07MOSCOW753, HIRC Chairman Lantos Meeting with Russian Security Council

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW753 2007-02-21 12:47 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

DE RUEHMO #0753/01 0521247
R 211247Z FEB 07

E.O.  12958: N/A 
SUBJECT: HIRC Chairman Lantos Meeting with Russian Security Council 
Secretary Ivanov 
1.  (SBU)  Summary:  In a February 19 meeting with Russian Security 
Council Secretary Ivanov, HIRC Chairman Lantos announced his intent 
to introduce legislation repealing Jackson-Vanik and inaugurate a 
formal congressional working group with Russian Duma Chairman of the 
International Relations Committee.  On Iran, Ivanov undertook to 
encourage Iranian support for a Lantos visit, described a nuclear 
Iran as unacceptable, expressed frustration with Iranian refusal to 
accept a "time out," and conditioned the fuel delivery of Bushehr on 
the "developing situation" -- adding that Russia would not 
"complicate" the situation.  Ivanov reviewed Russian opposition to 
the Ahtisaari plan for Kosovo, said early action in the UNSC would 
complicate matters, and noted the effect on the frozen conflicts. 
On the Middle East, Lantos underscored that a Palestinian National 
Unity Government would have to "subscribe" to the three conditions, 
and urged Russia to persuade Syria to choose between the civilized 
world and Iran.  Lantos expressed strong concern over Russian weapon 
sales to Syria, with Ivanov defending GOR end-user controls.  Lantos 
told Ivanov that NATO could handle Afghanistan, if Allies and their 
partners in ISAF members shed their "caveats" on the rules of 
engagement.  End Summary 
GOR View of Bilateral Relations 
2.  (SBU)  In a February 19 meeting with Chairman of the House 
Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Lantos and the Ambassador, Russian 
Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov joked that US-Russian 
relations "were not as bad" as they appeared, but that Russia could 
not help but be disturbed by the discrepancy that existed between 
the accomplishments and the current atmosphere.  Putin, he noted, 
had instructed Duma Chairman Boris Gryzlov to intensify contacts 
with his American counterparts, and the GOR recognized that it had 
neglected to pay enough attention to a congressional dialogue.  In 
other remedial steps, the GOR had recently approved a bilateral 
non-governmental working group on human rights chaired by Human 
Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin and Carnegie Washington Director 
Jessica Matthews, and was examining the creation of a working group 
"of veterans," seeking to tap into the expertise of former Prime 
Minister Primakov and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (who 
visits Russia again in March).  While this group would be 
unofficial, the goal was to deepen the strategic dialogue.  Ivanov 
invited Lantos to visit Moscow frequently, joking that the Chairman 
was the only one of his colleagues not running for President. 
3.  (SBU)  Lantos expressed appreciation for GOR hospitality during 
his visit and said he viewed his consultations in the context of 
post-Munich, referring to the speech by Putin, severely criticizing 
U.S. policy.  In order to redress the imbalance in the relationship, 
Lantos previewed his intention to introduce legislation repealing 
Jackson-Vanik, which he would announce in a February 21 press 
conference.  Furthermore, following his February 20 meeting with 
Duma Chairman of the International Relations Committee Konstantin 
Kosachev, Lantos said he would announce the creation of a formal 
parliamentary working group, which would meet on a regular basis, 
and help kick-start a constructive dialogue.  Lantos pledged to 
devote considerable energy to improving US-Russian relations. 
4.  (SBU)  Ivanov, noting recent accomplishments in WTO and "123" 
negotiations, on-going cooperation in the Quartet, and the 
establishment of the Global Initiative on Combating Nuclear 
Terrorism, asked the Chairman for his frank assessment of the 
prospects for the repeal of Jackson-Vanik.  Ivanov hastened to add 
that the GOR understood the legislation was symbolic, noting that 
Russia had lived with the amendment for a long time, and could 
continue to do so.  Lantos responded that he would do everything in 
his power to enact the repeal, noting that he was uniquely qualified 
to take up this task and would be "very surprised" if he did not 
succeed.  Ivanov underscored the GOR's appreciation for his efforts, 
and Lantos stressed that it was an antidote to the Putin speech. 
Iran: Tougher Talk 
5.  (SBU)  Lantos expressed frustration over the Iranian regime's 
refusal to issue visas to Members of the U.S. Congress, noting that 
he was last in Iran during the Shah's reign.  Despite his efforts, 
and those of former UNSYG Annan, Iran refused to budge from this 
policy, which Lantos labeled counterproductive.  Ivanov expressed 
surprise over the restriction, particularly in the wake of former 
President Khatami's visit to New York, and undertook to raise the 
issue directly with the Iranian leadership, including Security 
Adviser Larijani.  Lantos reiterated that he was prepared to travel 
to Iran at any time for a serious conversation. 
