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courage is contagious

Viewing cable 06BERN1971, EUR A/S FRIED AND SWISS STATE SECRETARY AMBUHL \

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BERN1971 2006-10-23 08:08 2011-02-18 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bern
Appears in these articles:
www.letemps.ch/swiss_papers
VZCZCXRO7014
PP RUEHBC RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHFL RUEHKUK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV
RUEHSR
DE RUEHSW #1971/01 2960856
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 230856Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY BERN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3308
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
82783	2006-10-23 08:56:00	06BERN1971	Embassy Bern	CONFIDENTIAL	06BELGRADE1566|06BERN1867|06BERN1876|06PRISTINA833	VZCZCXRO7014\
PP RUEHBC RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHFL RUEHKUK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV\
RUEHSR\
DE RUEHSW #1971/01 2960856\
ZNY CCCCC ZZH\
P 230856Z OCT 06\
FM AMEMBASSY BERN\
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3308\
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE\
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE	C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 BERN 001971 \
 \
SIPDIS \
 \
SIPDIS \
 \
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/22/2016 \
TAGS: PREL PTER KNNP EAID SZ
SUBJECT: EUR A/S FRIED AND SWISS STATE SECRETARY AMBUHL \
LAUNCH COMPREHENSIVE POLITICAL DIALOGUE -- MULTIPLE \
DELIVERABLES \
 \
REF: A. BELGRADE 1566 \
     B. PRISTINA 833 \
     C. BERN 1867 \
     D. BERN 1876 \
 \
Classified By: DCM Carol Urban, Reasons 1.4 b/d \
 \
1.(C) Summary: In the first round of official political level \
talks under the recently inaugurated Framework for  Enhanced \
Political Cooperation, EUR A/S Dan Fried and Swiss State \
Secretary Michael Ambuehl identified a number of  specific \
 \
SIPDIS \
areas for closer cooperation.  Areas discussed included \
regional stabilization in the Balkans, Middle East, and \
Sudan; security and counter-terror cooperation; promotion of \
mutual economic interests; disaster relief;  educational \
exchanges; and UN reform.  The Swiss offered specific \
proposals for cooperation.  For Ambuehl, a formal Framework \
is important in that it regularizes bilateral consultations \
and, as much as getting the USG's attention, it serves as a \
means to ensure that Ambuehl's boss -- Foreign Minister \
Calmy-Rey -- and their Swiss colleagues get into the habit of \
thinking about cooperating with Washington.  End summary. \
 \
2.(C) Assistant Secretary Fried conducted the first \
high-level dialogue on enhanced bilateral political \
cooperation with Ambuehl on September 29.  Participants \
included officials from the Swiss Departments of Foreign \
Affairs, Economic Affairs, Finance, and Defense, along with \
Ambassador Coneway, DCM, Pol/Econ officers, and visiting \
EUR/AGS desk officer. \
 \
------------------------------- \
Pre-Meeting: Iran & the Balkans \
------------------------------- \
 \
3.(C) In a meeting  A/S Fried and Ambassador Coneway prior to \
the plenary session, Ambuehl offered his views on the Iran \
situation and reiterated Switzerland's standing offer to \
facilitate talks with Tehran.  A/S Fried thanked Ambuehl for \
Switzerland's efforts as Protecting Power for the United \
States in Tehran and emphasized the need for the \
international community to show solidarity against Iranian \
intransigence on the nuclear issue. \
 \
4.(C) During this pre-meeting, Foreign Minister Micheline \
Calmy-Rey dropped by to welcome A/S Fried.  Noting that she \
was one of the first European leaders to call for Kosovo's \
independence, Calmy-Rey expressed particular interest in A/S \
Fried's just-completed visit to Serbia and Kosovo.  Fried \
reviewed his message to Serbian and Kosovar leaders, adding \
that KFOR members, including the U.S. and Switzerland, should \
be prepared to beef up their presence during the first part \
of the transition in 2007.  Calmy-Rey explained that \
