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Cablegate: Gos “Explains” Decision Not to Detain

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGP #0040/01 0110908
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 110908Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4714
INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 0117
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0142
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 0796
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI 0237

S E C R E T SINGAPORE 000040

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

ISN/CPI FOR MATT ZARTMAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/11/2028
TAGS: ETTC EWWT PARM PREL KNNP SN TU PK GM

SUBJECT: GOS “EXPLAINS” DECISION NOT TO DETAIN
PAKISTAN-BOUND SHIPMENT OF PROLIFERATION CONCERN

REF: A. SINGAPORE 013
B. STATE 1198
C. STATE 772
D. ANKARA 016
E. BERLIN 014

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Daniel L. Shields.
Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (S) In response to a request from the DCM for further explanation of Singapore's January 5 decision not to investigate a shipment of proliferation concern bound for Pakistan (ref A), the MFA called us in on January 11 and provided the nonpaper in paragraph 5. Deputy Director Michelle Teo-Jacob (Counter Proliferation and International Security Branch) also read talking points asserting that U.S. officials had failed to provide sufficient documentation to justify further investigation of the shipment. She noted that the computer numerically controlled (CNC) machining center in question was transshipped via a through-bill of lading and that it lacked both a local Singapore consignee and information about the end-user. She said that information available to the GOS indicated the shipment was bound for a Karachi-based company called CEI Logistics Private Ltd, and that we had provided no evidence of a linkage to the Rawalpindi-based entity cited in our demarche. The United States cannot expect Singapore to take action under circumstances where it has no legal basis to do so; this would be tantamount to embarking on a “fishing expedition,” she concluded.

2. (S) Econ/Pol Chief countered that the CNC is controlled by the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Additionally, Singapore, like the United States, should be concerned about any shipment of controlled items bound for Pakistan, a country with active missile and nuclear programs and that does not have full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards on its nuclear facilities. On its face, the case deserved to be investigated and not dismissed as a “fishing expedition.” Observing that proliferators could be expected to conceal end-user and other incriminating information, he asked what documentation Singapore authorities would require in order to treat such cases as worthy of investigation. Teo-Jacob said she would convey these points to relevant officials for further discussion.

3. (S) Begin text of non paper:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore acknowledges receipt of a Non-Paper (releasable to Singapore) of 5 January 2008 from the US Embassy concerning the transhipment of a computer numerically controlled (CNC) five-axis machining centre (Model MC 1020, Sr No ME 10261 with Siemens 840D controller) from Istanbul, Turkey and bound for Karachi, Pakistan.

2 As the US Embassy is aware, Singapore and the US enjoy a substantive working relationship in the field of counter-proliferation activities. Singapore officials have also worked closely with US officials on previous cases of suspect shipments of dual-use item being transhipped through Singapore's ports.

3 The Singapore Government, however, was unable to accede to the US Embassy's request to detain this latest shipment on the basis of the information provided:
(a) First, US officials had alleged that the end-user of the CNC five-axis machine was a Pakistan-based company known as New Auto Engineering. However, documentation that Singapore obtained stated that both the consignee and notifying addressee for this shipment was instead a company named CEI Logistics Private Ltd. Without relevant documentation linking CEI Logistics to New Auto Engineering (which was the subject of proliferation concern named in the Non-Paper), our officials had no basis to hold back the onward shipment of the equipment.
(b) Second, even if the consignee had been New Auto Engineering, US officials were unable to provide any accurate information linking this company and the equipment in question to WMD-related activities despite repeated requests by our agencies. Consequently, our enforcement officials would have been unable to invoke the appropriate provisions of the Strategic Goods (Control) Act to seize and detain the cargo.

4 We further note that the equipment is German-made and its last point of export was Turkey. Both Germany and Turkey are members of international export control regimes, including the MTCR, as well as the Wassenaar Arrangement and NSG under which this equipment is controlled as dual-use. If indeed bound for (or potentially bound for) a programme of proliferation concern in Pakistan, we are puzzled as to how such sensitive equipment could have been exported out of Turkey, or for that matter Germany and the EU to begin with, where it would have been subject to export controls. The US should therefore establish whether the relevant license(s) have been issued for its export so that it can follow up on this issue with the relevant authorities of the origin and exporting countries.

5 As we have highlighted to the US Embassy on previous occasions, we can only take action on the basis of credible, reliable and actionable information on such shipments, as we have done so in the past.

6 The Singapore Government will continue to work closely with the US to counter the proliferation of WMD-related materials.

11 January 2008

End text.

HERBOLD

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