FM CALMY-REY SAYS DIALOGUE AND “DIPLOMATIC ENGINEERING” ARE CHIEF SWISS FOREIGN POLICY INSTRUMENTS

ID 08BERN443
SUBJECT FM CALMY-REY SAYS DIALOGUE AND “DIPLOMATIC \
DATE 2008-08-28 15:03:00
CLASSIFICATION CONFIDENTIAL
ORIGIN Embassy Bern
TEXT 167757 2008-08-28 15:09:00 167757 2008-08-28 15:09:00 08BERN443 Embassy Bern CONFIDENTIAL VZCZCXRO4059\
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR\
DE RUEHSW #0443/01 2411509\
ZNY CCCCC ZZH ZDK\
O 281509Z AUG 08\
FM AMEMBASSY BERN\
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5286\
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY\
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0575\
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 0049\
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 1226\
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO PRIORITY 0112\
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA PRIORITY 0014\
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 1136 C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BERN 000443 \
\
SIPDIS \
\
DEPT FOR P (R.RANGASWAMY), EUR/CE (Y.SAINT-ANDRE), EB, AND \
NEA/IR (H.WOOSTER) \
\
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/27/2018 \
TAGS: PREL PGOV KNNP PTER SZ
SUBJECT: FM CALMY-REY SAYS DIALOGUE AND “DIPLOMATIC \
ENGINEERING” ARE CHIEF SWISS FOREIGN POLICY INSTRUMENTS \
\
BERN 00000443 001.2 OF 003 \
\
\
Classified By: POL/E Counselor Richard A. Rorvig; reason 1.4(d). \
\
¶1. (C) Summary: In an August 25 address to senior SWISS \
diplomats, FM Calmy-Rey extolled dialogue and facilitation as \
chief SWISS foreign policy instruments. She used the term \
“diplomatic engineering” in describing her vision of \
Switzerland facilitating dialogue on difficult subjects. A \
rhetorical question Calmy-Rey posed in the course of her \
speech was incorrectly spun in some international and SWISS \
press as allegedly advocating dialogue with Usama bin Laden. \
In response to these reports, the Department of Foreign \
Affairs (DFA) released a press statement emphasizing that \
Calmy-Rey did not propose or support such a dialogue. At \
several points in her August 25 speech, Calmy-Rey sought to \
justify the approach she has taken to the Iran nuclear \
problem. She claimed that the “freeze for freeze” concept \
was a suggestion made by Switzerland to “find a way to get \
the blocked talks between Iran and the (P5 1) back in gear \
and into substantive political negotiations.” She once again \
argued that the EGL gas deal is in Switzerland’s national \
interest and said that it “hardly would have been possible” \
without the diplomatic contacts the DFA had developed with \
Iran in the course of its “dialogue” on the nuclear issue. \
Though she remains very popular with the SWISS Left, \
Calmy-Rey has faced a steady drumbeat of criticism in much of \
the SWISS press this year, not least because of her very \
damaging trip to Tehran in March in support of the EGL deal. \
Calmy-Rey also has felt pressure to clarify her stance on the \
Iran/nuclear issue in the wake of an August 20 press \
conference in which SWISS President Couchepin stated that the \
Federal Council supports the P5 1 initiative and had decided \
that Switzerland will not undertake its own initiatives in \
this area. End Summary. \
\
—————————————— \
Annual Gathering of Senior SWISS Diplomats \
—————————————— \
\
¶2. (SBU) In an August 25 address to 170 senior SWISS \
diplomats gathered in Bern for the Department of Foreign \
Affairs (DFA) annual ambassadors/CGs conference, FM Calmy-Rey \
extolled dialogue and facilitation (“diplomatic engineering”) \
as chief SWISS foreign policy instruments. Calmy-Rey \
appeared to use the occasion to rebut continuing criticism — \
primarily from SWISS conservatives — of her often \
high-profile approach to sensitive issues. While conceding \
some limits to the prospects for dialogue, she argued that \
Switzerland’s willingness to talk, for example, with \
Hizballah, Hamas, FARC, and the LTTE, was intended to draw \
them into political solutions without legitimizing such \
groups’ terrorist methods that Switzerland condemns. \
\
——————————————– \
Press Flap over Reference to Usama bin Laden \
——————————————– \
