Cablegate: Netherlands/Nato: Amb. Nuland Discusses Road To


DE RUEHTC #1991/01 2551339
O 121339Z SEP 06

C O N F I D E N T I A L THE HAGUE 001991




E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/11/2016





Embassy The Hague


C O N F I D E N T I A L THE HAGUE 001991




E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/11/2016

Classified By: Ambassador Roland Arnall, reasons 1.4 (b,d)

1. (C) Summary: During her September 8 visit to The Hague,
U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Victoria Nuland
discussed the road to Riga with FM Ben Bot, Dutch officials,
parliamentarians and journalists. Nuland framed discussion
with three top summit goals: 1) progress in Afghanistan; 2) a
constructive heads of state dinner; and 3) the global
partnership initiative. Dutch interlocutors agreed with the
need to demonstrate progress in Afghanistan, and offered to
work with NATO SYG Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and other Allies to
choreograph the heads of state dinner. Dutch officials
support the global partnership initiative, but have some
reservations with the explicit use of the word global and
cautioned against moving too fast. End summary.

Meeting with FM Bot

2. (C) Nuland broadly covered U.S. goals for the Riga summit
with FM Bot. She said the USG views Riga as an opportunity
to make the case for a global, open NATO for the 21st century
while demonstrably closing the doors on the NATO of the Cold
War past. She argued that NATO's role in Afghanistan would
determine the strategic backdrop for the summit, and
commended the Dutch for their deployment to Uruzgan and ink
splot strategy linking population centers in the province by
development and infrastructure projects. On the day of the
Heads' Meeting, the quality of discussion at the summit
dinner would be determinative in terms of Heads' attitudes
toward NATO; this requires working closely with NATO SYG de
Hoop Scheffer to script and set the tone for dinner.

3. (C) Bot was very supportive of ensuring a meaningful
dinner dialogue. Alluding to countervailing forces at
NATO, he said he would encourage his French colleague at the
upcoming EU Foreign Ministers meeting to be more
constructive. He described the French position --
strengthen the EU, weaken NATO -- as consistent in recent
years. Nuland said European nations should push French
President Chirac; too much U.S pressure could be
counterproductive. Bot offered GONL assistance in that

4. (C) On enlargement, Bot said events in Ukraine suggest its
membership aspirations are moving in the wrong direction.
Nuland noted that NATO's open door policy requires
candidate countries to want membership, which was not exactly
clear in Ukraine at the moment. This does not mean, however,
that NATO should give up on Ukraine -- Russia was working
behind the scenes to foil closer NATO-Ukraine ties, she said;
Bot concurred.

5. (C) On the global partnership initiative, Amb. Nuland
stressed the need to come as close to a consensus as possible
at the foreign ministerial in New York. She anticipated
French opposition, but that should not prevent all other
Allies from sending a strong signal. Bot supported the
initiative, but had some reservations regarding the use of
the word global. Noting problems with EU expansion, he
cautioned that NATO could be weakened by growing too quickly.
Nuland stressed that the initiative was not looking to
create a 26 100 structure with countries around the
world, but rather strong 26 1 ties with more countries,
and then mixing and matching in a 26 N format based on
commitment to common action.

Meeting with Dutch Interagency

6. (U) Nuland had more in-depth consultations with members of
the Dutch interagency, including MFA Director General for
Political Affairs Pieter de Gooijer, MOD Director for General
Policy Affairs Lo Casteleijn, Dutch Permanent Representative
to NATO Herman Schaper, Principal Foreign Affairs Advisor to
the Prime Minister Karel Oosterom, and MOD Chief of
Operations Gen. Eikelboom.

7. (C) De Gooijer described current Allied positions in
Brussels as obstructionist, potentially leading to a negative
summit in Riga. A more optimistic Amb. Nuland said the
summit presents an opportunity for NATO to demonstrate that
it had taken on global responsibilities, capabilities, and
partners. She outlined three make or break objectives: 1)

progress in Afghanistan by the summit; 2) constructive and
meaningful dialogue during the summit heads of state dinner;
and 3) an alliance strong, open, and flexible enough to work
with current and new partners through the global partnership

8. (C) On Afghanistan, Casteleijn identified three urgent
priorities: 1) force generation issues, as illustrated by
SACEUR's request for an additional battalion; 2) the
transition to ISAF IV; and 3) improving ISAF security and
reconstruction integration. Nuland noted French
intransigence with regard to using the Strategic Reserve
Force or the NATO Response Force (NRF) should the alliance
fail to generate an additional battalion. She suggested the
seven Allies contributing in the south pressure those not
contributing, and push the French hard at the North Atlantic
Council (NAC). De Gooijer cautioned against a showdown;
instead, Allies should appeal to France's political
responsibilities -- it needs to be a victory for Chirac, he
said. Amb. Nuland agreed to work together closely to turn
the French around.

9. (C) De Gooijer expressed frustration with Karzai; Amb.
Nuland commended the Dutch for holding Karzai's feet to the
fire on changing the Uruzgan governor before they deploy,
noting that sometimes Karzai needs this kind of pressure to
focus. She also complimented the well-balanced Dutch ink
splot strategy, and described the Dutch approach with the
Afghan National Army and Police as a model for other Allies
to follow. Longer term, she suggested the Alliance think
about re-balancing the reconstruction work load.

10. (C) De Gooijer agreed the Alliance must demonstrate real
progress in Afghanistan prior to the summit, including the
integration of security and reconstruction efforts. He
stressed the need to learn from the situation on the ground,
and to present these lessons to the public in order to temper
expectations. Amb. Nuland concurred, noting that Afghanistan
is a long-term effort for NATO. She recommended NATO senior
civilian representative Dan Everts organize an Allied
ambassadorial group in Kabul.

