06PARIS7904 2006-12-26 11:11 2010-12-11 21:09 SECRET Embassy Paris
DE RUEHFR #7904/01 3601145
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 261145Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3945
INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 5704
S E C R E T PARIS 007904
EO 12958 DECL: 11/21/2016
TAGS PARM, FR
SUBJECT: S/CT CRUMPTON MEETS RUSSIAN COUNTERPART TO EXTEND
Classified By: Political Minister-Counselor XXXXXXXXXXXX for reasons 1.4 b and d.
¶1. (S) Summary: In an amicable December 7 dinner meeting with Ambassador-at-Large Henry Crumpton, Russian Special Presidential Representative Anatoliy Safonov agreed to move forward with several proposals that expand U.S./Russian counter-terrorism (CT) cooperation. These include:
–Engaging the American and Russian business communities in CT efforts.
–Expanding cooperation with scientific experts to include terrorist scenario modeling.
–Continuing intelligence sharing, specifically with regard to Iran,s sponsorship of terrorism and the recent murder of Russian diplomats in Iraq.
–Continuing efforts to formulate a standardized list of criteria for designating terrorist organizations.
–Convening an experts, conference in May to discuss strategies to prevent terrorists from exploiting Islam and to explore the ideological threat of “Jihadism”.
–Publicizing bilateral cooperation by staging press conferences in each other,s respective country and touring the United States together at a 2007 date to be determined. End Summary.
¶2. (S) In a December 7 dinner meeting with Ambassador-at-Large Henry Crumpton, Russian Special Presidential Representative Anatoliy Safonov welcomed several proposals aimed at extending bilateral counterterrorism (CT) cooperation. Safonov opened the meeting by expressing his appreciation for U.S./Russian cooperative efforts thus far. He cited the recent events in London – specifically the murder of a former Russian spy by exposure to radioactive agents – as evidence of how great the threat remained and how much more there was to do on the cooperative front. (Comment: The implication was that the FOR was not involved, although Safonov did not offer any further explanation.) Safonov noted the daunting number of countries that posed particular terrorism threats, mentioning North Korea, Pakistan, South Africa, Libya, Iran, India, and Israel (sic?). He described a range of dangers, stressing the more immediate threats posed by nuclear and biological terrorism, but also acknowledging the risks of chemical terrorism. Safonov highlighted coverage of transit corridors as one of the most promising areas of U.S./Russian CT cooperation and commented that the U.S. and Russia should continue to refine this effort.
¶3. (S) Safonov was particularly enthusiastic about Crumpton,s proposal that their respective governments cooperatively engage the private sector in their CT efforts. Crumpton made specific reference to the Business Executives for National Security as one American group they might contact. Safonov applauded the idea,s potential for offering new CT perspectives and expressed the hope that such cooperation might enrich Russian private-sector business, which he said could learn a lot from its American counterpart. Crumpton also suggested the Russia/United States Business Council as a possible starting point for engaging the private sector. Safonov said he would meet with Ambassador Burns in Moscow to discuss next steps, and both men agreed to explore possible private sector contacts in their home countries.
¶4. (S) Safonov reiterated his belief that new perspectives and out-of-the-box thinking were critical to defeating terrorism and expressed his appreciation for scientific approaches, which he asserted were “broader and less conditioned by lived experience”. He cited one physicist,s conception of global terrorism as analogous to biological disease, i.e., the fever that serves as a warning for larger problems. Crumpton agreed with Safonov about the importance of scientific perspectives and suggested that they expand their cooperation with Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, specifically that they jointly direct the scientists there to undertake terrorist scenario modeling. Crumpton noted that the Sandia Laboratories already had established relationships with Russian counterparts and had worked cooperatively with them on nuclear safety and biological weapons threats, which could also be a topics for ongoing cooperation. Safonov agreed, and asked for the names of the affiliated Russian research groups. In this context, the two also touched on the importance of continued bioterrorism cooperation including bilateral consultations; Safonov seemed keen to expand all avenues of joint action.
