Daily Archives: February 13, 2008

08MOSCOW393, U/S JEFFERY’S MEETING WITH SEVERSTAL DIRECTOR

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW393 2008-02-13 15:29 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0014
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #0393/01 0441529
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131529Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6571
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000393 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
EUR/RUS; EB/IFD/OIA 
STATE PASS TO USTR 
NSC DPRICE, WARLICK 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/12/2018 
TAGS: ECON EINV ETRD WTO RS
SUBJECT: U/S JEFFERY'S MEETING WITH SEVERSTAL DIRECTOR 
MORDASHOV 
 
Classified By: Daniel A. Russell, Deputy Chief of Mission, reasons 1.4( 
b/d) 
 
1.  (SBU)  Summary:  Meeting with Under Secretary of State 
for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs Reuben Jeffery, 
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International 
Finance and Development Elizabeth Dibble and EcMinCoun on 
January 30, Aleksey Mordashov, General Director of Severstal 
Group, expressed optimism about the U.S., Russian and global 
economies.  He urged Russia's accession to the WTO soon, 
stressing the symbolic importance of May 2 -- Putin's final 
day as president -- and said that Deputy Prime Minister 
Kudrin is committed to taking the steps necessary to join. 
Mordashov expressed interest in a bilateral investment treaty 
but cautioned that completing WTO negotiations come first. 
End Summary. 
 
--------------------------------------- 
MODERATELY OPTIMISTIC ON GLOBAL ECONOMY 
--------------------------------------- 
 
2.  (SBU)  While not discounting the global financial 
situation, Mordashov reported that his companies are strong, 
benefiting from a robust demand for steel in China and 
elsewhere.  He saw no big problems in the U.S. economy and 
noted that his two steel mills there were doing well. 
According to Mordashov, growth in Asia and the BRICS will 
help sustain the United States and he quoted points made by 
Henry Kravitz in Davos on the better resilience of the world 
economy now that it is less dependent on U.S. growth. 
 
3.  (SBU)  Mordashov said the Russian economy is doing well, 
showing positive growth and little negative impact from the 
world situation, but he warned that inflation is a serious 
concern since "it is a real problem for the middle class." 
He also noted that there were some problems raising finance 
in Russia, resulting in pressure on the Central Bank to 
increase liquidity, but given the significant reserves of the 
GOR and Bank, "fortunately," Mordashov said, "there is lots 
of money." 
 
--------------------------------------------- - 
RUSSIA'S WTO ACCESSION - GOOD SIGNALS AT DAVOS 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
4.  (C)  Mordashov said he met with DPM Kudrin and Max 
Medvedkov, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade's main 
WTO negotiator, at Davos.  He said that Kudrin's commitment 
at Davos to completing WTO accession had raised Mordashov's 
optimism.  According to Mordashov, the remaining issues fall 
into two categories:  those more technical and those more 
difficult and political.  He claimed that compromise was 
possible on all issues especially the technical ones: 
agricultural issues, IPR, encryption and SPS 
(Sanitary-PhytoSanitary).  Mordashov said SOEs (State Owned 
Enterprises) was the "political" issue and the biggest 
remaining obstacle.  Russia was reluctant to move too far on 
this issue given its natural monopolies and complicated 
energy pricing, but he thought that agreement could be 
reached. 
 
5.  (SBU)  Mordashov strongly urged agreement by May 2, the 
final day of the Putin presidency.  He said that to achieve 
this a clear timetable was vital.  It would remove a tendency 
to "slowdown" and would make other difficulties disappear. 
Speaking of outstanding bilaterals, Mordashov described the 
checkpoint issue with Georgia as political and complained 
that Saudi Arabia was just being difficult on civil aircraft 
and access to pipelines and just wanted Russia to meet the 
same requirements the Saudis had.  On Ukraine, he noted that 
they were likely to join only by mid-summer, and that in any 
event there was an agreement in place that they would not 
complicate each other's accession. 
 
