Cablegate: (S) Following-Up with Germany On Its Efforts To

P 252159Z SEP 07

S e c r e t state 135366

E.o. 12958: decl: 09/25/2017
Tags: parm, mtcre, prel, ettc, gm, sy

Subject: (s) following-up with germany on its efforts to
prevent a shipment of german-origin trucks chassis to
syria's ballistic missile program

Ref: a. State 131559

B. Berlin 1770

reasons 1.5 (b), (c) and (d).

1. (U) This is an action request. Embassy Berlin, please
see paragraph 5.

2. (S) On September 19, the U.S. alerted German authorities
to a shipment of 17 Mercedes-Benz trucks from Germany, to
Syria's Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), which
is the lead agency involved in Syria's ballistic missile and
WMD programs (Ref A). Because these trucks could be modified
in Syria so that they can be used as launchers or support
vehicles for a developmental short-range ballistic missile
system, we requested German officials immediately investigate
this shipment and consider recalling this shipment.

3. (S) In response to this information, we understand the
German government issued an individual interdiction order to
the German transfer company prohibiting delivery of the
trucks. Because these goods were being transferred aboard a
Polish-owned vessel, Germany also contacted the Polish
government, which subsequently issued instructions to the
Polish captain of the ship not to unload the goods. In
addition, the German government facilitated contact between
the German transfer company and the Polish ship owner,
resulting in the German company issuing instructions to the
Polish ship owner and captain not to deliver the trucks. In
response to these actions, the Syrian consignee demanded the
trucks be offloaded and the Syrian harbor master issued an
order prohibiting the ship from leaving port unless the
trucks are offloaded.

4. (S) On September 25, German authorities reported that the
trucks had been unloaded from the Polish vessel, which was
permitted to depart port an hour later. This action followed
a boarding of the vessel by Syrian authorities and a decision
by the Polish captain not to appeal a Syrian court's decision
regarding this case because of the limited prospects for
success. Factors cited included the end-user's close ties to
the Syrian government, the high level of Syrian government
interest in the case, the fact that the consignee had already
paid for the trucks/shipping, and the ship captain's concern
about his crew (the ship had been surrounded by armed Syrian
security forces since Saturday). German officials noted that
they are still working to determine whether an export license
should have been required pursuant to Germany's catch-all
control laws to authorize the shipment of these trucks.

5. (S) Department requests Post approach appropriate German
officials to express our appreciation for the prompt and
decisive measures they took to try to prevent this cargo from
reaching Syria's missile program, and highlight the positive
PSI cooperation in working with the United States and Poland.
In particular, we want to note that the German government
took these positive actions despite the fact that this
shipment already was enroute to its destination and could
result in the FRG needing to pay damages to both the German
and Polish entities involved in this case. Post should also
convey that such action is indicative of Germany's leadership
as an MTCR, HCOC, and PSI partner and its longstanding record
of strong support for international missile nonproliferation
efforts and we want to thank them for their efforts in this

6. (U) Washington POC is XXXXXXXXXXXX (Phone:
XXXXXXXXXXXX). Please slug any reporting on this issue for


End Cable Text

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