Switzerland currently deployed about 200 troops out of the \
250 currently authorized for peace operations abroad, but was \
in the process of enlarging deployable forces to 500 by 2008. \
(Comment: The Swiss  Parliament has authorized a maximum of \
220 for SwissCoy in  Kosovo; any increase would require \
Parliamentary approval, usually a time-consuming process. \
End comment.) \
 \
-------------------------------------------- \
Framework for Enhanced Bilateral Cooperation \
-------------------------------------------- \
 \
5.(C) Ambuehl opened the plenary with a statement hailing the \
Framework Agreement for Enhanced Political Cooperation  (the \
U.S.-Swiss MOU signed in May 2005) as providing a "legal \
basis" under Swiss law for closer cooperation between the two \
countries.  He said that both sides had exhibited excellent \
cooperation in the adoption of the Third Additional Protocol \
to the Geneva Conventions and the acceptance of the Israeli \
Magan David Adom in the International Red Cross, Red Crescent \
Movement.  Ambuehl also noted that the U.S. and Switzerland \
share "mostly the same objectives," though often with \
different strategies, due to the distinct global roles \
played: the U.S. as sole superpower and Switzerland as \
(almost) sole neutral. \
 \
------------------------------------------- \
Balkans: Swiss Program Proposals for Kosovo \
------------------------------------------- \
 \
6.(C) A/S Fried provided a detailed report of his visit \
earlier that week to Belgrade, Pristina, and Mitrovica \
(reftels a and b):  The next few weeks were going to be \
difficult; the situation in Kosovo will only deteriorate \
unless action is taken.  Thus, the USG and the Quint \
concluded that the status issue must be finalized and the \
final status must be independence.  According to A/S Fried, \
 \
BERN 00001971  002 OF 005 \
 \
 \
both ethnic Serbs  and Albanians realize this, however \
unenthusiastic the Serb leadership felt.  Encouragingly, Serb \
students in Belgrade and even moderate Serb community leaders \
in Mitrovica seemed prepared to move on.  To hold-outs, such \
as President Kostunica and Foreign Minister Draskovic,  A/S \
Fried's message was that their reluctance must not translate \
into obstructionism or violence, or else Belgrade's European \
ambitions would be drastically set back. \
 \
7.(SBU) Addressing Switzerland as a participant in KFOR, A/S \
Fried emphasized his hope that when KFOR needed more troops, \
Switzerland would be there.  State Secretary Ambuehl advised \
that Switzerland's analysis of Kosovo was  completely in line \
with that of the U.S.  Switzerland supported independence \
soon, under the right conditions.  He described the Balkans \
as a prime place for U.S.-Swiss cooperation in areas of good \
governance and "transitional  justice."  Swiss DFA Human \
Security director Thomas Greminger described Swiss thinking \
on decentralization and  transitional justice and noted that \
the Swiss had presented a menu of maximal and minimal program \
proposals to Kosovo  Coordinator Ahtisaari and the European \
Commission (EC) and would be interested in USG views (paper \
handed to EUR/AGS  desk officer).  A/S Fried and Ambuehl \
agreed to that an expert level group would review the Swiss \
proposal and meet in either Washington or Bern to define \
areas of bilateral cooperation on transitional justice and \
other good-governance issues. \
 \
----- \
Sudan \
----- \
 \
8.(SBU) Moving on to Sudan, Ambuehl recalled that \
Switzerland and the United States had worked together in 2002 \
to mediate the North-South Agreement.  Ambuehl laid out three \
areas of current Swiss activity: demarcating the north/south \
boundary; assisting the regional government of southern Sudan \
in mediation with the Lords Resistance  Army; and helping the \
SPLA militia transition into a civil force.  A/S Fried \
replied that he was aware that the Swiss had discussed with \
EUCOM officers the idea of bilateral cooperation.  He said he \
would take the Swiss ideas to  State's AF Bureau and would \
