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Viewing cable 09STRASBOURG23, COE: NEW SECRETARY GENERAL; RUSSIA, GEORGIA, CLIMATE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09STRASBOURG23 2009-10-02 13:01 2010-12-17 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Strasbourg
VZCZCXRO0147
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL
DE RUEHSR #0023/01 2751344
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 021344Z OCT 09
FM AMCONSUL STRASBOURG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0187
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHSR/AMCONSUL STRASBOURG 0198
Friday, 02 October 2009, 13:44
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 STRASBOURG 000023 
SIPDIS 
DEPARTMENT ALSO FOR EUR/ERA AND EUR/WE 
EO 12958 DECL:  10/2/2019 
TAGS PREL, PHUM, SENV, COE, FR, GG, NO, RS 
SUBJECT: COE:  NEW SECRETARY GENERAL; RUSSIA, GEORGIA, CLIMATE 
CHANGE
REF: STRASBOURG 21 AND PREVIOUS
STRASBOURG 00000023 001.2 OF 002
CLASSIFIED BY: Vincent Carver, CG, Strasbourg, State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) This is an action request; Embassy Oslo please see para three.
SUMMARY
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1. (U) The Council of Europe’s (COE) Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) elected September 29 Thorbjorn Jagland of Norway as the new COE Secretary General. The PACE noted that Georgia had met most and Russia had met almost none of their respective COE commitments post-August 2008. The PACE rejected, however, a resolution suspending the Russian delegation’s credentials. Visiting former White House adviser Kathleen McGinty effectively provided PACE members her views regarding the U.S.’ commitment to fighting climate change; several members praised U.S. engagement on the issue in the run-up to Copenhagen. Mikhail Gorbachev, speaking at a COE function October 1, sharply criticized NATO enlargement as slowing down the construction of a “Common European Home.” End summary
JAGLAND ELECTED SECGEN
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 2. (U) The election of new COE Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland (former Norwegian PM and FM and current President of Norway’s parliament) was the highlight of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s (PACE) September 28-October 2 session. Jagland noted after the election that “Europe is the greatest peace project ever in history,” and that the Council of Europe has been “indispensable in that respect.” Jagland took office October 1, telling assembled ambassadors that he would pursue reform and that he wanted the COE to focus more on its key priorities (democracy, human rights, and the rule of law).
3. (C) The Polish candidate, rather than show solidarity and grace in defeat by attending Jagland’s post-election remarks to the PACE, departed Strasbourg immediately after the vote’s results became known. The Polish Ambassador complained bitterly to us October 1, claiming that the “Russophile Jagland” had told the Russians during his election campaign that he had consistently opposed NATO and EU enlargement toward Russia. (Action request for Embassy Oslo: Please provide any information you may have on Jagland’s views regarding NATO and EU enlargement.)
WORDS BUT NO ACTIONS AGAINST MOSCOW
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 4. (C) The PACE’s discussion of the consequences of the war between Russia and Georgia provided harsher and more widespread criticism of Russia than at previous sessions. The PACE noted that Georgia had met most of the PACE’s demands regarding the situation while Russia had met almost none of its commitments. The PACE also reiterated its support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The PACE rejected, however, a call to suspend the Russian delegation’s credentials. While the Georgian delegation and several of its Nordic supporters stressed that the COE’s credibility is at stake, many PACE members argued that dialogue, rather than suspension of credentials, is the only way to find a solution between the two countries. The Danish Ambassador, no apologist for Moscow’s behavior, summed up for us the COE’s approach to us, “While it’s difficult to work with them, it is impossible to work without them.”
5. (SBU) A separate discussion on “the situation of human rights defenders and the increasing violence in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation,” while less heated, also demonstrated a rift between the Russian delegation’s analysis and that of most PACE members. Several speakers noted that the PACE wants to help Russia address problems, including “a pattern of impunity.” All Russian speakers noted that, in addition to human rights workers, police and regional and local government officials had also been targeted by bandits and terrorists. Throughout the PACE session, several PACE members and guests, including French State Secretary for European Affairs Pierre Lellouche, also called on Russia to ratify Protocol 14 to streamline the European Court of Human Right’s procedures.
U.S. SPEAKER: WORKING WITH THE WORLD ON CLIMATE CHANGE
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
6. (U) Former White House adviser Kathleen McGinty effectively outlined her views of the Obama Administration’s commitment to fighting climate change to the PACE’s Environment Committee September 29. CG underscored the need for all countries, including developing ones, to cut carbon emissions as part of any agreement coming out of the Copenhagen conference. Subsequently, PACE members welcomed the U.S.’ commitment to fighting climate change, although several noted that the U.S. is the “world’s largest per capita polluter.” Nobel Peace Prize winner Rajendra Pachauri joined the plenary debate, nothing the need to review how climate change exacerbates the “energy
STRASBOURG 00000023 002.2 OF 002
poverty” affecting “more than two billion people” using biomass for a variety of applications. Separately, the PACE approved a resolution calling on member states to adopt an additional protocol to the European Convention of Human Rights on the “right to a healthy environment.” The PACE’s Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee had opposed the resolution and one western ambassador told us the COE’s Council of Ministers “will bury” the proposal.
OTHER ISSUES: OECD, UN REFORM, GORBY
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
7. (SBU) OECD Secretary General Gurria briefed members on the OECD’s activities to address the financial crisis. PACE passed a largely descriptive resolution on the crisis and the OECD’s actions while several members called on Gurria to provide a better idea of the “lessons learned” from the crisis. The PACE also passed a resolution on UN reform that, inter alia, called for the incorporation of a “parliamentary element in UNGA’s structure” and for the non-use of veto power in the UNSC on human rights issues. Finally, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, European Commission President Barroso, Slovene President Turk, and several other European figures addressed the COE’s sixtieth anniversary celebration in Strasbourg October 1. Most praised the vision of the COE’s founders and the work of the organization. Gorbachev, however, while noting many of the COE’s successes, also stressed that construction of Europe’s “common home” had been slowed down by NATO’s expansion to the East. CARVER