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Cablegate: Dec. 12 Caucasus Working Group Meeting in Ankara

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 007044

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/13/2014
TAGS: PREL MARR MASS TU AJ AM GG KZ RS
SUBJECT: DEC. 12 CAUCASUS WORKING GROUP MEETING IN ANKARA


Classified By: PolMilCouns Timothy A. Betts for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
.

Summary
-------

1. (C) In policy discussions with the Turkish General Staff
during the Dec. 12 meeting of the Caucasus Working Group,
DASD James MacDougall urged Turkey to consider how we might
change our approach to the Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) conflict.
The TGS representatives believed the Minsk Group had failed
and suggested maybe for NATO involvement in NK; MacDougall
asked for Turkey's thoughts on proposing new co-chairs,
perhaps to include Turkey. MacDougall also asked Turkey to
work with the Azeris to consider the alternate draft UNGA
resolution on the conflict. Both sides also discussed a
possible role for a NATO Peace Support Operation (PSO) in an
eventual settlement. MacDougall recommended an expanded OSCE
border monitoring mission between Russia and Georgia, to
include the Roki Tunnel. He also requested that Turkey look
into assisting the Azeris and Georgians on pipeline security
for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project. Both sides also
discussed NATO's role in the Caucasus and security
cooperation in the Black and Caspian Seas. In the afternoon,
both sides briefed on security assistance to Azerbaijan,
Georgia, and Kazakhstan and agreed to look into certain
cooperative efforts during 2005. End summary.

2. (C) The Turkish General Staff (TGS) hosted the Dec. 12
meeting of the Caucasus Working Group at its Ankara HQ. The
U.S. delegation was led by DASD James MacDougall, accompanied
by EUCOM Deputy J5 VADM John Goodwin and 16 others
representing DoD, the services, and the State Department.
The Turkish HOD was BG Solmazturk, TGS J5 Chief for
Disarmament and International Security Affairs. (NOTE:
Representation from the Turkish MFA was noticeably absent.
END NOTE.) Solmazturk very ably filled in for MG Cengiz
Arslan, J5 Chief for Strategy, who was called overseas
unexpectedly.

Policy Discussion
-----------------

3. (U) For the morning session, MacDougall and Solmazturk led
a wide-ranging policy discussion on the overall security
environment in the region. Among the key issues:

Azerbaijan
----------

4. (C) The Turkish delegation highlighted a number of
challenges in Azerbaijan, chief among them a lack of
democratic traditions, poverty, ethnic strife, and negative
Russian pressure (especially related to energy issues).
While the Turks believe Azeris want to further integrate into
the West, the Azeris also believe that the West has abandoned
them on the Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) issue. According to the
Turks, while the Azeris are enthusiastic players in PfP they
also believe NATO must play a more active role in solving NK.
Many believe the West can solve NK, but does not want to.
ODC Baku rep added that NK also retards Azeri defense reform.
Turkey believes the Minsk Group process has failed.

5. (C) DASD MacDougall noted that it may be useful to explore
new options for dealing with NK. He noted that Azerbaijan is
dissatisfied with the current co-chairs on the Minsk Group
(U.S., Russia, France) since it sees the U.S. as neutral but
France and Russia as siding with Armenia. Perhaps the
co-chairs could be changed. Turkey might even take a direct
role.

6. (C) MacDougall noted that it would be useful to think
about how NATO could contribute to a resolution of the NK
conflict. He noted that recently Armenia has shown greater
interest in the Alliance, perhaps to balance its reliance on
Russia. By relying on Russia for security, the Armenians
have sacrificed economic and political ties to the West.

7. (C) The Turkish delegation added that NK interferes with
Armenian-Azeri cooperation in PfP. Solving the NK issue
would break Russian influence over Armenia. The Turks
believe that the GOAM may be interested in pursuing a
solution, but is hindered by the Armenian diaspora and its
advocacy of the Armenian genocide issue. BG Solmazturk said
NK seems to be "a dead-end street," and expressed doubt
whether jiggering the Minsk Group would succeed. He added
that the Minsk Group works for the OSCE CIO, and noted that
the last CIO waited 10 months before visiting the region.

8. (C) MacDougall responded that there are useful things we
can do together on the margins. First, he reported that the
Azeris have submitted a new draft UNGA Resolution on NK. He
asked the Turks to work with the Azeris to consider the
alternate draft, but also one that calls for a UN
fact-finding team to go to the region to investigate claims
that the Armenians are sending settlers there to change the
population dynamics on the ground. (NOTE: The Turks said
that they believe 6000 such settlers have moved into the
region. END NOTE.) Second, he asked the Turks to think
along with us about ways that NATO could get more involved in
the region, perhaps even considering a NATO PSO in the event
of an eventual political settlement.

Georgia
-------

9. (C) The U.S. DATT in Tbilisi noted that both the press and
politicians in Georgia were uniformly pro-Western, and deeply
appreciative of both U.S. and Turkish security assistance
initiatives. Both sides agreed that the South Ossetia and
Abkhazia conflicts threatened Georgia's territorial integrity
and were destabilizing. The Turks noted their special
interest in the Abkhazia problem, as more Abkhazians live in
the Turkey than in Abkhazia itself. The Turks added that in
their view the embargo on Abkhazia tends to support Russia's
interests.

