06MOSCOW9627, RUSSIAN DUMA CHAIRPERSON KOSACHEV ON US, IRAN,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW9627 2006-08-31 14:52 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO0420
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #9627/01 2431452
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 311452Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1503
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 009627 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/31/2016 
TAGS: PREL PHUM KDEM RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN DUMA CHAIRPERSON KOSACHEV ON US, IRAN, 
LEBANON, CIS, NGOS, INTERNAL POLITICS 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns: Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D) 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  In an August 31 meeting with the 
Ambassador, Chairman of the International Relations Committee 
of the Russia Duma Konstantin Kosachev expressed concern over 
the deteriorating tone in US-Russian relations.  Kosachev 
explained his opposition to imposing sanctions against Iran 
absent a clear roadmap, arguing that Iran was emboldened by 
Lebanon and undeterred by economic measures.  Kosachev still 
held out the possibility of a Russian troop contribution to 
UNIFIL, but conceded Ministry of Defense opposition. 
Surveying the frozen conflicts, Kosachev recognized that 
Russia was not playing a helpful role, but argued the West 
did not recognize the legitimate grievances that undergird 
the disputes, which independence for Kosovo would complicate. 
 Kosachev welcomed the Ambassador's state-of-play on NGO 
re-registration and volunteered his assistance, if required. 
He characterized news of a union of leftist political parties 
a welcome political development in Russia, but said it was an 
open question whether this union or a combination of the 
beleaguered "rightist" democrats could break through the 
seven percent parliamentary threshold.  Action: Request 
Department's assistance in helping Kosachev schedule 
appointments in Washington on September 24-25 and in New York 
on September 27.  Other topics septel.  End Summary 
 
-------------------------------------------- 
TONE OF US-RUSSIAN RELATIONS: LUGAR COMMENTS 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
2.  (C)  Kosachev launched the hour-long meeting expressing 
surprise over Senator Lugar's August 29 characterization of 
US-Russian relations as "adversarial" (which, rendered in 
Russian, conveyed the sense of "enemy").  The Ambassador 
responded that the Senator's remarks were an accurate sign of 
the times, reflecting the assessment in Washington that 
Russian actions were tilting the relationship to one of 
competition, not cooperation.  Factors that may have hardened 
the Senator's view, the Ambassador added, was the GOR refusal 
to permit a visit to the Mayak fissile material storage 
facility that precipitated the cancellation of Lugar's July 
visit, following on last year's six-hour delay of Senators 
Lugar and Obama at the Perm airport.  Having just completed a 
visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan, Senator Lugar was 
well-apprised of the concerns of Russia's neighbors.  The 
Ambassador urged Kosachev to seek out Russia's critics during 
his late September visit to the U.S. and address their 
concerns directly.  He also reviewed where WTO negotiations 
stood, and outlined initiatives flowing from the G-8 summit 
meeting between the Presidents to enhance cooperation on 
nuclear energy. 
 
-------------------------------------------- 
IRAN: QUESTIONING SANCTIONS AND THE END-GAME 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
3.  (C)  A critical factor in US-Russian relations would be 
continued cooperation in halting Iranian proliferation, the 
Ambassador emphasized.  Kosachev noted that he was alarmed 
over more aggressive Iranian rhetoric, fueled by the 
perceived victory of its clients in Lebanon.  Relating an 
August 30 conversation with the Iranian Ambassador, Kosachev 
concluded that Iran was pleased with events in Lebanon, 
convinced that they had inflicted a defeat on Israel and the 
West, and untroubled by the prospect of sanctions.  The 
Iranian Ambassador had struck a defiant tone, he noted, 
stating that Iran was not intimidated by anyone, and 
certainly not by the UNSC.  Despite "open relations" with the 
Iranian Ambassador, Kosachev was taken aback by the strident 
Iranian talking points, which the Ambassador appeared to read 
verbatim, as well as by Iran's criticism of Russian as well 
as U.S. positions.  Kosachev condemned Iran's decision to 
move forward with the production of heavy water, labeling it 
"completely wrong," but concluded that the more pressure 
applied on Iran, the less influence the UNSC would wield. 
"If we proceed toward sanctions," Kosachev warned, "they will 
have an opposite effect." 
 
