Contact me |   عربي
Home Press & Media Nuclear Reactors Nuclear Engineering Nuclear Fuel About Photos  
Cable 09TELAVIV2757

 Reference ID  Created  Released  Classification   Origin
 09TELAVIV2757  2009-12-22 09:09  2010-11-28 18:06  SECRET   Embassy Tel Aviv


DE RUEHTV #2757/01 3560922
O 220922Z DEC 09

S E C R E T TEL AVIV 002757 ‎
‎ ‎
‎ ‎
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/22/2019 ‎
‎ ‎
Classified By: A/DCM Marc Sievers, reasons 1.4 (b),(d) ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶1. (S) Summary:  Under Secretary for Arms Control and ‎
International Security Ellen Tauscher visited Israel December ‎
‎1-2.  U/S Tauscher focused her visit on setting the stage for ‎
a successful Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review ‎
Conference (RevCon) in May 2010.  She consulted with GOI ‎
interlocutors on potential strategy in addressing Egyptian ‎
insistence on pushing for the establishment of a nuclear ‎
weapon free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East, as a way to ‎
divert attention from Iran to Israel.  U/S Tauscher ‎
reiterated that the United States will not take any action to ‎
compromise Israel's security and would consult closely with ‎
Israel -- which GOI officials greatly appreciated. ‎
Nevertheless, U/S Tauscher said the United States is ‎
interested in exploring possible small steps involving Israel ‎
to address some of Egypt's NWFZ concerns regarding the lack ‎
of implementation of the 1995 resolution.  GOI officials for ‎
the most part were critical of these tactics, questioning why ‎
Israel should be portrayed as part of the problem.  They ‎
recommended a more direct approach to President Mubarak -- ‎
thereby circumventing the Egyptian MFA -- in which Egypt is ‎
reminded that Iran is the regional nuclear threat.  Other ‎
topics discussed include President Obama's arms control and ‎
nonproliferation agenda, the P5 1 process and Iran's nuclear ‎
program, the FMCT and CTBT, Jordan's plans for a nuclear ‎
reactor, and Israel's qualitative military edge (QME).  End ‎
summary. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶2. (SBU) U/S Tauscher met with National Security Advisor Uzi ‎
Arad on December 1.  Arad was accompanied by NSC Senior ‎
Advisor and Nuclear Security Summit Sherpa Gil Reich.  In a ‎
separate meeting on December 1, U/S Tauscher met with MFA ‎
Director General Yossi Gal, Deputy Director General for North ‎
America Baruch Bina, and Deputy Director General for ‎
Strategic Affairs Alon Bar.  U.S. participants for the Arad ‎
and Gal meetings included Political Counselor Marc Sievers, T ‎
Senior Advisor James Timbie, NSC's Adam Scheinman, and ‎
political military officer Jason Grubb.  U/S Tauscher met for ‎
dinner with Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) and MFA ‎
senior officials on December 1, including IAEC Director ‎
General Saul Chorev, Deputy Director General David Danieli, ‎
and Director for Policy and Arms Control Merav Zefary-Odiz, ‎
as well as MFA DDG Bar and Director for Arms Control Rodica ‎
Radian-Gordon.  On December 2, U/S Tauscher met for breakfast ‎
with MOD Political-Military Chief Amos Gilad; U.S. attendees ‎
included Charge D'Affaires Luis Moreno, Timbie, Scheinman, ‎
and Grubb. ‎
‎ ‎
Arms Control/Nonproliferation Agenda ‎
‎------------------------------------ ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶3. (S) In various meetings with GOI interlocutors, U/S ‎
Tauscher outlined an ambitious arms control and ‎
nonproliferation agenda, beginning with the President's ‎
Prague speech, and including other priorities such as a ‎
follow-on to START, CTBT ratification, the upcoming NPT ‎
Review Conference, and negotiating the FMCT.  She noted that ‎
negotiations with Moscow on START were slow to develop in ‎
part due to delayed confirmations and Russian wariness.  But ‎
U/S Tauscher expected a START follow-on -- including a strong ‎
verification regime -- soon. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶4. (S) National Security Advisor Arad described President ‎
Obama's arms control and nonproliferation agenda as "daunting ‎
and challenging."  He reaffirmed that the GOI will ‎
participate in the April 2010 Nuclear Security summit in ‎
Washington, noting that PM Netanyahu planned to attend the ‎
summit as discussed between President Obama and PM Netanyahu ‎
during their recent one-on-one meeting in Washington.  GOI ‎
Nuclear Summit Sherpa Gil Reich noted, however, that the ‎
Holocaust memorial day in Israel might be a potential ‎
scheduling conflict with the summit.  Arad expressed ‎
appreciation for the summit, noting that if the initiative ‎
had been pursued ten years previously, perhaps proliferation ‎
cases such as AQ Khan might have been prevented or at least ‎
controlled.  He wished the United States success negotiating ‎
