Cablegate: North Atlantic Council Readout - December 19, 2007
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 07 USNATO 000649
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/20/2017
TAGS: NATO PREL AF
SUBJECT: NORTH ATLANTIC COUNCIL READOUT - DECEMBER 19, 2007
REF: USNATO 646
Classified By: CDA Richard G. Olson for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1.(C/NF) Summary from the NAC Meeting:
-- Afghanistan: The ISAF autumn 2007 Periodic Mission Review was provisionally approved. SHAPE reported that 70 percent of significant events in 2006-2007 were centered in only 10 percent of Afghanistan's districts. One billion dollars' worth of heroin was found in Musa Qala. Denmark and the Czech Republic announced new financial contributions to the reconstruction and ANA support trust funds. Turkey opposed ISAF-EUPOL in-theater cooperation, pending an overarching agreement between NATO and the EU in Brussels.
-- Balkans: Three Kosovo-related documents were placed under silence until noon on December 20 (see reftel). The Secretary General reminded Allies of their pledge to be SIPDIS available for a meeting of the North Atlantic Council during the NATO holiday, should events in Kosovo demand the need for one.
-- Darfur: The Secretary General (SYG) noted the receipt of a Note Verbale from the African Union, expressing appreciation to NATO for its support of the AU missions in Darfur and Somalia, as well as to the establishment of the African Standby Force (ASF). The AU Commission is also willing to discuss with NATO ways in which the Alliance could further support the ASF.
-- Iraq: The final approval of the Autumn 2007 NTM-I PMR passed silence Friday, December 14.
-- Response to Terrorism: Noting that NATO's response to terrorism was an issue that would need to be addressed at the upcoming Bucharest Summit, the SYG said he intended to draft a Chairman,s Report summarizing the progress NATO had achieved from the International Staff's perspective.
-- Statements on Political Subjects: The Spanish PermRep remarked that one of Spain's most important accomplishments as OSCE CiO was establishing OSCE involvement and presence in Afghanistan.
-- AOB: Informal Defense Ministerial in Vilnius -) The Council approved the SYG's outline schedule for February's informal NATO Defense Ministerial in Vilnius. At its first meeting in January, the NAC will return to the issue of whether the working lunch meeting on NATO operations will be for ministers only.
-- NATO Response Force -) The NRF Interim Force Generation paper received Military Committee approval.
-- Helicopters )- A draft decision sheet on measures to remedy the shortage of helicopters was put under a short silence procedure until mid-day December 20. CMC Henault USNATO 00000649 002 OF 007 noted that military authorities were very supportive of the paper, but cautioned that the time scales on reports to Council were in his view "challenging."
-- Expanded Russian Naval Presence in the Mediterranean -) The planned deployment of the Russian Aircraft Carrier Kuznetsov to the Mediterranean in January 2008 could present new opportunities for NATO-Russia cooperation, as well as an opportunity for NATO to assess Russian naval capabilities and interoperability. END SUMMARY.
2.(C/NF) Secretary General (SYG) de Hoop Scheffer asked for and received the North Atlantic Council's (NAC's) provisional approval of the autumn 2007 ISAF Periodic Mission Review, pending the concurrence of non-NATO contributing nations. (Note: The PMR was emailed to EUR/RPM.)
3.(C/NF) Chairman of the Military Committee (CMC) Henault informed the NAC that its June 2007 tasking to the Strategic Commands to refine (by the end of 2007) advice on possible long-term training support initiatives by NATO for the Afghan National Army )- such as institutional and advisory activities, branch schools, and an English language school )- could not be completed until February 2008. Henault said that the delay was the result of two documents the Strategic Commands needed to use as the basis of its work not having been finalized
-- CSTC-A's Command Plan Review and ISAF HQ's NATO supporting plan. Henault reminded the NAC that Allies had been unable to meet the February 2007 NAC-approved short-term training initiatives, such as filling CSTC-A billets and completely filling Operational Mentor Liaison Team (OMLT) requirements.
4.(C/NF) SHAPE Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations MG Wright stated that the total number of pan-theater significant events was down 11 percent from the previous week, and that 65 percent of the events occurred in RC-South. Of that 65 percent, 59 percent were initiated by ISAF and Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). He attributed the decrease to a reduced ISAF/ANSF op tempo. He reported that throughout 2006 and 2007, 70 percent of significant events occurred in 10 percent of Afghanistan,s districts. These districts were located overwhelmingly throughout the "Pashtun Belt" in the south and east of the country. MG Wright stated that the majority of events in the north were related to local power brokers and drug lords. On Pakistan, he stated that ISAF's lines of communication through Pakistan remained open, and that Pakmil operations in the North West Frontier Province and Federally Administered Tribal Areas were now shifting from a more active phase to a focus on establishing stability. The Tripartite Commission is tentatively scheduled to meet at the four-star level at the end of USNATO 00000649 003 OF 007 December.
