Cablegate: Germany Remains Stubborn On Map and Additional


DE RUEHRL #1542/01 3191825
O 141825Z NOV 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L BERLIN 001542

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/13/2018
B) AND (D).

1. (C) SUMMARY. Top German government officials emphasized
to visiting USNATO Ambassador Kurt Volker November 10-11 that
Germany remains strongly opposed to granting Ukraine and
Georgia member action plan (MAP) status at the December 2-3
meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers. While open to giving the
applicant countries a "navigation aid" or action plan to help
guide their reforms, Germany is not ready at this point to
substitute this "navigation aid" for MAP -- it wants to keep
open the option of still requiring MAP at some later date
before membership. Volker warned that adding an additional
hurdle to the accession process would give the impression
that the Alliance was stepping back from its Bucharest
commitment and capitulating to Russian pressure. German
officials also stressed that over the next year, they had
little political flexibility for increasing the number of
German troops in Afghanistan or for expanding their area of
deployment beyond what was provided for in the ISAF
parliamentary mandate approved last month. In response to
MFAs view that the April 2009 NATO Strasbourg/Kehl Summit
should be primarily an anniversary meeting and avoid
"confrontational issues," Volker emphasized the need to
address key questions like Afghanistan and NATOs relations
with Russia and the east. The Germans are disdainful of
Medvedevs European security proposal, but they believe they
have to "deal with it" and are hopeful that discussing it can
"improve the atmosphere" with Russia. While warning against
"cornering" Russia in regards to MAP and the conflict with
Georgia, Germans have been very critical of Medvedevs
announcement about stationing short-range missiles in
Kaliningrad. END SUMMARY.


2. (U) During his November 10-11 visit to Berlin, USNATO
Ambassador Volker met separately with National Security
Advisor Christoph Heusgen, MFA State Secretary Reinhard
Silberberg and MOD Parliamentary Secretary Christian Schmidt.
He also met with a number of key parliamentarians, including
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) foreign policy spokesman
Eckart Von Klaeden, Christian Social Union (CSU) Secretary
General Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Social Democratic Party
(SPD) defense policy spokesman Rainer Arnold, Greens defense
policy spokesman Winfried Nachtwei, Free Democratic Party
(FDP) foreign policy spokesman Werner Hoyer and Deputy
Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Hans-Ulrich Klose (SPD).


3. (C) Both Heusgen and Silberberg reiterated Germanys
strong opposition to granting Ukraine and Georgia Membership
Action Plan (MAP) status at the December 2-3 meeting of NATO
Foreign Ministers. Silberberg said flatly that "no decision
can be taken" in December, making reference to the Bucharest
Summit declaration that this should be only a "first review."
Noting that both countries have "lots of deficits," Heusgen
said that Ukraine was "a nightmare" because of ongoing
political turmoil and that Georgia lacked a multiparty system
and was not truly a pluralistic society. Silberberg said
that because of its role in the August conflict with Russia,
Germany considered Georgia to be "further from MAP" than it
was before. However, both agreed with Volker that the
Alliance could not be seen backing away from its Bucharest
commitment that both countries would one day become members
of NATO. They also conceded that NATO had to avoid giving
the perception that Russia, in using force against Georgia,
had successfully drawn a new line across Europe and had
achieved an unchallenged sphere of influence. They proposed
repeating the Bucharest language at the December ministerial
and "coming back to this later."

4. (C) Heusgen also favored giving the two applicant
countries a "clear idea" of what they needed to do. Heusgen
said that when Chancellor Merkel visited Kyiv in July, she
had proposed setting up a "navigation aid" or action plan to
help guide Ukraine in making the necessary reforms, but had
never received a response. Heusgen emphasized, however, that
Germany was not ready at this point to substitute this
"navigation aid" for MAP -- it wanted to keep open the option
of still requiring MAP at some later date before membership.
He expressed concern that the applicant countries, especially
Ukraine, could start clamoring immediately for membership
after satisfying the technical requirements in an action
plan. Along the same lines, Silberberg said the Alliance had
to make clear to the applicants that the final decision on
membership was political, not technical, and not automatic
based on fulfilling a checklist. Volker welcomed creative
thinking on the way forward, but said that adding an
additional hurdle to the accession process would give the
impression that the Alliance was stepping back from its
Bucharest commitment and could allow Russia to claim

5. (C) In separate meetings with leading parliamentarians
from all the major parties, no one expressed support for
moving forward with MAP for Georgia and Ukraine. Most had
extremely negative opinions of Georgian President
Saakashvili, variously describing him as "crazy," "a hot
head," and "dangerous." The general opinion was that
Saakashvili was as much at fault for the outbreak of the
August war as Russia. Volker challenged this view and
reminded them that Russias provocative acts and pressure had
set the stage for the conflict. The parliamentarians also
worried that pursuing MAP would "corner the Russians" and
make them less cooperative on important questions like
Afghanistan, Iran, energy, etc.


