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Cablegate: Rfg: Isaf Decision Making - Involving Non-Nato

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OO RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHNO #0555/01 3311811
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 271811Z NOV 09
FM USMISSION USNATO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3669
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 0731
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 1306
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 0723
RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE PRIORITY 0512
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1042
RUEHUM/AMEMBASSY ULAANBAATAR PRIORITY 0042
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 0134
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/USNMR SHAPE BE PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USDELMC BRUSSELS BE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 USNATO 000555

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/27/2019
TAGS: PREL MOPS MARR MCAP NATO AS NZ AF
SUBJECT: RFG: ISAF DECISION MAKING - INVOLVING NON-NATO
CONTRIBUTING NATIONS

Classified By: Ambassador Ivo Daalder. Reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (SBU) This is a request for guidance. See para 4.

2. (SBU) Several non-NATO troop contributing nations to the
NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in
Afghanistan, particularly Australia and New Zealand, have
pressed for a larger role in the ISAF-related decision
process at NATO HQ in Brussels. They have received support
from a number of Allies, including the UK. In response to
these requests, NATO Secretary General Rasmussen distributed
to Allies on November 23 a non-paper proposing a number of
pragmatic steps for strengthening in the short-term our
dialogue and consultation on Afghanistan with non-NATO ISAF
contributors (see para X below). He intends to have an
informal PermRep discussion of the non-paper on Tuesday,
December 1.

3. (C/REL NATO) Recommendations: We strongly support finding
ways to further involve non-NATO troops contributing nations
(NNTCNs), while also recognizing that there will be limits to
how far we can go. With this in mind, we recommend the
following response to the Secretary General's proposals:

-- For the foreseeable future, Afghanistan will remain NATO's
top operational priority and should be discussed at NATO
ministerials and Summits;

-- If Afghanistan is going to be discussed at a ministerial
or summit, then the standard operating procedure should be to
do this in an ISAF-format meeting, with both Allies and
non-NATO troop contributors;

-- Moreover, any document that is going to be put out in the
name of ISAF contributors, not NATO, should be negotiated
from the beginning with non-NATO troop contributors. Summit
and Ministerial statements are good examples of when this
might apply;

-- We recognize that there may be times, however, when
negotiating "at 45" may be too ponderous and that numbers
might need to be reduced. In those cases, we would recommend
that Allies negotiate with a representative sample of
non-NATO troop contributors. This could be accomplished by
meeting in a format where each Regional Command is
represented by a non-NATO troop contributing nation. We
could, therefore, meet "at 33" (28 Allies, plus 5 NNTCNs
representing the Regional Commands), rather than at 45. The
NNTCN representation within each Regional Command would
rotate.

-- We oppose the proposal in the non-paper of a Troika. This
was proposed by the UK and seems to be intended to ensure the
long-term involvement of Australia and New Zealand, but would
run the serious risk of creating divisions by appearing to
set a "two-tier standard" for involvement of non-NATO troops
contributors. In a November 27 meeting with Ambassador
Daalder, the Australian and New Zealand Ambassadors
acknowledged this and said that they were planning to tell
the UK they opposed the proposal. (Note: They also indicated
that they were extremely happy with the paper overall.)

-- We must continue to maintain the distinction between
non-NATO troops contributors and other partners, such as
Russia, who do not contribute troops.

4. (C) RFG: Unless otherwise directed, Ambassador Daalder
intends to draw from the recommendations in para three above
during the December 1 PermRep discussion.

5. (SBU) The text of the SecGen's non-paper (which was
e-mailed to EUR/RPM) is reproduced below:


USNATO 00000555 002 OF 003

BEGIN TEXT

ISAF Decision Making -- Involving the Non-NATO Contributing
Nations

1. At Bratislava, several Defence Ministers of non-NATO ISAF
contributing nations intervened strongly on the issue of
consultation and involvement in the development of policy
documents. While actions have been taken in recent months to
strengthen their involvement, a number of these nations
remain dissatisfied with current arrangements. This non-paper
sets out pragmatic and quick to implement proposals for
improved dialogue and consultation with regard only to the
ISAF operation. In the longer term we might wish to consider
whether the Political-Military Framework for NATO-Led
Partnership for Peace Operations needs to be revised.