 
6.  (C)  In response, U/S Jeffery stressed the importance of 
maintaining momentum to resolve the remaining issues and 
stressed that in that regard it was essential Russia 
undertake the implementation measures that WTO members 
expected before accession.  He also noted that the WTO is a 
consensus organization and Russia had a major task ahead 
soliciting final approval from all members, not just those 
with whom it had outstanding bilaterals. 
 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
BILATERAL INVESTMENT TREATY - SOUNDS INTERESTING 
 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
7.  (SBU)  U/S Jeffery and PDAS Dibble noted the U.S. 
interest in discussing a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) 
with Russia and explained the main advantage was dispute 
resolution.  Mordashov said he was unfamiliar with such 
treaties, but that mutual protection of investment would be 
good and helpful.  Joking that, "You can't split Max" 
(i.e.,Max Medvedkov), he worried about the possible impact in 
completing the WTO accession process and warned about the 
difficulty of maintaining two sets of negotiations. 
 
8.  (U)  This message has been
cleared by U/S Jeffery. 
 
BURNS

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08MOSCOW392, RUSSIA ON UNSC DISCUSSIONS ON CHAD, KENYA,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW392 2008-02-13 15:08 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO7081
PP RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHMO #0392 0441508
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131508Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6570
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000392 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2018 
TAGS: PREL MARR ZF XW RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA ON UNSC DISCUSSIONS ON CHAD, KENYA, 
ETHIOPIA/ERITREA, DARFUR 
 
REF: A. MOSCOW 281 
 
     B. ADDIS ABABA 352 
 
Classified By: Political M/C Alice G. Wells for reasons 1.4 (b/d). 
 
1.  (C) Summary. The MFA told us that it would send four 
helicopters and 200 personnel to Chad, and was concerned over 
growing tensions on the Ethiopia/Eritrea border, but would 
take a "wait and see" approach to further UNSC involvement in 
conflicts in Kenya.  The GOR believed that international 
pressure had played a critical role in bringing Kenyan 
leaders to the negotiating table and supported and were 
optimistic about Annan's efforts.  The MoD has still not 
decided whether to send helicopters to Darfur.  End Summary. 
 
Chad 
---- 
 
2.  (C) In a February 12 meeting, MFA International 
Organizations Principle Counselor Vitaliy Liplinskiy told us 
the GOR had decided to send four MI-24 helicopters and 200 
personnel to Chad (reftel A).  He noted that the GOR shared 
the U.S.'s position in the UNSC, and felt that "some 
progress" had been made on the ground.  He reiterated GOR 
appreciation of French aid in evacuating diplomats' families 
from N'djamena. 
 
Kenya 
----- 
 
3.  (C) The MFA issued two statements, on February 1 and 5, 
condemning the violence in Kenya, calling on political 
leaders to restore peace, and noted with satisfaction the 
decision of the two parties to search for a negotiated 
solution.  While the GOR supported the February 6 UNSC 
Presidential Statement, East Africa Section Chief Aleksei 
Filipov told us Russia did not believe that accusations of 
election fraud should be mentioned, as such claims are a 
matter of "internal politics and not the province of the UN." 
 He said Russia viewed the situation as stemming from a 
political crisis that had now turned into a tool for personal 
gain through ethnic violence by the population and through 
political hardlining in the elite.   Filipov told us that the 
GOR supported Annan's call for a political settlement, but 
with an emphasis on immediately stopping the violence. 
 
4.  (C) Liplinskiy said the GOR was "optimistic" about 
Annan's chances, owing to his popularity in Kenya, but that 
the GOR would "wait and see" what, if any, actions would need 
to follow in the Security Council.  He noted that the GOR at 
this time was reluctant to consider the specter of sanctions 
or peacekeeping.  Filipov added that Kenyan parties had 
resisted negotiations, but concerted pressure from the 
international community had brought them to the negotiating 
table. 
 
