Cablegate: U/S Tauscher's Bilateral Meetings in London With
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK RUEHSL RUEHTRO
DE RUEHLO #2214/01 2661624
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 231624Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3577
INFO RUCNDSC/DISARMAMENT CONFERENCE COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 0765
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1034
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0948
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0597
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1495
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1272
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0399
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 07 LONDON 002214
EO 12958 DECL: 09/22/2019
TAGS PREL, PARM, KNNP, CH, EG, FR, IN, IR, KN, PK, RS, UK
SUBJECT: U/S TAUSCHER’S BILATERAL MEETINGS IN LONDON WITH
RUSSIAN, CHINESE, AND FRENCH OFFICIALS
REF: A. (A) LONDON 2198 B. (B) LONDON 2199
Classified By: Political Counselor Robin Quinville for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (S/NF) Summary: U/S for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher and Special Representative for Nuclear Nonproliferation Ambassador Susan Burk held bilateral consultations in London September 3-4, on the margins of the P5 Conference on Confidence Building Measures Towards Nuclear Disarmament, with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, Chinese Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs He Yafei, and French Director for Strategic Affairs Patrick Maisonnave. (Refs) All interlocutors agreed on the need for close P5 coordination in the lead-up to the UNSC Heads of Government Summit and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT RevCon). French interlocutors expressed a particular need for closer, more efficient P3 coordination. All interlocutors were supportive of the President’s proposed Nuclear Security Summit. End Summary.
Russian Perspective -- NPT
2. (S/NF) U/S for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher and Special Representative for Nuclear Nonproliferation Ambassador Susan Burk held bilateral meetings in London September 3-4, on the margins of the P5 Conference on Confidence Building Measures Towards Nuclear Disarmament, with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, Chinese Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs He Yafei, and French Director for Strategic Affairs Patrick Maisonnave. Ambassador Burk opened the first meeting, with Russian DFM Ryabkov, by presenting an outline of U.S. objectives for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT RevCon). DFM Ryabkov stated that Russia and the U.S. are “very much in line with each other” regarding the NPT RevCon. He confirmed that Russia seeks a P5 consensus with a results-oriented NPT conclusion. “We cannot allow the NPT to fail,” he said. Ryabkov cited the “good experience of being almost there” in terms of the chair’s recommendations from the third Preparatory Committee (PrepCom). “We must focus while moving toward the NPT RevCon on realistic deliverables in all areas,” he said, which means avoiding pretexts for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to balk. Russia seeks to avoid “prescriptive outcomes.” He expressed the view that the UK draft text was a good basis for a P5 statement. Ryabkov said Russia would stress universal adherence to the NPT, universal adherence to the Additional Protocol, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), and negative security assurances. He noted the importance of “progress” on CTBT ratification, preferably before the end of the conference. He stated the importance of developing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verification and control mechanisms, and that negative security guarantees are key. Russia would think positively about the development of a legal instrument.
3. (S/NF) DFM Ryabkov said the Egyptian position gives Russia “serious concern.” Russia regularly engages with the Egyptians, but the Egyptians do not seem to understand the gravity of the situation. Ryabkov expressed hope that the U.S. would support ideas such as a special coordinator and comprehensive IAEA coverage of facilities in the Middle East. He noted that Middle Eastern countries need to ratify the CTBT. Russia has been in touch with Israel to see if it would consider becoming part of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which would “play well” with the Egyptians. U/S for Arms Control and International Security Tauscher said she had been working with Egypt, including with Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit, and would continue to do so in the coming weeks. She said that some Egyptians consider their approach last year to be a mistake, and that we were working to get Egypt and Israel to come together on an approach that would command consensus. Ryabkov said Russia had not detected reconsideration by Egypt, and promised to “explore”
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Tauscher’s suggestion that the U.S. and Russia meet jointly with the Egyptians to show U.S.-Russia coordination and to explain concerns to the Egyptians.