5.(C/NF) MG Wright stated that ISAF operations remain focused largely on the ring road and on Opposing Militant Force (OMF) concentrations in the south, particularly around Musa Qala. He noted the Portuguese Quick Reaction Force company had redeployed from RC-South back to RC-Capital, after performing missions )- including combat patrols
-- in Zabul. He announced that the Japanese-funded work on the last remaining unpaved segment of the ring road, a 116-kilometer stretch between Kandahar and Gereshk, had begun on December 3.
6.(C/NF) Reporting on the situation in Musa Qala, Wright said that 5,000 kilograms of heroin rock, with an estimated street value of USD one billion, had been seized, adding that there was also evidence that drug processing equipment had been evacuated from the area. In addition, he reported on the seizure of OMF weapons. He pointed to the performance of the Afghan army as a testament to what could be achieved through a well integrated and resourced OMLT plan and praised the Afghan-led (with ISAF backing) media effort as a model for future operations. At the same time, he said that the Afghans still needed assistance to develop their capacity in this field. According to Wright, SHAPE assessed that the bulk of OMF who fled Musa Qala went to Kandahar and Farah provinces. A Task Force Helmand "stabilization team" was working in Musa Qala with Afghan national and local officials to coordinate activity along security, governance, and reconstruction lines and ensure an integrated, funded reconstruction and development plan. Asked by Romania about the presence of international organizations now in Musa Qala, MG Wright cited significant coordination and pre-coordination with UNAMA, the World Food Program, and UNHCR. On the other hand, he said that the establishment of a UN presence in the area would be a long-term endeavor. He said the Commander of RC-South had suggested to UNAMA that the WHO consider implementing its polio campaign in Musa Qala now, taking advantage of the security.
7.(C/NF) Charge Olson asked MG Wright if funds from COMISAF's Post-Operations Humanitarian Relief Fund (POHRF) had been used in Musa Qala. MG Wright said they had not, explaining that the POHRF terms of reference only permit those funds to be used for humanitarian relief and the mitigation of negative effects of kinetic activity and not for the proactive types of activities needed to win over the local population following an operation. He urged nations to consider how this problem could be fixed.
8.(C/NF) In other interventions, Denmark announced it was immediately implementing a USD 500,000 education initiative in Musa Qala to build and repair schools. Canadian PermRep McRae cited progress Canada,s police mentor teams were making in Zhari and Panjwai districts of Kandahar province, noting that this area had been in the front lines during Operation MEDUSA in fall 2006. Noting the USD 20 million that Canada had contributed in 2007 and underscoring the USNATO 00000649 004 OF 007 importance of paying police salaries, he urged Allies to disburse planned payments, or find additional monies, for the UNDP's Law and Order Trust Fund. The Czech PermRep announced a 38,000-euro donation to the POHRF (the Czech,s third donation to the Fund), a 95,000-euro donation to the ANA equipment support transportation trust fund, and 19,000 euros for the Physical Security and Stockpile Management Trust Fund that falls under the rubric of the NATO-Afghanistan Cooperation Program.
9.(C/NF) The Turkish PermRep, noting a report by SCR Everts that European Union police training mission (EUPOL) officials had requested ISAF facilitation of their travel to PRTs and would seek to establish a formal coordination mechanism with ISAF in Kabul, reiterated a longstanding Turkish position that any such cooperation occur only once an overarching framework agreement were reached between NATO and the EU in Brussels. He said that, until then, any PRT cooperation with EUPOL could only occur at the bilateral level, outside the scope of ISAF. The request by EUPOL should be treated accordingly and discussed at the NAC, he concluded.
10.(C/NF) Reftel reports and requests guidance on three Kosovo-related documents which were discussed and put under silence until noon on December 20.
11.(C/NF) The CMC reported that the NATO Operational Reserve Force from Germany recently completed its activities in Kosovo and will be back in Germany by December 31. He noted that the UK will take over the Operational Reserve Force from Italy and that a second Strategic Reserve Force, from Italy, is now ready, which is the first time in recent memory there have been two such units on standby at the same time. He said the Italian battalion would conduct a full deployment exercise to Kosovo in January.
12.(C/NF) Czech PermRep Fule made an appeal that the issue of security always be kept separate from the issue of Kosovo's status. He underscored the importance of keeping non-NATO KFOR troop-contributing partners briefed on NATO,s decision-making. Portugal, Norway, Denmark and Greece repeated this call to brief partners and the SYG subsequently undertook to do so on December 20. Several Allies, led by Spain, also stressed the importance of keeping Allied discussions and plans regarding Kosovo confidential.
