Cablegate: Mission Usnato
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2008.08.13 : READOUT: OCTOBER 8 NORTH ATLANTIC COUNCIL MEETING
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 06 USNATO 000367
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/10/2018 TAGS: NATO PREL AF
USNATO 00000367 001.3 OF 006
Classified By: Classified by Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Walter S. R eid for Reasons 1.4(b) and (d).
1. (C/NF) Summary from the NAC Meeting:
-- AFGHANISTAN: NATO Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer noted that SG(2008)0746: &Employment of NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force for ISAF8 is under silence until 1800, Oct 8. If this document is agreed, the Military Committee (MC) will be able to take forward its work on this issue. SHAPE,s Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Maj Gen Wright, cited a slight reduction in Opposing Militant Forces (OMF) activity compared to the previous week and reported that there has been a 33 percent decrease in attacks on the ring road since August 4. PermReps focused on the future assessment of the Comprehensive Strategic Pol-Mil Plan (CSPMP) and Pakistan,s operations in the border area.
-- BALKANS: The SYG announced that he will continue to plan the NAC trip to Kosovo.
-- AFRICA/PIRACY: The Chairman of the Military Committee (CMC) presented the latest state of play on MC advice on the issue of piracy. The MC is looking at a short term response to address the immediate need of providing protection to the World Food Program (WFP), as requested in a letter from the UN, as well as the rules of engagement for a NATO flotilla expected to be in the vicinity of the Gulf of Aden (GoA) in coming weeks. He said the NATO MC will look at longer term counter-piracy operations next, including options for use of another NATO flotilla set to operate in the GoA and Indian Ocean in Spring 2009. Canada is currently protecting WFP ships, but will leave the region on October 23. The Netherlands said it is considering detaching a ship from the current NATO Mediterranean flotilla and sending it under a national flag to follow the Canadian escort vessel. The EU has a coordination cell in Brussels and is considering an ESDP mission to commence in mid-December. SACEUR is seeking NAC approval to establish the Rules of Engagement for any NATO vessel that encounters an act of piracy; the ROE would consider surveillance, deterrence, and engagement (Note: this passed silence on Thursday, Oct. 9. End Note.).
-- IRAQ: no discussion
-- PREPARATIONS FOR THE MEETINGS OF DEFENCE MINISTERS IN BUDAPEST: The SYG said that he would ask Ministers to note and agree five reports during the October 10 formal session of the Budapest Defense Ministerial.. At the same time, he expressed his and the CMCs significant concerns about the PE Review in the "Capability" report.
-- NOISE MITIGATION MEASURES AT GEILENKIRCHEN: The Chairman postponed the presentation to another occasion given the unexpected length of discussion on the previous agenda topic.
-- RESPONSE TO TERRORISM: Turkey briefed on the October 3 PKK terrorist attack in Simdinli, informing the NAC that Turkish operations against the PKK terrorists continue. Turkey also said that Ankara had demarched Baghdad, reminding the Iraqis of their international obligations and requesting that they take measures against the terrorists.
-- STATEMENTS ON POLITICAL TOPICS: France briefed on the recent informal EU defense ministers meeting which discussed EU operations (namely Chad, Althea in BiH and Georgia), capabilities and future counter-piracy activity plans.
--AOB: Poland informed the Council of plans for a Polish contribution to the NATO Trust Fund for Afghanistan and the NATO Trust fund for Ukraine. Albania and Croatia thanked Lithuania for having ratified their entry into NATO and urged remaining Allies to follow suit.
----------- Afghanistan -----------
2. (C/NF) Afghanistan: AWACS: NATO Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer noted that SG(2008)0746 titled &Employment of NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control (NAEWC) Force for ISAF8 is under silence until 1800, Oct 8. In this document, the SYG recommends moving the issue forward by validating the requirement and establishing this deployment as a theatre-level capability. If the document passes silence, the Military Committee will be able to take forward its work on this issue.