4.  (C)  Kosachev stated that the GOR was still studying the 
Iranian response, which he described as difficult to 
understand, technical in its details, and requiring 
clarification.  Based on his conversations with the relevant 
GOR actors, Kosachev predicted that the GOR would seek 
further dialogue with Iran and put forward additional 
questions before arriving at a final decision.  Pointing to 
uncertainty in European capitals as well, Kosachev concluded 
that few countries would be prepared to proceed immediately. 
Kosachev reinforced his discomfort over starting down the 
sanctions path without a clear roadmap.  The international 
community would box itself in a corner by applying economic 
 
MOSCOW 00009627  002 OF 003 
 
 
sanctions, knowing that they would be rejected by Iran.  The 
Iranian leadership, he reiterated, was not posturing and was 
not intimidated by sanctions.  Kosachev rela
ted that when he 
raised the examples of Spain, Sweden and the Ukraine -- 
countries that had nuclear programs, but no enrichment 
facilities -- the Iranian Ambassador retorted that none of 
these countries had been "cheated" by the international 
community; instead, Iran had to rely upon itself. 
 
5.  (C)  The Ambassador warned that inaction or delay in the 
UNSC carried a significant cost.  Iran had demonstrated that 
international conciliation would not induce it to halt its 
nuclear program.  The US and Russia, working with the EU, had 
produced a very generous package and had agreed several 
months ago that Iranian rejection of its terms would be met 
with significant steps to demonstrate the displeasure of the 
international community.  While Kosachev's apprehensions were 
understandable, no one was in a position to describe exactly 
the consequences of continued Iranian defiance.  However, it 
was important for the GOR to acknowledge the cost of 
international inaction.  The Ambassador agreed that events in 
Lebanon appeared to have hardened Iranian attitudes.  It was 
critical that the EU-3, US, Russia and China remain united. 
Russia should not signal that it intended to throw up its 
arms.  US policymakers were aware of the limits of sanctions 
and no one sought a precipitous move to the use of force; 
however, the US was convinced that inaction was not an 
option.  The six partners needed to think through the next 
steps together and ensure that Iran did not have an 
opportunity to exploit differences. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
LEBANON AFTERMATH; RUSSIAN UNIFIL DELIBERATIONS 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
6.  (C)  Kosachev described the Israeli-Lebanon conflict as a 
lose-lose proposition.  The UNSC, Russia, the US and EU all 
were diminished, he argued, and the only answer was to 
prevent a resumption of hostilities.  Kosachev questioned the 
perceived unconditional US support for Israel, arguing that 
the GOI had abused its sovereign right to combat terrorists. 
He noted that he was an advocate for Russian participation in 
UNIFIL, but conceded that the Russian bureaucracy was 
divided.  Much would depend on the mandate, with the Ministry 
of Defense arguing against a troop contribution in the 
absence of clarity over the scope of UNIFIL's mission. 
Technically, Kosachev underscored, the GOR had a 2,000 strong 
division prepositioned for peacekeeping operations.  Foreign 
Minister Lavrov's trip to the region (September 6-8) and 
discussions at UNGA would shape Russian thinking.  The 
Ambassador agreed that the expanded UNIFIL needed to be stood 
up as quickly as possible, warning that provocations by 
Hezbollah or Syria against a politically weakened GOI would 
create an explosive situation. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
FROZEN CONFLICTS: NO EASY ANSWERS, KOSOVO COMPLICATES 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
7.  (C)  Kosachev bemoaned Western indifference to the real 
emotions that fueled the frozen conflicts.  There was some 
truth that Russia perpetuated these conflicts, he admitted, 
but the key to resolving the disputes in Georgia lay in 
improving relations between the GOG and people of Abkhazia 
and South Ossetia.  Abkhazia, Kosachev stressed, had never 
been an historic part of Georgia, but was incorporated by 
Stalin and Beria -- a move that had been rejected by the 
Abkhazians from the outset.  Kosachev said that he personally 
was in favor of Abkhazia remaining within Georgia, but not by 
force, and repeated that this outcome would not be achieved 
by Georgian appeals to the US or Brussels, or by Russian 
pressure: a concordat between Tbilisi and Abkhazia was 
essential.  There needed to be a common program.  Russia had 
not done enough to effect this outcome, but neither -- he 
insisted -- had Georgia.  As for South Ossetia, it was an 
instance of a divided people.  The issue resonated in Russia, 
he noted, and within the Duma and among the leadership of 
North Ossetia it was difficult to discuss any solution short 
of reunification.  Kosachev derisively described the economy 
of South Ossetia as consisting of 2 factories, 600 jobs, and 
"you know what." 
 
