Cablegate: Fco Describes Planning for January 28 London Afghanistan Conference
PP RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHLO #2864 3521747
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 181747Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4478
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 002864
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/18/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL AF PK UK
SUBJECT: FCO DESCRIBES PLANNING FOR JANUARY 28 LONDON AFGHANISTAN CONFERENCE REF: A. LONDON 2774 B. LONDON 2816
Classified By: Ambassador Louis Susman for reasons 1.4 b and d
1. (C/NF) Summary. The Afghan government has "not focused" yet on the January 28 London Afghanistan Conference and is "not organized yet to feed anything coherent" into discussions regarding the agenda and Conference outcomes, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Permanent Undersecretary Peter Ricketts told the Ambassador December 18. A meeting of representatives from the main Conference participants in London December 21 will provide an opportunity to engage on Conference outcomes, Ricketts said. (An FCO officer separately told Poloff that the December 21 meeting would be the first step in "socializing the text" for the "outcomes document communique.") Ricketts told the Ambassador that HMG does not want to "dictate" the agenda to the Afghan government, but seeks to support Karzai. However, he agreed that Afghan "feathers have been ruffled...and we need to soothe their sensitivities." End Summary.
2. (C/NF) Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Permanent Undersecretary Peter Ricketts told the Ambassador in a December 18 telephone conversation that the Afghan government has "not focused" yet on the January 28 London Afghanistan Conference. The Afghans are "not organized yet to feed anything coherent" into discussions regarding the agenda and Conference outcomes, Ricketts stated. Ricketts stated that a meeting of representatives from the main Conference participants in London December 21 would provide an opportunity to "engage on outcomes." Ricketts repeated that he was "not confident" that the Afghans would propose specific outcomes or provide "something coherent" to discuss December 21.
3. (C/NF) The Ambassador noted concerns that the Afghan Ambassador had shared with him regarding the UK's planning for the Conference (ref A). Ricketts agreed that Afghan "feathers have been ruffled...and we need to soothe their sensitivities," but he also stressed that the Afghan Ambassador to London was delivering a more hard-line message than President Karzai. "They are less exercised" in Kabul, Ricketts stated. Ricketts stressed that the Conference should address issues related to governance and reintegration, notwithstanding Afghan objections. The Ambassador and Ricketts concurred that the Conference should stress international support for the progress made on the pledges stated by President Karzai in his November inaugural address.
4. (C/NF) Ricketts stressed to the Ambassador that HMG did not want to "dictate" the agenda to the Afghan government, affirming that "we want to support Karzai and help him." Ricketts agreed that the success of the spring conference in Kabul hinged upon the success of the London Conference. He described the London Conference as one stage of a two stage process, the second stage being the spring conference.
5. (C/NF) An FCO officer charged with Conference planning told Poloff in a separate conversation December 18 that the December 21 meeting in London would be the first step in "socializing the text" for the "outcomes document communique." The UK will have a text "on the table" for the participants to review. The UK has invited the U.S., other "key NATO and EU players," Afghanistan, and Pakistan to participate at the senior working level, he said. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX