Cablegate: Deputy Security Council Secretary Nazarov Meeting With

Published: Thu 1 Jan 2009 07:33 AM
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1. (SBU) Summary: In a December 15 meeting with CODEL Tauscher,
Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Vladimir Nazarov called
the lack of trust the main obstacle for U.S. and Russian
cooperation, followed by ineffective mechanisms to guarantee
security. Nazarov claimed that U.S. assistance to Georgia made the
U.S. guilty of participating in "genocide," and criticized the
NATO-Russia Council. In order to rebuild trust, Nazarov called for
an arms control verification mechanism, welcomed U.S. congressional
efforts to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and advocated
for an agreement on the non-offensive military use of space, as well
as an additional Nonproliferation Treaty protocol for non-signatory
countries such as Iran to participate. Nazarov agreed that Iran
must not acquire nuclear weapons, but disagreed over the means to
achieve that end. Rejecting sanctions as "groundless," he urged a
dialogue with Tehran. Nazarov stated Russia did not think Iran had
made the political decision yet to acquire nuclear arms, and claimed
there was no proof to date of a hidden enrichment project. Nazarov
welcomed the delegation's proposal that missile defense would only
be activated if there was a confirmed missile threat from Iran, but
cautioned that Russia would only cooperate on regional missile
defense if there was also cooperation on global missile defense.
Nazarov said the CFE was not a cornerstone of European security, and
needed to be "brought into agreement with modern reality." End
Lack of trust
2. (SBU) In a December 15 meeting, Russian Security Council Deputy
Secretary Vladimir Nazarov agreed with Representative Ellen Tauscher
(D-CA), Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Representative Rick
Larsen (D-WA), and Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO) that joint
U.S.-Russian cooperation was essential in order to reach agreement
on extending the START Treaty, the Nonproliferation Treaty due for
review in 2010, and dissuading Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
He noted that former Secretary of Defense William Perry during a
visit to Moscow last week in a similar vein had listed economic
cooperation, climate change, arms control, terrorism, and
nonproliferation as other areas of potential cooperation.
3. (SBU) However, Nazarov stressed that the GOR's main concern was
about two different issues: first, the lack of trust between the
U.S. and Russia, and second, the ineffectiveness of mechanisms to
guarantee security. To illustrate the lack of trust, which he
called Russia's "number one priority," Nazarov raised alleged USG
promises that the U.S. would work with Georgian president
Saakashvili to reduce the risk of aggression, and assurances that
the presence of U.S. military advisors in Georgia was nothing to
worry about. However, Georgia had invaded South Ossetia
notwithstanding, Nazarov charged.
"U.S. participated in genocide"
4. (SBU) Nazarov further claimed Georgia had terminated advanced
negotiations with South Ossetia and Abkhazia after Secretary Rice
had visited Tbilisi, and later begun preparations for the operation
in South Ossetia. Given that the U.S. had assisted Georgia in these
preparations by supplying aid and advisors, Nazarov accused the U.S.
of "participating in genocide." He said the U.S. needed to
understand this Russian view, as a misunderstanding in that point
would make it more difficult to achieve a common understanding
NRC is not working
5. (SBU) Nazarov also criticized the NATO-Russia Council (NRC),
which he described as an intended crisis management mechanism
designed to create trust, with all members having "their own
voices." Instead it had become a venue where NATO spoke as one bloc
against Russia.
6. (SBU) Nazarov further charged that when the Georgian conflict
broke out in August, Russian authorities unsuccessfully tried for
one full day to reach Secretary Rice and the President, only getting
through after Russian forces had repulsed the Georgians. He claimed
that Russian requests for the NRC to convene were rejected, as the
U.S. had not yet "brought the other NATO partners into line."
Therefore, Russia had little trust in the NRC, Nazarov stated.
Rebuilding trust
7. (SBU) Responding to Representative Larson's question what "hoops
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the U.S. needed to jump through" in order to regain Russia's trust,
Nazarov advocated that the new U.S. administration not take up old
stereotypes, and cooperate on the issues mentioned earlier (para 1).
Nazarov proposed adding the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the
military use of space, and missile defense to the list of issues to
address in order to rebuild trust.
Arms control
8. (SBU) Nazarov called for an arms control verification mechanism,
rejecting any agreement that relied solely on voluntary
demonstrations of compliance. Dedicated channels within a framework
of legal rules were necessary in order to pass confidential
information about warheads and delivery vehicles.
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
9. (SBU) Representative Tauscher indicated that a bill on the
ratification of the CTBT had been submitted to the current Congress,
while U.S. President-elect Barack Obama had pledged to seek Senate
approval again in the next session of Congress, if necessary. She
noted the IAEA needed more funding and more "teeth." Nazarov
expressed Russia's strong support for the legislators' efforts to
secure approval of the CTBT bill, but noted that there were many
"powerful people" in high positions in Russia who considered nuclear
tests essential to maintain the functionality of Russia's nuclear
Military use of space
10. (SBU) Nazarov again recalled his talks with Bill Perry, who had
called for an agreement on the non-offensive military use of space.
This was another area of U.S.-Russian agreement, Nazarov said, as
the GOR considered the issue to be a big factor for ensuring
strategic stability.
