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Cablegate: Polish Formin Outlines Evolving Relations with U.S.

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH (CCY ADAFD6E7 MSI8705-695)
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FM AMEMBASSY WARSAW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8874
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
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RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
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UNCLAS WARSAW 000940

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TAGS: PREL PGOV PARM NATO PL

SUBJECT: POLISH FORMIN OUTLINES EVOLVING RELATIONS WITH U.S.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. In recent remarks to the media, FM Sikorski
suggested that Poland is a regional partner of the U.S., but only
the EU has the scale and resources to be America's strategic
partner. Sikorski argued that Poland should support deeper EU
integration, Lisbon Treaty ratification, and appointment of a common
EU foreign minister if Warsaw hoped to have substantial influence
with Washington, via the EU. On missile defense (MD), he appealed
for patience in waiting for the U.S. administration's decision on
whether or not to deploy MD components in Poland. On other issues,
Sikorski welcomed the EU's increased attention to Afghanistan and
spoke of the need for more international troops, but signaled that
Poland was not currently considering an increase in its own
contingent. The Minister spoke positively of Russian PM Putin's
visit to Poland last week; rejected accusations that the GOP was
improving relations with Moscow at the expense of Ukraine; and
praised the recent warming of Polish-Belarusian relations.
Sikorski's appeal for realistic appraisals of the relationship with
the U.S. may help to temper Poles' expectations. END SUMMARY.

MAXIMIZING INFLUENCE WITH U.S. THROUGH AN INTEGRATED EUROPE

2. (U) In Sikorski's September 8 Polish Public TV interview and a
September 10 interview in Polska, he publicly argued that only the
EU as a whole can be a "strategic" or "equal" partner for the U.S.
In response to a question about negative reactions to the level of
U.S. representation at last week's commemoration of the outbreak of
World War II, Sikorski justified the U.S. decision to send National
Security Advisor Jones, "the Number Three power person within the
U.S. administration." He added that Jones had brought with him "a
favorable and strong message" from President Obama. Sikorski then
emphasized that Poles should view relations with the U.S.
realistically and avoid taking extreme positions, such as putting
too much faith in America or demanding troop withdrawals from
Afghanistan. Those who want to be a strategic partner of the U.S.
should favor European integration, including a common foreign
minister and Lisbon Treaty ratification, he argued. In the
meantime, Poland could only aspire to be a regional partner for the
U.S.

3. (U) Commenting on the recent letter from former Central and
Eastern European leaders to President Obama, Sikorski said the
authors' aim was to remind Washington that it should also talk to
its allies while fostering dialogue with Moscow. According to
Sikorski, Washington is doing so, since Poland was the only ally
that the U.S. had briefed following President Obama's visit to
Moscow.

MD DECISION COULD BE SURPRISE

4. (U) On Missile Defense, Sikorski appealed for continued
patience, and stated enigmatically that upcoming decisions by the
U.S. on deployment options might surprise both critics and
proponents of the system. He noted that the U.S. perception of the
threat from Iran had evolved: the Obama Administration was leaning
toward the conclusion that the most serious threat came from
medium-range, and not inter-continental, missiles. This, in his
view, will have impact on "the timetable for constructing elements
of NATO's security architecture."

AFGHANISTAN - AN EU PRIORITY

5. (U) Sikorski stressed the need to reverse negative trends in
Afghanistan so that the international forces could eventually
withdraw, "leaving power to the Afghan authorities." He expressed
satisfaction that Afghanistan was now perceived as an EU priority
under Sweden's presidency and that the EU was planning to convene a
pro-development conference in Kabul. He also described as
"sensible" the U.S. approach to send additional troops for a year or
two to improve the security situation. Sikorski stressed, however,
that the GoP was not considering a troop increase for its contingent
in Ghazni Province.

DIALOGUE WITH MOSCOW AND MINSK RIGHT STRATEGY

6. (U) Commenting on Polish-Russian relations in light of the
September 1 commemoration of the outbreak of World War II, Sikorski
observed that the event was successful because Putin "saw and heard
that Europe respects Poland's role in WWII." He spoke positively of
Putin's visit, appreciating the fact that the Russian PM spoke of
the immorality of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and expressed regret
for the massacre of Polish officers at Katyn. The bilateral
agreements concluded during the visit proved that Poland's
engagement policy with Moscow was on track. Similarly, Sikorski
pointed to Poland's developing relations with Belarus, stressing
that Minsk was emerging from "self-isolation" and seeking to find a
balance between West and East.

UKRAINE'S TRUE FRIEND

7. (U) Sikorski rejected criticism from the Polish opposition that
the GoP was improving relations with Moscow at the expense of
Warsaw's ties with Ukraine. He highlighted the adoption of the
small border traffic law, the Eastern Partnership, and his recent
joint mission to Kyiv with German FM Steinmeier as proof of Poland's
strong support for Ukraine. Sikorski argued that Poland should not
just praise Ukraine, but should also be a "true friend" and suggest
how Kyiv could further integration with the EU.

COMMENT

8. (SBU) As the GoP's foremost expert on relations with the U.S.,
Sikorski has been under intense pressure to deliver the goods:
access to top U.S. officials, and U.S. responsiveness to Polish
concerns and requests. His latest public comments serve as a
welcome appeal for more modest and "realistic" Polish expectations.
Sikorski's public comments build on what MFA colleagues have long
told us privately - that they understand the new U.S. administration
will not depend as heavily on Polish support in Iraq or on Missile
Defense.

9. (SBU) Sikorski's argument that Poland can best influence the
U.S. through the EU reaffirms the key GoP goals of maximizing Polish
influence within the EU and the EU's influence around the world.
The Foreign Minister, for example, has made it clear in previous
public comments that he intends to highlight the Union's common
European Security and Defense Policy during Poland's EU Presidency
in 2011. Under a "realist" foreign and security policy, Poland
might no longer command as much U.S. attention, but neither is the
relationship with the U.S. the only mechanism for Poland to ensure
its security.ASHE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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