speak with EUCOM Combatant Commander General Jones about the \
Swiss proposal and potential for cooperation. \
 \
--------- \
Detainees \
--------- \
 \
9.(SBU) A/S Fried opened the discussion of the \
detainee/renditions issue by recommending to the Swiss the \
recent Financial Times article by State Department Legal \
Advisor Bellinger.  A/S Fried stressed the fundamental \
points: terrorists want to kill civilians in our countries, \
and the Geneva Conventions -- while adequate for conventional \
war -- were not designed for the current threat.  On \
renditions, A/S Fried noted that several countries had used \
this method to bring criminals to  justice -- for example, \
France with Carlos the Jackal, and Turkey with PKK leader \
Abdullah Ocalan.  Those insisting on treating terror suspects \
as POWs are not factoring in that, under Geneva, detainees \
should be held until the end of hostilities; indeed the \
closest parallel to terrorists in the Geneva Conventions \
would be "spies and saboteurs," who  do not merit POW \
protection.  A/S Fried stressed that the United States was \
not trying to "bend the rules," rather trying to "get it \
right." \
 \
10.(SBU) Christine Schraner, DFA deputy chief for \
international public law, stressed that Switzerland took the \
fight against terrorism seriously.  Switzerland was seeking \
the proper balance between counterterrorism and human rights. \
 She welcomed progress in the UN 1267 Committee on \
de-listing, citing recent UN discussions and a well-received \
Swiss co-sponsored study conducted with the Watson Institute \
at Brown University.  Ambuehl asked that the USG understand \
Switzerland's role as guardians of international law.  He \
suggested that Ambassador Bellinger agree to meet with his \
Swiss counterpart, Ambassador Paul Seger, to discuss the \
issues of detainees and renditions, as well as the listing \
and delisting of terrorist entities.  A/S Fried said he would \
pass the request on to Ambassador Bellinger. \
 \
------------------------------- \
Property Rights as Human Rights \
------------------------------- \
 \
11.(SBU) State Secretary Ambuehl presented A/S Fried with a \
copy of a Swiss-sponsored book "Realizing Property Rights," \
co-authored by Peruvian economist Hernando DeSoto.  The \
 \
BERN 00001971  003 OF 005 \
 \
 \
Swiss, Ambuehl said, would like to co-sponsor with the U.S. a \
workshop on the subject.  The issue was particularly \
pertinent in the developing world.  A/S Fried replied that he \
would want to see how the notion of property rights as \
fundamental human rights conformed to the need to seize \
terrorist and criminal assets and fight kleptocracy, but \
agreed to raise the proposal with Under Secretary Paula \
Dobriansky. \
 \
-------------------- \
Intelligence Sharing \
-------------------- \
 \
12.(C) Additional areas where traditional structures were \
challenged by terrorism were law enforcement cooperation and \
intelligence sharing, according to A/S Fried.  Reviewing the \
message delivered by S/CT Crumpton on September 7 (reftel c), \
A/S Fried emphasized that the updated U.S.-Swiss operative \
working agreement on counter-terrorism cooperation would only \
be as valuable as the cooperation it fostered.  The Swiss \
needed to share more broadly the intelligence they develop. \
Swiss DFA Security Policy Director Jacques Pitteloud pointed \
out that September 11 had found Switzerland even less \
prepared than the U.S. to face the new threat.  In \
Switzerland, counterterrorism had traditionally been a purely \
law enforcement matter.  The key to producing more \
intelligence information was first to develop better \
intelligence services.  Both sides agreed on the importance \
of ensuring the success of intelligence and law enforcement \
cooperation. \
 \
13.(SBU) In the broader area of bilateral counterterrorism \
cooperation, Ambuehl and Pitteloud both praised the \
U.S.-Swiss sponsored "Black Ice" bioterrorism exercise held \
September 7-8 in Montreux, which brought senior leaders of \
international organizations together for the first time on \
this issue.  Pitteloud expressed strong support for a \