2. Council Meetings. One of the most vocal complaints of
non-NATO ISAF partners is a lack of early involvement in
issues of interest, associated with a compressed timescale
for them to consider issues in capitals. While an increasing
number of ISAF issues are discussed in ISAF format, we could
do more. Our default position should be that key ISAF
decisions are from the outset discussed formally in ISAF
format. This will require the scheduling of additional
meetings in this format (Council, Policy Coordination Group,
Military Committee, Working Groups, etc.), but it provides an
opportunity which should be well received by non-NATO ISAF
partners, and which can be implemented immediately. We will
also need to consider the handling of such issues in an
informal setting. Frequently, key issues are discussed in a
luncheon (or similar) format before placing them on the
agenda for regular Council meetings. The consequence of this
is that ideas can become crystallized before they are
discussed in a formal setting, and non-NATO ISAF partners can
be left with the impression that they are being presented
with a fait accompli. We should therefore also consider
holding informal Council discussions in ISAF format when key
issues justify this. On the other hand, we should not exclude
that some issues related to our engagement in Afghanistan
would be sensitive to the Alliance's interests as such and
that Allies therefore would need to discuss such issues at
28. This may particularly be the case as the group of
non-NATO ISAF contributing nations continues to widen, both
geographically and politically.

3. Ministerial Meetings and Summits. It is increasingly the
case that high-level meetings of the Council are scheduled in
ISAF format. This should be the norm, at least while the
tempo of the mission remains at current levels. However, we
need to consider also the involvement of other stakeholders
in these meetings. The presence of EU, UN and Afghan
authorities is important, but there is a risk that discussion
will be inhibited in the presence of these players. We should
consider scheduling Ministerial meetings where attendance is
limited only to Allies and non-NATO ISAF partners. This in
itself would be a strong signal to our partners. We would
need, however, to schedule a further session in an expanded
format when the inclusion of other stakeholders was
considered necessary.

4. Development of Policy Documents. Once again, committee
procedures have already been adapted to be more inclusive.
However, while non-NATO ISAF partners are kept well informed
throughout this process, they are not invited to contribute
formally until an issue is agreed 'at 28'. It is seldom the
case that comments subsequently provided by non-NATO ISAF
contributors require us to re-open an issue, but this could
be partly due to a reluctance on the behalf of our partners
to delay the process. We should therefore consider inviting
input from non-NATO ISAF contributors throughout the
development process while Allies' deliberations are going on.

USNATO 00000555 003 OF 003


This would strengthen the principles of transparency and
inclusion of the Political-Military Framework, and it would
reflect the importance of non-NATO involvement in the ISAF
mission. And it could be a pragmatic start from which we will
gain experience for a potential subsequent revision of the
Political-Military Framework.

5. Improved Information Sharing. There will inevitably be
issues that come up at 28, either by circumstance, or by
necessity. We should institute a system of prompt ex post
facto briefings to inform non-NATO contributing nations when
this occurs, probably delivered by the Assistant Secretary
General for Operations. We might also elevate the current
regular informal working level meetings that the Assistant
Secretary General for Operations currently holds with
non-NATO contributors to Ambassadorial level from time to
time.

6. A Non-NATO 'Troika'. It has been suggested that a smaller
group of non-NATO nations might be formed as a conduit for
information flow regarding Afghanistan. This concept might
see a single representative nation, supported by two others
on a rotational basis. Arguably, this would be less
cumbersome, and logistically easier than holding meetings 'at
43'. A variation on this idea might be to have each of the
Regional Commands represented by a single non-NATO
Contributing Nation. But there are dangers here. Could such a
group be truly representative of 'the 15', and would it be
seen as divisive? By definition, some nations would receive
key information before others, and this is likely to generate
a 'them and us' split within the group of partners.

7. In summary, we have improved our consultation with
non-NATO ISAF partners considerably over the recent years;
but it is clear that a number of these nations feel strongly
that we could do more. The steps outlined above are
consistent with our aspiration for full transparency and
involvement, and would be seen as a pragmatic approach which
addresses concerns raised at Bratislava and elsewhere. In
addition, they are quick deliverables. There are potential
implications for the wider Political Military Framework, but
they will have to be addressed at a later stage.

END TEXT
DAALDER

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