with the Russians on START. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶5. (S) Due to the U.S. administration's prioritization of ‎
arms control and nonproliferation, Arad also noted that the ‎
GOI had recently reconvened a high level committee on these ‎
issues comprised of GOI officials and experts from outside ‎
the government.  He noted that the committee had been formed ‎
during President George Herbert Walker Bush's administration ‎
to analyze treaties such as the CWC and CTBT, but stopped ‎
meeting in 2007.  U/S Tauscher expressed interest in meeting ‎
with the group during her next visit to Israel; Arad took the ‎
request on board. ‎
‎ ‎
Egypt and the NPT ‎
‎----------------- ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶6. (S) On the NPT, U/S Tauscher reiterated the importance of ‎
a successful Review Conference -- including hopefully a ‎
consensus resolution.  She raised U.S. concerns over ‎
potential Egyptian actions at the RevCon, based on previous ‎
decades of behavior and "10-15 year-old talking points."  U/S ‎
Tauscher said the United States is not "naive" with respect ‎
to Egypt; nevertheless, the United States must make a ‎
sincere, good faith effort to create the conditions for a ‎
positive RevCon -- this might include small steps with Israel ‎
to address some of Egypt's desire to demonstrate progress in ‎
implementation of the 1995 resolution on a region free of ‎
weapons of mass destruction. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶7. (S) That said, U/S Tauscher reiterated that the United ‎
States would consult and coordinate with Israel, and would ‎
take no action that might compromise Israel's security.  She ‎
noted that the United States would like to elevate the NPT ‎
RevCon issue to President Mubarak at an appropriate time, and ‎
expressed interest in developing an alternate communication ‎
track to Mubarak to circumvent the MFA, potentially through ‎
Egyptian Intelligence Minister LTG Suleiman.  U/S Tauscher ‎
said her message to Cairo will be "very tough," and that ‎
Egyptian obstructionist behavior linking Israel to Iran's ‎
nuclear program is not helping Egypt. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶8. (S) Arad said relations with Egypt were "relatively good," ‎
describing continued dialogue between PM Netanyahu and ‎
President Mubarak, and strong channels of communication at ‎
other levels.  In many respects, he said Israel's relations ‎
with Egypt are almost as good as during PM Rabin's time. ‎
Arad said Egypt and Israel do not see "eye-to-eye" on some ‎
issues such as Gaza and the Palestinian Authority, but ‎
otherwise relations are strong. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶9. (S) Arad described the Egyptian MFA, however, as a ‎
‎"nagging problem" in the relationship, particularly regarding ‎
the Middle East NWFZ issue, and noted Cairo's refusal to talk ‎
to FM Lieberman.  Other GOI officials expressed exasperation ‎
over Egyptian motivations on the NWFZ; Reich raised Egyptian ‎
behavior at the latest IAEA General Conference, as well as ‎
Cairo's negative reaction to the IAEA Board of Governor's ‎
recent statement on Iran.  Arad said Israel has supported a ‎
regional NWFZ as far back as 1992, provided Israel enjoyed ‎
peaceful relations with its neighbors.  He said the GOI has ‎
spoken frankly with Cairo, noting that such behavior is not ‎
helpful, and is misdirecting focus away from Iran. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶10. (S) MOD Political-Military Chief Amos Gilad said Egypt ‎
understands that Iran is the real threat to the region, ‎
noting that a nuclear weapon-armed Iran is a redline for ‎
Cairo.  He averred that Egypt does not accept that Iran will ‎
become a superpower, but remains afraid of its own domestic ‎
political situation post-Mubarak.  Gilad expressed succession ‎
concerns, noting that Mubarak is "approaching the past more ‎
quickly than the future."  He added that Mubarak does not ‎
have confidence in Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶11. (S) MFA Deputy Director General for Strategic Affairs ‎
Alon Bar outlined repeated attempts by the GOI to engage with ‎
the Egyptian MFA, but to no avail. He described Egyptian ‎
actions linking Israel to Iran's nuclear program in the IAEA ‎
as "not encouraging," and questioned how to convince Egypt to ‎
drop this "obsession" over the NWFZ.  Israel Atomic Energy ‎
Commission (IAEC) Director General Saul Chorev and Arms ‎
Control Director Merav Zefary-Odiz speculated that Egypt ‎
feels challenged by Iranian attempts to acquire nuclear ‎
weapons, and includes Israel in any public attack on Tehran ‎
in order to give Cairo coverage from regional criticism.  Bar ‎
argued that the Egyptian MFA raises Israel's nuclear program ‎
as a "wedge issue" in order to prevent better relations ‎
