Cablegate: Approaching the Eu in Advance of the October

DE RUEHC #8064/01 2822005
O R 081959Z OCT 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) This is an action request. See paragraph 12.

2. (SBU) Summary: EU Foreign Ministers will hold their
next General Affairs and External Relations Council
(GAERC) meeting in Luxembourg on October 13. We expect
the formal agenda to include: Zimbabwe, Georgia/Russia,
Belarus, and Uzbekistan. A background section covering
these issues is provided prior to a section containing
talking points. Points are to be delivered as soon as
possible at the appropriate level to EU members only.
Other posts should not/not deliver these points. Please
note that while Uzbekistan is expected to be on the
GAERC agenda and background material on Uzbekistan is
provided in this cable for posts' awareness, there are
no Uzbekistan talking points to deliver to the EU at
this time. Posts are requested to include the SIPDIS
caption on their response cables and to reference this



3. (SBU) The agreement signed by the parties on
September 15 provides an opportunity to put Zimbabwe on
the path to democratic reform and economic prosperity.
Though far from ideal, it serves as a framework for
sharing power. There are plenty of holes in this
document, including no division of ministries, the
possibility that Mugabe will retain control over the
police and/or security services, and no mention of
amnesty or transitional justice. There also is no
timeline for implementation, only language requiring
ratification of relevant constitutional amendments by
the Parliament. Nevertheless, if implemented in an
approximation of good faith, the deal offers the people
of Zimbabwe a chance to live in peace and to begin to
move down the road towards political openness and
economic stability. The agreement notes the Zimbabwean
state's responsibility to ensure that all citizens have
access to humanitarian and food assistance.

4. (SBU) We welcome the agreement signed by the parties
and are standing by to see if it will bear fruit by
giving greater voice to the aspirations of the
Zimbabwean people. The agreement promises executive
authority for Morgan Tsvangirai and the Movement for
Democratic Change, reflecting in part the will of the
Zimbabwean people as expressed in the first round of
presidential elections on March 29. The test of the new
arrangement will be in the implementation.

5. (SBU) The U.S. remains concerned about the welfare of
the Zimbabwean people as a result of reports of
incidents of government-sanctioned violence and
intimidation in some areas of the country. There are
reports that so-called war veterans and youth "militia,"
previously organized and funded by the government, have
not been disbanded and continue to assault and harass
segments of the population. The Mugabe Government also
continues to harass opposition supporters and leaders.

6. (SBU) Although we are encouraged by the government's
decision to lift the suspension on the operations of
organizations providing humanitarian assistance, we
remain seriously concerned by reports that democratic
governance and human rights organizations may still face
significant challenges to their operations.
Furthermore, the imposition of certain reporting and
monitoring requirements on humanitarian organizations
could potentially obstruct humanitarian and other
assistance programs. We will monitor closely the re-
activation of the food and medical assistance so
desperately needed by millions of Zimbabweans. We hope
that under the new inclusive government, civil society
will be able to operate freely so that Zimbabweans can
access greatly needed assistance and safely exercise
their political rights.

7. (SBU) As part of our commitment to help the people of
Zimbabwe in their time of greatest need, we have

STATE 00108064 002 OF 004

provided over $170 million in food aid and other support
inside Zimbabwe in FY 2008. In addition, we have
provided $2.5 million for refugees and asylum seekers in
neighboring countries in FY 2008. We strongly encourage
commitment to the agreement by all parties, so that the
Zimbabwean people can experience relief and begin