Ethiopia and Eritrea 
-------------------- 
 
5.  (C) MFA International Organizations Counselor Albert 
Sitnikov told us the GOR was watching the situation with the 
UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) in the Horn of 
Africa with concern (reftel B).  The GOR believes that 
Eritrea must end fuel restrictions to UNMEE and end troop 
restrictions in the DMZ immediately, Sitnikov said.  He told 
us that the GOR proposed to demarche Asmara in concert with 
P-5 members, but Beijing believed that it was "not time" yet. 
 Consequently, Sitnikov said the MFA would prepare a letter 
from Lavrov to Asmara warning it of possible consequences for 
its actions.  Sitnikov told us that the GOR was very 
concerned about the situation and felt that, combined with 
military buildups on both sides, any provocation could 
re-ignite conflict. 
 
Darfur 
------ 
 
6.  (C) Liplinskiy apologized that our request for 
helicopters for Darfur was still "languishing" with the 
Russia Ministry of Defense, and told us he would contact us 
when a decision has been made. 
BURNS

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08MOSCOW391, RUSSIA CAUTIOUSLY APPROACHES IMPROVEMENT IN TIES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW391 2008-02-13 15:07 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0004
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #0391/01 0441507
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 131507Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6568
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000391 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/12/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA CAUTIOUSLY APPROACHES IMPROVEMENT IN TIES 
WITH GEORGIA 
 
REF: MOSCOW 353 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns for 
reasons 1.4 (b,d). 
 
1.  (C) Summary: The MFA told us that Russia remained 
committed to improving bilateral relations with Georgia, and 
was prepared to discuss "anything and everything" with the 
two Georgian DFMs visiting Moscow on February 15, but 
stressed that Russia was interested only in concrete action 
from Georgia.  News on February 13 of the release of two 
North Ossetian peacekeepers in Georgia was greeted as a 
"positive step forward". In a February 11 meeting with the 
Ambassador, visiting EU Special Representative for the South 
Caucasus Semneby said the Georgian DFMs would likely present 
a low cost, high impact "package of deliverables" to Russia, 
including the release of the North Ossetian peacekeepers and 
the opening of a Russian school in Tbilisi.  Press reports 
indicated that Russia and Georgia have also agreed to discuss 
the removal of Russia's ban on Georgian wine.  On the 
unresolved conflicts, the MFA characterized as "illogical" 
Saakashvili's statements at Wehrkunde that Kosovo and 
Abkhazia were fundamentally different conflicts, and Semneby 
expressed doubt Russia would recognize Abkhazia immediately 
in the event of CDI.  Initial reactions from GOR officials to 
Georgian opposition leader Patarkatsishvili's sudden death 
were relatively mild, with only a few Duma deputies pointing 
their fingers at Saakashvili.  While GOR-GOG relations are by 
definition volatile, Georgia's release of the North Ossetian 
peacekeepers has improved the atmosphere for the DFMs' Moscow 
consultations.  End summary. 
 
Russia Prepares for Georgian DFM Meeting 
---------------------------------------- 
 
2.  (C) MFA Third CIS Department Deputy Director Aleksandr 
Povlovskiy confirmed for us in a February 13 meeting that 
Russian DFM Gregoriy Karasin will receive Georgian First DFM 
Nikolos Vashakidze and DFM Grigoliy Vashadze on February 15 
(reftel).  Povlovskiy stressed that Russia is prepared to 
discuss "anything and everything" with Georgia, including 
steps to improve relations, but as Karasin recently told the 
Ambassador (reftel), Russia is awaiting concrete action from 
Georgia.  Anything less would be perceived as rhetoric. 
Subsequently, when news broke of Georgia's release of the two 
North Ossetian peacekeepers, Povlovskiy termed it a "positive 
step forward." 
 
3.  (C) In a February 11 meeting with the Ambassador, 
visiting EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus 
Peter Semneby said that based on his February 5 talks in 
Tbilisi, the Georgian DFMs would be presenting a "package of 
deliverables" to their meeting with Karasin.  The measures 
were more symbolic in nature, but Semneby said the Georgians 
were convinced that concessions on relatively minor issues 
(for Georgia), such as the release of the detained North 
Ossetian peacekeepers and the opening of a Russian school in 
Tbilisi, would go a long way in improving bilateral ties. 
Semneby commented that FM Lavrov's presence at President 
Saakashvili's inauguration and Russia's apparent proposal to 
discuss joint control over cross border traffic, which could 
include the conflict areas, were indications that Russia was 
prepared to reciprocate positive gestures, but agreed that 
the GOR would keep all its options on the table.  (Note: 
Press reports indicated that Russia and Georgia recently 
exchanged letters on possible ways to remove Russia's ban on 
Georgian wine.) 
 
