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Cablegate: South Africa Responds to Gnep Invitation

VZCZCXYZ0004
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSA #3061/01 2421602
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 301602Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1473
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0648
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1275
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0656
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1145
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0216
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0494
RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 4770
RUCPDC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0205
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS PRETORIA 003061

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/S, EEB/ESC, ISN
DOE FOR SPERL, PERSON, BIENAWSKI, AND PARKER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG TRGY KNNP IAEA SF
SUBJECT: SOUTH AFRICA RESPONDS TO GNEP INVITATION

REF: A. STATE 121724

B. STATE 118280
C. STATE 114102
D. PRETORIA 3012

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The SAG is interested in the Global
Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) and is considering whether
Minister of Minerals and Energy Buyelwa Sonjica can change
her travel schedule in order to participate. Defining a role
for South Africa in GNEP might support U.S. efforts to sell
and expand the partnership to other countries. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Economic Counselor and Minerals and Energy Officer
delivered the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP)
invitation and information on the Ministerial in Vienna
September 16 (Reftels) to Department of Minerals and Energy
(DME) Chief Director: Nuclear Tselio Maqubela on August 27,
following up with a cover letter signed by the CDA on August
28. Embassy officers also delivered an electronic copy of
the materials to Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Director
Fadl Nacerodien. DME POC is Mahlatsi Koma
(mahlatsi.koma@dme.gov.za; ( 27 12) 317 8356). Embassy POC
is Energy Officer David Young (YoungDK@state.gov; ( 27 12)
431 4681).

3. (SBU) Maqubela promised to check with Minister of
Minerals and Energy Buyelwa Sonjica about her participation
in the GNEP event, but was unable to promise her attendance,
noting that she planned to arrive in Vienna on the afternoon
of September 16 for the IAEA Ministerial the following day.
Maqubela sought confirmation that the GNEP Statement of
Principles was not a binding international treaty. Economic
Counselor subsequently confirmed the voluntary and
non-binding nature of the GNEP Partnership and associated
Principles.

4. (SBU) Maqubela recommended that there be prior
consultation with many developing countries in order to build
consensus and avoid the perception of exclusivity on the part
of the developed countries. He then expanded at length on
the positive example of collaborative progress made in
explaining and obtaining support for the U.S. nuclear
cooperation agreement with India. "The point is to build
consensus before you formalize things," Maqubela said. "You
should talk to some developing countries (i.e., South Africa)
and gain the support of a number of them. If you form
partnerships with just major countries, you risk alienating
developing countries that could have participated if they had
been consulted earlier," he continued. "There are a lot of
things going on in the nuclear area where we could have done
more if the approach had been different." Maqubela observed
that "there is now a broad understanding on the India issue,
given good consultation and information sharing." He
applauded that the India issue was worked closely in the
Nuclear Suppliers Group. But, he asked: "The question
remains how this will affect the NPT (Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty)? And what happens to Israel and
Pakistan -- will there be more separate deals?" Minerals and
Energy Officer pointed out the broad invitation list to the
GNEP Ministerial, including demarches and consultations in
capitals, as evidence of the effort to include developing
countries.

5. (SBU) Returning to the invitation to participate in GNEP,
Maqubela asked what would be the appropriate representation
in the event that the Minister is unable to participate,
noting that it may have to be the SAG Ambassador in Vienna.
Embassy Officers urged the highest possible level of SAG
participation, but said that any representation would be
better than none at all. Embassy Officers also discussed the
new SAG draft nuclear energy policy (Ref D), the Westinghouse
bid for new nuclear power stations (Septel), the proposed
bilateral nuclear R&D cooperation agreement (Septel), and the
program for return of spent fuel (Septel).

6. (SBU) Comment: Defining a role for South Africa in GNEP
might support U.S. efforts to expand the partnership to other
countries. For example, South Africa could be a valuable
partner in providing comprehensive fuel services, perhaps as
part of a consortium that does not involve sharing enrichment
technology. End Comment.
Teitelbaum

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