Cablegate: Eu Foreign Ministers, Meeting in Luxembourg,

DE RUEHBS #1588/01 2881518
P 141518Z OCT 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Begin Introduction and Summary: Meeting in Luxembourg
October 13, the General Affairs and External Relations
Council (GAERC) of the 27 EU Foreign Ministers reviewed draft
Presidency conclusions for the European Council meeting of
EU-27 heads of state/government to take place in Brussels on
October 15-16. Much of that meeting will be on the global
economic and financial situation. The European Council will
also address the Lisbon Treaty, the European Pact on
Immigration and Asylum, environmental and energy questions
(including energy security), and the crisis in Georgia.

2. On Russia/Georgia, the GAERC Conclusions of October 13
highlighted the urgent need to discuss Georgia's upper Kodori
valley and the Akhalgori region at the international talks to
begin in Geneva on October 15, where, according to French
Foreign Minister Kouchner's comments to the press,
representatives of South Ossetia and Abkhazia would
"probably" be accepted as such. Kouchner added that Foreign
Ministers would further discuss future EU/Russia relations on
the margins of the October 15 European Council meeting in
Brussels, but was categorical in stating that the EU/Russia
summit would take place in November.

3. To mark and further encourage democratic developments,
the GAERC removed travel bans for Uzbekistan and Belarus,
with some exceptions for the latter. Belarusian President
Lukashenko was reportedly included in the list of names that
would be removed from the list. Belarusian Foreign Minister
Martynov, after meeting with EU troika counterparts on the
margin of the GAERC, told the press that an EU team would
travel to Belarus in a few weeks. GAERC Conclusions on
Moldova provide for a deeper relationship and reaffirm the
EU's engagement in resolving the conflict with the breakaway
region of Transnistria. The GAERC authorized the conclusion
of an agreement with the U.S. on its participation in EULEX

4. The GAERC noted that a government of national unity had
not yet been formed in Zimbabwe; however, it reiterated the
EU's intention to provided humanitarian assistance to the
population. The GAERC decided to establish a strategic
partnership with Mexico. Furthermore, the neighborhood
policy with Morocco was strengthened. At the press
conference, Kouchner and Solana sounded the alarm about the
deteriorating situation in the DR Congo. Kouchner also noted
with satisfaction the passage of UNSC Resolution 1835 on
Iran. End Introduction and Summary.

Georgia/Russia: Council Conclusions
Raise Kodori and Akhalgori

5. The Council Conclusions "note with satisfaction" that
Russian troops have withdrawn from zones adjacent to South
Ossetia and Abkhazia. The Council calls on the parties to
continue to implement their commitments, including with
regard to the role of OSCE and UNOMIG observers, and welcomes
UNSCR 1839 to extend the UNOMIG mandate for four months.
Reiterating its support for the territorial integrity of
Georgia, the Council reaffirms the willingness of the EU to
take an active part in the international discussions starting
October 15, "under the auspices of the EU, the UN and the
OSCE." It makes particular mention of the need to discuss
(in Geneva) the upper Kodori valley and the Akhalgori region.
The Council thanks the Commission for convening the October
22 donors conference aimed at assisting displaced persons and
restarting the Georgian economy, saying the EU will
contribute substantially. Finally, the Council states it is
preparing to begin negotiations with Georgia soon on visa
facilitation and read mission, and invites the Commission to
continue preparatory work on a possible free trade area with

Georgia/Russia: The Press Conference

6. Noting that the GAERC's discussion on Georgia and Russia
lasted three hours, Foreign Minister Kouchner, who was last
in Georgia on October 10, reported that the EU maintains its

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unity on this crisis. He congratulated the EU monitors for
their "remarkable" deployment into the zones adjacent to
South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and he looked forward to the
Geneva talks, which he promised would be long. Kouchner said
that representatives from the breakaway provinces would
"probably" be accepted as such at Geneva. He suggested that
Akhalgori would be an early agenda item, noting that, for the
time being, only IDPs holding Russian passports are being
allowed to return there.

7. External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner
promised EC support for Georgia's reconstruction, noting that
the needs are less than originally foreseen. Both
Ferrero-Waldner and Kouchner responded in the affirmative
when asked if the November 14 EU/Russia summit (in Nice) was
still on. Kouchner stated that the subject of the resumption
of negotiations with Russia on a new cooperation agreement
with the EU would be further discussed at the EU Foreign
Ministers' dinner on October 15 (on the margins of the
European Council meeting).

