05BUCHAREST1270 / 2005-05-31 12:03:00
Embassy Bucharest
                C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BUCHAREST 001270 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/31/2015 
REF: A. STATE 90931 
     B. STATE 90564 
     C. BUCHAREST IIR 6 883 0153 05 (AND PREVIOUS) 
     D. BUCHAREST 477 
     E. BUCHAREST 1174 
Classified By: Classified by Political Section Chief Robert S. 
Gilchrist for Reasons 1.4 A, B, and D. 
1.  (U) This is an Action Request for the State 
Department.  See Paragraph 10. 
2.  (C) Summary.  GOR interlocutors who handle Black 
Sea issues express appreciation for U.S. views on 
Romania's possible contributions to the Proliferation 
Security Initiative (PSI) and the Romania-organized 
Black Sea Border Security Initiative (BSBSI). 
Romanian contacts are alarmed, however, at the recent 
decision of the Russian Federation, Bulgaria and 
Georgia to join as permanent members the Turkish-led 
Operation Black Sea Harmony, to be renamed 
BLACKSEAFOR. They also flagged surprising Turkish 
assertions that the new arrangements have USG 
approval. The GOR urgently seeks guidance about U.S. 
views on Russian and Turkish joint efforts to 
dominate Black Sea maritime security and exclude non- 
littoral state actors from playing a role.  End 
3.  (C) Naval Attache and PolOff discussed Black Sea 
regional security issues, including Romanian interest 
in increased involvement in operational activities of 
the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and the 
Romania-organized Black Sea Border Security 
Initiative (BSBSI), May 23 with MFA NATO Division 
Director Mirela Maghiar, MFA Arms Control and 
NonProliferation Division Director Dan Neculaescu and 
MOD Counselor and assistant to Acting presidential 
security adviser General Constantin Degeratu, Iulia 
Ionescu (Refs A and B).  GOR interlocutors expressed 
gratitude for an opportunity to discuss both the PSI 
and BSBSI, noting that the GOR will participate in 
the Czech-led PSI exercise and underscoring Romania's 
abiding commitment to PSI goals.  MFA NATO Director 
Maghiar observed that our nonpaper (Ref B) 
underscores a concept which the GOR supports - that 
PSI and BSBSI are "mutually reinforcing."  They also 
expressed a commitment to "working together" to 
achieve a "complementary" relationship between PSI 
and BSBSI. 
4.  (C) During the course of discussions, however, 
the Romanians provided a somber assessment of the May 
17-18 meeting of the Chiefs of the Black Sea Navies 
(Russian Federation, Turkey, Bulgaria, Georgia and 
Romania).  They expressed dismay at the decision - 
apparently agreed on by the Russians, Turks, 
Bulgarians, and Georgians in advance of the plenary 
meeting of naval commanders - to join as permanent 
members the Turkish-led Operation Black Sea Harmony, 
establishing a permanent "operations center" in 
Turkey (Ref C).  The Romanians stated that the Turks 
(and Russians) had stressed that the purpose of 
Operation Black Sea Harmony will be to assure 
security in the Black Sea. 
5.  (C) From the Romanian perspective, the coup de 
grace of this unexpected and unwanted outcome was the 
Turkish announcement that to "avoid confusion" and to 
obviate the need for formal approval to join a new 
organization, Operation Black Sea Harmony should be 
called BLACKSEAFOR.  The Romanians told us that they 
are opposed to BLACKSEAFOR "taking over" Operation 
Black Sea Harmony but at the same time the GOR does 
not want to "upset the Turks."  The Romanian 
interlocutors stressed that the proposed morphing of 
Black Sea Harmony into BLACKSEAFOR would not happen 
immediately as "more meetings need to occur at a 
working level and at the experts' level," with the 
first working group set for June 1-2 in Istanbul. 
They also expressed the hope that even if an expanded 
BLACKSEAFOR comes into being it could still be 
possible "to leave things open for a future NATO 
role."  (Note: Romania participates in BLACKSEAFOR 
but characterizes the Russian-dominated organization 
as fundamentally a regional confidence building 
measure that should focus on activities such as 
search and rescue exercises but should not expand its 
mandate to serving as a guarantor of maritime 
security.  (Ref D) End Note.) 
6. (C) Our Romanian interlocutors stressed that 
during the May 17-18 meeting the Russian 
representatives iterated that non-littoral states 
should play no role in maintaining maritime security 
and that an Active Endeavor-like operation has no 
place in the Black Sea - a view the Russians have 
previously asserted.  MOD Counselor Ionescu noted 
that during both the May 17-18 meeting as well as 
during previous encounters, the Turks have 
unrealistically "downplayed asymmetric threats" in 
the Black Sea region, insisting that littoral states 
could and should exclusively guarantee Black Sea 
security.  The GOR interlocutors insisted that 
threats in the Black Sea region, including 
trafficking in conventional arms, are "real and 
extensive" and cannot be adequately addressed 
exclusively by littoral states. 
7.  (C)  More troubling - and surprising - from the 
Romanian perspective was the Turks' assertion during 
the meeting that the expansion of Operation Black Sea 
Harmony to include all littoral states with the aim 
of guaranteeing maritime security, together with its 
morphing into BLACKSEAFOR, enjoys the support of the 
USG.  According to the Romanians, the Turks averred 
that an American admiral in a previous meeting had 
stated he "admired" Turkey's "vision" for the Black 
8.  (C) MFA NATO Director Maghiar stressed that "it 
is very important for us to know what the U.S. 
position is" regarding the proposed expansion of 
Black Sea Harmony.  "Does the U.S. indeed endorse the 
Turkish 'vision' for the Black Sea?" asked Maghiar. 
The Romanian interlocutors expressed a need for "some 
clarification from the U.S."  and underscored the 
GOR's strong preference that "transatlantic 
institutions" (read: NATO, with U.S. leadership) 
guarantee Black Sea security. 
9.  (C) Comment:  Dead in the water, at least for 
now, is the Romanian proposal to create a Black Sea 
Task Force (Ref D), given the Turkish and Russian 
commitment to steam ahead with plans to 
"operationalize" Black Sea Harmony under the aegis of 
BLACKSEAFOR.  While the Romanians are evidently 
peeved at this development, they have made it clear 
to us on previous occasions that the GOR has no 
intention of being the odd man out on Black Sea 
security issues -- especially given the GOR's 
apparent belief that Romania could cooperate with its 
littoral neighbors on regional security initiatives 
and still "leave things open for a future NATO role." 
Senior GOR officials have recently reaffirmed strong 
support for a U.S. military facilities presence on 
Romanian soil (Ref E), which they equate with a boost 
in Black Sea regional security.  Romanian officials 
have also expressed gratitude for U.S. "backing" 
during the May 10 joint meeting at NATO Headquarters 
of the Political-Military Steering Committee on 
Partnership for Peace and the Political Committee. 
In addition, MFA interlocutors expressed gratitude 
for State Department representation May 27-28 at the 
BSBSI Planning Conference in Bucharest for the "Styx 
2005" exercise.  During our May 23 meeting with the 
Romanians, however, they appeared genuinely concerned 
that the U.S. may have endorsed the Turkish maritime 
security "vision" - leaving Romania's oft-enunciated 
goal of a region "anchored to trans-Atlantic 
institutions" high and dry. 
10.  (C) Action Request for State Department:  Post 
would appreciate any guidance and feedback we can 
share with the Romanians regarding plans to 
significantly expand the scope of Operation Black Sea 
Harmony under the rubric of BLACKSEAFOR. 
11.  (U) Amembassy Bucharest's reporting telegrams 
are available on the Bucharest SIPRNet website: 

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