11. (SBU) On nonproliferation, Nazarov asserted that Russia was
"showing everybody" that it complied with Article VI of the
Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which calls on all signatories "to
pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures" to end the
arms race, and to negotiate a treaty on total disarmament. While
Russia was decreasing its nuclear arsenal, Nazarov suggested that an
additional protocol was necessary for non-signatory countries to
participate. Representative Tauscher agreed, affirming that the key
element in Article VI was the dismantlement of weapons, not just
their storage. This was why the renewal of the START treaty was
12. (SBU) Nazarov noted that, due to Iran and Russia's shared
border, Russia's strong desire for a non-nuclear Iran was
understandable. However, the question was how to reach that common
goal. Nazarov urged for establishing unity in negotiations among
the "Big 6" (U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China).
Charging that the sanctions imposed by President Bush against Iran
were groundless and had no basis in international law, he quipped,
"either we cooperate, or you sanction Rosoberonexport. Both don't
13. (SBU) Representative Tauscher replied that the U.S. had a
violent past with Iran, and no formal relations for 30 years. For
that reason, sanctions were the only tool remaining to influence
Iran. Allowing that that instrument was not very effective in the
21st century, especially against a country which had lived so well
despite sanctions, she questioned what other possibilities of
influencing Iran remained. Nazarov noted that the U.S. position
with regard to other nuclear threshold countries had changed in the
past, for example with regard to India and Pakistan. After
sanctioning Russia for cooperating with India on its nuclear
program, the U.S. now hoped to replace Russia as India's key partner
in atomic energy projects, he charged. Nazarov suggested that the
next U.S. administration might consider the Bushehr power station
project to be one that supported stability in Iran, and helped
impede Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
14. (SBU) Representative Tauscher pushed for unity in opposing
Iran's clandestine enrichment programs, especially given the lack of
the rule of law in the country, and Iran's close ties to Hamas and
other terrorist groups. She asserted that the U.S. and Russia
needed to stop Iran's enrichment program, and put similar pressure
on the sixty other countries without mature governments or stable
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borders, which were trying to acquire nuclear power plants without
closed fuel cycles. Inspections were a key element.
President-elect Obama would likely continue the low-level engagement
with Iran started by the Bush administration, in order to prevent
Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
15. (SBU) Nazarov repeated that Russia disagreed with the U.S. on
the tactics, not on the goal, and suggested it would be a great
achievement if the U.S. and Russia were to both speak with Iran. He
described that he had been working on Iran issues for 20 years, and
every year heard that Iran was about two-five years away from
acquiring nuclear weapons. Therefore it was necessary to share
information actively in unprejudiced conversation, in order to
clarify points on Iran's past nuclear activities. Russia did not
think Iran had made the political decision yet to acquire nuclear
arms, and claimed there was no proof to date of a hidden project,
nor did Russian monitors currently see an aggravation of the
16. (SBU) Responding to a question by Representative Lamborn,
Nazarov confirmed Russia had seen Iran's centrifuges, but asserted
they were ineffective and had "no future." While the Type 2
centrifuges were more dangerous, Iran did not have many of those,
and was experiencing problems with them. For this reason, Iran
should be encouraged to join the proposed additional NPT protocol,
in order to guarantee monitoring, which he agreed was most
17. (SBU) Nazarov then lamented that Secretary Rice during her
tenure as National Security Advisor had maintained close contact
with the Russian Security Council, but once at the State Department
had let those contacts expire, concentrating only on the Russian MFA
instead. He affirmed the Security Council's willingness to
cooperate on mutual evaluations and on balancing the "carrots and
sticks" for use with Iran.
Missile Defense (MD)
18. (SBU) Representative Tauscher informed Nazarov that the U.S.
Congress had said there would be no deployment of missiles in Poland
until the systems had been tested and certified effective, and
offered not to activate the system until there was a confirmed
missile threat from Iran. Nazarov welcomed the last element on
non-activation as very important to Russia, but called for even more
-- the demonstration that the MD system did not pose a threat to
Russia. He suggested the U.S. and Russia could jointly analyze
threats, and analyze together the possibilities for cooperation to
eliminate threats.
19. (SBU) Representative Tauscher suggested building mutual trust
by cooperating on the short-to-medium range missile systems,
currently not expected off the drawing board for lack of funds.
Together with START, this could be an area for confidence building
that would also attract other countries' cooperation. Nazarov
cautioned that Russia would cooperate on regional missile defense if
there was also cooperation on global missile defense, but so far had
only made bad experiences. He illustrated this with the joke about
the Mongolian astronaut who returned from a joint U.S.-Mongolian
space flight with aching hands, complaining that every time he tried
to touch something, he got his hands slapped down.
20. (SBU) Representative Sanchez repeated the offer to cooperate on
regional MD, noting the technology existed, despite financial
constraints, while long-range MD still required a lot of testing.
Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE)
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21. (SBU) Nazarov said the CFE was not a cornerstone of European
security, and needed to be "brought into agreement with modern
reality." This was not a problem of the 1999 Istanbul Agreements,
however. Nazarov voiced his hope that the new U.S. administration
would widen contacts and cooperation with Russia on this and other
22. (U) Codel Tauscher did not clear this cable.
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