8.  (C)  Kosovo presented a very dangerous development since 
there would be a referendum in Transdnistria on September 17. 
 In the wake of the positive Putin-Voronin visit, he noted, 
Russia would neither recognize nor deny the referendum, but 
some Duma members would be present as observers.  Kosachev 
said he simply could not accept that Kosovo was not a 
precedent for other frozen conflicts, including Abkhazia.  If 
Kosovo was granted independence, the international community 
 
MOSCOW 00009627  003 OF 003 
 
 
should do so understanding the implications for other 
conflict areas.  These disputes, he reiterated, are driven by 
nationalist demands that are not artificial.  While Kosachev 
accepted the Ambassador's points on the unique status of 
Kosovo, he reiterated that they were not credible to the 
people of these regions. 
 
---- 
NGOS 
---- 
 
9.  (C)  The Ambassador briefed Kosachev on the status of the 
re-registration of Western non-governmental organizations and 
his meeting with the Director of the Federal Registration 
Service (septel), noting the high level of anxiety among NGO 
representatives over the implementation of the new law. 
Kosachev, who played a helpful role in securing the 
modification of the initial draft of the NGO legislation, 
immediately interjected that he was prepared to help, if 
there was any indication that the law was being misapplied. 
The goal, he underscored, was to ease the work of the NGOs. 
Kosachev agreed with the Ambassador's suggestion that the GOR 
take the initiative in briefing G8 Ambassadors and members of 
the foreign NGO community. 
 
------------------------ 
POLITICAL CONSOLIDATIONS 
------------------------ 
 
10.  (C)  Turning to internal political developments, 
Kosachev welcomed the recent announcement of a union of 
leftist political parties.  A lack of strong political 
parties was a signal weakness of Russia's democracy and 
United Russia had long advocated and created incentives for 
political combinations.  Some reforms that had been 
interpreted in the West as undemocratic, Kosachev noted, were 
sincere efforts to create larger, more stable political 
parties.  Kosachev said that Russia needed a strong rightist 
party as well, and hoped Yabloko and SPS would overcome their 
leadership differences to forge a coalition. 
 
11.  (C)  Kosachev said he was not certain that the leftist 
union of the Party of Life, Party of Pensioners and Rodina 
would succeed, pointing to the charisma-deficit of its 
leadership; nevertheless, he wished the organizers success. 
United Russia, he underscored, would not do anything to block 
this political development.  Kosachev predicted a 2007 Duma 
with Unit
ed Russia, Communist, and LDPR representation.  Both 
the leftist bloc and coalition of rightists parties could 
aspire to break through the seven percent threshold but, 
slamming his fist on the table, Kosachev expressed 
exasperation over whether the latter would get their act 
together.  As to whether the Kremlin would induce a coalition 
among the beleaguered "democrats," Kosachev said it depended 
on the coalition's leader.  Former Prime Minister Kasyanov, 
for instance, was not welcome at the Kremlin and Kosachev 
discounted his strategy of running for President absent a 
strong political party base. 
 
-------------------------------------------- 
ACTION REQUEST: WASHINGTON/NEW YORK MEETINGS 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
12.  (U)  Post requests Department assistance in helping the 
Russian Embassy to arrange appropriate calls for Kosachev 
during his September 24-25 visit to Washington and September 
27 stop in New York.  In addition to his already-arranged 
session with the HIRC leadership, Kosachev seeks appointments 
with Senators Lugar and McCain, a meeting with the National 
Security Adviser, and meetings with appropriate senior State 
Department officials.  Kosachev would also be willing to 
speak at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York. 
BURNS

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