11. (C) De Gooijer agreed that the heads of state dinner
needed to be a constructive, meeting of the minds with a
sense of commonality and purpose. This requires
choreography -- any participant could potentially ruin the
dinner by saying the wrong thing during opening statements,
he said. De Gooijer offered Dutch assistance in working with
other Allies and NATO SYG de Hoop Scheffer to ensure the
dinner is scripted. That said, de Gooijer suggested the
conversation also address where NATO is heading in upcoming
summits. Going global might initiate a fight among Allies
-- better to explain how NATO is a global organization rather
than stating it explicitly, he said.

12. (C) On the global partnership initiative, Nuland pointed
to the importance of getting as close as possible to
consensus on a general framework for the initiative at the
New York foreign ministerial. The initiative should make
available a single-box of tools from which partners can
choose, and create flexibility for Allies to meet with
interested partners at a 26 N format based on themes.
This will also help identify advanced partners and give them
more, if they want it.

Meeting with MOD

13. (C) In a separate meeting, Amb. Nuland and Casteleijn
assessed the current situation in southern Afghanistan.
Casteleijn said he would call his Norwegian counterpart prior
to the upcoming NATO CHOD's meeting to encourage a Norwegian
contribution in response to SACEUR's request for an
additional battalion in the south. They also discussed the
unlikelihood that France and Germany would support the use of
the NRF in Afghanistan should NATO fail to generate a
battalion. Amb. Schaper repeated earlier points that the
best strategy in gaining French support should be to allow
them to be the heroes, instead of jamming them publicly.

14. (C) Casteleijn inquired if it made sense for NATO to
pursue an approach similar to the USG's Commander Emergency
Reconstruction Program (CERP). Nuland suggested the NATO
bureaucracy might make such an approach difficult, and added

the Canadians are already doing something similar to the CERP
while the Brits are considering it. Casteleijn suggested the
idea be discussed further at NATO to better coordinate
reconstruction efforts. Nuland said the UN and EU should
also be challenged to do more in terms of reconstruction
efforts in Afghanistan.

15. (C) Moving on to Riga, Amb. Nuland referred to SACEUR's
plea for more NRF contributions -- especially logistics
support -- to achieve full operational capability (FOC) by
October 1. She stated the gaps in logistics was the main
impediment to reaching FOC.

16. (C) Amb. Nuland thanked the Dutch for their difficult
decision during a caretaker government to purchase 500 hours
for 2007 in the Strategic Airlift Initiative (SAI).
Casteleijn was optimistic that the GONL will decide to
purchase additional hours, but would have to wait until after
the parliamentary elections in November. He said the Dutch
require more hours than they had initially signed up for.
Amb. Nuland said post-Riga, the Alliance should look at
common-funding for aspects of the initiative.

17. (C) Amb. Schaper and Casteleijn asked for USG
expectations regarding the NATO Special Operations Forces
(SOF) initiative. Amb. Nuland suggested the Alliance begin
with a coordination cell staffed with 40-60 personnel by a
framework nation, and accompanied by 2-3 personnel by
interested Allies. She hoped the framework nation would be
announced at the upcoming informal defense ministerial in
Podoroz, and said the coordination cell could be unveiled at
Riga. Casteleijn commended the SOF model, noting situational
awareness and training benefits.

Meeting with Parliamentarians

18. (U) During a lunch hosted by Amb. Arnall, Amb. Nuland and
Amb. Schaper related their recent trip to Afghanistan to
Dutch parliamentarians. In attendance were current and
former party members of the collapsed coalition, as well as
from the main opposition Labor Party (PvdA). Nuland
commended the Dutch deployment to Uruzgan, noting that she
was very impressed by how the Dutch have linked security and
development efforts through their ink splot strategy. She
praised Dutch soldiers for their willingness to fight, and
said Parliament should continue to support its troops.

19. (U) In a spirited discussion, parliamentarians posed a
number of questions and comments, including plans for the
transition from ISAF III to IV, efforts to get Allies not
contributing in Afghanistan to do more, SACEUR's call for
more troops, the ISAF detention policy, criticism of the
Karzai government, the porous border with Pakistan, poppy
eradication efforts vs. alternatives, reconstruction efforts
and the inability for NGOs to work in the region.

20. (U) Nuland acknowledged the fight against the Taliban was
difficult, as many of the enemy combatants killed thus far
have been poor farmers while hard-line Taliban operatives
remain across the Pakistan border. She argued that
Afghanistan is at a tipping point with the Afghan people as
to whether the Afghan government can provide them security.
She praised the GONL's strategy with Karzai, and pressed the
Dutch to push the UN and EU to do more in Afghanistan,
especially with regard to reconstruction efforts.

21. (U) Amb. Nuland has cleared on this cable.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN News: UN Strongly Condemns Knife Attack Inside Nice Church Which Left Three Dead

The UN Secretary-General on Thursday strongly condemned a knife attack inside a French church in the southern French city of Nice, which reportedly left three worshippers dead. In a statement released by his Spokesperson, António Guterres extended his ... More>>

ALRANZ: Denounces US Senate Confirmation Of Judge Barrett

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa denounces the US Senate’s confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court seat formerly held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. “This action demonstrates the rank hypocrisy of the once-respected upper chamber ... More>>

UN News: Millions Affected As Devastating Typhoon Strikes Viet Nam

A major typhoon has struck central Viet Nam, affecting millions of people – including about 2.5 million children – in a region already reeling from the effects of severe floods, according to UN agencies in the country. There are also reports that 174 ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>