8. (SBU) High Representative Solana and EU Special
Representative for the Crisis in Georgia Pierre Morel
traveled to Georgia on October 1 to launch the EU
Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia with a visit to
mission headquarters in Tbilisi as well as to the Gori
field office. Solana also met separately with President
Saakashvili, FM Tkeshelashvili, Interior Minister
Merabishvili, opposition leaders and NGOs. All 225 EU
civilian monitors are now in place at the HQ in Tbilisi,
as well as at field offices in Zugdidi, Gori and Poti.
Once all support staff arrive by the end of October, the
total international staffing for the mission will be
352. 22 EU member states have contributed personnel to
the mission. On October 1, three patrols successfully
passed Russian checkpoints in the area adjacent to South
Ossetia. The mission will not seek to enter South
Ossetia or Abkhazia proper until after October 10, when
the Russians will have left undisputed Georgian
territory. The European Commission will host the
Georgia Donors' Conference on October 22 in Brussels.
The World Bank has agreed to co-chair, and invitees will
include 65-70 countries. EUSR Morel met with A/S Fried
and DAS Bryza on the UNGA margins to review planning for
the October 15 Geneva conference on the political
situation in Georgia; there were no significant
differences in our thinking.

9. (SBU) Georgian President Saakashvili recently
publicly committed his government to working with the
opposition to reform and reinforce democratic
institutions in a participatory fashion. We need to
encourage and support these efforts, as well as his
commitment to non use of force in resolving the South
Ossetia and Abkhazia crises.


10. (SBU) In response to the killing by Uzbek forces
of hundreds of civilians in the context of a jail break
and hostage taking that occurred in the city of Andijon
in May 2005, and the refusal of the Uzbek authorities to
allow an impartial investigation of the incident, the EU
imposed a visa ban on senior Uzbek officials - including
the defense minister and national security chief -
involved in human rights abuses in the country. In
October 2007, EU Foreign Ministers, facing pressure from
Germany and other member states, agreed to suspend the
sanctions for six months, provided that certain
conditions demonstrating progress in human rights
standards and democracy were met. "With a view to
encouraging the Uzbek authorities to take substantive
steps to improve the human rights situation and taking
into account their commitments," FMs in April 2008 noted
progress on human rights and extended the ban for
another six months. The October 13 GAERC will again
take up the extension of the visa ban. Reports from
Brussels indicate that the GAERC may drop the visa ban
against Uzbekistan and maintain but "downsize" its arms
ban to get rid of prohibitions on selling equipment and
other items that are not weapons. Contacts say that EU
Special Representative for the Georgia Crisis Pierre
Morel predicts there will be a diplomatic offensive by
Russia in coming weeks to engage its neighbors-including
Uzbekistan. Many in the EU want to increase their own
outreach to Russia's neighbors to provide balance.

11. (SBU) In June 2008, the U.S. implemented travel
restrictions under a provision of the Department of
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Appropriation Act which could limit the U.S. visa
eligibility of current or former Uzbek government
officials responsible for human rights abuses in
Uzbekistan. The Department continues to closely monitor
the human rights situation in Uzbekistan and is working
closely with the Government of Uzbekistan to encourage
discussions and progress on this issue.

STATE 00108064 003 OF 004

12. (SBU) ACTION REQUEST: Please deliver the following
points to the appropriate MFA official(s) as soon as
possible (in advance of the October 13 GAERC).



-- We welcome the EU's close coordination with the U.S.
so that the international donor community speaks with
one voice with respect to the imperfect power sharing
agreement signed September 15.

-- We believe it is important to make clear to the
Mugabe regime that no economic reengagement will occur
until a transitional government implements concrete
democratic reforms.

-- Sanctions will remain in place to maintain pressure
on the regime. The U.S. has a new, expanded set ready
to go if Mugabe fails to join with the MDC to follow
through on the letter and spirit of the September 15
agreement. We urge the EU to maintain current sanctions
as well until genuine change begins.


--We welcome the full deployment of the EU Monitoring
Mission in Georgia on October 1. We greatly appreciate
the unprecedented speed with which the EU deployed the
225 monitors from 22 EU member states.

--We strongly support the EU position that the mission's
mandate covers all of Georgia, including Abkhazia and
South Ossetia. It is vital that the EU, the OSCE, the
UN and other objective outsiders gain full access to
South Ossetia as soon as possible.

