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Cablegate: Bsec Senior Officials Postpone Action On U.S.

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIT #0892 2750619
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 020619Z OCT 07
FM AMCONSUL ISTANBUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7564
INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 7153
RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS PRIORITY 0851
RUEHKB/AMEMBASSY BAKU PRIORITY 0025
RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE PRIORITY 0050
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY 0179
RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST PRIORITY 0155
RUEHCH/AMEMBASSY CHISINAU PRIORITY 0053
RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV PRIORITY 0013
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 0390
RUEHSF/AMEMBASSY SOFIA PRIORITY 0311
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI PRIORITY 0148
RUEHTI/AMEMBASSY TIRANA PRIORITY 0080
RUEHYE/AMEMBASSY YEREVAN PRIORITY 0093
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ISTANBUL 000892

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECIN PREL TU
SUBJECT: BSEC SENIOR OFFICIALS POSTPONE ACTION ON U.S.
OBSERVER STATUS

REF: A. SECSTATE 132718

B. ISTANBUL 666

1. Summary. The September 27 meeting of the BSEC Committee
of Senior Officials agreed to postpone discussion of large
portions of the agenda to the October 23-24 Ankara meeting,
including the U.S. application for renewal of observer status
(reftels). In addition to a prolonged discussion of the
agenda and routine reviews of BSEC meetings and activities,
the Greek delegation made a detailed presentation on
successful efforts to have donations to BSEC recognized as
official development assistance by the OECD. A
representative from the European Commission also discussed
planning for a "high-level kick off event" designed to
highlight a new era of cooperation between BSEC and the
Commission. End Summary.

2. The BSEC Committee of Senior Official met in Istanbul on
September 27. As per normal BSEC procedures, discussions of
personnel, finances and applications for observer status were
held in camera. Open sessions included a two-hour debate
over the content of the agenda, a review of project
development fund activities, summaries of ministerial and
working group meetings and presentations by the BSEC related
bodies. The Russian delegation argued forcefully for the
postponement of several agenda items (including the U.S,
Czech, Croatian and Slovakian requests to renew observer
status), claiming publicly that postponement of these
discussions was necessary to keep the one-day September
meeting from running grossly over time. Privately, Russian
delegation head Serghei Goncharenko, MFA Deputy Director for
Economic Cooperation, confirmed that the schedule changes
were made solely in the interest of rationalizing the agenda
and that Russia had no/no objections to the U.S. application
for renewed observer status.

3. In addition to cutting the six-page agenda roughly in half
the Russian request for administrative streamlining included
grouping open and in camera sessions so that observers and
related bodies (e.g. the parliamentary assembly, the trade
and development bank, and the business association) could
better participate in the meetings as well as delivering
reports on sub-working group level activities in writing
rather than verbally in the interest of saving time.
Although the Russian request did not appear to have been
coordinated in advance with the BSEC secretariat, their
recommendations appear to have merit and most
Russian-proposed agenda modifications were accepted by the
group.

4. One discussion that was not deferred to Ankara included a
description by the Greek delegation of successful efforts by
the Greek government to have donations to BSEC recognized by
the OECD as official development assistance (ODA.) The
Greek delegation indicated that this decision by the OECD
would enable the government of Greece to increase
significantly contribution levels. The Greek delegation also
encouraged BSEC observers and other potential donors to
direct ODA to BSEC under the good governance, capacity
building and reform headings of the Millennium Development
Goals.

5. The European Commission was represented at the Committee
of Senior Officials as an observer for the first time on
September 27. Fernando Garces de los Fayos, Principal
Administrator in the External Relations Directorate General
of the Commission, explained that becoming a BSEC observer
was an important step in the Commission's aim to be fully
involved in Black Sea cooperation. He noted that the EC and
BSEC were still working out details related to a planned
"high-level kick off event" designed to highlight a new era
of cooperation between the Commission and BSEC. This event
will take place after Ukraine becomes BSEC Chairman in Office
on November 1, but a firm date has not yet been set and many
substantive details still remain to be worked out.
WIENER

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