Kosovo and Frozen Conflicts 
--------------------------- 
 
4.  (C) In reaction to Saakashvili's comments at Wehrkunde 
about the fundamental differences between Kosovo and the 
unresolved conflicts in Georgia, Povlovskiy characterized 
position on Kosovo as "illogical and strange."  He argued 
that Georgia, "more than any other country," should be 
concerned about the impact of a Kosovo CDI on the issue of 
territorial integrity. 
 
5.  (C) Semneby told us he was convinced that the West's 
recognition of Kosovo's independence would complicate 
Russian-Georgian relations, but doubted Russia would 
recognize Abkhazia in the short term.  He commented that, 
unless Georgia was offered MAP at the NATO Bucharest Summit 
or domestic pressure increased as a result of violence in 
Kosovo, Russia would likely hold onto its Abkhazia "card" for 
the time being.  Semneby added that several members of the 
political elite, such as former PM Primakov, have told him 
that Russia has marginalized itself in the world because of 
its blunt approach to Georgia.  Specifically, Russia should 
recognize -- and adopt a policy consistent with -- the clear 
distinctions between South Ossetia and Abkhazia. 
 
6.  (C) Povlovskiy disputed the notion that Russia had a 
one-size-fits-all approach to the frozen conflicts in 
Georgia, emphasizing that such allegations were likely 
connected with Georgia's "propaganda campaign" in support of 
South Ossetian "alternative leader" Sanakoyev.  Povlovskiy 
claimed that Georgia was actively promoting the idea that a 
resolution to the South Ossetian conflict was within reach 
only because Sanakoyev
 (and Tbilisi) was making headway with 
some South Ossetians.  Povlovskiy did not deny that South 
Ossetia was more manageable, but cautioned against putting 
too much stock in Sanakoyev or in Tbilisi's South Ossetia 
policy; South Ossetian leader Kokoity still enjoys strong 
support in the region. 
 
Initial Reactions to Patarkatsishvili's Death 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
7.  (C) Official reactions to the February 12 death of 
prominent Georgian businessman and opposition leader in 
self-exile Badri Patarkatsishvili have been relatively mild. 
Povlovskiy said that Patarkatsishvili's death appeared to be 
a result of natural causes, but speculated that Georgian 
opposition leaders would try to "capitalize on his death" by 
blaming the Georgian special services.  During a session in 
the State Duma, International Relations Committee Deputy 
Chairman Leonid Slutskiy said that he did not see "any 
special circumstances or terrorist activity" in 
Patarkatsishvili's death, and Deputies Vladimir Nikitin and 
Gennadiy Gudkov doubted Georgian special services played a 
role.  However, Nikitin and Gudkov pointed out that 
Saakashvili "clearly gained" from Patarkatsishvili's death, 
while the Georgian opposition lost a major source of 
financing. 
 
8.  (C) Deputies Vladimir Kolesnikov and Stanislav Govorukhin 
were more suspicious of Georgian foul play.  Kolesnikov said 
he did not exclude the possibility that Saakashvili or 
oligarch-in-exile Boris Berezovskiy was involved in 
Patarkatsishvili's death and proposed that Russian 
authorities conduct a joint investigation.  Govorukhin added 
that instead of looking for a "Russian footprint," 
investigators should focus on Georgia's possible involvement, 
underscoring Patarkatsishvili's "complex relations" with 
Saakashvili.  However, both deputies stressed that the 
investigation should be objective and complete. 
BURNS

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08MOSCOW390, KING ABDULLAH’S LOW KEY MOSCOW VISIT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW390 2008-02-13 14:56 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO7067
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHMO #0390 0441456
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131456Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6567
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000390 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL JO RS
SUBJECT: KING ABDULLAH'S LOW KEY MOSCOW VISIT 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns for reasons 1.4 (b/d). 
 
