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Cablegate: Building Support for a Nac Visit to Georgia

VZCZCXYZ0013
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNO #0479/01 2481650
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 051650Z SEP 07
FM USMISSION USNATO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1150
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI PRIORITY 5503

C O N F I D E N T I A L USNATO 000479
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/06/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV NATO GG
SUBJECT: BUILDING SUPPORT FOR A NAC VISIT TO GEORGIA
Classified By: Ambassador Victoria Nuland for reason
1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (U) This cable contains an action request.
Please see paragraphs 2 and 7.

2. (C) SUMMARY AND ACTION REQUEST: At a September 4
informal discussion among NATO Perm Reps, there was
significant movement towards consensus in favor of the
proposed October 3-4 visit of the North Atlantic Council
(NAC) to Tbilisi. However, several Allies -- Germany,
Greece, Luxembourg, and Belgium -- remained opposed and
several more -- France, Spain, and the Netherlands -- were
non-committal. Perm Reps agree to revisit the issue on
Tuesday, September 11 for a final decision on whether the NAC
would make the trip to Georgia or the Secretary-General (SYG)
would travel alone. In light of the importance of a positive
decision both to the integrity of NATOs Intensified Dialogue
process and to Georgias ambitions to move to NATO Membership
Action Plan, post requests the Department instruct Embassies
Berlin, Athens, Madrid, Luxembourg, Brussels, Paris and The
Hague to demarche host governments on U.S. support for a NAC
visit to Tbilisi, in order to recognize NATO appreciation for
the government of Georgias progress on reforms, which are
integral to Georgias Intensified Dialogue with NATO. END
SUMMARY AND ACTION REQUEST.

3. (C) At the weekly informal NATO Perm Reps coffee on
September 4, SYG Jaap de Hoop Scheffer strongly urged the NAC
to join him on the proposed October 3-4 visit to Tbilisi.
The SYG said a visit by the NAC would be an opportunity to
support Georgias undeniable progress in reforms, to express
NATO appreciation for the government of Georgias restraint
in the face of Russian provocations, and to send Georgia the
right messages directly on the need for continued progress
and restraint.

4. (C) Germany led opposition to a NAC visit. German
Charge Wunderlich said Berlin is firmly opposed to the visit
because the timing, implying that recent tensions between
Georgia and Russia over the August 6 missile incident and
between Russia and the West over Kosovo made the visit
inopportune. Greek Political Counselor Georges was more
explicit and said the NAC should not make the visit because
of the likely Russian reaction: It would be best if the NATO
Secretary General traveled alone to Tbilisi because some
Allies do not want to anger Russia. French Ambassador Duque
said Paris was not opposed to the visit in principle because
it was a natural part of NATOs Intensive Dialogue with
Georgia, but urged the PermReps to return to the issue on
September 11 for a final decision.

5. (C) Spain argued a trip should not take place until
after the OSCE releases a formal report on the August 6
missile incident. Dutch Perm Rep Schaper said the Dutch were
cautious, but would not block consensus

6. (C) Ambassador Nuland noted that there would be no
better time for the NAC visit than the proposed dates in
October given upcoming Russian Duma and Presidential
elections. She also said the visit was a natural part of
Georgias Intensified Dialogue with NATO. Allies supporting
a NAC visit included Canada, whose Perm Rep Mcrae strongly
supported the NAC visit and remarked in response to Spanish
arguments that it would be unwise for NATO to put off a
decision because of the possible actions of another
International Organization. Denmark and the UK also strongly
supported the visit, noting that the NAC had already visited
Russia on June 25-26 and had earlier visited Ukraine, the
other country in NATOs Intensified Dialogue. Norway,
Turkey, and Portugal said they would agree to the visit as
long as it was in no way explicitly linked to a possible
decision to invite Georgia into NATOs Membership Action
Plan.

7. (C) Action Request: USNATO requests that the Department
instruct relevant embassies to relay USG views on the
advisability of a NAC trip to Georgia.

8. (U) We have used the following arguments and offer them
as suggestions:
-- NATO Allies have engaged Georgias Government in an
Intensive Dialogue that began two years ago. Most Allies,
including the US, have acknowledged Georgias strong
progress. A NAC visit to Georgia is an opportunity for the
NAC to support Georgias progress and to ask for more reform.
-- NATO has a relationship with Georgia through its
Intensified Dialogue and a visit by the NAC is a natural part
of this relationship. The NAC has already visited Russia
this year and has previously visited Ukraine, the other
country in Intensified Dialogue.
-- The Government of Georgia has shown restraint, maturity,
and concern for regional stability in its measured response
to several provocations and violations of Georgias airspace
and territorial sovereignty. A NAC visit would encourage
Georgia to continue to show restraint and to consult closely
with the Allies.
-- (as appropriate) We need to be careful not to signal to
Russia that it has a veto on issues such as NAC travel.

NULAND

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