Cablegate: July 12 Gaerc Discussions: Israel, Burma, Sudan,

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) EU FMs at their July 12 General Affairs and External
Relations Council (GAERC) meeting discussed several issues,
but took few concrete decisions other than a
non-controversial approval of a Joint Action to agree on
Operation "ALTHEA" as an EU Military Operation following on
NATO's SFOR in Bosnia-Herzegovina. GAERC discussions on Iraq
and the WTO Doha Round negotiations reported separately. End


2. (U) Dutch FM Bot told the press after the GAERC that the
EU still needed to look carefully at the International Court
of Justice ruling on Israel's security fence and "achieve a
common view on its political consequences." The Dutch
Presidency also reissued it's statement of July 9 on the ICJ
case, which notes that "it will now be up to the political
bodies of the UN to decide how to act upon the Court's
Advisory Opinion." Bot stressed, however, that the fence
issue should not be dealt with in isolation, but in the
context of the road map.


3. (SBU) EU FMs agreed to the Dutch proposal to name former
FM Hans van den Broek as an envoy to Asia to try and reach an
agreement on Burmese participation that could salvage the
planned Asia-Europe Summit (ASEM) in Hanoi in October. Van
den Broek should be leaving on an Asian tour (with stops in
at least Bangkok, Tokyo and Hanoi) in the next ten days. He
is then expected to report to the EU's informal ministerial
(Gymnich) on September 3. While the Presidency statement
observes that "efforts are required on both sides",
Commissioner Patten and others noted that the real need was
for some improvement in Burma's human rights record, and so
far there had been "no progress".


4. (U) FM Bot took strong exception to the "impression that
has been created that the EU is not doing enough" about the
situation in Sudan. He argued that the EU was involved in
mediating the cease-fire talks, had sent observers and was
the largest donor of assistance. He noted that the EU was
still working on three fronts. First, it continued to
provide assistance, and earlier on July 12 the Commission had
announced a further 18 million euros in aid. Second, it
would maintain political pressure via high-level visits by
High Rep Solana and others to the region. Finally, the EU
was considering what sanctions it might utilize against the
government. On this last point, Bot said the EU would
cooperate closely with the US, UN and African Union. He
expressed the hope the Sudanese government was "finally
understanding" the risks it was running.


5. (SBU) We are told GAERC discussion of Afghanistan was
"very brief." Commissioner Patten and others expressed
concern about the limited progress to date in political
stabilization and noted the risk that President Karzai might
be "tempted" to make political deals with various "warlords."
FM Bot said the EU "regretted" the postponement of
parliamentary elections.


6. (SBU) FMs had a lengthy discussion on the political
situation in Serbia and Kosovo, but the debate was described
to us as "not very illuminating." EU FMs also appointed
Swedish diplomat Michael Sahlin to serve as EU Special
Representative in Macedonia (replacing Soren Jessen-Pedersen,
who is now head of the UN Mission in Kosovo). After a very
brief presentation by High Rep Solana, EU FMs without
discussion approved the Joint Action authorizing a new EU
military operation (Operation ALTHEA) in Bosnia to follow-on
NATO's SFOR. The EU's "aim is to deploy by the end of the
year a robust force with a Chapter VII mission." (NOTE: In
Greek, Althea means "healer." But we cannot help but be a
bit surprised that the EU has named its Bosnia operation
after a mythological figure best known for causing her son's
death, and then hanging herself. END NOTE.)

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