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Cablegate: (Sbu) Seeking Goe Support for Commercial Transit

VZCZCXRO6350
OO RUEHDBU RUEHLN
DE RUEHC #6367/01 2311531
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 191514Z AUG 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHTL/AMEMBASSY TALLINN IMMEDIATE 0128
INFO RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ASTANA 3101
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 1037
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 2881
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 2915
RUEHRA/AMEMBASSY RIGA 1712
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 1224
RUEHLN/AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 3593

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 086367

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AF EN MARR MOPS NATO PREL
SUBJECT: (SBU) SEEKING GOE SUPPORT FOR COMMERCIAL TRANSIT
OF DOD CARGO THROUGH ESTONIA

1. (U) This is an action request, please see paragraph 2.

BACKGROUND
----------

2. (SBU) Post is requested to notify the GOE that the U.S
plans the commercial shipment of non-lethal supplies for
Afghanistan via the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) via
the Port of Tallinn. This effort is in support of the
additional forces the U.S. will deploy to Afghanistan to
advance stabilization and reconstruction. The U.S. military
currently ships a wide range of non-lethal supplies through
Pakistan and via the Middle East, and has recently started
transporting supplies via Europe, Russia and Central Asia.
The United States has worked bilaterally with non-NATO
transit
countries to obtain approval for the shipment of non-lethal
goods by commercial carriers. NATO is developing a similar
network of ISAF transit agreements.

TALKING POINTS
--------------

3. (SBU/releasable to the GOE) Post should emphasize the
following points in requesting host government support:

-- The United States wishes to notify the GOE that it is
planning an initial shipment of non-lethal supplies through
Estonia using commercial shippers and existing civilian
transportation networks. Cargo would enter the Port of
Tallinn and be transported over Estonia's road and rail
network. The shipment would be one block train
(approximately 100 20-foot containers).

-- If successful, we would like to send subsequent shipments
through Estonia that would transit Latvia, Russia,
Kazakhstan,
Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. The United States already has
obtained permission, where necessary, for such shipments.
In March, the United States began shipping non-lethal cargo
to
Afghanistan from Riga through Russia and Central Asia.

-- Specific volume to flow through Estonia will depend on a
competitive bid process with commercial carriers. If cost
and time prove sufficiently competitive with other routes,
sustained volume could be up to 50-60 containers per week.

-- The supplies we would ship through Estonia include, but
are not limited to, such items as food, tents, blankets,
lumber, shampoo, etc. We have neither the need nor the
intention to ship sensitive or lethal cargo through Estonia.
If our needs were to change, we would not ship sensitive or
lethal cargo without your explicit permission.

-- Any freight forwarder contracted by the U.S. Government
would arrange transportation within Estonia. These shipments
would be handled by employees of the commercial carriers
contracted by the U.S. Government.

-- As with other commercial cargo, we understand that such
shipments would be subject to relevant Estonian shipping and
customs regulations.

-- We will notify the GOE once arrangements for the shipment
are finalized.

-- We appreciate Estonia's contributions to international
reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. A secure, stable,
and prosperous Afghanistan will reduce instability across
Central Asia and is in NATO's interest.

4. (SBU/releasable to the GOE) Action addressee may draw on
the questions and answers below to explain the commercial
transit of DOD cargo through Estonia. These questions should
only be answered if asked.

Q: What would you like us to do?
-- We do not require any specific support from your

STATE 00086367 002 OF 002


government,
but as we value our close cooperation and consultation we
want
you to be fully informed of these activities.

Q: What type of permission did Russia grant to the United
States?
-- The U.S. military ships non-lethal supplies by ground
through Russia in accordance with the NATO-Russia ISAF
transit
arrangement.

Q: Could you share with us one of the agreements you have
concluded?
-- We would be happy to provide you with a draft exchange of
diplomatic notes that would be similar to the texts concluded
with other countries. It is not our practice to share with
third countries our bilateral arrangements.


Q: How do you define "non-lethal supplies"?
-- We define "non-lethal" as any goods not included in the
categories of "lethal goods" in the Russia-NATO exchange of
letters. Per the NATO-Russia exchange of letters, lethal
goods include explosives, weapons, military aircraft and
vehicles.

Q: Will there be any U.S. military personnel accompanying
these shipments?
-- There will be no U.S. military personnel accompanying
these
shipments through the Northern Distribution Network (NDN).
Shipments will be handled by commercial transportation
companies,
in accordance with contracts with the Department of Defense
(DOD).

Q: Will DOD be publicizing this route the way NDN has been
publicized?
-- DOD has not sought to publicize NDN routes, but as this is
an unclassified, commercial venture, it could become public
knowledge over time.

5. (U) We welcome any feedback from the GOE
CLINTON

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