\
¶3. (U) In her opening remarks, Calmy-Rey asserted that SWISS \
domestic press commentary seems dominated by “moralists” \
advocating strict isolation of problematic state and \
non-state actors. She asked rhetorically, “should we listen \
to these moralists? And, if not, should we seek dialogue \
without discrimination, even if that means sitting at a table \
with Usama bin Laden?” Calmy-Rey did not answer the question \
explicitly in the course of her speech, but instead argued \
that in each case the prospects for dialogue need to be \
carefully reviewed. She maintained that dialogue most of the \
time is better than isolation, but does not mean “accepting \
the unacceptable.” \
\
¶4. (U) French daily “Le Monde” subsequently incorrectly \
reported that Calmy-Rey had advocated dialogue with Usama bin \
Laden, prompting a brief frenzy of criticism in the SWISS \
media and an August 26 press release by the DFA emphasizing \
that Calmy-Rey’s question was rhetorical, that she had not \
promoted nor proposed dialogue with bin Laden, and that “in \
practice there is no question of the DFA proposing a dialogue \
with Usama bin Laden.” SWISS press commentators generally \
accepted the clarification, but some argued that the Foreign \
Minister unnecessarily had risked creating misunderstanding \
on a very sensitive topic. \
\
———————- \
\
BERN 00000443 002 OF 003 \
\
\
Diplomatic Engineering \
———————- \
\
¶5. (SBU) Calmy-Rey used the term “diplomatic engineering” in \
describing her vision of Switzerland facilitating dialogue on \
difficult subjects with ideas, in addition to logistical and \
other material support. She claimed that the “freeze for \
freeze” concept in the context of the P5 1 offer to Iran was \
a result of just this kind of engagement. Even while lauding \
SWISS diplomacy, Calmy-Rey said more needs to be done to \
develop SWISS competencies with a view to making and managing \
“diplomatic engineering” as a SWISS “trademark.” At the same \
time, she assessed that Switzerland’s lack of EU membership \
and the SWISS form of government — which lacks a unitary \
Executive — make SWISS international engagement more \
difficult. \
\
——————————– \
Iran, P5 1, and the EGL Gas Deal \
——————————– \
\
¶6. (C) At several points in her August 25 speech, Calmy-Rey \
sought to justify the approach she has taken to the Iran \
nuclear problem. In this context, she said that Switzerland \
“is in close contact with the P5 1 and other important actors \
and had calibrated suggestions that made possible for all \
sides to come closer together and to save face.” She claimed \
that the “freeze for freeze” concept was a suggestion made by \
Switzerland to “find a way to get the blocked talks between \
Iran and the (P5 1) back in gear and into substantive \
political negotiations.” Calmy-Rey claimed that “we were \
always transparent with all partners and have in no case \
undermined agreed international measures — to the contrary.” \
\
¶7. (C) Calmy-Rey also used this opportunity to seek to defend \
her support for the SWISS firm EGL’s billion dollar gas deal \
with Iran. She once again argued that the deal is in \
Switzerland’s national interest and something that “hardly \
would have been possible” without the diplomatic contacts the \
DFA had developed with Iran in the course of its “dialogue” \
on the nuclear issue. Referring to criticism that her \
support for the deal had damaged SWISS-U.S. relations, \
Calmy-Rey said that “the United States questioned our support \
for the gas delivery agreement signed by EGL, but we have \
good and constructive relations with the United States — \
contacts were never so numerous as now.” \
\
——————– \
Calmy-Rey on Defense \
——————– \
\
¶8. (C) Though she remains very popular in her SWISS Socialist \
Party and with others on the SWISS Left, Calmy-Rey has faced \
a steady drumbeat of criticism in much of the SWISS press \
this year, not least because of her very damaging trip to \
Tehran in March in support of the EGL deal. More recently, \
allegations by Colombian officials that a DFA envoy acted \
sympathetically to the FARC have kept her on the defensive, \
as has, to a lesser degree, criticism that the ongoing crisis \