6. (C) Every government interlocutor, including Heusgen,
Silberberg and Schmidt, emphasized that over the next year,
through the Bundestag election in September 2009, Germany had
little political flexibility for increasing the number of
German troops in Afghanistan or for expanding their area of
deployment beyond what was provided for in the ISAF
parliamentary mandate approved last month. Silberberg said
flatly: "Were in the north and were staying there." With
regard to getting Germany to send combat troops to the south,
he advised: "Dont try it. It wont happen." Heusgen was
relaxed about possible U.S. requests to do more, asserting
that when Obama visited Berlin in July, he had indicated that
he was "perfectly happy" with the German contribution.
Silberberg claimed that the SPD-controlled MFA was more
receptive than the CDU-controlled MOD about deploying German
forces outside the north. He said, for example, that the MFA
had pushed for embedded German trainers (OMLTs) to be allowed
to deploy outside the north with their assigned Afghan
National Army (ANA) units, but that MOD had refused.

7. (C) While generally ruling out new military contributions
to Afghanistan, Heusgen, Silberberg and Schmidt confirmed
that Germany planned to support and participate in the
proposed deployment of NATO AWACS aircraft to Afghanistan,
which will require the government to seek a stand-alone
mandate from the Bundestag. In separate meetings,
parliamentarians confirmed that there was broad support for
the AWACS mission. Silberberg warned, however, that any
connection made between the AWACS and the controversial
cross-border operations into Pakistan could be a "problem" in
obtaining Bundestag approval. He indicated that he had
already passed this concern on to SACEUR GEN Craddock.

8. (C) Volker noted that new CENTCOM Commander GEN Patreus
was currently conducting a strategic review of the U.S.
engagement in Afghanistan. It was possible the review might
recommend to the incoming Administration the deployment of
significantly more troops and other resources to meet the
current challenges. In that event, the U.S. would almost
certainly turn to its European Allies to help shoulder the
burden and to get behind a single, unified effort. If
additional combat troops were out of the question, Volker
encouraged German officials to think creatively about what
other military contributions Germany could make, such as
deploying additional helicopters and MEDEVAC assets on a
country-wide basis, or widening its deployment area by
erasing the dividing line between regional commands north and

9. (C) SPD Defense Policy Spokesman Rainer Arnold gave the
standard line that Germany had no more armored helicopters to
deploy and probably would not have any until the next
generation of NH-90 and Tiger helicopters was delivered.
Schmidt revealed, however, that Germany had recently launched
a program to armor eight additional C-53 helicopters.
(Comment: Germany has some 80 CH-53 helicopters, but only 20
of them are armored and suitable for operating in a combat
environment. Germany currently has six armored C-53s in
Afghanistan and claims that it cannot afford to deploy
additional ones until the inventory of armored helicopters is
increased. End Comment.) Schmidt also noted that he
planned to talk to the Bavarian interior minister about
sending Bavarian policemen to Afghanistan to serve as
trainers for the Afghan National Police. (Comment: Up to
now, Bavaria has been one of the few German states that has
declined to let its police officers serve in Afghanistan.
End Comment.)

10. (C) Parliamentarians generally welcomed the prospect of
greater U.S. attention and commitment to Afghanistan and
agreed that Germany should increase its own efforts,
especially in reconstruction and development and in the
training of the Afghan national security forces. However,
they echoed the view that there was little political maneuver
room for Germany to increase its military contributions to
Afghanistan over the next year, given the electoral season
and low popular support for the mission. FDP foreign policy
spokesman Hoyer pointed out that mistrust between the two
Grand Coalition parties complicated matters. He thought
Chancellor Merkel (CDU) would be very wary about taking an
initiative to increase Germanys military contribution to
Afghanistan before the Bundestag election, for fear of
playing into the hands of her electoral rival, FM Steinmeier
(SPD). SPD defense policy spokesman Arnold argued that
deployment of German soldiers to the south and the likely
resulting increase in German soldiers "killing and being
killed" could put the whole deployment at risk.


