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Cablegate: Mission Usnato

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PP RUEHDBU RUEHSL
DE RUEHNO #0383/01 2531627
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 101627Z SEP 09
FM USMISSION USNATO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3350
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUFGNOA/HQ USEUCOM EXERCISE VAIHINGEN GE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

10.09.2009 : NATO SECRETARY GENERAL READY TO REACH OUT TO CSTO?
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 USNATO 000383
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/10/2019
TAGS: PGOV PINR NATO RS
REF: USNATO 348
Classified By: Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder for reasons 1.4 (b/d).

1. (U) This is an action request. See paragraph 4.

2. (C) Summary: NATO Secretary General Rasmussen may be
planning to take improved NATO-Russia relations to a new
level by proposing that NATO engage with the Collective
Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The SecGen recently
indicated that he has an "open mind" to such a course of
action, has been in contact with the head of the CSTO, and
plans to make a speech on NATO-Russia relations that would go
beyond most Allies comfort zones. Engaging with an
organization initiated by Moscow to counter NATO and U.S.
influence would be counterproductive at a time when we should
focus on enhancing relations with Russia bilaterally and as
an alliance. NATO-CSTO engagement would likely lead to the
same bloc-on-bloc dynamic that manifested during the Cold
War, and further increase Moscows influence over our Central
Asian partners, countries we should actively court through
NATOs Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). End
summary.

3. (C) NATO Secretary General Rasmussen may encourage NATO
engagement with the Russian-led CSTO in order to advance his
priority to improve NATO-Russia relations. We believe that
the SecGen will soon broach this topic, possibly at a
September 15 PermReps meeting devoted to Russia and/or during
a speech on NATO-Russia relations the SecGen intends to give
in the near future. Our supposition is based upon the
following developments:
-- The SecGen told the press on August 31 that he had an
"open mind" toward "all ideas" intended to improve relations
with Russia in response to a question about Zbigniew
Brzezinskis recent proposal that NATO reach a security
cooperation agreement with the CSTO as a means to draw Russia
closer into the Euro-Atlantic community. In the same
interview, Rasmussen urged NATO to form a "strategic
partnership" with Russia in order to address common security
threats.
-- The SecGen sent CSTO Secretary General Nikolay Borduyzha
an August 24 letter thanking him for an earlier message in
which Borduyzha offered Rasmussen congratulations on his
appointment as NATO SecGen. We understand that Rasmussen had
his letter delivered to Borduyzha through Russian Ambassador
to NATO Rogozin. Rasmussens brief message (a copy of which
was provided by a member of the NATO International Staff
(strictly protect)) thanked the CSTO chief for his "kind
letter" of August 1, noted that he had taken over NATO at a
time when the "organization is faced with a wide range of
challenges," and concluded that "NATO is well placed and well
equipped to meet these challenges." We have not seen
Borduyzhas initial letter to Rasmussen.
-- Rogozin encouraged NATO-CSTO engagement in the non-paper
delivered to the SecGen during their August 11 meeting,
during which the often pugnacious Rogozin appears to have
charmed Rasmussen (reftel). The SecGen intends to discuss
the response to the Russian non-paper at a September 15
PermReps lunch devoted to NATO-Russia issues, and could
propose following through on Rogozins NATO-CSTO initiative.
-- Rasmussen intends to address the topic of improving NATO
relations with Russia, one of his stated priorities as
SecGen, in an upcoming speech that a member of the NATO
International Staff told us would probably "go further than
many Allies, including the United States, will be comfortable
with." We do not have details on the speech, which is one of
several thematic addresses the SecGen intends to give laying
out his vision for NATO. (Note: Rasmussen is scheduled to
give a speech on Russia at the Carnegie Center Brussels on
September 18. End note.)

4. (C) Should the SecGen propose NATO-CSTO engagement, this
action will significantly up the ante on Rasmussens
initiative to improve NATO-Russia relations. Understanding
that arguments could be made for NATO to engage on some level
with the CSTO, we believe that such a proposal, which would
face significant resistance from some Allies, should be
initiated through a consensus of NATO members rather than the
SecGen. We request Departments guidance in order to respond
to any proposals the SecGen may make for NATO-CSTO
USNATO 00000383 002 OF 002
engagement.

5. (C) Comment: We maintain that while NATO strives to
enhance its engagement with Russia, including cooperation
that could lead to practical results such as greater Russian
assistance to Afghanistan, it would be counterproductive for
NATO to engage with the CSTO, an organization initiated by
Moscow to counter potential NATO and U.S. influence in the
former Soviet space. To date, the CSTO has proven
ineffective in most areas of activity and has been
politically divided. NATO engagement with the CSTO could
enhance the legitimacy of what may be a waning organization,
contributing to a bloc-on-bloc dynamic reminiscent of the
Cold War. Instead, we should focus our efforts on improving
the U.S. relationship with Russia bilaterally and through
NATO.

6. (C) Comment continued: In addition, validation of the
CSTO could further strengthen Moscows influence over our
Central Asian and other partners in NATOs EAPC. All the
members of the CSTO are in the EAPC, which we believe is the
proper venue in which to engage them.
DAALDER

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