in Georgia is a “boomerang effect” of recognizing Kosovo \
independence, which Calmy-Rey strongly advocated. The \
rightist SWISS People’s Party (SVP), having gone into \
parliamentary opposition and no longer feeling bound by SWISS \
government tradition of “collegiality”, has maintained the \
most vociferous criticism. That said, the SVP is by no means \
alone, with commentators from the SWISS political middle \
frequently lamenting Calmy-Rey’s often high-profile approach \
to sensitive issues. Responding to such critics, Calmy-Rey \
asserted in her August 25 speech that “we were never a land \
of courtly secret diplomacy — transparency and \
predictability of our foreign policy are the core of our \
credibility.” \
\
¶9. (C) Regarding the Iran/nuclear issue, Calmy-Rey also has \
felt renewed pressure to clarify her stance in the wake of an \
August 20 press conference in which SWISS President Couchepin \
said that Switzerland supports the P5 1 initiative and added \
that the Federal Council had decided that Switzerland will \
not undertake its own initiatives in this area. In an \
interview with the “Neue Zuercher Zeitung” published August \
23, Calmy-Rey was asked about Couchepin’s comments and \
responded that Switzerland had not launched its own \
\
BERN 00000443 003.2 OF 003 \
\
\
initiative, but had offered “diplomatic engineering” \
(including the idea of “freeze for freeze”) that had resulted \
in the July “Geneva Talks” that the P5 1 and Iran had asked \
the SWISS to host. She further said that the Federal Council \
“had good reason to be cautious,” since Switzerland seldom is \
engaged in international security policy matters of such high \
importance. Calmy-Rey added that the Federal Council had \
feared that SWISS involvement in the issue could damage SWISS \
relations with other states, but argued that the “Geneva \
Talks” had “shown that not to be the case.” \
CARTER \ Embassy Bern CONFIDENTIAL VZCZCXRO4059\
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR\
DE RUEHSW #0443/01 2411509\
ZNY CCCCC ZZH ZDK\
O 281509Z AUG 08\
FM AMEMBASSY BERN\
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5286\
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY\
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0575\
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 0049\
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 1226\
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO PRIORITY 0112\
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA PRIORITY 0014\
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 1136 C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BERN 000443 \
\
SIPDIS \
\
DEPT FOR P (R.RANGASWAMY), EUR/CE (Y.SAINT-ANDRE), EB, AND \
NEA/IR (H.WOOSTER) \
\
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/27/2018 \
TAGS: PREL PGOV KNNP PTER SZ
SUBJECT: FM CALMY-REY SAYS DIALOGUE AND “DIPLOMATIC \
ENGINEERING” ARE CHIEF SWISS FOREIGN POLICY INSTRUMENTS \
\
BERN 00000443 001.2 OF 003 \
\
\
Classified By: POL/E Counselor Richard A. Rorvig; reason 1.4(d). \
\
¶1. (C) Summary: In an August 25 address to senior SWISS \
diplomats, FM Calmy-Rey extolled dialogue and facilitation as \
chief SWISS foreign policy instruments. She used the term \
“diplomatic engineering” in describing her vision of \
Switzerland facilitating dialogue on difficult subjects. A \
rhetorical question Calmy-Rey posed in the course of her \
speech was incorrectly spun in some international and SWISS \
press as allegedly advocating dialogue with Usama bin Laden. \
In response to these reports, the Department of Foreign \
Affairs (DFA) released a press statement emphasizing that \
Calmy-Rey did not propose or support such a dialogue. At \
several points in her August 25 speech, Calmy-Rey sought to \
justify the approach she has taken to the Iran nuclear \
problem. She claimed that the “freeze for freeze” concept \
was a suggestion made by Switzerland to “find a way to get \
the blocked talks between Iran and the (P5 1) back in gear \
and into substantive political negotiations.” She once again \
argued that the EGL gas deal is in Switzerland’s national \
interest and said that it “hardly would have been possible” \