11. (C) Silberberg said Germany viewed next years
Strasbourg/Kehl Summit as primarily a "family" anniversary
meeting, largely without partners. There were no plans to
invite Russian president Medvedev or to deal with
"confrontational issues." While Volker agreed that the
summit offered an excellent opportunity to celebrate the 60th
anniversary of the Alliance and to recognize its role in
Franco-German reconciliation, it could not just be a
celebration. There had to be real substance. Key issues
like Afghanistan and NATOs relations with Russia and the
east had to be addressed. Silberberg expressed some surprise
that Russia would be on the agenda, but took the point.

12. (C) Volker also noted that some in Washington remained to
be convinced about the wisdom of launching work on a new
strategic concept at the summit, believing the exercise could
prove divisive and distract the Alliance from more practical
cooperation. Silberberg responded that there was too much
momentum behind the idea of a new strategic concept to stop
it now. He said Germany favored releasing a "short,
political" Declaration on Alliance Security at the Summit to
launch the strategic concept review.


13. (C) While acknowledging that Medvedevs proposal for a
new European security architecture was hypocritical and did
nothing to address current problems (like CFE and Georgia),
Silberberg said that "we have to deal with it." He noted
that the proposal had come as a surprise to the Russian MFA,
which had to scramble after the fact to propose some ideas
for fleshing out the concept. He was disdainful of the
content, but hopeful that discussing the proposal would
"improve the atmosphere" with Russia. He complained that the
current EU troika dialogue with Russia, where each side reads
prepared statements, was not very useful. He also pressed
for resumption of meetings of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC)
and for the NRC to be improved as a political forum. He
suggested that the Alliance pre-coordinate in advance of NRC
meetings and not hold internal political debates in front of
the Russians.

14. (C) On Medvedevs proposal, Volker said there was already
a pan-European security organization (the OSCE), so the
Russians had to answer the question: where was the
value-added? From the U.S. point of view, the Medvedev
proposal appeared to be nothing more than the OSCE minus the
Helsinki Accords, the Paris Charter, and the United States.
The Russians should be forced to be specific on the substance
of their proposal, and the forum for discussing this should
be the OSCE in Vienna. Regarding the NRC, Volker noted the
original intention had been to treat Russia as an equal
partner. Given its aggression against Georgia, the U.S.
would have trouble going back to that format for now, but
agreed that dialogue with Russia should continue in some form.


15. (C) Silberberg called Medvedevs November 5 announcement
about deploying short-range rockets in Kaliningrad in
response to U.S. MD plans as "simply stupid." He noted that
FM Steinmeier had immediately issued a public statement
criticizing the announcement. It was clear that the timing,
coming right after the U.S. presidential election, was
deliberate and not a mistake. Silberberg noted that while
his counterparts at the Russian MFA "seem very reasonable" on
this issue, they are obviously "very far" from the locus of
Russian decision-making.


16. (U) Volker also participated in several public diplomacy
events during his November 10-11 visit. On November 10, on
the margins of the opening ceremony of the annual conference
of the Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA), he did separate
interviews with Germanys two main public broadcasters, ARD
and ZDF, responding to questions on NATO enlargement and the
NATO mission in Afghanistan. Also on November 10, he
participated in an hour-long panel discussion hosted by
Deutschland Radio Kultur on the future of U.S. foreign policy
following the U.S. elections. The roundtable, which included
Luxembourg FM Jean Asselborn and German Deputy Foreign
Relations Committee Chairman Hans-Ulrich Klose (SPD), was
broadcast live over radio and was recorded for broadcast by
Phoenix television on November 15.

17. (U) On November 11, Volker participated in a panel
discussion on NATO and the challenges of the eastern
dimension, hosted by the U.S. Embassy before a audience of
180. The panel was one of six held simultaneously in various
embassies in Berlin as part of the ATA annual conference.
The other panelists included former Polish NATO Ambassador
Jerzy Nowak and German foreign policy spokesman Eckart Von
Klaeden (CDU). In a press conference in the U.S. Embassy at
the conclusion of his visit, Volker took questions from six
print journalists on Afghanistan, NATO enlargement, Georgia,
and the NATO C-17 strategic airlift consortium.

18. (U) Ambassador Volker has reviewed and cleared this cable.

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