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Cablegate: Bosnia and Operation Althea: Ohr Lajcak Addresses

VZCZCXRO0441
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBS #1793/01 3311622
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261622Z NOV 08
FM USEU BRUSSELS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFITT/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 BRUSSELS 001793

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR MOPS EUN BK AF
SUBJECT: BOSNIA AND OPERATION ALTHEA: OHR LAJCAK ADDRESSES
NAC-PSC

REF: A. A) USNATO 0403
B. B) BRUSSELS 1781

This is a joint USEU-USNATO report.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: At the November 24 joint meeting of
NATO,s North Atlantic Council and the EU,s Political and
Security Committee, HR Javier Solana said he thought 5-plus-2
could be met by mid-2009. Acknowledging the positive
momentum engendered by the Solana-Rehn paper on Bosnia and
the November 8 Prud Agreement, High Representative Miroslav
Lajcak nonetheless said more progress was needed before an
OHR-EUSR transition can take place. Lajcak welcomed continued
NATO engagement. The NATO SecGen asked for continued close
coordination between NATO and EUFOR, particularly as the
latter transitions. Fourteen delegations responded in an
unusually lively exchange for a NAC-PSC meeting. All seemed
to support the continued strong involvement of the
international community, the 5 2 formula, the eventual move
to a strengthened EUSR once the situation warrants, the
transition of EUFOR when political conditions allow, a
continued NATO presence, the Berlin Plus agreements as a
basis for NATO-EU cooperation, the important message that
neither the EU nor NATO are disengaging, and that continued
close cooperation will be an essential element for future
success. Delegates did not take the opportunity provided by
the United States to discuss support for the Afghan National
Security Forces. END SUMMARY

----------------------------------
Looking toward a transition
----------------------------

2.. (SBU) EU High Representative Javier Solana, flanked by
French PSC Ambassador Christine Roger, chaired the meeting.
In his opening remarks he said that although not much had
changed since last month,s NAC-PSC meeting (ref A), it was
important to keep the issue on the EU-NATO agenda, because
Bosnia risks regressing, despite broad public support for
continuing its Euro-Atlantic integration. Solana mentioned
positive developments, including his joint report with EU
Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn (EU,s Policy in Bosnia
and Herzegovina: The Way Ahead, dated 31 Oct 08) and the 8
November Prud Agreement among the three main Bosnia parties
(ref B). Turning to the transition of the OHR to a
strengthened EUSR, Solana said it would be based on BiH,s
fulfillment of the 5 objectives and 2 conditions (5 2
formula) of the Peace Implementation Council, which he said
could take place in mid-2009, with the help of the
international community. Regarding Operation ALTHEA, Solana
acknowledged its success, saying he expects it will
transition to a non-executive training operation, depending
on the next PIC meeting in March 2009. Nonetheless,
preparations for the transition are currently underway and
those include consultations within the EU,s Committee of
Contributors.
------------------------------
Deteriorating political situation
------------------------------

3. (SBU) Solana gave the floor to High Representative
Miroslav Lajcak, who described the political situation as
difficult, despite progress on Euro-Atlantic integration.
Lajcak observed that negative political rhetoric is
undermining inter-ethnic trust, and slowing the pace of 5 2
reform and progress on BiH,s European partnership
priorities. Lajcak noted some positive signs including the 8
November Prud Agreement dealing with constitutional reform,
the population census, and the OHR work plan which reassigns
state and defense property ownership. He suggested that
implementation of this agreement might have the potential to
break the deadlock In this respect, he stressed the need for
continued international community pressure and political
engagement to sustain the process.

--------------------------------
But positive movement possible
--------------------------------

4. (SBU) Ambassador Lajcak said completing the OHR work
plan is a priority. The Peace Implementation Council (PIC)
in Brussels on November 19 noted some progress on key issues,
including Brcko and state and defense property, but more is
required*especially on Brcko*before a decision can be taken
on the OHR-EUSR transition. He noted the GAERC,s positive
support on November 10 in Brussels identifying the
Solana-Rehn paper as the basis of a new EU strategy and
noting that the Solana-Rehn effort in conjunction with strong

BRUSSELS 00001793 002 OF 004


European Commission and international support led to the 8
November agreement. Lajcak said expectations are now high.
Lajcak welcomed strong and continued NATO engagement. He
said that the prospect of NATO membership provides positive
leverage. He considers the flexible approach of NATO
Headquarters in Sarajevo to be well suited to the nature of
the BiH government structure. He lauded the UNSC,s
extension of the EUFOR mandate for another year as proof of
necessary engagement by the international community.

