Cablegate: Netherlands/Australia Group: Plenary Info Exchange
DE RUEHTC #0173 0561258
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 251258Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1119
INFO RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 0331
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 1776
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1397
S E C R E T THE HAGUE 000173
STATE FOR ISN/CB
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/25/2018
TAGS: PARM PREL ETTC CBW
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS/AUSTRALIA GROUP: PLENARY INFO EXCHANGE
REF: STATE 16112
Classified By: CDA Andrew Schofer, reasons 1.4 (b,d)
1.(S) Summary: The GONL plans to present an additional briefing on Syria at the upcoming Australia Group (AG) plenary information exchange in Paris on April 14-18. MFA Senior Advisor for Nonproliferation and Nuclear Affairs Ceta Noland said the Dutch have no information on Russia; any additional information the USG might be able to provide on the inadequacy of the Russian export control system would be greatly appreciated. Noland discussed these issues with polmiloff on February 25. End summary.
2.(S) Noland appreciated reftel points in advance of the plenary in April, and confirmed the GONL will present a follow-on to the briefing it made on Syria at last year's plenary. She said she will lead the Dutch delegation, and will be accompanied by individuals from the Dutch intelligence services.
3.(S) Unlike Syria, Noland said Russia is not a focal point for the Dutch intelligence services. In fact, the Dutch often rely on the USG or the UK for Russia-related information. On a related matter, Noland said the GONL is curious what the USG position was on the recent Russian request to meet on the margins of the plenary to discuss its export control system. She noted that there had been "no consensus" among AG members, and knew that Japan, for example, had opposed the meeting. Noland suspected that the USG also had opposed the Russian request, primarily because the USG opposes Russian AG membership, and any meeting to discuss the Russian export control system would be viewed by Washington as a "waste of time."
4.(S) Noland said that from the Dutch perspective, however, it might be better to "humor" the Russians and listen to what they have to say. She suggested that the Russian position in other multilateral fora tends to harden based on how it is treated by the AG -- perhaps "reaching out" might lead to less obstinacy in other fora.
5.(S) Noland also requested additional information bolstering the US argument opposing Russian AG membership. She understood part of this opposition was based on the claim that the Russians had not declared all its chemical stocks under the CWC -- but this never appears to be discussed at the OPCW. Noland suspected many of these allegations are being addressed through bilateral talks, but added that the Dutch have no ability to determine independently whether the Russian export control system is inadequate to block AG membership. In that regard, Noland said any information the USG could provide to confirm its allegations would be greatly appreciated.