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Cablegate: April 25 Gaerc: Eu Fms Discuss Middle East,

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRUSSELS 001641

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL EAID LE IZ IS ZF ZI RU EUN USEU BRUSSELS
SUBJECT: APRIL 25 GAERC: EU FMS DISCUSS MIDDLE EAST,
RUSSIA, AFRICA, AND BALKANS

REF: A. USEU BRUSSELS 1593
B. USEU TODAY 4/26/2005
C. STATE 72185

SUMMARY
--------

1. (SBU) EU FMs' April 25 General Affairs and External
Relations Council (GAERC) meeting went much as expected (REF
A), with discussion moving briskly through the day's agenda
prior to FMs leaving to attend the signing ceremony for the
EU Accession Treaty of Romania and Bulgaria (REF B). The EU
reached fairly positive assessments of recent developments in
Lebanon, Serbia and on preparations for the May 10 EU-Russia
Summit; expressed "concerns" over the MEPP and Congo and
"disappointment" on recent elections in Macedonia; and
reaffirmed it's readiness to support the new Iraqi
government. END SUMMARY.

LEBANON
-------

2. (SBU) The GAERC Conclusions "welcome the continuing
withdrawal of Syrian troops and expects all Syrian troops and
security services to have been withdrawn from Lebanon by 30
April 2005." In his press conference, Luxembourg FM
Asselborn characterized the situation somewhat more
positively, saying the withdrawal had "practically been
completed" even before the deadline. A Council source told
us the EU is awaiting "with interest" the report of UN envoy
Roed-Larsen to the UNSC, particularly on the issue of
intelligence agents.

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3. (U) The GAERC Conclusions also "express the wish that (the
new) government will be able to organize, on schedule, free,
fair and transparent elections" and reaffirm the EU's
readiness to dispatch an election observation mission.
Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner (F-W) said the EU was still
hoping for the GoL to invite election observers. Our Council
source said the focus of today's discussion was about
elections assistance, rather than the Commission's
preparations for how the EU could assist any new government
post-elections (REF A).

IRAQ
----

4. (U) Asselborn noted that the situation was not yet
entirely clear as the new government is still being formed,
but the GAERC Conclusions reaffirm the EU's commitment to its
assistance package. They also reaffirm that the EU "is
prepared to organize, together with the U.S., in close
collaboration with Iraq and the UN, and should the new Iraqi
government so request, an international conference to foster,
enhance and coordinate the international community's support
for Iraq during the transitional period." Asselborn noted
that the substance of the conference would be "based on the
needs and wishes of the Iraqis." F-W told the press the date
for such a conference would be "most probably the end of
June." Conclusions also note that "depending on political
developments, a visit by the EU Troika to the elected
transitional government" could be arranged.

MEPP
----

5. (U) The GAERC Conclusions say EU "is concerned to note the
lack of dynamism in the implementation of the commitments
made at Sharm el Sheikh." and "is particularly concerned by
the announcement of increased settlement building in the West
Bank, even though the Road Map provides for a freeze....It
welcomes recent statements by President Bush concerning a
freeze on settlement activity." GAERC also welcomed the
naming of Jim Wolfensohn as the Quartet's envoy for
disengagement. F-W told the press the Quartet would meet in
Moscow on May 8, along with Wolfensohn. Conclusions also
recall the EU's support for Gaza disengagement. F-W
highlighted some details for the Commission's package of
support for disengagement, which she said was 20m euros
available for spending on infrastructure, tax and customs
reform, trade facilitation, transportation and electoral
support. Regarding the latter, she noted the EU was still
prepared to send an election monitoring mission, but that
outstanding issues are adoption of an electoral law, setting
of a date for the elections, and guarantees on freedom of
movement for Palestinian voters.

RUSSIA
------

6. (SBU) No formal Conclusions were issued. Our Council
source said discussion was essentially about preparations of
the four "common spaces" for the May 10 EU-Russia Summit. At
this stage, the EU's ambition, Asselborn said, is agreement
on "road maps" for each of the four areas, rather than
complete agreement on all details. F-W told reporters "we
are practically there, although some issues are still open."
These include details of a deal on Siberian overflights, and
the linkage between a readmission agreement with Russia and
any visa "facilitation" by the EU for Russian travelers. In
the GAERC session itself, our contact said, Estonia and
Latvia both reported on the status of negotiations of their
border agreements with Russia, and prospects for finalizing
them on the margins of the May 10 summit. Estonia was
described as relatively optimistic, Latvia as more skeptical.

AFRICA
------

7. (SBU) Most of the discussion was on the Great Lakes. The
Conclusions note the EU's readiness to support the electoral
process, MONUC, and DDR efforts in Congo and similar efforts
in Burundi. Commissioner Michel and Solana also noted that
the EU would be ready soon to launch a military mission in
Congo on reform of the armed forces. EUFMs also discussed
how the EU could provide support to AMIS II in Darfur, but
issued no Conclusions on the issue. A brief discussion of
Zimbabwe was also held, but was less about how to influence
political developments there, and more on the "procedural
question" of how to organize an EU-Africa Summit in the
current situation. The general sentiment was that they
cannot -- the EU is not prepared to weaken its sanctions, and
Africans will not attend if Mugabe is excluded.

WESTERN BALKANS
---------------

8. (U) Commissioner Rehn reported on his recent visit to SaM.
The GAERC endorsed the Commission's recommendation to begin
Stabilization and Association Agreement negotiations with
Serbia and Montenegro, and tasked the Commission to begin
preparation of a negotiating framework (a process that will
take several months). Asselborn and Solana both noted to the
press that Belgrade's cooperation with ICTY had improved
significantly. Asselborn also noted that the EU was somewhat
encouraged about Kosovo, particularly by the "more
constructive" attitude in Belgrade, and that all sides appear
to exclude partition as a possible solution.

9. (U) GAERC Conclusions also include a section on Macedonia
"expressing disappointment at the irregularities observed by
ODIHR and others" in recent elections. The GAERC also "noted
recent developments concerning the dispute as to the name of
the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and, in particular,
all of the ideas put forward by the SRSG of the UN, whose
efforts it supports. The Council encouraged Greece and FYROM
to intensify their efforts with a view to finding a
negotiated and mutually acceptable solution within the
framework of UNSCR 817 and 845 as quickly as possible."
MINIMIZE CONSIDERED
MCKINLEY

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