Multilateral Approaches to the Fuel Cycle
4. (S/NF) DFM Ryabkov said Russia was surprised by opposition to initiatives, “both yours and ours,” at the most recent Board of Governors (BOG) meeting. Russia will continue to push forward on its Angarsk idea. Russia will soon circulate a draft agreement and will consult with the U.S and as many other potential co-sponsors as possible to increase the chances of a positive outcome. U/S Tauscher made clear the U.S. supports the Angarsk initiative and wants to push it forward at the November Board as the first step; other steps could follow using the Angarsk precedents. Ryabkov expressed appreciation for U.S. expressions of support for Angarsk and asked the U.S. to make positive remarks at the next BOG meeting.
“Creative Ways” to Present Arguments Needed
5. (S/NF) DFM Ryabkov said it is important in the lead up to the RevCon to find “creative ways” to present our arguments, citing Egyptian skepticism. U/S Tauscher agreed that we need to find better ways to get our narrative out, and proposed that the two of them write an op-ed that could run in New York at the time of the UNGA. Ryabkov responded that such a piece could make clear that the U.S. and Russia stand together on fuel assurances. He said it was a “good idea,” and they should look for the right occasion. Ryabklov also raised the 13 steps, suggesting that some elements were “OBE” and the context was now different.
Nuclear Security Summit
6. (S/NF) Senior Director for WMD Terrorism and Threat Reduction at the National Security Council Laura Holgate briefed on plans for the Nuclear Security Summit in April. Ryabkov expressed appreciation and said the summit should seek a result that is both “political and technical,” which he characterized as “a huge task requiring thorough preparation.” He stressed the importance of early exchanges on summit preparations. He promised that Russia would work to develop ideas by the Sherpa meeting or shortly thereafter. However, the time frame is “extraordinarily short,” even if the summit is postponed until April. The summit should seek a “defendable niche” that will not take away from NPT, he said.
7. (S/NF) U/S Tauscher said the U.S. was carefully preparing for ratification of the CTBT by the Senate, including a new study by the National Academy. Another key priority for the U.S. is the FMCT. We were encouraged by the steps in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in May, but Pakistan has blocked implementation. She said the P5 must work together to preserve the work plan in January and commence actual negotiations. Ryabkov responded that Russia would welcome early U.S. CTBT ratification. Russia had talked to the Pakistanis about the FMCT, but DFM Ryabkov indicated that they were “quite evasive.” He urged the U.S. to engage the Pakistanis. Tauscher said we would continue to do so and encourage the rest of the P5 to do so as well.
Iranian Threat, Missile Defense
8. (S/NF) U/S Tauscher proposed that Russia and the U.S. implement together the understandings reached by the two Presidents in Moscow regarding missile defense, joint threat assessment and the Joint Data Exchange Center (JDEC). Responding to her proposal to send a team to Moscow to get Russia’s intelligence assessment on the Iranian missile threat, Ryabkov said that missile defense remains a difficult
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issue for Russia; the Presidential text was good guidance, but Russia needed more time to consider the U.S. view regarding the missile threat from Iran and issues of their missile technology. Russia has “objective data” and the differences between the Russian and U.S. views are “considerable.”
9. (S/NF) Tauscher described the missile defense review underway in Washington. Ryabkov expressed appreciation, and suggested that they revisit the joint threat assessment and the JDEC after the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) review has been completed.
10. (S/NF) U/S Tauscher welcomed Head of Federal Atomic Energy Agency Sergei Kiriyenko,s planned visit to Washington and the establishment of the working group on nuclear energy and nuclear cooperation. She pressed for approval and signature of the plutonium disposition agreement. DFM Ryabkov replied that the situation with respect to plutonium disposition was the same as it was during the President,s visit to Moscow. The issue of financing had precluded real progress before the POTUS visit. Russia needs to figure out what is realistic. There are no political constraints. Russia is disposing of highly toxic materials. Ryabkov expressed interest in information about what the U.S. was doing in that regard.