1. (C) Jordanian King Abdullah met Putin and his presumptive 
successor, First Deputy Prime Minister Medvedev, during a 
February 11 visit that focused on maintaining continuity in 
Russia-Jordan relations.  MFA First Secretary Elbrus 
Kutrashev and Jordanian Consul Hasan Saraireh told us 
separately that Abdullah came to Moscow to see Putin for the 
last time as President and meet Medvedev for the first time, 
with the goal of consolidating the strong 
professional/personal relationship that had marked recent 
Russian-Jordanian ties.  This was Abdullah's eighth Moscow 
meeting with Putin since 2001, a period that saw significant 
improvement in Russian-Jordanian relations, including Putin's 
historic 2007 visit to Amman. 
 
2. (C) The MFA and Jordanian Embassy noted that Putin and 
Abdullah's discussion covered a range of international and 
bilateral issues, while the meeting with Medvedev was largely 
a courtesy call.  In a meeting with the Ambassador February 
11, that preceded his session with Putin, King Abdullah said 
that he found the likely future President briefed on the 
Middle East peace process (MEPP) and Syria, and engaging on 
the issue of Russia's economic modernization.  According to 
Kutrashev, Putin and Abdullah touched upon the Lebanese 
political crisis, the situation in Iraq, and the MEPP.  They 
discussed Russia's proposed Annapolis follow-on conference in 
Moscow, which both sides agreed should only take place when 
conditions in the region allowed.  Saraireh said that Putin 
told Abdullah all parties must participate, including a 
unified Palestinian delegation that included Fatah and Hamas. 
 Saraireh speculated that if Putin maintained this 
requirement, his chances of presiding over the meeting as 
President would be considerably low. 
 
3. (C) On the bilateral agenda, Putin and Abdullah expressed 
strong interest in deepening economic cooperation. 
Specifically, Kutrashev said the two leaders discussed steps 
to stimulate Russian investment in Jordan, the possible 
purchase by Jordan of Russian civilian and military aircraft, 
and construction of a nuclear power plant by Rosatom. 
Saraireh told us that each of these issues had been under 
discussion for some time, and that Abdullah's visit did not 
lead to any final agreements.  Russia and Jordan could soon 
sign an agreement on nuclear cooperation that includes 
locating a site for a nuclear reactor, but, Saraireh added, 
if Jordan eventually purchased a power plant from Russia or 
another country, it could be 2015 before it was operational. 
 
4. (C) Both Kutrashev and Saraireh offered similar 
assessments of the personal diplomacy that has been integral 
to improved Russian-Jordanian relations.  Russian interest in 
Jordan stemmed from its goal to expand ties, especially 
economic ones, with the Middle East.  Jordan, meanwhile, was 
anxious to tap into Russian trade and investment that had 
largely gone to neighbors such as Israel and Saudi Arabia. 
While these factors produced a commonality of interests, 
Jordan's small economy and lack of oil precluded intensive 
Russian interest in the country.  Relations were enhanced, 
however, by King Abdullah's personal diplomacy, and a 
relationship with Putin developed over the course of several 
years.  The hope was, especially on the Jordanian side, that 
Abdullah might begin to know Medvedev and ensure Russian 
interest in maintaining the existing level of bilateral ties. 
BURNS

