Cablegate: Westerwelle On Afghanistan, Iran, Tac Nukes

DE RUEHRL #0164/01 0361532
O 051532Z FEB 10

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BERLIN 000164


E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/05/2020

Classified By: Classified by Political M-C George Glass for reasons 1.4

1. (C) German FM Westerwelle told Amb February 5 that it was
important to refocus Afghanistan efforts on civilian
reconstruction; that we needed to avoid suggesting German
troops engaged in less risk than other countries; that he did
not invite Iranian FM Mottaki to Germany or seek a meeting
with him; that any discussion of non-strategic nuclear
weapons needed to be conducted at 28 at NATO; and that he
could not influence any decision by the European Parliament
on the SWIFT agreement. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) The Ambassador asked about Westerwelle's first 100
days in office. Though in an ebullient mood, Westerwelle
said things were very difficult (FDP slipped another
percentage point in the polls hours before the meeting). He
said he had been in France February 4 for a joint cabinet
meeting, but that nothing substantive came of it. He
observed that one never really knew what was going to happen
with Sarkozy involved.


3. (C) The Ambassador reviewed his own recent trip to
Afghanistan. He shared his impression that the Germans were
doing a superb job at all levels from the RC-North commander
on down. He learned how critical mentoring and partnering
with Afghan security forces had become. He noted that the
U.S. was sending substantial forces to RC-North, where they
would conduct training and be under German command.
Westerwelle responded that this was important for Germany and
for international cooperation. The Ambassador added that the
U.S. was sending substantial helicopter support as well. He
said that Germans could be proud of their troops in
Afghanistan. Westerwelle responded that this was good news.
He said that the London Conference bore an excellent
conclusion, and was particularly useful for its focus on
civilian progress. He emphasized the importance of
underscoring civilian reconstruction.
4. (C) With a request for confidentiality, Westerwelle
referred to the January 20 "Bild Zeitung" interview with
General McChrystal, in which the general is quoted as urging
the Germans to take more risks. Westerwelle recounted that
he himself had had to answer questions about this article for
ten days, explaining that the Germans were not "peace
soldiers" while other countries provided the combat troops.
He said it was important that German troops not be
"relativized" and cast as second-class troops. He observed
that Germany had originally deployed 3,500 troops, increased
that mandate to 4,500, and was now planning an increase of
another 500 plus a reserve. He emphasized that this was a
major contribution compared with other European countries.
5. (C) The Ambassador noted that he had gained the
impression in Afghanistan that police training was more
challenging than he had originally understood. Troops were
usually required to provide force protection. But German
police training was the best.
6. (C) The Ambassador asked how the prospective February 26
Bundestag debate to extend the Bundeswehr mandate in
Afghanistan would play out. Westerwelle said the question
was how large a majority would approve the new mandate. He
said that SPD caucus chief Steinmeier displayed good will on
this issue. However, SPD chairman Gabriel wanted to
politicize the issue for domestic political gain.
Nevertheless, he thought some in the SPD would support the
new mandate. However, Westerwelle expected no support from
the Greens. Westerwelle noted that the May NRW state
elections were also affecting the issue in a negative way.
That said, he said he could not see Steinmeier opposing the
larger mandate. He hoped the Ambassador would speak with


7. (C) Asked about the February 5 visit of Iranian FM
Mottaki to the Munich Security Conference, Westerwelle
emphasized that he (Westerwelle) had not invited Mottaki to
come to Germany, and Westerwelle had also not requested a
meeting with Mottaki. Rather, it was Mottaki who was asking
to see Westerwelle. Westerwelle said he had still not
decided whether he would talk to Mottaki or not. He
reflected concern that Tehran might try to exploit Mottaki's
visit to Germany as a distraction, and continue executing
people during the visit. In any case, Westerwelle said his
position was exactly the same as the U.S. on Iran, and he
would share the results of any meeting with Mottaki, if it
took place.

BERLIN 00000164 002 OF 002

8. (C) Westerwelle said he would meet Russian FM Lavrov and
(separately) Chinese FM Yang February 5. He suggested that
Moscow had been changing course on Iran sanctions since the
Qom revelations. The Russians now saw Iran as playing games
on the nuclear issue. However, he observed that China was
"hesitant," or even in opposition to sanctions. Reflecting
on his recent visit to China, Westerwelle said he had not
perceived any "good will" there at present. He said he would
ask Yang again about Iran and then share the results with the
U.S. Westerwelle opined that it was important also to focus
on Brazil as an opinion leader in the Third World. He noted
that President Lula had received Ahmadinejad warmly several
months ago. He added that he was uncertain what the Saudis
thought, but that the other Persian Gulf countries seemed to
be in an existential panic about the Iranian nuclear program.


9. (C) Touching briefly on arms control, Westerwelle stated
unequivocally that tactical nuclear weapons was an issue for
NATO. He said that when he had received Kissinger, Schulz,
Perry and Nunn on February 3 to talk about their global zero
proposal, tactical nuclear weapons was not discussed. He
said that the four statesmen were very supportive of
President Obama.


10. (C) The Ambassador raised the challenge of getting the
European Parliament to approve an agreement to share data
with the U.S. on tracking terrorist finance. The Ambassador
noted the extensive efforts of the Treasury Department and
other U.S. agencies to explain the importance of the program
to our common security. He asked how one could get better
support for the program. Westerwelle replied that the German
government had been able to come up with a solution for
itself a few months ago when the issue first surfaced.
(Comment: In fact, German Interior Minister de Maziere's vote
to abstain in the EU Council vote on TFTP on November 30
reflected the complete deadlock within the Coalition
Government between TFTP advocates in the CDU-controlled
Interior Ministry and TFTP opponents in the FDP-controlled
Justice Ministery. End Comment.) However, Westerwelle said
that now that the issue was in the European Parliament, he
had no ability to influence it. He said that he was very,
very aware of the Secretary's interest in this issue.
Nevertheless, he had a sense that almost all groups in the
European Parliament had concerns with the proposed agreement.
He emphasized that this was not an issue that only concerned
his party, the FDP, but rather many others as well.
11. (C) Westerwelle shared that he had not yet appointed a
new Coordinator for German-American cooperation.


12. (C) Westerwelle (who spoke with ease in English) was in
a buoyant mood and more confident on his issues than we have
seen him so far. He seemed ready to defend any intimation
that he was less than supportive of a troop surge (Defense
Minister zu Guttenberg told the Ambassador two days ago that
Westerwelle had worked for no increase of German troops for
Afghanistan, see Berlin 157) with invocations of the
importance of civilian reconstruction. On Iran, he leapt at
the chance to tell us he had not invited Mottaki. His dodges
on both tactical nuclear weapons and terrorist finance were
all but practiced. His comment that he was unable to affect
the vote in the EU Parliament on TFTP was a bit disingenuous;
on February 4, an MFA official acknowledged to visiting
Treasury officials in Berlin that German MEPs were in fact
leading the charge against TFTP in the EU Parliament with the
tacit support of the FDP, if not of specialists in the
Justice Ministry and MFA themselves. Westerwelle still cuts a
good image in meetings and in the press here, even though his
party continues a bout of free fall in the polls. His
ministry, though, still wonders (privately to us) where he
gets his policy direction from. END COMMENT.
13. (U) The Ambassador did not have the chance to clear this
cable before departing Berlin.


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