6.  (SBU)  Ivanov updated Lantos on the status of GOR efforts to 
engage the Iranian regime, noting
that this was done in close 
consultation with the U.S.  The GOR did not want "under any 
circumstance" to see the emergence of a nuclear Iran, which was 
unacceptable to all of the governments in the region for differing 
reasons.  This point was underscored to Putin during his 
MOSCOW 00000753  002 OF 003 
consultations in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan.  Not only would it 
upset the stability of the Gulf, but it would fatally compromise the 
nonproliferation regime.  Because of GOR concern, Ivanov stressed, 
the GOR had voted for UNSCR 1737, since all levers had to be 
employed.  The results of the six-party talks with the DPRK 
demonstrated that, while difficult, negotiations were the best and 
rational way to achieve a lasting solution. 
7.  (SBU)  Ivanov expressed exasperation with the Iranian 
leadership, noting that the 12 hour negotiating sessions were "no 
picnic," and contrasting the Iranians unfavorably with other 
infamous negotiating partners, including Hafiz al-Asad, Hussein, and 
Milosevic.  Unlike the North Koreans, the Iranians were not clear 
about their objectives.  Ivanov questioned why Iran would seek to 
develop a full nuclear fuel cycle capability, noting that "if the 
situation develops favorably" Russia was prepared to provide the 
fuel for Bushehr.  The Iranians had no other nuclear power plants, 
and no immediate prospects for acquiring them, so their refusal to 
take up El-Baradei's offer of a "time out" was incomprehensible. 
Putin and other senior GOR leaders consistently warned the Iranian 
leaders that their failure to answer questions over their nuclear 
program would only result in specialists concluding that it was for 
military purposes.  "And that is unacceptable to us."  The GOR would 
continue to promote a "time out," which could give the IAEA the time 
necessary to resolve its outstanding questions. 
8.  (SBU)  Ivanov described a new UNSC resolution as "unavoidable" 
if the Iranian stance did not change, which the GOR had communicated 
to the Iranian leadership, and specifically tied timing of the 
delivery of Bushehr fuel to progress in addressing international 
demands.  Repeating that "we'll make a decision in light of the 
developing situation," Ivanov sidestepped Lantos' query on how long 
Russia was prepared to delay.  Ivanov added that much would depend 
on a new resolution.  Lantos underscored that the longer Russia 
delayed, the better, while Ivanov undertook that Russia "won't do 
anything that complicates the situation."  "We will be prudent." 
Ivanov noted the practical difficulties that Russia faced -- a 
workforce (half Ukrainian, half Russian) of 2,500, and 
possible legal exposure on commercial agreements -- but said that 
"is not the major issue."  While theoretically the delivery of fuel 
was tied to IAEA technical assessments, Ivanov underscored that the 
decision was political.  "If the situation worsens, the supply of 
fuel will be threatened."  Ivanov urged a continuous dialogue on the 
part of the U.S. and EU3.  "We will all be winners in the end: it 
doesn't matter who takes the lead." 
9.  (SBU)  Iran's regional ambitions complicated the picture 
further.  Ivanov argued that allowing Iran to participate in the 
resolution of regional issues, such as Lebanon, was one way of 
showing the leadership that nuclear weapons were not a prerequisite 
for being taken seriously by the international community.  In 
Afghanistan and Tajikistan, the GOR had worked productively with the 
Iranian regime, and Ivanov pointed to the Saudi and Iranian brokered 
agreement in Lebanon as a step forward, while withholding judgment 
on whether the compromise would hold.   The GOR believed that Iran 
really sought a direct dialogue with the U.S., and Ivanov commented 
that Lantos' proposed trip would be a "very interesting step" in 
this light.  Lantos noted his role in opening a dialogue with the 
DPRK that preceded the regime's return to the six-party negotiations 
and reiterated his hope that Iran sought a serious dialogue.  The 
advantage of a congressionally-led dialogue was that it could be 
viewed as official, semi-official, or private, depending upon the 
needs of the interlocutors.  The Iranian ban on visas, he repeated, 
was utterly irrational.  Ivanov undertook again to raise the issue. 