without the diplomatic contacts the DFA had developed with \
Iran in the course of its “dialogue” on the nuclear issue. \
Though she remains very popular with the SWISS Left, \
Calmy-Rey has faced a steady drumbeat of criticism in much of \
the SWISS press this year, not least because of her very \
damaging trip to Tehran in March in support of the EGL deal. \
Calmy-Rey also has felt pressure to clarify her stance on the \
Iran/nuclear issue in the wake of an August 20 press \
conference in which SWISS President Couchepin stated that the \
Federal Council supports the P5 1 initiative and had decided \
that Switzerland will not undertake its own initiatives in \
this area. End Summary. \
\
—————————————— \
Annual Gathering of Senior SWISS Diplomats \
—————————————— \
\
¶2. (SBU) In an August 25 address to 170 senior SWISS \
diplomats gathered in Bern for the Department of Foreign \
Affairs (DFA) annual ambassadors/CGs conference, FM Calmy-Rey \
extolled dialogue and facilitation (“diplomatic engineering”) \
as chief SWISS foreign policy instruments. Calmy-Rey \
appeared to use the occasion to rebut continuing criticism — \
primarily from SWISS conservatives — of her often \
high-profile approach to sensitive issues. While conceding \
some limits to the prospects for dialogue, she argued that \
Switzerland’s willingness to talk, for example, with \
Hizballah, Hamas, FARC, and the LTTE, was intended to draw \
them into political solutions without legitimizing such \
groups’ terrorist methods that Switzerland condemns. \
\
——————————————– \
Press Flap over Reference to Usama bin Laden \
——————————————– \
\
¶3. (U) In her opening remarks, Calmy-Rey asserted that SWISS \
domestic press commentary seems dominated by “moralists” \
advocating strict isolation of problematic state and \
non-state actors. She asked rhetorically, “should we listen \
to these moralists? And, if not, should we seek dialogue \
without discrimination, even if that means sitting at a table \
with Usama bin Laden?” Calmy-Rey did not answer the question \
explicitly in the course of her speech, but instead argued \
that in each case the prospects for dialogue need to be \
carefully reviewed. She maintained that dialogue most of the \
time is better than isolation, but does not mean “accepting \
the unacceptable.” \
\
¶4. (U) French daily “Le Monde” subsequently incorrectly \
reported that Calmy-Rey had advocated dialogue with Usama bin \
Laden, prompting a brief frenzy of criticism in the SWISS \
media and an August 26 press release by the DFA emphasizing \
that Calmy-Rey’s question was rhetorical, that she had not \
promoted nor proposed dialogue with bin Laden, and that “in \
practice there is no question of the DFA proposing a dialogue \
with Usama bin Laden.” SWISS press commentators generally \
accepted the clarification, but some argued that the Foreign \
Minister unnecessarily had risked creating misunderstanding \
on a very sensitive topic. \
\
———————- \
\
BERN 00000443 002 OF 003 \
\
\
Diplomatic Engineering \
———————- \
\
¶5. (SBU) Calmy-Rey used the term “diplomatic engineering” in \
describing her vision of Switzerland facilitating dialogue on \
difficult subjects with ideas, in addition to logistical and \
other material support. She claimed that the “freeze for \
freeze” concept in the context of the P5 1 offer to Iran was \
a result of just this kind of engagement. Even while lauding \
SWISS diplomacy, Calmy-Rey said more needs to be done to \
develop SWISS competencies with a view to making and managing \
“diplomatic engineering” as a SWISS “trademark.” At the same \
time, she assessed that Switzerland’s lack of EU membership \
and the SWISS form of government — which lacks a unitary \
Executive — make SWISS international engagement more \
difficult. \
\
——————————– \
Iran, P5 1, and the EGL Gas Deal \
——————————– \
\
¶6. (C) At several points in her August 25 speech, Calmy-Rey \
sought to justify the approach she has taken to the Iran \
nuclear problem. In this context, she said that Switzerland \
“is in close contact with the P5 1 and other important actors \
and had calibrated suggestions that made possible for all \
sides to come closer together and to save face.” She claimed \