¶5. (S) Also on the topic of taking advantage of academic perspectives, Ambassador Crumpton offered to “loan” XXXXXXXXXXXX to engage with Safonov,s team in Russia and to review the situation in Chechnya. Safonov seemed amenable, but the two did not discuss specifics.
¶6. (S) On Iraq, Crumpton stressed the paramount importance of preventing Al Qaida from establishing a safe operating haven in Iraq, which could serve as a staging area for the whole region. He also conveyed the USG,s intention to provide Russia with all available information on the terrorists responsible for the recent kidnapping and killing of Russian diplomats, noting that the CIA had already met all but one of the Russian information requests that had been made since June of 2006. On Iran, Crumpton relayed the USG,s intention to provide the Russian government with a formal intelligence report detailing the Iranian terrorist threat, including specific links to Hamas and other groups, Iran,s ongoing support of Iraqi Shia, and information on Iranian missile transfers to Hizballah.
¶7. (S) Crumpton asserted there was a pressing need for the G-8 to establish uniform criteria for designating terrorists and terrorist groups. Safonov agreed and noted that “We need to overcome this deadlock…Right now there are about twelve groups causing disagreement.” Crumpton concurred and pressed for the name of the Russian official XXXXXXXXXXXX who was authorized to continue to negotiate on establishing uniform criteria. In the only slightly evasive exchange during the entire three-hour conversation, Safonov resisted answering outright; after repeated questioning, he provided the name of XXXXXXXXXXXX and the qualification that “there are two layers (to this issue)”.
¶8. (S) Crumpton invited Russia to participate in a four-day experts, conference sponsored by the Marshall Center to discuss how terrorists exploit Islam and the ideological threat of “Jihadism”. Safonov accepted the invitation immediately and expressed great interest in exploring how they might reverse the extremists, “hijacking” of Islam. Crumpton told Safonov that the conference — to include NATO, Russia, and Turkey — was planned for May in Istanbul and was tentatively divided into two days spent with subject matter experts and two days spent with policy makers.
¶9. (S) Safonov enthusiastically agreed to and elaborated on Crumpton,s ideas for publicly highlighting U.S./Russia CT cooperation. Safonov accepted Crumpton,s invitation to visit the United States as his guest and went on to suggest that they could publicize the visit with cross-directed press events wherein each of them would be interviewed by journalists from the other country. Crumpton pressed for a short time line, inviting Safonov to come to New York in January 2007, then going on to Los Angeles together; Safonov suggested a March-April 2007 visit timeframe. Safonov accepted responsibility for arranging the next steps.
¶10. (S) In the course of their exchange, Safonov made the following passing statements:
—Safonov claimed that Russian authorities in London had known about and followed individuals moving radioactive substances into the city but were told by the British that they were under control before the poisoning took place.
–On Afghanistan, Safonov said that British and Canadian soldiers were well regarded, but Dutch soldiers were causing problems by posing “constant questions about governance”.
–On Lebanon, Safonov judged that the situation was probably “not yet at the bottom” and so there may not yet be enough incentive to find a solution. The key was to prevent any movement toward civil war. To that end, the Russian government planned to continue to work with Syria, which “is not the central cause of the conflict and in some ways is also a hostage of the situation”. In Safonov,s eyes, the conflict had no single cause, but rather was composed of many problems and many actors, though the present crisis likely would not have arisen if former Israeli PM Sharon had been in charge. He believed Sharon would not have made the error of attacking a nation when the enemy was Hizballah.
–In Iraq, coalition forces’ failure to restore order reminded Safonov of an exchange he had with a freedom fighter just after Russian forces had captured Grozny. The fighter told him, “Your real problems are only now beginning.”
¶11. (U) This message has been cleared by Ambassador Crumpton. Please visit Paris’ Classified Website at: fm HOFMANN
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