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Cablegate: Gnz Shares Similar Views On Arf; Prospects For

VZCZCXRO2168
PP RUEHDT RUEHPB
DE RUEHWL #0036 0381902
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 071902Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5050
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L WELLINGTON 000036

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/ANP; EAP/RSP AND S/CT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/08/2018
TAGS: PREL MARR ASEAN NZ
SUBJECT: GNZ SHARES SIMILAR VIEWS ON ARF; PROSPECTS FOR
REAL CHANGE REMAIN UNCERTAIN

REF: STATE 8005

Classified By: Pol/Econ Counselor Margaret B. McKean; Reason 1.4 (b) an
d (d)

1. (C) On February 7, Pol/Econ Counselor delivered reftel
demarche material to Tim McIvor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and Trade (MFAT) head of the Asia Regional Unit that deals
with ARF and ASEAN affairs. McIvor indicated that the GNZ
had already supplied comments to the USG's ARF proposal to
EAP/RSP. McIvor underscored that New Zealand shares USG
views on needed changes to the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
ARF, he said, needs to look afresh at its role and
priorities. He agreed that the organization needs to
transition from a forum ("talk shop") to an activities-based
organization that addresses issues of regional concern in
cooperative fashion. McIvor offered that Singapore should
look at ARF more fundamentally than perhaps the GOS would
like to. Nevertheless, he sees Indonesia, Singapore, and
Thailand as the likeliest countries within ASEAN to promote
real reform.

2. (C) McIvor agreed that the Friends of the ARF Chair has
been a helpful mechanism; he also agreed with the USG
proposal to split the ARF chair from the ASEAN chair, but
argued strongly that the USG should clarify that the ARF
chair would remain with another ASEAN nation -- otherwise,
ASEAN will reject the concept to protect the primacy of ASEAN
within ARF. McIvor added that the notion that ASEAN has
primacy within ARF is "a fiction," noting that ASEAN's
partners continue to drive the organization. ARF should have
a vision statement, which will hopefully lead Singapore to
review more closely how ARF can add value in a region that
has a larger number of organizations with overlapping
agendas. He agreed that ARF should move past dialogue
towards more practical activities, and urged that the
activities be selected carefully to ensure maximum
participation. McIvor said that the ever-expanding number of
ARF meetings has made it difficult for some countries to send
representatives; even New Zealand is finding it challenging,
he added.

3. (C) On the USG-proposed Counter Terrorism and
Transnational Crime (CTTC) workplan, McIvor said he would
have to confer with MFAT colleagues who deal with
counterterrorism (CT) issues -- most of whom are out of the
country at the moment. In principle, CT issues should be
exactly what the ARF should be focused on, noted McIvor, who
said he would study the proposed workplan.

4. (C) Finally, concerning the ASEAN Defense Ministers
Meeting Plus, McIvor said that New Zealand is waiting for a
revised paper from Singapore and is consulting closely with
the GOS on the issue. MFAT has instructed its diplomatic
missions in ASEAN countries to stay in touch with their
Singaporean counterparts on reactions by host country
governments. Singapore has recommended that the Plus
mechanism include EAS members plus the United States, offered
McIvor.
MCCORMICK

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