OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHLO #0159/01 0251203
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 251203Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4758
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 1059
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0893
RUEHYN/AMEMBASSY SANAA PRIORITY 0292
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LONDON 000159
FOR THE SECRETARY FROM AMBASSADOR SUSMAN
EO 12958 DECL: 01/22/2020
TAGS MARR, MOPS, PGOV, PREL, UK, AF, PK
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER: YOUR VISIT TO LONDON JANUARY 27-29
Classified By: Ambassador Louis Susman for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C/NF) SUMMARY: We are delighted to welcome you back to London for the conferences on Afghanistan and Yemen this
week. PM Brown is our strong ally on both issues, despite some early difficulties in coordinating conference details
with us, especially in regard to Yemen. He assured me that they were mistakes made “in good faith” and that his team is
now sensitized to the need for close consultation. Brown genuinely wants the Afghanistan conference to result in
substantial movement on our agenda with Kabul and the international community. But he also likely hopes to burnish his
image as a world leader with the British voting public. UK general elections must take place by June (most believe they
will be held on May 6). With his Labour party trailing in the polls by some 10 to 13 points, Brown faces an uphill
battle. But it will be a battle largely on domestic issues; Afghanistan is not the lightening rod for Labour that Iraq
was in the UK’s 2005 polls. Though public support is tepid, the opposition Conservatives support UK military involvement
and will continue to do so.
2. (C/NF) Your visit is an opportunity to underscore the importance of progress in Afghanistan to international security
and demonstrate the continuing value of the U.S.-UK “special relationship.” Your personal involvement in Northern
Ireland issues is well-known; Shaun Woodward is looking forward to discussing the latest developments with you. My staff
very much appreciates that you have set aside valuable time to meet them; the Embassy team is really looking forward to
it. I also suggest you tape a segmant for the widely-viewed Andrew Marr Sunday morning show. END SUMMARY.
UK Gearing Up for Elections
3. (C/NF) Our contacts are confident PM Brown will call for UK general elections on May 6, the same day as local
elections are already scheduled. PM Brown easily survived an early January challenge to his Labour leadership by a few
disgruntled MPs, but it highlighted party divisions and weakened his standing in the polls. Those divisions remain, and
have, on occasion, caused a disconnect between the Foreign Office and the Prime Minister’s office. However, while the
election will largely be fought on domestic issues, (Brown is touting his leadership in preventing an economic meltdown
and restoring growth), the pre-election atmosphere affects the approach of both major parties to global challenges --
and their relationship with us.
4. (C/NF) Since Labour and the Conservatives largely agree on the importance of continued UK engagement in Afghanistan,
electoral differences over foreign policy will appear on two fronts: history and resources. Public hearings in the
on-going inquiry into the UK’s highly unpopular involvement in Iraq have bitten Labour hard as members of the Brown
government defend their decisions under former PM Blair (Blair is expected to appear before the public inquiry January
29). PM Brown has volunteered to appear himself prior to elections to defend his own decisions on resources and his
advice to Blair while Chancellor of the Exchequer under Blair. Resources for foreign affairs and defense will be an
electoral theme, as Conservatives promise unspecified budget cuts to reduce the deficit. Both parties are committed to
increasing official development assistance to 0.7% of GDP -- in line with the Millenium development goals. Pakistan and
Afghanistan will remain a major focus of assistance; under a Conservative government that could even increase. But since
both parties accept the need for deficit reduction, funds will likely be scarcer for all projects -- defense or civilian
-- in coming years. Both Labour and Conservative leaders agree on the need for a Strategic Defense Review, shortly after
the election, to analyze defense priorities and to match resources to these priorities.
Foreign Police Priorities as Elections Approach
5. (C/NF) Afghanistan and Pakistan are key priorities for PM Brown. Despite tepid public support, Brown pledged
additional troops ahead of the President’s December announcement (which Brown strongly welcomed). Brown is open about
the fact that he would like other NATO allies and the
LONDON 00000159 002 OF 002
Afghans to assume a greater share of combat operations, stressing that the U.S., UK and a handful of others have borne
the brunt of the fighting. Brown and his close advisors view the January 28 London Conference as a venue for Karzai to
confirm the pledges he made in his inaugural address and to provide momentum to international efforts to support Afghan
stability. Brown also proved flexible on his original candidate for NATO’s senior civilian administrator, making our
preferred candidate available.
6. (C/NF) In our recent conversation, PM Brown acknowledged early mis-steps over the Yemen conference -- but since then
we have coordinated closely on our goals and objectives. There is no formal agenda for the two-hour meeting on January
27. PM Brown plans to give opening remarks, followed by the Yemeni PM. Foreign Secretary Miliband will then take over.
Discussion will be based on three themes: shared analysis of the challenges, political and economic reform, and improved
donor coordination. FM Miliband is hosting a lunch for GCC members prior to the meeting. He hopes GCC members will
deliver the difficult messages on reform that he fears they will not want to deliver in front of the larger group.
7. (C/NF) On other foreign policy issues, our close cooperation continues. The UK agrees with our approach on Iran
sanctions, shares our commitment to a robust counterterrorism agenda, and supports our non-proliferation objectives (U/S
Tauscher will hold consultations with the Pakistanis in London on February 1). The government’s commitment to the Middle
East peace process is behind its efforts to ensure that universal jurisdiction concerns are addressed so that Israeli
officials can travel to the UK. The UK government has made stabilizing Somalia a priority and recently increased its
programming to GBP 35 million (USD 56 million). In addition, the UK works closely with us on Nigeria, the Democratic
Republic of Congo, and Zimbabwe.
8. (C/NF) PM Brown may take the opportunity to discuss Northern Ireland with you during your visit; he appreciates your
personal involvement. At the moment, the situation is in flux; we expect a clearer view within 48 hours. Brown has
pressed hard for renewed progress on devolution of policing and justice. You will also have an opportunity to review
progress with Brown’s Northern Ireland minister Shaun Woodward during your stay. As we write, the situation is fluid,
with the two sides meeting on Monday in Belfast, and PM Brown meeting PM Cowan in London.
9. (C/NF) On the public diplomacy side, I hope you can take some time out to tape an interview with leading British
journalist Andrew Marr, to be broadcast on his Sunday morning BBC TV talk show. The program, which reaches 1.5 million
live and millions more on the web, is essential weekend viewing for Britain, often setting the week’s news and political
agenda for the nation. The program could be taped at your hotel, at my residence or at the BBC studios in West London.
It would be a powerful way for you to set out our priorities for Afghanistan/Pakistan, and underline our premier
partnership with the United Kingdom. Marr is a congenial and knowlegable interviewer who will offer maximum impact for
your investment of time.
Visit London’s Classified Website: http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Unit ed_Kingdom