Belarus: Council Conclusions
Ease Travel Restrictions

8. In their formal conclusions, the EU-27 Foreign Ministers
call upon Belarusian authorities to address the shortcomings
which kept the September 28 parliamentary elections below
OSCE standards. On the positive side of the ledger, the
Council notes that the political opposition in Belarus had
broader access to the media and was able to demonstrate
peacefully on the evening of the elections. The Council
reiterates its approval of the release of the last
internationally recognized political prisoners before the

9. Hoping for a gradual re-engagement with Belarus, the
Council took note of the troika meeting with the Belarusian
Foreign Minister (taking place on the margins of the GAERC)
and decided to restore contacts with Belarusian authorities,
restricted since November 2004. To that end, the Council,
while deciding to extend for another year restrictive
measures previously adopted, is suspending for six months
travel restrictions imposed on certain leading figures in
Belarus, including President Lukashenko. (USEU will provide
updates on the EU revised visa ban list as the information
becomes available.) Meanwhile, it is expected that Belarus
will make progress toward reforming its electoral code, and
guaranteeing freedom of expression and assembly. Exempt from
this relaxation are those involved in the disappearances
which occurred in 1999 and 2000 and the President of the
Central Electoral Commission.

Belarus Press Stake Out:
EU Team "Soon" to Travel to Minsk

10. Javier Solana told the press that the just-completed
troika meeting with Foreign Minister Martynov had created a
favorable climate and would lead to the visit to Minsk of an
EU team soon. Martynov said Belarus was willing to work with
the EU, and that the EU team would be traveling in a few

Uzbekistan: Travel Ban Lifted

11. Noting progress with respect to rule of law and
protection of human rights - particularly the release of Mrs.
Mukhtabar Tojibaeva, the abolition of the death penalty, the
introduction of habeas corpus, the ratification of
conventions combating child labor, and the resumption of ICRC
prison visits - the Council decided not to renew travel
restrictions applying to certain individuals; however, in a
decision evidently calculated to reach consensus on
Uzbekistan, it did renew, for one year, the arms embargo it
imposed in 2007. The Council nonetheless said it is
"seriously concerned" about human rights in Uzbekistan, and
calls on Uzbek authorities to release all imprisoned human

BRUSSELS 00001588 003 OF 004

rights defenders, cease harassing others, accept the
accreditation of the new Country Director of Human Rights
Watch, and revoke restrictions on NGOs.

Moldova: On Track

12. According to the Council Conclusions, the EU is ready to
deepen its relationship and negotiate a "new and ambitious"
agreement soon with Moldova, going beyond the current
Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and to include a
comprehensive free-trade area. Furthermore, visa-free travel
is a long-term perspective. Reaffirming its attachment to
the territorial integrity of Moldova, the EU will increase
its efforts to resolve the conflict in Transnistria, and
calls upon all parties to resume negotiations in the 5 2

Kosovo: U.S. EULEX Participation
Agreement Adopted

13. The EULEX Kosovo U.S.-EU Participation Agreement was
formally adopted without discussion.

Zimbabwe: Standing By With Assistance

14. The Council noted with concern that a government of
national unity has not been formed, and called for continued
engagement by SADC, the African Union and the UN. Noting
that the Commission had just released another EUR 10 million
in humanitarian aid, the Council reaffirmed that the EU
stands ready to adopt a package of measures to assist the
rehabilitation of the country, once the September 15
agreement is actually implemented.

Mexico: A Strategic Partner

15. Noting the many phases of their relations since 1960,
the Council decides to accept the recommendation of the
Commission to establish a strategic partnership with Mexico.

Morocco: Advanced Status

16. The seventh meeting of the EU-Morocco Association
Council took place on the margins of the GAERC, and it was
marked by the launch of the "Advanced Status" that had been
requested by Morocco for reinforcing its relations with the
EU under the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP). (See relations/morocco for details.)

Press Conference: Further on
Financial Crisis, DRC, Iran

17. In addition to commenting on Russia and Georgia (see
para 3 above), Foreign Minister Kouchner noted the positive
reactions in financial markets to the Euro-zone summit which
took place on October 12. Kouchner characterized the meeting
as a political affirmation of the Euro-zone, and he ventured
that the situation would be much worse without the Euro. He
pondered a "more moral" financial system, and said that an
international conference - a G-7, G-8, or G-14 format - would
be needed to revive global finances. Kouchner said that
revised draft conclusions for the October 15 European Council
meeting on this subject would be circulated on October 14.

18. Both Kouchner and Solana expressed growing concern about
the security situation in the DR Congo, and especially about
the violence perpetrated against women in conflict zones.
Solana said he had been in contact with Congolese President
Joseph Kabila. For his part, Kouchner lamented that the
peace plan is not being implemented and that rebel General

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Nkunda seemed ready to launch a major offensive. Sounding
the alarm, Kouchner said that massacres could be
"frightening." When asked if the EU thought about sending
troops to the region (as it did briefly in 2003), Kouchner
said anything is possible. In a brief comment on Iran,
Kouchner welcomed the passage of UNSCR 1835, saying that it
maintained P5 1 unity.


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