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Cablegate: Mission Usnato

VZCZCXRO1744
PP RUEHDBU RUEHSL
DE RUEHNO #0042 0291636
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291636Z JAN 10
FM USMISSION USNATO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3817
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMFISS/USNMR SHAPE BE
RUEHNO/USDELMC BRUSSELS BE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L USNATO 000042
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/29/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR NATO RS

Classified By: DCM John Heffern for reasons 1.4 (b/d).

1. (C) In a conversation on NATO-Russia relations, Russian
Deputy Permanent Representative to NATO Nikolai Korchunov
said "transparency is a tool of the weak" during a January 27
lunch hosted by DCM Heffern. Korchunov made this statement
in response to the DCM urging Russia to be more transparent
about its intentions and actions, such as its recent military
exercises held on NATOs border. Korchunov admitted that
Russia and the U.S. did need to understand one another, but
did not extend this need to other Allies. He claimed that
his statement about the weak referred to those countries that
"acted like babies" and were afraid of Russia.

2. (C) Korchunov explained that Russia did not consider NATO
a real threat, and that the threats came from Russias south.
He hoped that since Russia and NATO faced many of the same
threats this could result in greater practical cooperation
through the NATO-Russia Council (NRC). He lamented that
"Cold Warriors" in Moscow remained wary of NATO and limited
what Russia could do through the NRC. Korchunov said that
both he and Russian Ambassador to NATO Rogozin wanted to
improve the NATO-Russia relationship and advocated for closer
cooperation in Moscow. He claimed that Rogozin had access to
the top Russian leadership and urged that the U.S. and
Russian Ambassadors work together on key issues rather than
work through NATO. Korchunov thought it odd that the NATO
International Staff, and not the U.S., had approached the
Russian Mission to discuss the U.S. request to utilize the
NATO-Russia transit agreement to move vehicles through
Valdivostok to Afghanistan. The DCM responded that Allies
worked through the Alliance to solve problems and could not
dictate NATO positions or decisions. Korchunov indicated
that Russia would approve the U.S. transit request.

3. (C) Korchunov said that NATO-Russia relations were not a
priority for Moscow, which placed more importance on
bilateral relations with individual NATO members. This
factor made it difficult for the Russian Mission to NATO to
attract diplomats. Many would rather serve at the Russian
Mission to the EU, which was considered a higher profile post
since the EU was Russias largest trading partner. Korchunov
said that NATOs 2009 expulsion of two Russian diplomats had
only increased the posts undesirability. He reiterated
denials that the two had been intelligence officers, and said
that NATO was wrong to recently reject Russias nominee for
Political Counselor on the grounds that he too was a spy.
Korchunov complained that the situation left him with a staff
that was too small to handle its workload. (Note: The most
recent NATO directory lists 27 people in the Political
Section of the Russian Mission, several of whom have very
thin portfolios. The Russian Political Section is
considerably larger than that of any NATO member, including
our own. End note.)
DAALDER

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