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08MOSCOW387, FORMER PM PRIMAKOV ON US-GOR DIALOGUE, MD, MAP,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW387 2008-02-13 14:25 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #0387/01 0441425
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 131425Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6561
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000387 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/12/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON RS
SUBJECT: FORMER PM PRIMAKOV ON US-GOR DIALOGUE, MD, MAP, 
KOSOVO, MEPP 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns: Reasons 1.4 (b, d). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  In a February 12 meeting with the 
Ambassador, former Prime Minister Primakov praised his 
dialogue with Dr. Kissinger and pushed for strategic 
reengagement on missile defense.  He related Putin's 
unhappiness over the perceived shift in the post-2 2 U.S. 
offer, but argued that a compromise was still possible on a 
joint U.S.-Russia-Europe architecture.  Primakov complained 
about a lack of respect towards Russia, embodied in the 
Jackson-Vanik amendment, and warned that extending MAP to 
Ukraine and Georgia would confirm views that the U.S. was 
imposing its views on Europe.  Truculent over Georgia, he 
warned that any GOG military action against Abkhazia would 
spark a North Caucasus uprising, and questioned why the U.S. 
was generating pressure on Russia with the prospect of 
Kosovo's independence.  Primakov said the decision to forgive 
Iraqi debt had been difficult domestically.  While 
reiterating the need to engage Hamas, Primakov was 
pessimistic about the Moscow conference, noting planning 
seemed to have stalled.  Primakov urged us to see Moscow's 
diplomacy as an "organic extension" of Annapolis.  Arguing 
that Syria influenced, but did not control, events in 
Lebanon, Primakov urged concerted U.S. and Russian engagement 
to wean Asad from Iran.  End Summary 
 
Kissinger-Primakov "Wise Man" Dialogue 
-------------------------------------- 
 
2.  (C)  In a February 12 meeting with the Ambassador, former 
Prime Minister Primakov said he was pleased with the informal 
dialogue that he and Dr. Kissinger had established, noting 
that the participants on both sides were solid and not in it 
for the publicity.  The conversations were frank and there 
was broad consensus on the most important issues. Primakov 
said he particularly welcomed the opportunity to meet with 
the President and his advisers, commenting that at the very 
highest levels in both governments there was a realistic 
appraisal of the importance of the bilateral relationship and 
an appreciation of the strategic cooperation that could still 
be achieved.  Primakov was disdainful of both the Russian and 
American bureaucracies -- the governments were built on 
"sand." 
 
Missile Defense: Opportunity Still Exists 
----------------------------------------- 
 
3.  (C)  Noting that Putin had met with him before his 
January meetings in Washington, Primakov reiterated the 
Russian leadership's disappointment with the outcome of the 
October 2 2 negotiations.  While Putin had hoped for more 
radical forms of joint cooperation in missile defense, he 
found the proposals advanced by Secretary Gates, including 
the idea of a permanent Russian presence at the Polish and 
Czech sites, a "positive step forward."  Primakov did not 
find subsequent U.S. explanations of Polish and Czech 
sovereignty convincing, nor did he accept that a simple 
misunderstanding had occurred: "we understand what permanent 
presence means."  Russian cooperation had been pushed away, 
he charged. 
 
4.  (C)  Primakov argued that a modus vivendi was needed on 
missile defense, since the optimal outcome was a system that 
was jointly conceived, deployed, and shared by the U.S., 
Europe, and Russia.  A true partnership would eliminate 
suspicions in Russia over the target of the U.S. military 
activity.  Reflecting back upon negotiations with Secretary 
Albright, Primakov said that at a certain point the political 
leadership on both sides has to say "agree," and force the 
bureaucracies to implement the order. 
 
5.  (C)  The Ambassador agreed that the Kissinger-Primakov 
channel was useful in refocusing attention on the bilateral 
relationship, and noted that discussions continued over how 
best to approach the cluster of security and economic issues 
in which the U.S. and Russia had mutual interests.  Missile 
defense, post-START arrangements, civilian nuclear 
cooperation, and non-proliferation were areas in which the 
U.S. and Russia had unique capabilities and responsibilities. 
 The next session of the 2 2, which could take place as early 
as March, would provide another opportunity to look at these 
issues as a package, while Putin remained in office. 
Economic cooperation and Russian accession to WTO were also 
areas of mutual interest, with the Ambassador noting USTR 
efforts to work with Finance Minister Kudrin to help move 
Russia across the finish line.  Primakov welcomed U.S. 
assistance, noting that Poland was changing its position on 
Russian membership and flagging his own outreach to Saudi 
Arabia, including a personal letter to Prince Bandar bin 
Sultan. 
 
