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Cablegate: Cluster Munitions; Portugal On the Gge and German

VZCZCXRO0948
RR RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHYG
DE RUEHLI #3144 3471400
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 131400Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY LISBON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6498
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS LISBON 003144

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PARM PREL PO
SUBJECT: CLUSTER MUNITIONS; PORTUGAL ON THE GGE AND GERMAN
TEXT

REF: SECSTATE 164503

1. (SBU) Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy
Director for Security Pedro Sousa Abreu requested a meeting
with us December 10 to review discussions on cluster
munitions. At the meeting, we were asked point-blank if the
U.S. objected to Portuguese Ambassador Jose Julio Pereira
Gomes, Portuguese Permanent Representative for Disarmament in
Geneva, as chair of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE)
on cluster munitions. Sousa Abreu said the Portuguese
delegation had heard such a rumor at recent meetings in
Vienna. He said Pereira Gomes is the EU candidate, the Greek
having withdrawn his candidacy in favor of EU consensus.
Sousa Abreu said that, as the EU had a consensus candidate,
Portuguese, British, French, and German ambassadors in
Washington intended to make a demarche on the subject in the
Department, but he wanted to give us advance warning. Sousa
Abreu also passed us a diplomatic note confirming Ambassador
Pereira Gomes' candidacy (informal translation below).

2. (SBU) Sousa Abreu also noted, without prompting, that he
had consulted with the Germans regarding the existing German
text. Sousa Abreu said the Germans confirmed they had
received "objections from many nations" and were revising the
text substantially. Sousa Abreu also said the German MFA
admitted they had drawn up the text themselves and had not
yet cleared it with the German Ministry of Defense, who they
expected would have many of the same objections as the "other
nations."

3. (SBU) For their own part, Sousa Abreu volunteered that the
Portuguese wanted to keep the GGE discussions independent of
the Oslo Process and that they held no preconceived notions
as to what product might be produced. Sousa Abreu was
familiar with the content of the reftel papers and said they
matched concerns from his own office and the Portuguese
Ministry of Defense.

4. (SBU) Comment: We defer to the experts on both the issues
and the processes involved in the cluster munitions
discussions and we look forward to Washington guidance on GGE
leadership. We have an excellent relationship with Sousa
Abreu and appreciate his providing advance warning of the
EU's planned demarche in Washington. End comment.

5. (U) Begin informal translation of the text of the
diplomatic note:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Director General for Foreign Policy
Security and Defense Department

DSD 001161
10.12.2007

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs presents its compliments to
the Embassy of the United States of America and has the honor
to inform that Ambassador Jose Julio Pereira Gomes,
Portuguese Permanent Representative for Disarmament Affairs,
has been asked, as representative of the Western Group, to
take over the Presidency of the Group of Government Experts
on cluster munitions within the framework of the Convention
on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).

The above invitation was transmitted by Ambassador Bernhard
Brasack, German Permanent Representative to the Disarmament
Conference and Coordinator of the Western Group within the
framework of the referred Convention, with the backing of all
EU countries.

The Portuguese Government decided to authorize Ambassador
Jose Julio Pereira Gomes to accept this invitation.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes this opportunity to
reiterate to the Embassy of the United States of America the
assurances of its highest consideration.

Lisbon, December 10, 2007

End text.

Stephenson

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