S-300 Air Defense Missiles
11. (S/NF) DFM Ryabkov asked about the status of the Russia 123 agreement. U/S Tauscher responded that some in Congress are interested in moving forward on the 123 agreement, and that further discussions could be held in October. It is crucial that Russia not transfer the S-300 system to Iran if Congress is to allow the agreement to come into force, she added. Ryabkov said Russia had a valid contract for the sale of the S-300s, and acknowledged that Russia needed to make a decision regarding the S-300 sale to Iran, an issue that has been the subject of “utmost attention in many places.” Russia is in a position of growing difficulty for not honoring its contractual obligations and, finances aside, Russia is getting “no points in Iran.” Ryabkov said Russia understands the U.S. and Israeli arguments and wants to be transparent on the topic, and noted that the U.S. and Russian presidents have discussed it. The current situation is not sustainable; Russia cannot hold up the sale indefinitely. At some point Russia will have to make up its mind, Ryabkov said. Russia did not agree to sell surface-to-surface missiles but has a contract to sell Iran air defense systems.
12. (S/NF) DFM Ryabkov said that Russia and the U.S. have different views on whether continuous monitoring at Votkinsk should be continued in the Stategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) follow-on agreement. Russia considers the importance of switching off the system to be quite high. The run-up to the end date of START could create difficulties. U/S Tauscher stated that we have the right to monitor until December 5, to which Ryabkov replied, “That goes without saying.” Tauscher went on that we see merit in continuing with the Votkinsk system in the new agreement. If the final decision is not to continue the system, we are prepared to work out an arrangement that maintains our rights through December 4. Contractors can box and ship the equipment; there are ways to manage this, she said.
Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE)
13. (S/NF) DFM Ryabkov said that Russia circulated its ideas on the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty in Vienna on May 5. “We don’t want to abandon the CFE regime altogether,” he said. Russia has the sense that NATO is “becoming comfortable” with the current situation. Russia,
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however, does not want to return to the old treaty. CFE adaptation plus more is required. Flank limitations are the core problem. Ryabkov said Turkey is not that concerned about flank limitations but wants to keep the system for its own reasons. There could be a chance to “move innovatively” regarding CFE, but the current situation is unsustainable.
14. (S/NF) Ryabkov concluded by saying Russia wants someone on the U.S. side who will deal with this issue on a regular basis with MFA Security and Arms Control Director Anatoly Antonov. Russia wants to move forward and wants to reinvigorate the Vienna process without undermining the bilateral process.
15. (S/NF) Ryabkov asked for a “fresh look” regarding the Australia group, since the U.S. and Russia are now cooperating in many ways. U/S Tauscher said she has seen no interest on the part of the other members of the Australia Group in Russian membership given the concerns with respect to Russian implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). Ryabkov responded that he thought they had dealt with those questions.
MANPADS -- Venezuela
16. (S/NF) U/S Tauscher asked that Russia look further into the end-use controls on Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) transferred to Venezuela to ensure they do not wind up with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC). Ryabkov affirmed Russia’s commitment to ensure legitimate end-user certificates and the ability to conduct inspections; this is true for MANPADS. The information provided was fragmentary, he said. Russia concluded that the factory marks on the munitions made it difficult to determine if they were part of the equipment sold to the Venezuelan government. Ryabkov said Russia understood the tense situation between Venezuela and Colombia.
Chinese Perspective -- CTBT
17. (S/NF) U/S Tauscher opened the discussion with Chinese Vice-Minister of Foreign Affiars He Yafei with a description of U.S. preparations to seek ratification of the CTBT in the Senate. VFM He asked “Are you there yet?” Tauscher asked if China would follow with its own ratification, and He replied that it is “likely” that China would follow if the U.S. ratified the CTBT.