----------------------------
Close cooperation essential
----------------------------

5. (SBU) NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer spoke
next. He confirmed that NATO remains pre-occupied with the
Balkans, and assesses the current political situation as
damaging to the country,s prospects. He noted the Deputy
NATO Secretary General,s recent visit to BiH and his message
that the parties to turn their words into actions. The
SecGen noted that BiH will have its first Individual
Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) evaluation by NATO in February
2009 regarding progress toward membership. On defense reform
de Hoop Scheffer said that BiH sees the transition to
centralized state structures as the end of the process, but
that NATO sees it as the first step. NATO will look for
measurable progress in key areas. Regarding the 8 November
Prud Agreement, the SecGen warned that despite justifiable
optimism, we should remain cautious. He noted the good
cooperation between NHQ Sarajevo and EUFOR and the excellent
relations between the respective commanders. While stressing
respect for the autonomy of both organizations, he noted that
the EUFOR transition may affect NATO,s presence in BiH;
therefore, he asked that we have close cooperation during the
transition in all venues including in the Committee of
Contributors.

--------------------------------------------- ----
A lively and animated exchange of the same view
--------------------------------------------- ----

6. (SBU) During the discussion period on Bosnia, the
following 14 delegations took the floor: the Czech Republic,
the United States, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Hungary,
Slovenia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Greece, Estonia,
Bulgaria, and Turkey. All the interventions seemed to
support the continued strong involvement of the international
community, the 5 2 formula, the eventual move to a
strengthened EUSR once the situation warrants, the transition
of EUFOR when political conditions allow, a continued NATO
presence, the Berlin Plus agreements as a basis for NATO-EU
cooperation, and that continued close cooperation will be an
essential element for future success.

7. (SBU) In addition to these main points, national
delegations made the following points: The incoming EU
presidency, the Czech Republic, expressed full support for
the work of OHR and noted that the 8 November agreement was a
direct result of international pressure. He promised the
Czech EU presidency would continue in this way. EUFOR, he
said, should remain intact until the change from the OHR to a
strengthened EUSR was successfully completed, at which time
NATO and the EU should discuss the transition together. He
expressed support for maintaining Berlin Plus. He asked that
the NAC-PSC continue to be kept up to date. The way ahead,
he said, should be a well coordinated and even integrated
approach.

8. (SBU) Speaking for the United States, Ambassador
Silverberg stressed the importance of full implementation of
the 5 2 formula &with integrity8 as a precondition to
replacing OHR with a EUSR. She also advocated a
constitutional amendment with respect to Brcko,s status. To
these points she added U.S. support for and willingness to
participate in the new office of the EUSR, the need for
carrots and sticks at the disposal of the strengthened EUSR,
and the need to reinforce the message to all concerned that
the EU and NATO are not disengaging from Bosnia.

9. (SBU) Sweden emphasized the need to ensure local
willingness and responsibility and said the &push-pull8
factor of EU and NATO needs to be strengthened. The Swedish
representative cautioned against letting BiH be a drag on
regional progress. With respect to EUFOR, he said Sweden
supports Option 3 (reconfiguring EUFOR) when political
conditions permit. Norway noted that by acting in unison we
have caught the players attention and we should keep up the
pressure which is directly attached to the prospects for

BRUSSELS 00001793 003 OF 004


Euro-Atlantic integration. We should use this leverage
wisely, he said, and with increased circumspection. We must
tell the parties to deliver on reforms, the Norwegian
representative said, if they want to move Euro-Atlantic
integration forward. He said that BiH must build the
administrative capacity to do the job, both in Sarajevo and
Brussels.