between Israel and others in the region.  IAEC Deputy ‎
Director General David Danieli concurred, noting that Egypt ‎
can use the nuclear issue to put Israel "in a corner" while ‎
benefiting from positive relations between the two countries. ‎
‎ ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶12. (S) Zefary-Odiz also reviewed her participation in an ‎
International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and ‎
Disarmament conference in September 2009 in Cairo.  She ‎
described the conference as "very confrontational," and that ‎
it was clear Israel was targeted by Egyptian interlocutors. ‎
Zefary-Odiz acknowledged that the GOI had anticipated such ‎
behavior, and contemplated skipping the conference.  She ‎
noted that Egyptian officials also lambasted Iranian ‎
participants, but were always careful to include Israel and ‎
Iran in the same sentence. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶13. (S) Arad said the GOI will take their cue from U.S. ‎
‎"heavy-lifting": if there is a small step -- "not a ‎
concession," he stressed -- that Israel could take to help ‎
facilitate, then the GOI would consider it.  He noted that ‎
the GOI wanted to see a "reversal of trends" from Egypt ‎
regarding Iran's nuclear program -- after all, it is in ‎
Egypt's interest to do so.  He said Israel continues to have ‎
reservations regarding the NPT -- following nuclear pursuits ‎
by Libya, Syria, and Iran, it is clear to the GOI that the ‎
NPT is not sufficient and must be strengthened.  The goal of ‎
the NPT, he stressed, should not be to "prevent the next ‎
Iran, but to stop Iran in order to prevent the next Iran" ‎
from occurring. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶14. (S) Chorev speculated that Egypt will aim to ruin the ‎
RevCon.  Bar said the Egyptians have not been held ‎
accountable for past bad behavior at the NPT RevCon -- "they ‎
have never paid the price."  He noted that Cairo knows the ‎
importance the United States attaches to a successful RevCon, ‎
and therefore will try to leverage a "high price" in order ‎
not to ruin it.  He noted similar tactics with regard to ‎
Egypt's counter-smuggling efforts along the border with Gaza. ‎
‎ ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶15. (S) Timbie outlined several small steps that might ‎
address Egyptian concerns and demonstrate progress in ‎
implementation of the 1995 resolution and the Middle East ‎
NWFZ: an IAEA forum on the experience of other regional ‎
NWFZs; a special coordinator or rappateur on 1995 resolution ‎
implementation; a statement from the United States, United ‎
Kingdom and Russia reiterating the importance of the 1995 ‎
resolution; and exploring text with Israel and Egypt on ‎
universality and compliance. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶16. (S) Gilad questioned these steps from a ‎
‎"tactical/strategic" context, and suggested this was not a ‎
tactical matter.  He argued against creating the impression ‎
that Israel was the problem.  Instead, Gilad recommended a ‎
strategic, traditional approach -- concessions will only be ‎
used by Egypt as leverage.  He suggested the United States ‎
remind Egypt of its special relationship based on U.S. ‎
support, and reaffirm that Iran is the "bad guy."  Gilad said ‎
Egypt should also be reminded that most countries in the ‎
region agree with the NWFZ concept in principle; the Egyptian ‎
MFA's insistence on an immediate NWFZ neither fits the ‎
current political reality nor makes sense as it diverts focus ‎
from Iranian intransigence.  He noted that Egypt listens to ‎
the United States; it is therefore important to speak clearly ‎
and directly when taking the issue to Mubarak. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶17. (S) Chorev and Zefary-Odiz argued these steps had been ‎
tried in the past -- and had failed.  Danieli questioned why ‎
Israel should take any steps at all.  Based on experience at ‎
the IAEA and the UN First Committee on Disarmament and ‎
International Security, he said "nothing satisfies Egypt" as ‎
Cairo "pockets every concession" and demands more -- "it's a ‎
slippery slope."  Danieli said Israel will not "play by ‎
Egypt's rules."  Bar concurred, noting that Egypt will "raise ‎
the bar," and begin negotiations with these small steps as ‎
the baseline -- he was skeptical such steps would prove ‎
helpful. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶18. (S) Arad characterized these steps as "talking endlessly" ‎
‎-- that is "not progress," he said.  He was uncomfortable ‎
discussing Israel NPT compliance, especially as Israel is not ‎
a party to the treaty.  He also raised concerns regarding the ‎
definition of the Middle East NWFZ -- did it also include ‎
Pakistan, India and Iran, for example?  Arad said such ‎