18. (S/NF) VFM He said China and the U.S. have many common interests and “we’re flooded with issues.” President Obama’s Prague speech “caught the attention of many.” The NPT is “important but we must improve on it” and must “start and restart” issues of disarmament, nonproliferation and peaceful use. The Chinese President’s vision is to study issues in the context of Chinese and U.S. cooperation. “I have a mandate to work with you,” He said. Nonproliferation issues have been dormant for a dozen years, but the context has changed. China’s goal is a “serious reduction of the nuclear threat.” The time to act is now since “we have a mandate and a consensus at the top level.”
P5 Consultation in Advance of the NPT RevCon
19. (S/NF) VFM He said the P5 may not always see eye-to-eye but should closely consult in the lead-up to the NPT RevCon. The P5 should “stand together” and unite since the P5 countries are a “target.” He added that is important to improve communications with non-nuclear states.
20. (S/NF) VFM He raised the issue of the Egyptian Middle East nuclear-free zone. U/S Tauscher responded that the U.S.
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was working hard with both Egypt and Israel to find a common approach and avoid confrontation at the IAEA General Conference and the NPT RevCon. He said China was prepared to support that effort. He added the P5 should carefully review Iran and the DPRK but deal with them separately from the upcoming UNSC Summit and the RevCon.
21. (S/NF) U/S Tauscher outlined the problem caused by Pakistan in blocking implementation of the CD program of work. She said the U.S. was talking to Pakistan and arguing that Pakistan could make its points in the negotiations but should not block the beginning of talks. VFM He agreed that the Pakistanis “have concerns” regarding the FMCT negotiations. He said he understood Pakistani “hesitancy,” as well as their “logic” and “illogic.” The solution is to address the underlying problem, which is that India and Pakistan view each other as enemies. Nuclear weapons are crucial to Pakistan. Indeed, a Pakistani military leader said his army was no match for the Indian army. “India is the lynchpin” to assuaging Pakistan’s fears and the U.S. could influence India. China has resolved all border issues except those with India, He observed. In response to Tauscher,s expression of appreciation for China’s efforts in the CD with Pakistan, He said China would engage the Pakistanis.
22. (S/NF) VFM He said that the U.S. draft for the UNSC Summit was fairly good, but that China had amendments. China’s Ambassador to the UN has authority to negotiate on the draft resolution which, unfortunately, does not mention China’s disarmament efforts, though the efforts of other P5 countries are noted. China should get credit for, for example, its no first use policy. VFM He also said that China has a different view on the proposed moratorium on the production of fissile material. China supports a ban, but not a moratorium, which raises questions concerning definition, how long, verification, and the like.
Nuclear Security Summit
23. (S/NF) Senior Director Holgate briefed on planning for the Nuclear Security Summit in the spring. VFM He said China supports this initiative, which he described as a “huge, daunting job.” He advised the U.S. to consider establishing a “small, informal group to resolve issues” before the summit--U.S., UK, China, Russia, and a few others--to make sure the major parties are comfortable.
24. (S/NF) U/S Tauscher mentioned Ambassador Philip Goldberg,s useful talks, which would continue. She asked where the DPRK stood. VFM He responded that the United States is the DPRK’s main preoccupation. The country views normalization of its relations with the U.S. as the only way out of its current “mess.” China believes the DPRK leadership is anxious about economic development but they believe their security concerns override their economic concerns. Nonetheless, there are signs the DPRK is reaching out. DPRK wants bilateral talks with the U.S., not Six-Party Talks. China wants the Six-Party Talks to continue. The DPRK wants “something in return” to restart the talks. VFM He asserted that China is encouraging the DPRK to return to the Six-Party Talks. China is also trying to convince the DPRK not to go back on its promise to denuclearize. The DPRK leader appears to be in good health and control.
Civil Nuclear Cooperation with Pakistan
25. (S/NF) U/S Tauscher asked about the status of civil nuclear cooperation with Pakistan. VFM He responded that all
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cooperation is for civil purposes, under safeguards, and that China is not going out of that mode. It is not in China’s interest to proliferate nuclear technology. Tauscher asked about Pakistan,s financial situation. VFM He replied that Pakistan was hit hard by the financial crisis, but it is a largely agrarian society that needs little cash to survive and is in no danger of going broke. China is the only country that has given cash support to Pakistan, he said.