6.  (C)  When pushed by the Ambassador, Primakov said that 
there was still an opportunity for the U.S. and Russia to 
reach agreement on missile defense, provided that the ideas 
that the Russian leadership thought it heard in October still 
applied: a continuous Russian presence at the sites, their 
delayed operationalization until there was objective evidence &#x0
00A;of the Iranian threat, and a pause in concluding the Polish 
and Czech agreements until after the U.S. and Russia had at 
least made a maximum effort to agree upon an approach. 
Primakov argued that missile defense could not be one-sided; 
both sides would have to compromise.  The fact that Iran 
represented a real security threat to Russia created the 
logic for closer cooperation with the U.S.; exaggeration of 
the Iranian threat, however, exacerbated concerns on the 
Russian side over American intentions. 
 
Respecting Russia 
----------------- 
 
7.  (C)  Primakov argued that Russia was evolving in the 
right direction, despite problems -- such as corruption -- 
which were evident to everyone.  While Russia had "felt its 
weakness" during the 1990's, reports of another year of eight 
percent growth were testament to the country's recovery. 
Some measures taken by the GOR were historically necessary, 
such as breaking the political backs of those oligarchs whose 
concentration of capital was obtained through the 
privatization of massive state assets.  Primakov emphasized 
the extent to which big companies were stifling economic 
development and squeezing small and medium businesses out of 
the market.  "Khodorkovskiy was necessary," he insisted, 
while noting his own opposition to the disgraced oligarch's 
arrest, because the oligarchs had proclaimed themselves the 
"new masters of the country;" Khodorkovskiy's flaunting of 
the government's writ was unacceptable.  Primakov conceded 
that the absence of political choice in Russia had reached an 
"absurd" level, but noted that news of American primary 
battles had effectively made that point among the Russian 
elite. 
 
8.  (C)  Primakov questioned the U.S. stance towards Russia, 
which was reflected in the continued existence of the 
Jackson-Vanik amendment.  "How long have we spoken about 
this?"  Describing the amendment as ludicrous, particularly 
against a backdrop of free immigration (with tens of 
thousands of "Soviet Jews" returning to Russia), Primakov 
said U.S. inaction was particularly irritating given the 
lifting of the amendment against Ukraine.  The impression was 
that the U.S. sought to "restrain" Russia.  Primakov swatted 
away the idea of a return of the Cold War, as well as the 
prospect of a unipolar world. 
 
Georgian and Ukrainian MAP; Kosovo 
---------------------------------- 
 
9.  (C)  Primakov warned that MAP for Ukraine and Georgia 
would be seen as a cynical imposition of American views on 
the Alliance, since to speak of democracy in conjunction with 
either country was "funny."  It created the same angst in 
Moscow as Russian efforts to build bases in Mexico would 
unleash in Washington.  Recounting a visit to Tbilisi a 
couple of years ago, Primakov dwelled on the numbers of 
American military that he ran across in the city center. 
While the Ambassador noted our efforts to train Georgian 
forces that were being dispatched to Iraq, Primakov disputed 
the goal of Georgian preparations.  If the idea was to invade 
Abkhazia, he warned, Georgia would unleash a nightmare. 
Russia would not be able to close its borders and sympathetic 
neighbors would take matters into their own hands, with all 
of the North Caucasus arriving in Tbilisi "in a week."  The 
situation was dangerous. 
 
10.  (C)  Similarly, Primakov warned that Kosovo would 
generate "enormous pressure" on the GOR to respond in kind. 
Questioning why the Administration had not heeded the advice 
of former U.S. officials Scowcroft, Eagleburger, and Bolton 
in this regard, Primakov reiterated that "these are very 
dangerous times for us."  The Ambassador replied that no one 
should underestimate the risks involved, but stressed that 
the U.S. and a large majority of the EU states were prepared 
to recognize Kosovo's independence in the very near future. 
He urged Primakov to counsel the GOR to focus on those 
important areas where cooperation could be deepened or 
initiated, rather than let Serbia poison U.S.-Russian 
relations. 
 