13.(C/NF) The SYG observed that PermReps at the December 18 Coffee pledged their availability to give rapid NAC guidance at any time over the holiday period.
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14.(C/NF) The Secretary General noted the receipt of a Note Verbale from the African Union, expressing appreciation to NATO for its support of the AU missions in Darfur and Somalia, as well as to the establishment of the African Standby Force (ASF). (Note: The Note Verbale was distributed under cover of SG(2007)0899. In it, the AU also said that it looked forward to continued NATO support to the ASF, adding that specific areas for NATO assistance could be identified in consultations between the AU Commission and NATO staff.)
15.(C/NF) The SYG noted that the final approval of the Autumn 2007 NTM-I PMR passed silence Friday, December 14.
Response to Terrorism
16.(C/NF) Noting that NATO's response to terrorism was an issue that would need to be addressed at the upcoming Bucharest Summit, the SYG proposed that he draft a Chairman's Report summarizing the progress NATO had achieved from the International Staff's perspective. He argued that the Chairman's report would avoid the lengthy discussions required were the Senior Political Committee be tasked with negotiating an agreed document. He said that he would provide his draft report to PermReps so that they could provide feedback during one of their informal coffee or lunches. When Greek PermRep Stamatopoulos protested against making comments in such an informal session, the SYG reminded him that PermReps use the informal meetings in this way on a regular basis. The SYG reaffirmed his intention to draft a Chairman's Report, pointing out that if Allies found his draft unacceptable they could propose an alternative way forward later.
Statements on Political Subjects
17. (C/NF) Noting that Spain's time as OSCE Chairman in Office (CiO) was coming to an end, Spanish PermRep Benavides said that one of Madrid's proudest achievements as CiO was establishing OSCE involvement in Afghanistan. Benavides also said that Spain had been asked by Finland ) a non-NATO country and the next OSCE CiO ) to continue reporting OSCE matters to the Council.
18. (C/NF) Informal Defense Ministerial in Vilnius -) The Council approved the SYG's proposed outline schedule for February,s informal meeting of NATO Defense Ministers in USNATO 00000649 006 OF 007 Vilnius (see below). When the Secretary General expressed his preference for a "ministers only" lunch, Turkish PermRep Ildem reminded him that Ankara was opposed to a "ministers only" format meeting and that this was a position held by several other Allies, as well. The SYG agreed to leave the matter unresolved for now, adding that the NAC would return to this issue during its first meeting in January. The SYG also warned that )- while he hoped it would not be necessary )- defense ministers might need to hold a short formal session to make key decisions in advance of the Bucharest Summit. Draft Day 1 Schedule: Working lunch at 26 on NATO Operations. KFOR meeting NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting Evening Social Event Draft Day 2 Schedule: ISAF meeting Defense Transformation meeting at 26 NATO-Russia Council lunch
19. (C/NF) NATO Response Force )- The SYG informed the NAC that the NRF Interim Force Generation paper was approved by the Military Committee and that he would now circulate it for final NAC approval. The paper detailed elements of a graduated NRF force option that will come into force with NRF 11 in July 2008.
20. (C/NF) Helicopters )- The SYG noted that a draft decision sheet had been circulated on measures to remedy the shortage of helicopters and that he hoped Allies could agree on the document. At the request of Germany, however, he agreed to put the document under a short silence procedure until mid-day December 20. CMC Henault noted that military authorities were very supportive of the paper. At the same time, Henault cautioned that the time scales on reports to Council were in his view "challenging."
21. (C/NF) Expanded Russian Naval Presence in the Mediterranean -) CMC Henault briefed on the planned deployment of the Russian Aircraft Carrier Kuznetsov to the Mediterranean in January 2008. He said that the Russians have said the deployment -) their first major maritime operation in the Mediterranean since the end of the Soviet Union )- was to create a naval presence and secure Russian shipping interests in the Mediterranean. Henault said that from the Military Committee's point of view, the deployment presents new opportunities for NATO-Russia cooperation, as well as an opportunity for NATO to assess Russian naval capabilities and interoperability. SHAPE has written to the Operations Chief, Russian General Staff, proposing combined exercises with NATO's Standing Maritime Group. Estonian PermRep Luik said he found the briefing useful, urging similar briefings on Russian military activities in the USNATO 00000649 007 OF 007 future.
22. (C/NF) Norwegian PermRep Traavik informed Allies the Kuznetsov had recently conducted maneuvers near Norwegian oil platforms, causing significant disruptions to the platforms' operations. Traavik said Oslo had raised the issue with Moscow in direct terms. 23. (C/NF) Earlier this year, Russia deployed a single warship to NATO's Operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean. OLSON..