French Perspective -- P3 Coordination
26. (S/NF) In a final meeting, French Director for Strategic Affairs Patrick Maisonnave expressed a need to reinforce P3 coordination. Maisonnave noted his disappointment at the current negotiating process in New York, stating that “P3 coordination could be more efficient.” U/S Tauscher agreed the P3 needed to stick together and suggested frequent telephone calls. Maisonnave said he looked forward to frequent phone contact among the three countries.
27. (S/NF) Regarding the September UNSC Heads of State Summit, Maisonnave observed that it could be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve consensus on specific language regarding the DPRK and Iran, but “a strong generic message would help.” This was important to French political authorities. U/S Tauscher agreed, and asked if there were other political messages France wanted to send. DAS-equivalent for Disarmament and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Martin Briens said France wanted the text of the Summit’s resolution to put the issue of nuclear nonproliferation in a broader context. He suggested a short sentence asserting that “we need to make progress on other forms of disarmament.” Briens said that France wants a paragraph in the resolution setting out concrete measures against proliferation. He also noted “some technical problems” that needed to be resolved, such as issues surrounding the return of property and equipment.
Defining Language and Minimum Objectives
28. (S/NF) DAS-equivalent Briens noted the “political requirement” of sending a message to Iran and the DPRK, of “not letting them off the hook.” Maisonnave said that one red line for France was that there must be nothing in the final text of the resolution that would weaken deterrence. He expressed support for a “balanced result” and called for managing expectations. Maisonnave stressed the importance of supporting access to civil nuclear energy. P3 consultations would provide an opportunity to clarify goals and to “define minimum objectives.” Briens said that when the P3 meets in early October, there would be an opportunity to set “minimum goals” and “work on our statetgy.” The October 8-9 Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Conference in Washington would potentially be a good time for experts to meet, Briens said.
29. (S/NF) U/S Tauscher noted the importance of coordinating public diplomacy messages. Brien concurred on the importance of better public outreach.
Nuclear Security Summit
30. (S/NF) Senior Director Holgate briefed on plans for the Nuclear Security Summit. Maisonnave expressed support for the summit next spring and sought details about timing and goals. He described it as an “excellent initiative” and said that French officials would have their first planning meeting September 8. Briens said that the summit would give political momentum and help provide political will to reenforce nonproliferation mechanisms. Briens expressed “one small caveat” about such mechanisms, citing French displeasure with the Global Partnership and remarking that it provides a “huge benefit for Russia” by paying for its
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disarmament while Russia builds submarines. “Let’s leverage what we have rather than spend money” at the summit, Briens said. Maisonnave expressed appreciation for reassurance that the President’s summit would not be a pledging conference.
FMCT: P3 Coordination and Red Lines
31. (S/NF) U/S Tauscher provided an update on START negotiations, Administration strategy regarding CTBT ratification, the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) review, and Pakistan’s actions to prevent the beginning of negotiations on the FMCT at the CD. Briens agreed that Pakistan had been a problem regarding the FMCT. He added that France shares some common interests with the U.S. regarding the FMCT but said that “we need to discuss some technical details.” He stated that France would be reluctant to agree to terms regarding transparency of fissile material stockpiles. He underscored the importance of not raising expectations and stressed that there are “sensitive issues that we must coordinate carefully with the P3” and discuss in detail. He said that national experts should talk directly on sensitive technical issues, and that France has some red lines that need to be discussed.
32. (S/NF) U/S Tauscher encouraged support for the new IAEA Director General Amano, saying we need to make him a success and make sure he has the budget to do his job. Briens agreed that the U.S. and France should talk to DG Amano regarding shared priorities, “and make sure he does the right thing.” He also agreed that the U.S. and France should consult with each other regarding the IAEA budget. The U.S. and France should also think about what can be done to improve IAEA verification safeguards.
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