questions should be posed to Cairo -- if Egypt is willing to ‎
include Pakistan in its definition of a Middle East NWFZ, ‎
then we can take that as a signal that Cairo is ready for a ‎
serious conversation on the matter. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶19. (S) Zefary-Odiz argued that the NPT as a "global ‎
solution" is not appropriate in the current political ‎
realities of the Middle East.  Due to the region's prior ‎
track record of NPT non-compliance, she said a gradual, ‎
step-by-step process employing confidence building measures ‎
be used to improve relations between neighbors.  NPT partner ‎
obligations should be enhanced, not reduced, she said. ‎
Zefary-Odiz noted that only after peaceful relations are ‎
established can arms control measures be pursued, starting ‎
with conventional weapons and later focusing on ‎
chemical/biological/nuclear arms.  She said that Egypt and ‎
other Arab states de-link comprehensive peace from arms ‎
control measures -- Israel views these elements as ‎
inseparable and sequential. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶20. (S) On a related note, Chorev asked if Israel should ‎
attend the RevCon as an observer.  U/S Tauscher and Timbie ‎
replied that the decision was ultimately the GOI's to make, ‎
but offered to raise the issue in Washington .  Chorev noted ‎
that Israel would be careful not to "make any noise," and ‎
could play a positive, consultative role.  On the other hand, ‎
Danieli acknowledged the argument that as a non-party, ‎
perhaps it was not appropriate for Israel to attend. ‎
‎ ‎
Iran ‎
‎---- ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶21. (S) U/S Tauscher said the United States was very ‎
concerned about the recently announced Iranian plans to build ‎
ten additional uranium enrichment facilities.  She reiterated ‎
the two track strategy of persuasion and pressure, and noted ‎
that the time for persuasion is "waning."  U/S Tauscher said ‎
the United States has "created the coalition" it had hoped ‎
for, and was happy to see the recent IAEA BOG's resolution ‎
transferred to the UNSC. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶22. (S) U/S Tauscher noted that the United States was working ‎
hard through the P5 1 process to encourage Russian and ‎
Chinese cooperation to counter continued Iranian ‎
intransigence and inflammatory rhetoric -- Russia and China ‎
are "lynch pins," she said.  She noted that Russia had worked ‎
closely with the United States on the Tehran Research Reactor ‎
‎(TRR) proposal, which Moscow considered an "elegant ‎
solution," -- but Iran had not agreed.  Keeping Russia ‎
engaged, U/S Tauscher explained, also means Chinese ‎
cooperation. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶23. (S) MOD Political-Military Chief Amos Gilad described ‎
recent Russian cooperation on Iran as encouraging, but ‎
expressed reservations that Russia would join in any ‎
sanctions against Iran.  He explained that Moscow has raised ‎
the provision of sophisticated Israeli unmanned aerial ‎
vehicle (UAV) technology in exchange for canceling the S-300 ‎
sale to Tehran.  Gilad said that Russian interlocutors had ‎
acknowledged development gaps in their UAV platform, and is ‎
prepared to pay USD one billion for Israeli UAV technology. ‎
He reiterated that Israel will not provide its latest UAV ‎
technology, arguing that such technology would likely end up ‎
in the hands of the Chinese. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶24. (S) Arad said the GOI appreciated the United States' ‎
efforts regarding Iran, noting how hard the United States has ‎
worked to build an alliance.  He pointed to the recent IAEA ‎
Board of Governor's resolution as a successful example of ‎
U.S. efforts.  Regarding the Qom facility, Arad said the GOI ‎
was not surprised by Tehran's "chutzpah."  He described a ‎
high degree of alertness in Israel, and added that the GOI ‎
studies daily Iranian posturing and boastful announcements in ‎
an attempt to discern Iranian intentions.  Arad commented ‎
that the trends are bad, as Iran continues to accumulate low ‎
enriched uranium. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶25. (S) MFA DG Gal said there was not much difference in the ‎
national intelligence estimations (U.S., UK, France, and ‎
Russia) regarding Iran.  He said the GOI takes "very ‎
seriously" Iranian plans for ten new enrichment facilities -- ‎
‎"time is of the essence," and "now is the time to implement ‎
crippling sanctions," he added.  Gal likened the case for ‎
enhanced sanctions to prescribed antibiotics from a doctor -- ‎
one must take the full course of antibiotics for the ‎
prescribed period of time, or they will not work. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶26. (S) Turning to his crystal ball, Gilad was not sure ‎
