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Cablegate: Ambassador Rice Meets Uk Foreign Affairs Committee

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUCNDT #0980 3062202
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 022202Z NOV 09
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7500
INFO RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0312
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1455
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 1381
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 2340
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 1685

UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000980

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL UNSC UK IR
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR RICE MEETS UK FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

1. (SBU) Summary. Ambassador Rice on October 27 met with 14
members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the UK
Parliament. The Parliamentarians, who represented the
Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour, raised Iran, the
Middle East, U.S. relations with Russia, Afghanistan, and
concern over legal challenges to Security Council sanctions
regimes. The Committee members met in New York with key
missions such as the U.S., France and Russia, after which
they planned to travel to Washington for meetings with
counterparts in Congress as well as with officials in the
Department of State, Pentagon, and with staff of the
Brookings Institutions. End summary.

2. (SBU) At the request of the UK Mission to the UN,
Ambassador Rice on October 27 met with the 14-member Foreign
Affairs Committee of the UK Parliament to discuss U.S.
foreign policy. The Committee members traveled to New York
to meet with key missions, such as the U.S., France and
Russia, following which they planned to travel to Washington
for meetings with their counterparts in Congress as well as
with officials in the Department of State, Pentagon, and with
staff of the Brookings Institutions. Mike Gapes, the
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, moderated the
question and answer session. The first question posed to
Ambassador Rice concerned whether the new U.S. approach to
the United Nations was a tactical approach or a strategic
policy move. Ambassador Rice said the UN was an
indispensable if imperfect institution and that the broad
range of transnational challenges could only be addressed in
a multilateral forum like the UN. She reviewed the six key
ways in which the US approach to the UN has changed and which
she had outlined in her speech at New York University on
August 12.

3. (SBU) One member said they had just met with the Russian
Deputy Permanent Representative, who said an Iranian move to
a militarized nuclear program would be a redline, but that
diplomacy was the only path Russia was prepared to take, a
position the Committee member described as an inherent
contradiction. Ambassador Rice noted that Russia is more
vested in this issue than in the past. She said that Russia
clearly prefers a diplomatic solution to the challenges of
the Iranian nuclear program, although higher authorities in
Moscow may recognize that diplomacy alone might not be a
sufficient strategy. Another Committee member inquired why
the U.S. and UK governments had not shown greater enthusiasm
for Russian offers to enrich Iran's uranium. Ambassador Rice
responded that in the absence of any real dialogue with Iran,
the U.S. views concrete discussions of proposals as
premature.

4. (SBU) Regarding Russia, a Committee member remarked that
President Obama is "resetting" relations with Moscow but that
in his view the Russians had not reciprocated. Ambassador
Rice answered that some positive steps, such as the decision
to reorient the missile-defense shield in Europe, have not
been undertaken as favors to Russia but were made after
reviewing national priorities and threats. That these policy
reviews have helped improved the bilateral relationship, she
said, is obviously welcome.

5. (SBU) One Committee member remarked that interested
parties are awaiting a decision from President Obama on how
the U.S. will implement a new policy toward Afghanistan,
particularly since the British public was growing anxious
about the UK's commitment given that the public "just see
bodybags coming home." Ambassador Rice said President Obama
noted in March that the U.S. would examine its strategy after
the elections in Afghanistan. She said that the U.S. is also
taking heightened casualties, but the U.S. is not considering
downsizing its commitment to Afghanistan.

6. (SBU) One participant raised the UK's concern that legal
actions in the European Union could undermine some sanctions
regimes of the Security Council, particularly the 1267
Committee. Ambassador Rice said the U.S. shared those
concerns, and the Administration is working with the
Department of Treasury to scrub sanctions lists to remove
individuals who should not be designated.
Rice

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