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Cablegate: Usnato Ambassador Daalder's Meeting with Norwegian

VZCZCXRO1572
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHNY #0527/01 2381345
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 261345Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY OSLO
TO RUEHNO/USNATO BRUSSELS BE IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7737
INFO RUEHXP/ALL NATO POST COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL IMMEDIATE 0208
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW IMMEDIATE 4064
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK IMMEDIATE
RUEPGAA/US SURVEY DIV SHAPE BE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE IMMEDIATE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 OSLO 000527

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR MOPS PARM RU NO
SUBJECT: USNATO AMBASSADOR DAALDER'S MEETING WITH NORWEGIAN
FOREIGN MINISTER STOERE

Classified By: CDA James Heg for reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: In discussions August 17 with visiting
USNATO Ambassador Ivo Daalder, Norway's Minister of Foreign
Affairs Jonas Gahr Stoere and MFA DG for North America and
Security Policy Steffen Kongstad said the GON would welcome a
new U.S. Missile Defense strategy that emphasized a
multilateral approach. They also noted the importance of
keeping the door open for discussions with Russia, while
developing a more unified NATO consensus through
working-level dialogue. On Norway's Core Initiative idea
regarding potential NATO exercises in Norway, Stoere
cautiously espoused a ""High North, low tension"" viewpoint,
based on what Norway sees as a comprehensive approach to
environmental, economic, and security challenges presented by
the melting Arctic ice. The Foreign Minister endorsed future
NATO exercises in the High North if they fell under the
rubric a new NATO Strategic Concept as detailed in the
September 2008 Norwegian Non-paper presented at NATO. (USNATO
Ambassador Daalder's discussions with the Deputy Defense
Minister are being reported septel.) End Summary.

Missile Defense - NATO context welcome
--------------------------------------

2. (C) USNATO Ambassador Ivo Daalder, accompanied by Charge
d'affaires Heg and pol-mil officer, met with FM Stoere, MFA
Director General Kongstad, and Norway's NATO Ambassador Kim
Traavik over dinner August 17 after a full day of meetings in
Oslo that included Ambassador Daalder's speech at the
Norwegian foreign policy institute NUPI on ""Resetting
NATO-Russia Relations."" FM Stoere welcomed a new,
multilateral discussion on Missile Defense (MD), saying that
MD can provide an increase in protection for geographical
areas only if it actually enhances security and does not
provoke an arms race. (Norway opposed the previous U.S.
administration's MD policy in the past.) He supported the
idea of a NATO-wide approach to MD policy, since in the 2005
- 2008 period it clearly became a ""bilateral and not a
NATO-based issue."" He also added that it would be important
to analyze Russia's reaction to the MD discussions, as
Moscow's reaction would likely signal behavior of NATO allies
in future discussions on MD within the Alliance. He
estimated that there is a careful balancing act that needs to
be achieved between informing Russia while ensuring it does
not determine the evolution of NATO MD policy. Stoere
believed it would likely take beyond December 2009 to reach a
consensus on MD, as the exact threat remains unclear.
However, he agreed with USNATO Amb. Daalder that action needs
to be taken soon to ensure sufficient time for systems to
become operative before Iran could pose a real threat to NATO
countries.

Uneasy NATO-Russia Relations
----------------------------

3. (C) Stoere referred to Russia's confrontational approach
at the NATO-Russia Council as ""ritualistic,"" with their
negative reactions to NATO issues embedded in their ""blood
and veins."" The NATO decision to close down the NATO-Russia
dialogue last August was, nevertheless, a ""bad decision"" in
Norway's view, and one which provided a hook for other
countries that would like to ensure that future discussions
on Russia issues do not move forward. Stoere said that,
despite Russia's inherent dislike of NATO, it is important to
keep this communication channel open, in particular if NATO
countries can develop a consensus-based approach on dealing
with Russia. Stoere recommended increasing working-level
contacts on Russia issues within NATO as a path to achieving
additional agreement on how to move forward. Stoere noted
that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov acts ""almost normal"" in
non-NATO fora, such as the Arctic Council and Barents
Council; he suggested that such fora could also provide an
opening for coping with Russia on several matters Norway sees
as areas for NATO concern in the Arctic High North. He noted
that Norway, although sometimes viewed as too soft in its
approach to Russia, is very firm on jurisdiction issues and
the future of Svalbard.

Strategic Concept: Way Forward on NATO Reform
---------------------------------------------

OSLO 00000527 002 OF 002

4. (C) Stoere expressed disappointment about the
Composition of the new Experts Group announced by NATO SYG
Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He thought Rasmussen would give
higher consideration to the NATO Nordic allies. He agreed
that there appears to be general uncertainty on how Strategic
Concept discussions will evolve, juggled between NATO
Director for Policy Planning Jamie Shea, the Experts Group,
and the NAC. The minister offered that Norway would seek to
host a Strategic Concept dialogue in the coming months, in
order to ensure Norwegian input into the discussion and to
supplement the Core Areas Initiative non-paper Norway
submitted to NATO in September 2008. Stoere emphasized that
as part of the Strategic Concept discussions, it is
critically important to ensure NATO's enlargement strategy is
re-defined to address the ""unfinished business in the
Balkans."" He expressed concern over the NATO SYG's apparent
lack of interest in addressing Balkan issues.

5. (C) FM Stoere concluded by emphasizing the importance of
developing a relevant, easy-to-read Strategic Concept that
would be within the public's grasp, in order to ensure
continued public support for NATO. He said it must reflect
contemporary challenges and demonstrate NATO is not only
about Russia, Iran, and terrorism. He cited as an example
the two and a half page document on the financial crisis
prepared by the London School of Economics for Queen
Elizabeth as an excellent example of how clear and concise
the new Strategic Concept needs to be.

NATO Exercises: ""High North, Low Tension""
----------------------------------------

6. (C) On potential NATO re-flagging of bilateral and
multilateral exercises in Norway, Stoere cautiously espoused
a ""High North, low tension"" viewpoint, based on what Norway
sees as a comprehensive approach to environmental, economic,
and security challenges presented by the melting Arctic ice.
He supported the idea of future, small-scale NATO exercises
in the High North, if they fell under the rubric of a new
NATO Strategic Concept as detailed in the September 2008
Norwegian Non-paper presented at NATO. Stoere particularly
emphasized the point that NATO should avoid ""unnecessarily
provoking"" the Russians.

7. (C) Stoere opined that Norway has a unique status as both
a NATO founding member country, on the one hand, and Russia's
neighbor, on the other, which provides Norway with insights
on new allies' perspectives. Norway feels a special kinship
with the Baltic states, he said, and shares their viewpoints
about containing Russia's potential threat to their
sovereignty. Stoere described how, during his March 2009
visit to Moscow, he thanked FM Lavrov for making it so much
easier for him to justify the Joint Strike Fighter purchase
to the Norwegian public, given Russia's regular military
flights up and down Norway's coast. In summing up Norway's
approach to Russia, Stoere offered that Norway remains
vigilant regarding the threat Russia poses, but added that he
is in favor of further analysis of the several challenges
with which Norway must grapple with due to the melting of
Arctic ice before endorsing large NATO military exercises in
the High North.

8. (C ) Comment: In separate discussions with Amb. Daalder
earlier the same day (reported septel), Deputy Defense
Minister Barth-Eide and MOD DG for Security Policy Svein
Efjestad shared similar concerns about potentially provoking
Russia, but had no hesitation in recommending NATO
re-flagging of existing training and exercises in the High
North in the near term. They were confident such exercises
could be presented as part of the normal, routine training
for NATO's defense of Article 5 guarantees throughout Europe.
HEG

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