3. (C/NF) Operational Update by SHAPE DCOS/OPS: SHAPE,s Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Maj Gen Wright, cited a slight reduction in Opposing Militant Forces (OMF) activity compared to the previous week and noted OMF are focusing their efforts on undermining the Government of Afghanistan and key government leaders. He reported that the Tri-partite Commission (TPC) met this past week and that Pakistan representatives offered training and equipment to the ANSF. This offer is expected to be a key topic for the next TPC meeting, scheduled for October 27. Maj Gen Wright reported that there had been a 33 percent decrease in attacks on the ring road since August 4. Lastly, he said that voter registration began on October 6, adding that there has been no specific OMF intent to target voter registration.
4. (C/NF) PermRep Comments: Noting that he was looking forward to a discussion of the Comprehensive Strategic Pol-Mil Plan (CSPMP), the UK PermRep expressed regret that the CSPMP Annex was still making its way through NATO,s committee structure and would not be available in time for discussion at the October 9-10 Budapest Defense Ministerial. He recommended the NAC look at the CSPMP immediately upon return from Budapest to ensure the structure is correct before the committee work on the document resumes. He also argued that a detailed report must be prepared for the 2009 Summit. Returning to his concerns about the way NATO does business, he suggested that NATO should move toward reviewing documents in a parallel process rather than the current series process. De Hoop Scheffer replied that that this suggestion would be looked at as a part of the larger discussion on NATO HQ reform.
5. (C/NF) The Dutch PermRep requested SHAPE provide an assessment of Pakistan operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and how it has affected the OMF activities in Afghanistan. MG Wright said he would have his intelligence staff work on this assessment, and he would address this issue in his next briefing to the NAC.
6. (C/NF) The Canadian PermRep suggested the SYG speak specifically about the CSPMP during the lunch at 26 in Budapest. SYG assured him this topic would be discussed more than once in Budapest.
7. (C/NF) The Romanian PermRep reported that his country had deployed its first OMLT to Afghanistan this week. Additionally, his Defense Minister has pledged further OMLTs for deployment next year.
8. (C/NF) The Estonian PermRep asked for a briefing or assessment of Pakistan border issues and how civilian tools could be of use in addressing problems for which the military could not. He also voiced support for SACEUR,s recommendations on counternarcotics (CN) amendments to the Operational Plan (OPLAN).
9. (C/NF) The Czech Republic,s PermRep reported that his government has donated 50,000 Euros to the ANA Transportation Trust Fund to move the 3 Czech attack helicopters that are ready to for delivery to the ANA. He noted that an additional 350,000 Euros was needed to move the other 12 donated helicopters. He challenged the Alliance to donate more money to the Trust Fund to get desperately needed equipment to the ANA.
10. (C/NF) Closing Comments: In closing, the de Hoop Scheffer mentioned that he would have a teleconference with Afghan Minister of Defense Wardak that afternoon and he would let the Council know what was discussed over lunch in Budapest. Lastly, SYG recommended a combined Political and Military Committee meeting to discuss the CSPMP in the run-up to NATO,s April 2009 Strasbourg / Kehl Summit.
------- Balkans -------
11. (C/NF) Balkans: The SYG, following up on the discussions that occurred in the Perm Rep coffee on October 7, announced that he will continue to plan the NAC trip to Kosovo. He said he would take into account concerns that nations had raised with the agenda and with meetings with Kosovo officials that could be perceived as NATO acknowledgment of Kosovo,s status.
12. (C/NF) SHAPE followed with a short operational update that highlighted shortfalls in both the KPC Stand-down and KSF Stand-up Trust Funds. Luxembourg and the Czech Republic both expressed concern that nations still had not honored pledges to these critical Trust Funds. De Hoop Scheffer stressed that the situation must improve quickly, adding that it may be appropriate to conduct an analysis of the Trust Fund pledges and the consequences of delays in filling them.