Tehran had decided it wants a nuclear weapon -- but is ‎
‎"determined" to obtain the option to build one.  He ‎
acknowledged that the engagement strategy is a good idea -- ‎
‎"as long as you understand that it will not work."  Gilad ‎
said it should be clear by February 2010 that engagement as a ‎
option has failed -- the imposition of "crippling sanctions" ‎
for the February/March/April timeframe is crucial.  He said ‎
Russian cooperation will be the key, and the current Russian ‎
cooperative mind-set cannot necessarily be counted on in ‎
several weeks time.  By June of next year, Gilad said it ‎
should be clear whether sanctions have worked.  However, ‎
given Tehran's clandestine nuclear program (e.g., Qom), he ‎
said it will not be clear when Iran has reached the "point of ‎
no return" -- he doubted Iran will choose to let it overtly ‎
known that it has produced a nuclear weapon. ‎
‎ ‎
‎------------- ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶27. (S) IAEC DG Chorev raised the FMCT's future in the ‎
Conference on Disarmament.  U/S Tauscher acknowledged ‎
frustration with Pakistan, and noted that while Washington ‎
places a high priority on the FMCT, other efforts like a ‎
START follow-on and the CTBT will come first.  Timbie added ‎
that it will take some time to negotiate an FMCT. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶28. (S) Chorev asked about the current prospects for CTBT ‎
ratification in the Senate.  U/S Tauscher noted that the ‎
START follow-on was a higher priority, and said the Senate ‎
will likely focus on the Law of the Sea treaty before turning ‎
its attention to the CTBT.  She pointed to mid-term ‎
Congressional elections in 2010, and explained that focusing ‎
on the CTBT in 2011 might be more prudent given the ‎
controversy associated with the treaty.  U/S Tauscher ‎
explained the necessity of making the case for the CTBT, and ‎
hoped to build political momentum in favor of the treaty ‎
through the release of the Nuclear Posture Review, a new ‎
national intelligence estimate, and the handover on the ‎
stockpile stewardship program. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶29. (S) Chorev asked that the United States consult with the ‎
GOI on the CTBT, where he said Israel could be "more flexible ‎
than the FMCT."  U/S Tauscher asked if the GOI might be ‎
willing to make affirmative statements in support of the ‎
CTBT; Chorev made no promises, but suspected such a statement ‎
might be possible -- especially if it would help with Senate ‎
ratification. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶30. (S) Chorev described the FMCT as "very difficult" for ‎
Israel.  Scheinman confirmed that negotiations would be based ‎
on the 2006 draft FMCT text, with an added verification ‎
regime that is being worked on -- he described the ‎
verification regime's definitions as "critical" in that ‎
regard.  Danieli questioned the FMCT's added value, arguing ‎
that it would have little impact.  He asked who was the ‎
FMCT's real target -- India, Pakistan or even Israel? ‎
‎ ‎
Jordanian Nuclear Reactor ‎
‎------------------------- ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶31. (S) IAEC DG Chorev raised Jordanian plans to build a ‎
nuclear reactor.  He said the GOI has decided not to oppose ‎
the reactor, and have offered the Jordanians Israeli ‎
expertise on where best to build it.  Chorev said the IAEC ‎
formed a steering committee with its Jordanian counterpart ‎
comprised of three working groups focusing on safety, ‎
geological surveys, and water issues.  Chorev said the ‎
steering committee first met in Amman in June 2009, and is ‎
waiting to convene again.  Danieli stressed that the GOI does ‎
not want to hamper the Jordanian nuclear plans, but added ‎
that Israel has concerns about border issues and security ‎
associated with the reactor.  Timbie said the United States ‎
is pushing Jordan to sign a 123 Agreement along the same ‎
lines as the recent agreement signed with UAE, only stronger. ‎
‎ Zefary-Odiz noted that Egypt is putting tremendous pressure ‎
on Jordan not to accept a 123 Agreement. ‎
‎ ‎
‎--- ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶32. (S) U/S Tauscher reiterated the United States' strong ‎
commitment to Israel's Qualitative Military Edge (QME), and ‎
expressed appreciation for the GOI's willingness to work with ‎
us through the newly created QME working groups.  Both MOD ‎
Pol-Mil Chief Gilad and MFA DDG Bar commended the newly ‎
created QME working groups, and asked they be scheduled to ‎
convene as soon as possible. ‎
‎ ‎
‎¶33. (U) T has cleared this cable. ‎
‎ ‎

< Back
 Home | Press Coverage | Nuclear Reactors | Nuclear Engineering | Nuclear Fuel | About me | Photos | Contact| Disclaimer| Your Opinion|                          :: All Rights reserved Xoubi.com

New Document
free counters