follow-up conference.  A/S Fried and Embassy Bern agreed to \
pursue the idea with Black Ice Conference organizers. \
 \
--------------- \
Disaster Relief \
--------------- \
 \
14.(SBU) Describing an ongoing Swiss Development Agency \
project to assess hazards and risks.  Ambuehl promised to \
provide the USG a copy of  the "risk mapping" exercise \
identified areas of potential flooding, landslides, \
avalanches, desertification, soil erosion, and  other risks. \
A/S Fried recommended that, in assessing the potential risks, \
the Swiss also incorporate a data base of the PfP assets \
available.  A/S Fried asserted that Switzerland was in an \
optimal position among NATO partners to develop a data base \
of partner assets to respond to such natural disasters as the \
Kashmir earthquake or a tsunami.  The upcoming Riga NATO \
Summit would be addressing "NATO in the World;" Swiss efforts \
targeting humanitarian disasters could sell well within the \
neutrality-conscious Swiss public.  Ambuehl agreed. \
 \
---------------------------------------- \
Financial Sanctions Implementation Group \
---------------------------------------- \
 \
15.(SBU) Turning to economic relations, Ambuehl regretted \
that the "time had seemed not to be right" on a full Free \
Trade Agreement, but hoped that the proposal could be revived \
some day.  Monica Ruehl, Director of Bilateral  Relations at \
the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), described \
the U.S.-Swiss Trade and Investment  Cooperation Forum (the \
"Forum"), inaugurated by USTR and SECO in May.  While still \
in its infancy, the Forum already has as possible agenda \
items intellectual property rights, a wine agreement based on \
the U.S.-EU model, and  recognition of organic products \
standards.  The Forum had passed its first hurdle in \
providing a platform to head off a potential U.S.-Swiss \
collision regarding drastic restrictions on U.S. beef exports \
to Switzerland. \
 \
16.(SBU) Ruehl raised the issue of sanctions implementation. \
Reiterating Swiss points to Treasury Under Secretary Stuart \
Levey on September 14 (ref d), Ruehl described the Financial \
Sanctions Implementation Experts Group that had operated \
during the 1990s.  Switzerland hosted the last meeting in \
November 2001.  The USG was  supposed to host the next, but \
never had.  Ruehl stressed that Switzerland and others would \
be more successful in enforcing international sanctions if \
the actual implementers -- OFAC in the USG's case -- would \
meet regularly to discuss the mechanics of sanctions \
enforcement.  Welcoming the proposal to revive the experts \
group, A/S Fried hoped that its scope be broad enough to \
 \
BERN 00001971  004 OF 005 \
 \
 \
encompass organized crime and kleptocracy and agreed to \
contact Treasury to encourage revival of the Sanctions \
Implementation Experts Group.  Embassy Bern also agreed to \
push the idea with visiting Treasury officials. \
 \
--------------------- \
United Nations Reform \
--------------------- \
 \
17.(SBU) State Secretary Ambuehl laid out Switzerland's three \
priorities within the United Nations: strengthen the  overall \
UN system; promote reform in the budget and "cohesion" of UN \
agencies; and invigorate Geneva as a UN  host city.  Mindful \
of U.S.-Swiss common goals with regard to management reform, \
Ambuehl suggested that the two  governments should introduce \
a proposal for outsourcing oversight functions (auditing, \
etc.) at smaller UN agencies, including the Bern-based \
Universal Postal Union.  A/S Fried agreed that it was \
interesting and offered to run it by UN specialists.  The \
Swiss agreed to provide the USG with a paper, which EUR will \
discuss proposal with IO and USUN. \
 \
------------------ \
Muslim Integration \
------------------ \
 \
18.(SBU) Addressing the challenge of Muslim integration, A/S \
Fried regretted that the prevailing radical character in the \
Muslim world was drowning out other voices.  He recalled his \
visit to Denmark in the wake of the so-called "cartoon \
crisis."  Initially, the West was as ill-equipped  to deal \