10. (C) DASD MacDougall noted that the Russians are lobbying
to cut back on the OSCE monitoring mission on the
Georgia-Russia border. He asked for the Turks' assistance in
assuring that the mission is not only maintained, but
expanded to include the Roki Tunnel on the border between
South Ossetia and Russia, which is now controlled on both
sides solely by the Russians. This would give us an
independent view of what is going on along that border.

Kazakhstan
----------

11. (C) At DoD's request, both sides added Kazakhstan back to
the CWG discussions this year. SAO Almaty reported that the
GOK and the Kazakh press are generally in favor of western
security assistance efforts, but added that the press is
generally government-controlled. Nonetheless, he believes
public support is genuine, though perhaps less so in the more
ethnically Russian north of the country. The Kazakhs look to
the U.S. and NATO to counter Russian domination of the energy
sector. The Turkish delegation responded that Kazakhstan and
other Central Asian states are generally favorable toward
Turkey and see Turkey as offering a western orientation and
democratic values. The Turks concede that their presence is
hardly enough to overcome Russian, Chinese, and Iranian
influence.

NATO and the Caucasus
---------------------

12. (C) Turkey reported that NATO interoperability and lack
of deployable forces remain a significant challenge in the
region. BG Solmazturk complained that NATO's Partnership
Coordination Cell has not successfully integrated the many
different PfP and Alliance programs for Partners. He claimed
that the proliferation of NATO training centers and
activities has led to too many activities going on at once;
"the process has turned into one big mumbo-jumbo," he said.

13. (C) Solmazturk requested that the U.S. side and Turkish
side compile separate reports evaluating the success of PfP
in the Caucasus to date, and recommending what to focus on in
the future. Both sides agreed to exchange these reports NLT
March 15, 2005. Additionally, the U.S. side noted that NATO
is assigning a liaison officer soon to Tbilisi with regional
responsibility for the Caucasus. Both sides agreed to invite
this LNO to future CWG meetings.

Black Sea Security
------------------

14. (C) Turkey briefed that its initiative, BLACKSEAFOR, has
been instrumental to increasing security cooperation in the
Black Sea. BLACKSEAFOR has helped the littoral states tackle
drug and human trafficking, WMD, and terrorism. Turkey also
noted that its unilateral Black Sea Harmony has strengthened
NATO's Operation Active Endeavor by identifying over 8000
vessels in the Black Sea and passing on information to the
Alliance on ships passing through the Bosphorus to the
Mediterranean. The Turks encouraged the U.S. to use our
political weight with the other littorals to continue to
contribute to BLACKSEAFOR. They added that in the future
international security cooperation in the Black Sea beyond
the six littorals will become a reality. DASD MacDougall
responded that the U.S. could use its influence with Georgia,
Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Romania, but added that Turkey would
likely have more influence with the Russians on this issue.

Caspian Sea Security
--------------------

15. (C) Turkey believes the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC)
pipeline and future trans-Caspian projects are a significant
counterbalance to Russian aims to control routes for Central
Asian petroleum products to the West. The Turks believe that
the Central Asian states have not reached consensus on
security in the Caspian and that this policy vacuum
contributes to instability. Turkey supports the Caspian
Guard initiative.

16. (C) DASD MacDougall added that in the Caspian we see
terrorism, narcotics, and WMD proliferation as major
concerns, and we are working closely with Azerbaijan and
Kazakhstan to counter these threats. When these countries
have the resources to counter these threats, they will also
have the means to secure their hydrocarbon resources.
MacDougall noted that Azerbaijan has a duplicative navy and
coast guard structure, which hinders both services'
effectiveness.

17. (C) Finally, DASD MacDougall urged the Turks to consider
helping Georgia and Azerbaijan with pipeline security for the
BTC. He noted that as the terminus for BTC is in Turkey,
Turkey has a special interest in assuring its security along
the entire route. Turkey agreed to look into this issue.

Practical Cooperation
--------------------

18. (C) Both the U.S. and Turkey briefed comprehensively on
past, present, and potential future security cooperation
efforts in Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan. Both sides
agreed on the necessity of such briefings in order to
deconflict the efforts of both sides. Both sides also agreed
to hold monthly defense attache meetings in Tbilisi, Baku,
and Almaty to further enhance information flow. In addition,
Turkey agreed to look into certain SC areas. Specifics below:

Georgia
-------

--As Ministry of Interior troops devolve into professional
military services, Turkey will monitor this process and
provide training support. Turkey is not currently prepared
to provide infrastructure (read: construction) support (it
has done so in Georgia in the past), but will examine it for
the future.

Azerbaijan
----------

--Turkey will discuss joint cooperation with U.S. on
interface between Azeri Navy and maritime border guard
interface/overlap.

--Turkey will also discuss joint cooperation with U.S. on
upgrading the Azeri navy.

Kazakhstan
----------

--After gathering further information, Turkey will consider
participating in the Steppe Eagle exercise in summer 2005.

19. (U) DASD MacDougall cleared this cable.
DEUTSCH

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