarding procedures for alternate airfields. Working group
discussion from May)July resulted in a consolidated text
provided by Slovakia. Russia agreed this text could serve as
the basis for future discussion (OSCC.RP/13/08).

12. (SBU) In July, the OSCC adopted a Decision
(OSCC.DEC/4/08) that applies a scale of distribution of OSCC
expenses that reflects the OSCE permanent council scale for
2008 and 2009.

Focus this Fall
---------------

13. (SBU) USDel expects the fall OSCC round to focus on the

USOSCE 00000200 003 OF 003


following issues:

-- Digital (and other) Sensors: The sensor working group
IWGS will continue to discuss draft decisions, including
recent Russian drafting suggestions;

-- Annual quota distribution: a special workshop will be
held on October 9-10 to organize the active quota
distribution, as well as to discuss initial deconfliction of
those quotas over certain states. The U.S. quota bid for
2009 should be distributed by mid-September in preparation
for this meeting. Germany is organizing the quota meeting
per modalities paper (OSCC.INF/19/08);

-- Deconfliction of quotas by quarter will take place after
the quota distribution decision is adopted at the end of
October. First quarter 2009 should be done by November 15;

-- If all potential mission sharing arrangements for 2009
are not organized prior to October, delegation will support
further bilateral consultations upon request;

-- Rules and Procedures: USDel expects discussion to
continue on the Slovak drafting proposal of the original
Russian text for an OSCC decision on alternate airfield
procedures;

-- USDel will participate in drafting the standard paragraph
OSCC contribution to the Ministerial Declaration, and will
work with its troika partners, Germany and Belarus, to
prepare the annual OSCC Chairman's Report to OSCE Ministers.

15. (SBU) Open Skies activities taking place elsewhere in
Europe this fall include:

--Romania and POD Group joint aircraft/sensor certification
event in Bucharest in mid-September;

--Germany is hosting another seminar on future Open Skies
aircraft options in Berlin October 15-16.

16. (SBU) Although the U.S. is still chair of the OSCC, no
further meetings are expected under U.S. chairmanship. The
next OSCC meeting will be when the Fall 2008 session begins
on September 22 under chairmanship of Belarus.
SCOTT

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