Middle East 
----------- 
 
11.  (C)  The Ambassador welcomed the GOR decision to waive 
93 percent of the Iraqi debt, which Primakov stressed had 
 
been an unpopular decision to take at home.  In response to 
Primakov's pessimism over whether Iraq would honor an MOU on 
economic cooperation, the Ambassador noted that FM Zebari had 
been cautious in public, but privately recognized that 
Russian firms were prepared to take certain risks to 
establish a presence in Iraq. 
 
12.  (C)  Primakov chided the U.S. for not engaging with 
Hamas, asserting that Americans were "meeting with Baathists 
all over Europe."  Hamas was a problem, Primakov stressed, 
and that is why its leadership needed to be engaged. 
Referring to his multiple conversations with Hamas leader 
Khalid Mishaal, Primakov argued that while the Hamas 
leadership couldn't recognize Israel outright, for its own 
internal reasons, its formulation of recognizing 1967 borders 
should be sufficient as a starting point.  Israel and the 
U.S. could either chip away at Hamas, or face losing out to 
extremists entirely.  Primakov noted that he had taken 
Mishaal to task for the continued rocket attacks, which 
resulted foremost in the suffering of innocent Palestinian 
civilians who bore the brunt of Israeli retaliation. 
Primakov attributed the attacks to the mindset of a "military 
wing," which had yet to become used to acting as a political 
party responsible for the broader interests of its members. 
Primakov said the Israeli blockade was ineffective, and 
risked spoiling the situation on the West Bank as well, but 
conceded that Abu Mazen remained opposed to GOR efforts to 
effect a Palestinian reconciliation.  "He hates Hamas." 
 
13.  (C)  Primakov was pessimistic on the prospects of the 
Moscow conference, noting that nobody is talking about 
serious preparations.  He pitched the importance of continued 
U.S. consultation with Moscow; rather than Moscow being a 
pit-stop on the road to a Washington-dictated outcome, 
Russian diplomacy should be an "organic extension" to 
American efforts in the region.  The U.S. is the essential 
actor in the region, he stressed, and the only country able 
to strike fear in the Israeli leadership.  Primakov 
attributed American influence to the milder than expected 
Winograd report, arguing that Olmert owed his position to the 
U.S.  The more attention that the U.S. devoted to the peace 
process, the better the prospects for advancement.  At the 
same time, the parameters that the U.S. set would define the 
final outcome.  If America agreed that Israeli checkpoints 
and the security wall made "Swiss cheese" out of the 
Palestinian Authority, only then would it be recognized as 
Swiss cheese.  While the U.S. remained the final arbiter, 
Primakov argued that Russia could be helpful in drawing the 
Syrians into the tent; if Syria did not agree with the 
outcome, it would brush any settlemen
t aside. 
 
14.  (C)  The Ambassador underscored deep disappointment over 
Syrian tactics in the wake of the Annapolis conference and, 
in particular, its stymieing of the selection of General 
Suleiman as the compromise presidential candidate in Lebanon. 
 Noting Saudi and Egyptian frustrations as well, the 
Ambassador argued that Syria had overplayed its hand and by 
urging a harder line in Lebanon had betrayed the confidence 
of the international community.  Primakov agreed Asad's 
tactics were short-sighted, but argued that the problem of 
Lebanon was not entirely of Syria's making.  The Lebanese 
factions were engaged in horse-trading; it was something they 
did passionately and well.  While the Syrians may think that 
they have an ace up their sleeve, the facts on the ground 
would be determined by the Lebanese factions; Syria had 
influence, but no control.  Russia and the U.S., Primakov 
commented, could push Syria in a positive direction, while 
Iran's sway was negative.  Splitting Asad from Iran remained 
the task at hand, Primakov argued, with a nod to the Baker 
Report. The Ambassador noted that positive Syrian behavior 
could increase international interest in the Moscow 
conference, and overcome FM Livni's doubts about the proposed 
session. 
BURNS

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