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Cablegate: U.S.-India 123 Agreement: South African Reactions

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSA #2649 2111459
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 301459Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0999
INFO RUCNNSG/NUCLEAR SUPPLIERS GROUP COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 0580
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 0448
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 0194

UNCLAS PRETORIA 002649

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR P, T, ISN, SCA/INS AF/S

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG PREL KNNP KTIA SF
SUBJECT: U.S.-INDIA 123 AGREEMENT: SOUTH AFRICAN REACTIONS

REF: SECSTATE 104171

(U) This is an action request -- see para 4.

1. (U) DepPolCouns presented reftel non-paper, a copy of the
White House press release, and the full transcript of U/S
Burns' 27 July press briefing to DFA Deputy Director for
Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Michiel Combrink on
30 July. Combrink had not heard Friday's announcement and
was astonished by the news. Admitting he had not thought it
would be possible for the two sides to bridge their remaining
differences, he heaped praise on lead negotiator Dick
Stratford.

2. (SBU) Upon reviewing reftel non-paper Combrink commented
that it appeared the U.S. had "caved on reprocessing." He
expressed strong interest in seeing the full text of the
agreement, if/when that became possible. Combrink
anticipated that the SAG would have many questions about the
details of the agreement and welcomed the prospect of
consultations on the way forward in the NSG. He noted that
some NSG outreach activities were planned for the margins of
the September IAEA General Conference in Vienna and suggested
that as a possible venue for initial USG-SAG bilateral
consultations. (NOTE: DDG Abdul Minty does not plan to
travel to New York for UNGA 1st Committee sessions. END
NOTE.) Combrink wryly noted that NAM, NSG, and AU countries
would likely "have a lot to say" about the agreement and its
implications. Within the NSG he predicted that Ireland and
Sweden would have comments/reactions but he did not expect
significant substantive reactions from most other
Participating Governments.

3. (SBU) Combrink volunteered that he did not forsee the NSG
holding a special plenary session on this issue, "because an
India/IAEA safeguards agreement must come first." However, a
Consultative Group meeting could happen at any time. Current
SAG thinking was to schedule the next CG meeting in November,
to coincide with other international meetings (as a
cost-saving measure). While this is a bit later than the
traditional early October timeframe, Combrink commented that
it would give India time to engage with the IAEA and to
demonstrate sincerity about concluding its safeguards
agreement.

4. (SBU) Stressing that this was not an "official demarche"
but merely an "expert query" Combrink requested an
explanation of how the U.S.-India agreement fits with USG
obligations under the Pelindaba Treaty, specifically Article
9 and Protocol I, Article 2. Combrink commented there could
be some potentially serious problems, as there was "no way"
India could conclude a comprehensive safeguards agreement
with the IAEA as specified in Art. 9(c) because India "would
never agree" to open all its nuclear facilities to
inspection. Combrink said he was interested in the USG
interpretation because the SAG currently is engaged in a
strong effort to gain the six additional ratifications
required for the Pelindaba Treaty to enter into force and he
wanted to be prepared to "manage any outfall" unintentionally
caused by the U.S.-India agreement. He expressed hope that
we would be able "to put our heads together" on this and
hinted he was willing to consider a draft amendment to the
treaty text if required. (ACTION REQUEST: Please advise how
Mission should respond to Combrink's legal query. Although
it was not couched as an official demarche, the SAG is likely
to start voicing this concern to other interested parties if
they do not receive a timely response. END ACTION REQUEST.)
Combrink also made the inevitable reference to potential
conflicts with NPT commitments, but acknowledged this was "a
manageable thing."
Bost

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