with Muslim realities in Europe and the Greater Middle East \
as they had been with the communist threat following the \
Second World War.  Ambuehl underscored Switzerland's relative \
success with Muslim integration, due to the country's status \
as a secular state with a highly decentralized system and \
republican, egalitarian structures.  The Swiss population is \
22 percent foreign born; of this, about 20 percent is Balkan \
and 5 percent Islamic, he said.  The Swiss Government was \
working on two projects with regard to integration: the \
Montreux Initiative on transparent charitable best practices; \
and  "Chantier Islamisme" involving the mapping of Islamist \
organizations and parties.  A/S Fried recommended that both \
sides meet at the expert level to share information on \
outreach activities and to include Muslim integration as a \
regular topic in Framework discussions. \
 \
-------------------- \
Forum for the Future \
-------------------- \
 \
19.(SBU) Welcoming Switzerland's participation in the Forum \
and the Foundation for the Future, A/S Fried noted that the \
Foundation, designed to promote and subsidize civil society \
in the BMENA region, had had a slow first year, in part due \
to the Russian G-8 presidency.  However, the Germans were \
promising to do more during their dual G-8/EU presidency. \
A/S Fried commended President Bush's recent UN speech on the \
importance coupling democracy with outreach. \
 \
20. (SBU) Ambuehl shared the concerns of Foundation board \
member (and former Swiss diplomat and ICRC chief) Cornelio \
Sommaruga that the Foundation was not sufficiently light \
(agile) or transparent.  A/S Fried agreed to look into it. \
When A/S Fried emphasized the need for Western unity \
vis-a-vis Hamas and Syria, Ambuehl countered that -- however \
difficult to deal with they were -- they remained a factor in \
the region.  A/S Fried pushed back and urged the Swiss to \
allow pressure on Hamas to work.  Ambuehl said he would send \
a DFA regional expert to Washington to talk about Syria and \
other regional concerns. \
 \
--------------------- \
Russia & Central Asia \
--------------------- \
 \
21.(C) A/S Fried also discussed Russia (particularly the \
energy-security nexus) and its neighbors.  The arrest the \
previous day of several Russian "spies" by the Government of \
Georgia had not been handled well by either side, but \
illustrated our difficulties with Moscow; Russia seemed to \
want all of its neighbors to adopt the posture of Finland \
during the Cold War.  Swiss DFA Deputy Poldir Anton Thalmann \
agreed that dealing with the Russians required firmness, \
expressing admiration for the  performance of Alexander \
Vershbow and Nicholas Burns as NATO ambassadors.  In response \
to Ruehl's question about Russian WTO membership, A/S Fried \
replied that President Bush would have loved to welcome the \
Russians in, but he was not willing to compromise the WTO's \
criteria. \
 \
BERN 00001971  005 OF 005 \
 \
 \
 \
------------ \
Next Meeting \
------------ \
 \
22.(SBU) A/S Fried and State Secretary Ambuehl agreed that \
working-level discussions should continue under the bilateral \
framework and that they would meet in Washington during 2007. \
 \
------- \
Comment \
------- \
 \
23.(SBU) Swiss offers of specific proposals for cooperation \
made the  talks were more successful than anticipated.  For \
State Secretary Ambuehl, a formal Framework is important in \
that it regularizes bilateral consultations and, as much as \
getting the USG's attention, it is a means to ensure that \
Ambuehl's boss -- Foreign Minister Calmy-Rey -- and their DFA \
colleagues get into the habit of thinking about cooperating \
with Washington.  The Framework is also a way for the Swiss \
Department of Foreign Affairs to keep pace with the \
Department of Economic Affairs and its TIC Forum and Joint \
Economic Commission.  We will continue to use the Framework \
to steer Swiss engagement into areas of mutual interest. \
 \
24.(U) This telegram was cleared by EUR Assistant Secretary \
Dan Fried. \
CONEWAY \