------ Africa ------
13. (C/NF) Africa: The Chairman of the Military Committee (CMC) presented the latest state of play on MC advice regarding the piracy issue. The MC is looking at a short term response to address the immediate need of providing protection to the World Food Program, (WFP), as requested in a letter from the UN, as well as the long term need of a complementary approach to counter-piracy when the EU stands up its operations in the Gulf of Aden and the next NATO flotilla returns to the region in Spring 2009. Canada is currently protecting WFP ships, but will leave the region on October 23. The EU has a coordination cell in Brussels and is considering an ESDP mission to commence in mid-December. SACEUR is seeking NAC approval to establish the Rules of Engagement for any NATO vessel that encounters an act of piracy; the ROE would consider surveillance, deterrence, and engagement (Note: This passed silence on Oct. 9 as well. End Note.).
14. (C/NF) The CMC noted that Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG-2) will be passing through the Suez Canal on October 15, in the Gulf of Aden October 21, and continue through the Red Sea to various port visits in the Persian Gulf, completing its mission in early December. CMC stated that NATO had a number of options, including having some ships detour and stay in the Gulf of Aden. Alternatively, the entire mission could be redirected or extended as needed. The MC had provided a memorandum for this short term decision, which was under NAC silence. CMC said that--so far--ships protecting the WFP have been provided on a national basis. He highlighted TF-150 and CJTF-HOA as having allowed ships to peel off in support. (Note: we would welcome confirmation of such detachments from CJTF-HoA. End Note.) In the long term, CMC said that SNMG-1 will pass through the Gulf of Aden region from mid-March 2009 until early July, 2009.
15. (C/NF) Ambassador Volker urged the NAC to respond favorably to the UN request, arguing that NATO has the capacity to provide the support and would not incur any additional costs in doing so. He also argued that NATO needed to fill the gap that will exist until the EU mission is deployed. Volker emphasized that NATO-EU staff-to-staff coordination is important. The Ambassador also offered U.S. assistance in providing/sharing data from USG assets in the region to a NATO headquarters, which could then be shared with the ESDP mission.
16. (C/NF) The Dutch PermRep informed the NAC that his government was likely to send a frigate in response to the UN request for WFP escort duty, adding that a firm decision on this from The Hague was expected by the end of next week. The Netherlands said it would detach the ship from the current NATO Mediterranean flotilla and send it under a national flag to follow the Canadian escort vessel. In response to a UK suggestion that NATO efforts might need further consideration in this light, the Dutch PermRep emphasized that he did not want the Dutch decision to operate on a national basis to block NATOs collective decisions on piracy. Germany, Italy, Denmark, and UK supported the CMCs approach, highlighting the need for complementarity of NATO and EU anti-piracy efforts. Italy added that counter-piracy was so important that Italy was proposing to host the headquarters in Rome for the EU ESDP mission. The UK pointedly said that national contributions were simpler and quicker, although he did add that such contributions should not block NATOs parallel efforts to develop its own policies and that any political decisions must be made by the NAC. Norway was very strong in urging the SYG to make a positive and immediate response to the UN request. The Canadian PermRep said that NATO must be sympathetic to the situation in Somalia, adding that taking on an anti-piracy role would prove NATO,s relevance in the region and beyond. Turkey said it supported SNMG-2 use in response to the UN request and said future possible NATO assistance to support the EU should be defined in operational detail and brought to the NAC for consideration under existing guidelines. (Note: Turkey did not use the term &agreed framework.8 End Note.)
17. (C/NF) The SYG concluded the discussion by saying that NAC needed to move forward on three decisions: two short-term, one long-term. First, to assist the WFP, NATO needs more clarification from the UN, but also needs to be seen as supportive, especially in light of UNSCR 1838 and the recent signing of the UN-NATO MoU at UNGA. He continued that an immediate response would likely be national in character since NATO will need an MOU with the WFP, and NATO may have additional command and control issues to resolve. Second, Defense Ministers in Budapest this week should consider the role of SNMG-2. In response to German and Portuguese requests about rules of engagement for NATO ships to actually engage pirates as opposed to cruise in deterrence/presence missions, the SYG said individual Allied political decisions would be made whether these ships would stay under the NATO flag or revert to their national flag in such a circumstance. Third, in the long-term how will NATO work with the EU in a complementary capacity? Another political decision must be made as to the long-term NATO role in anti-piracy, and how this effort might fit with any future ESDP mission.