that the “freeze for freeze” concept was a suggestion made by \
Switzerland to “find a way to get the blocked talks between \
Iran and the (P5 1) back in gear and into substantive \
political negotiations.” Calmy-Rey claimed that “we were \
always transparent with all partners and have in no case \
undermined agreed international measures — to the contrary.” \
\
¶7. (C) Calmy-Rey also used this opportunity to seek to defend \
her support for the SWISS firm EGL’s billion dollar gas deal \
with Iran. She once again argued that the deal is in \
Switzerland’s national interest and something that “hardly \
would have been possible” without the diplomatic contacts the \
DFA had developed with Iran in the course of its “dialogue” \
on the nuclear issue. Referring to criticism that her \
support for the deal had damaged SWISS-U.S. relations, \
Calmy-Rey said that “the United States questioned our support \
for the gas delivery agreement signed by EGL, but we have \
good and constructive relations with the United States — \
contacts were never so numerous as now.” \
\
——————– \
Calmy-Rey on Defense \
——————– \
\
¶8. (C) Though she remains very popular in her SWISS Socialist \
Party and with others on the SWISS Left, Calmy-Rey has faced \
a steady drumbeat of criticism in much of the SWISS press \
this year, not least because of her very damaging trip to \
Tehran in March in support of the EGL deal. More recently, \
allegations by Colombian officials that a DFA envoy acted \
sympathetically to the FARC have kept her on the defensive, \
as has, to a lesser degree, criticism that the ongoing crisis \
in Georgia is a “boomerang effect” of recognizing Kosovo \
independence, which Calmy-Rey strongly advocated. The \
rightist SWISS People’s Party (SVP), having gone into \
parliamentary opposition and no longer feeling bound by SWISS \
government tradition of “collegiality”, has maintained the \
most vociferous criticism. That said, the SVP is by no means \
alone, with commentators from the SWISS political middle \
frequently lamenting Calmy-Rey’s often high-profile approach \
to sensitive issues. Responding to such critics, Calmy-Rey \
asserted in her August 25 speech that “we were never a land \
of courtly secret diplomacy — transparency and \
predictability of our foreign policy are the core of our \
credibility.” \
\
¶9. (C) Regarding the Iran/nuclear issue, Calmy-Rey also has \
felt renewed pressure to clarify her stance in the wake of an \
August 20 press conference in which SWISS President Couchepin \
said that Switzerland supports the P5 1 initiative and added \
that the Federal Council had decided that Switzerland will \
not undertake its own initiatives in this area. In an \
interview with the “Neue Zuercher Zeitung” published August \
23, Calmy-Rey was asked about Couchepin’s comments and \
responded that Switzerland had not launched its own \
\
BERN 00000443 003.2 OF 003 \
\
\
initiative, but had offered “diplomatic engineering” \
(including the idea of “freeze for freeze”) that had resulted \
in the July “Geneva Talks” that the P5 1 and Iran had asked \
the SWISS to host. She further said that the Federal Council \
“had good reason to be cautious,” since Switzerland seldom is \
engaged in international security policy matters of such high \
importance. Calmy-Rey added that the Federal Council had \
feared that SWISS involvement in the issue could damage SWISS \
relations with other states, but argued that the “Geneva \
Talks” had “shown that not to be the case.” \
CARTER \
HEADER VZCZCXRO4059
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSW #0443/01 2411509
ZNY CCCCC ZZH ZDK
O 281509Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY BERN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5286
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0575
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 0049
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 1226
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO PRIORITY 0112
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA PRIORITY 0014
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 1136

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