10. (SBU) The Belgian NATO ambassador, after noting the more
lively atmosphere of this meeting, put forward two questions:
First, he asked what affect the proposed international
community changes will have on the actors in BiH? Secondly,
what are the pluses and minuses of Serbia,s role, if they
can play a role? Hungary took the floor next supporting the
other ambassadors, interventions and stressing the need to
use our NATO-EU instruments &in hand8 while emphasizing the
regional perspective as well. He said his country favors
Option 3 for EUFOR and will keep its military in BiH for as
long as it takes. Hungary hopes to play a role in the new
configuration, he said. Slovenia, supporting the other
speakers as well, focused on training of the BiH military as
an important aspect of continued close NATO-EU cooperation
with Bosnians. The German ambassador said he fully shared
Ambassador Lajcak,s views and the transition based on the 5
2 formula; however, until then, an adequate EUFOR presence
should be guaranteed. He urged that capacity building and
training be the focus for continued close cooperation with
NATO and other non-EU troop contributors. He hoped this
would be done within the context of a new EUSR mandate,
&which should be a robust one.8 Italy then spoke
supporting continuation of EUFOR to support the OHR,
supporting a new mission based on Berlin Plus, and applauding
that the preparations for the new mission are already
underway. He announced that Italy will take command of EUFOR
from 1 December. The Netherlands said there were glimpses of
hope but that political refusal to cooperate still remained,
asking Ambassador Lajcak &What can we do?8 The Dutch
representative also asked about cooperation with the ICTY and
for Ambassador Lajcak,s recommendations on where and how to
improve?
11. (SBU) Greece identified Euro-Atlantic integration as a
shared, even the exclusive, tool of NATO and the EU. He
hoped for a careful study of Operation ALTHEA in March 09
saying that all the options should remain open and that a
decision should be based on the situation at that time.
Estonia urged that we prepare and manage the reconfiguration
with thorough NATO-EU discussions and that we should have
real results from our talks. He urged that we should
coordinate and then take joint political steps toward the
actors and the public in BiH in order to speak with one voice
and to reinvigorate the process. Bulgaria then noted the
very useful discussion while supporting the incoming Czech
presidency,s announcement of their continued commitment to
this process. The Bulgarian ambassador stressed that
&acting together with determination is our ultimate
executive power.8 Bulgaria,s commitment to EUFOR is
steadfast and the Bulgarian military will stay as long as it
is needed.

--------------------------------------------- --------
Turkey: &This is the type of meeting we,d like to see8
--------------------------------------------- --------

12. (SBU) The Turkish ambassador to NATO was the last to
intervene. After thanking all the speakers and the French EU
presidency for a successful meeting, he said that he hoped
there would be more frequent meetings, &which is our
expectation.8 He said we should remain cautious and we
should listen to those who did not participate in the 8
November agreement, in particular the PDP, which prefers, in
effect, the status quo. Stability is not yet irreversible;
therefore, we must keep the security situation under close
scrutiny and keep the assets available to react if necessary.
Turkey is committed to BiH,s Euro-Atlantic aspirations and
to its territorial integrity. The stakes are high, he said,
because of everything the international community has already
invested. On the future of EUFOR Operation ALTHEA, he hoped
for more intensified and substantial coordination in NATO-EU
relations and in the Committee of Contributors in full
conformity with the philosophy of the comprehensive approach
and the &contractual obligations8 in the agreed framework.
Finally, he noted the day,s excellent NAC-PSC meeting
saying, &This is the type of meeting we,d like to see.8

--------------------------------------
Inclusivity, Dialogue and Compromise
--------------------------------------


BRUSSELS 00001793 004 OF 004


13. (SBU) Ambassador Lajcak then responded to the questions
put to him by the ambassadors. He said he,s working to
narrow the scope for maneuver of the factions so as to
minimize opportunities for disagreement. He noted that there
are currently enough votes in the parliament to support
action on state and defense property and on the population
census. &Inclusivity, dialogue, and compromise8 at the
local political level is to be encouraged, he said. The PIC
plan is clear. &It is our priority,8 he said. The
international community has been discussing the transition
for three years so the Bosnians know sooner or later it will
happen. He said we now have a work plan based on qualitative
progress and not on an end date. Serbia, he said, supports
Bosnia,s territorial integrity, and has worked to decrease
the impact of political maneuvering by the Republika Srpska.
He said the ICTY encountered no Bosnian obstacles to its
activities and would so report to the UNSC in two weeks. He
concluded his remarks by offering to return any time for
further discussions and noted the PIC Steering Board in March
09 as an important milestone. The NATO Secretary General
told Ambassador Lajcak that he has NATO,s full support.

------------------------------------
Any interest in Any Other Business?
------------------------------------

14. (SBU) Under Any Other Business, Ambassador Volker took
the floor to express his appreciation for the discussion and
to update those present on key priorities in Afghanistan.
First, he noted the JCMB,s September call for increased
support to the Afghan National Security Forces, and in
particular for an increase in financial support and in the
number of trainers for the Afghan National Army. He said we
need to have the Afghans in the lead to be successful.
Ambassador Volker said that the Afghan National Police are
critical to our long-term success in securing the path
forward, and, while noting the contributions in this regard
from the EU, he said the increased support in this area is
urgently needed. Finally, on civilian reconstruction and
development, he said that it needs to be well integrated with
military efforts in order to provide a sustainable path
forward. No one else took the floor on this or any other
business.

SILVERBERG
.

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