--We need to hold Russia to its September 8 and August
12 commitments. This means that we must hold Russia to
its August 12 commitment to withdraw its forces "to
their positions prior to the outbreak of hostilities".
Keeping 7,600 troops in South Ossetia and Abkhazia
violates that commitment.

--The EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia and the OSCE MMOs
are the international mechanism referenced in the
ceasefire and supplemental agreements. There is nothing
in the August 12 or September 8 agreements authorizing
any long-term Russian deployments outside of the
separatist regions, and there should not be any Russian
or South Ossetian patrols in the areas adjacent to South
Ossetia nor any Russian patrols in areas adjacent to
Abkhazia after October 10.

--The U.S. and EU should agree to impose travel
restrictions on high-ranking Abkhaz and South Ossetian
officials, and we welcome EU thinking on how to penalize
Russian firms operating illegally in those regions. The
international community - particularly the EU - has
leverage here, and we need to remain united in support
of Georgian territorial integrity.

--We thank the European Commission for hosting the
international Georgia donors' conference in Brussels on
October 22, and we look forward to participating. We
applaud the Commission on its significant contribution
of 500 million euros and encourage similarly generous
bilateral pledges.

--We hope to continue the close coordination on
preparations for the October 15 meeting in Geneva,
keeping it focused on the long-standing Abkhazia and
South Ossetia conflicts. Consultations with EU Special
Representative Morel last month showed that our ideas
for the meeting are very closely aligned, with no
significant differences between us.

--The U.S. and EU need to work together to press
President Saakashvili to implement his pledges to
reform and reinforce democratic institutions, and to do
his part to fulfill his no use of force pledge.


--We understand the EU is considering responses to
Belarus' release of the remaining political prisoners.

STATE 00108064 004 OF 004

The U.S. responded to the prisoner release by issuing
licenses on September 4 allowing transactions for six
months for two previously-sanctioned enterprises. This
action was thus proportional and limited in time.

--We would encourage the EU to take a similar measured
approach. While we were heartened by the prisoner
release, we have failed to see a real improvement in
basic rights and freedoms.

--The September 28 parliamentary elections were a
particular disappointment in this regard. Prior to the
elections, both the U.S. and EU made clear that the
conduct of the elections would be a key benchmark in our
ability to build a closer relationship. Notwithstanding
these warnings, the OSCE has determined that despite
minor improvements, the elections fell significantly
short of OSCE standards and pledges to make the vote
count more transparent were not met.

--It is important that we continue to use the tools at
our disposal to seek positive change. We would thus
encourage that any lifting of sanctions be partial and
limited in time. Extensions of sanctions waivers and
moves to relax sanctions further should be made
contingent on demonstrable, positive change, not on

--Possible conditionality could include the removal of
the Central Election Commission head and the inclusion
of significant numbers of opposition and independent
representatives on the CEC and on election commissions
at all levels. We should also consider requiring
Belarus to repeal the recently passed media law which
further restricts Belarus' few remaining press freedoms,
particularly regarding the internet, and to pass one
that is in line with OSCE commitments.

--We also want to continue to encourage Belarus to adopt
a more Western orientation. It is clear that the
Georgia crisis has provided Lukashenka with an
opportunity to approach the West and ask for concessions
and heightened engagement lest he be "forced" into the
arms of the Russians. While encouraging distancing from
Russia, we should be wary of Lukashenka playing us all
off with little real commitment to the U.S./EU

--It is encouraging that Belarus has thus far refrained
from recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and we
should continue to emphasize that such a move would be
detrimental to improved relations with the EU and the
U.S. It would also remove one of Lukashenko's key
bargaining chips.

--We see these two goals - promoting democracy and human
rights in Belarus and encouraging a Western orientation
- as mutually reinforcing. It is important that we
pursue both simultaneously.


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