Kosovo:  No Hurry 
10.  (SBU)  Ivanov reviewed GOR concerns over the Ahtisaari 
proposal, and the UN 
Special Envoy's propensity for "rapid solutions," noting that any 
outcome should be lasting and acceptable to all the parties.  Ivanov 
argued that it would have been possible to enforce a solution at the 
end of the war, but now "we have what we have."  Under the current 
proposal, Ivanov asserted that the Kosovars had all their historical 
demands answered, "beyond their wildest dreams," while the Serbs 
lost.  Ivanov pushed for continued negotiations, arguing that the 
Serbs recognized that they could not live with the Albanian Kosovars 
and that a dignified solution was still possible.  A quick move to 
the UNSC would "complicate the situation" and there was no reason to 
hurry.  The Kosovars enjoyed de facto independence, their economy 
was growing, and their children were matriculating in Kosovar 
schools and universities.  Bosnia had taken ten years to reach a 
negotiated settlement and EUFOR was still in place.  A solution to 
Kosovo, with its complicated inter-ethnic disputes, could not be 
hurried.   Russia, Ivanov insisted, was not trying to artificially 
delay a settlement, but was convinced that the proposed solution was 
out of balance.  Ivanov added that the international community never 
addressed the plight of Serb refugees. 
MOSCOW 00000753  003 OF 003 
11.  (SBU)  Ivanov stressed that Russia was concerned by the 
parallels between Kosovo and Abkhazia, as well as other frozen 
conflicts.  Lawyers could state that it was not a precedent, but 
"life contradicts."  Ivanov pointed to developments in Moldova, 
where 600-800,000 residents had acquired Romanian passports. 
Transnistrians, who did not accept a Romanian identity, would point 
to their own resolution and unique history as justification for an 
Ahtisaari-style solution. 
Middle East Peace, Syrian Weapon Sales 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
12.  (SBU)  Lantos noted the difficult situation in the Middle East, 
his extended conversation with Palestinian PM Abbas, and 
disappointment over the National Unity Government (NUG), which he 
termed a move in a negative direction that left U.S. efforts to 
assist the Palestinians "up in the air."  Lantos noted emphatically 
that the U.S. would not deal with a government that was made up of 
terrorists.  Ivanov noted Russian interest in the NUG, which Abbas 
had briefed Putin on during their meeting in Jordan.  Ivanov 
suggested that the NUG's "recognition" of previous agreements could 
be read as an affirmation of Israel's existence and repudiation of 
terrorism.  Lantos rejected this formulation, noting that the new 
Palestinian gov
ernment would have to specifically subscribe to the 
three conditions.  Anything short of that would "not fly a 
millimeter" in 
the U.S. Congress. 
13.  (SBU)  In response to Ivanov's question on the possibility of 
Israeli-Syrian contacts, Lantos detailed his conversations in 
Lebanon, where Syrian intimidation made calls for the stationing of 
UN forces along the Syrian-Lebanon border impossible.  Stressing 
that he did not oppose engagement with the Syrians, Lantos noted 
that he did not attach much hope to the process.  It was up to Syria 
to decide whether to be constructive and live in the civilized 
world, or to play Iran's game.  Lantos urged the GOR to underscore 
the same 
message with Asad.  Iran was the single most dangerous phenomenon on 
the planet, and the Syrian regime needed to understand this point. 
14.  (SBU)  Lantos noted his deep concern over Russian military 
shipments to Syria.  While the GOR pointed to its end-user 
restrictions, the U.S. knew that weapons were transferred to 
Hizbollah.  Ivanov reiterated that Russia opposed the transfer of 
weapons to Hizbollah, which had occurred when Syria vacated Lebanon, 
and had taken measures to intensify the monitoring of weapons sold 
to the Asad regime.  While Olmert spoke of Russian missiles falling 
into Hizbollah hands, there was no proof presented.  Russian 
military sales did not threaten the region's stability, and the GOR 
was transparent in its dealings with the Israeli government, 
alerting them to the kinds of weapons supplied. 
Afghanistan: Moving beyond "caveats" 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
15.  (SBU)  Referring to his recent trip to Afghanistan, Lantos said 
the biggest challenge was the unwillingness of many NATO Allies and 
ISAF partners to step up to the plate.  "Caveats" on the roles of 
military engagement meant that the largest burden fell on the 
British, Canadians, Danes, and Dutch.  NATO was capable of 
addressing the threat in Afghanistan, but only if the ISAF dilemma 
on caveats was resolved.  Lantos decried the risk averse calculation 
of some NATO Allies and partners, but pointed to the strong U.S. 
commitment, including the decision by the President to send 3,000 
troops originally destined for Iraq to Afghanistan to preempt the 
spring offensive. 
16.  (SBU)   Noting that NATO wouldn't be in Afghanistan forever, 
Ivanov emphasized the importance of developing Afghanistan's 
military, internal, and police forces, and expressed concern over 
the diminution in the role of the Tajiks.  The Tajiks were the 
natural counter to the extremist forces in Afghanistan.  While 
Russia was not active in Afghanistan, it was prepared to cooperate, 
particularly when it came to the north. 
17.  (SBU)  Chairman Lantos cleared this message. 


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