18. (C/NF) Iraq: no discussion
--------------------------------------------- ----------------- Preparations for the Meetings of Defense Ministers in Budapest --------------------------------------------- -----------------
19. (C/NF) Preparations for the Meetings of Defense Ministers in Budapest: The SYG previewed the formal meeting to be held at the Defense Ministerial on Friday, October 10. He said he would ask Ministers to note and agree to five reports. At the same time, he expressed his significant concerns about the PE Review in the "Capability" report ) concerns he said were shared by CMC. He stated that the EWG report on the PE Review "goes nowhere(and is a recipe for disaster." As a result, he said that he intended to ask Ministers to make their own decision about the PE Review. The UK directly supported the SYG, with U.S., Canada, Denmark, Norway and Lithuania saying that they did not object to a ministerial discussion of the PE review should the SYG introduce the topic, while Turkey, Greece, and Spain threatened to open up the entire report for discussion if the SYG took his suggested course of action. The three Allies noted that the EWG report had just passed silence, that they had all made concessions in order to reach consensus, and that Ministers could not discuss just select portions of the report. The Turks asked that all positions expressed during the NAC meeting be fully incorporated into the subsequent decision-sheet so that everyone would be clear on the discussions which took place. The SYG concluded by saying that he has the obligation, as Chairman, to tell Ministers that the PE Review is moving in the wrong direction. He said it would then be up to the Ministers to decide if he is right or wrong.
------------------------------------------ Noise Mitigation Measures at Geilenkirchen ------------------------------------------
20. (C/NF) Noise Mitigation Measures at Geilenkirchen: The Chairman postponed the presentation to another occasion given the unexpected length of discussion on the previous agenda topic. As the scheduled presenter was a Dutch national, the Dutch PermRep. intervened to ask that the presentation be rescheduled as soon as possible.
--------------------- Response to Terrorism ---------------------
21. (C/NF) Response to Terrorism: The Turkish PermRep said that 17 Turkish military personnel were killed in the October 3 PKK terrorist attack in Simdinli. He noted the use of heavy weaponry by the PKK during the attack. He informed the NAC that Turkish operations against the PKK continued. He also said Ankara had demarched Baghdad to remind the GOI of its international obligations and to request they take measures against the terrorists.
-------------------------------- Statements on Political Subjects --------------------------------
22. (C/NF) Statements on Political Subjects: France briefed on the recent informal EU defense ministers meeting, highlighting the main discussion topics: EU operations, capabilities and counter-piracy activities. On operations, the PermRep said that while ministers recognized the recent UN resolution mandating a relief operation for current EU activities in Chad, they also recognized that a number of EU personnel already there would remain to support the UN operation. On Operation Althea in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the ministers discussed &options8 but a decision would not be taken until the November GAERC. On the recently deployed Georgia mission, ministers expressed satisfaction with the manner in which the operation was progressing. Regarding capabilities, the points discussed included battle groups, interoperability and strategic lift transportation capacities, among other topics. According to France, EU defense ministers also had a long conversation on piracy in which they agreed on coordinating their efforts in early December and to make strong efforts to complement the work of NATO and other parties involved in the area.
------------------ Any Other Business ------------------
23. (C/NF) Any Other Business: Poland informed the Council of plans for a Polish contribution to the NATO Trust Fund for Afghanistan and the NATO Trust fund for Ukraine. The Polish PermRep did not give an amount, but noted that these plans would be elaborated in the forum of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council later in the day. Albania and Croatia thanked Lithuania for having ratified their entry into NATO and urged remaining Allies to follow suit.