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Cablegate: Costa Rica - Comments On U.S. Priorities for International

VZCZCXRO0789
RR RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHSJ #0517 1682000
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 162000Z JUN 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9850
INFO RUEHZN/EST COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHMU/AMEMBASSY MANAGUA 5345

UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000517

SIPDIS

STATE PLEASE PASS TO OES/OA (JFIELD)
DOC PLEASE PASS TO NOAA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV ECON EFIS CS
SUBJECT: COSTA RICA - COMMENTS ON U.S. PRIORITIES FOR INTERNATIONAL
WHALING COMMISSION MEETING

REF: State 57319

1. SUMMARY: On June 10, REO met with Ministry of Environment
officials Jenny Asch and Eugenia Arguedas to review the U.S. IWC
demarche. Although the Costa Rican position has not yet been
defined by IWC Commissioner and Minister of Environment Roberto
Dobles, the two expected that Costa Rica will continue to oppose
scientific and commercial whaling and support southern hemisphere
whale sanctuaries. Asch and Arguedas suggested measures to ease
conditions of IWC participation for developing states; warned that
Costa Rica may not be able to vote at the upcoming meeting; voiced
their prediction on Nicaraguan participation; and asked whether
there is any change in the U.S. position on U.S. aboriginal fishing
quotas. END SUMMARY.

2. Action request: Please provide a response to the query posed in
paragraph 7.

3. REO met with Ministry of Environment officials Eugenia Arguedas,
who also serves at the GOCR IWC alternate, and Jenny Asch on June 10
to discuss the International Whaling Organization demarche (reftel).
Asch noted that Environment Minister and IWC Commissioner Roberto
Dobles had not yet been briefed for the IWC meeting. U.S. views and
those of Japan, also recently received, would be considered by the
Minister.

4. With regard to questions raised in reftel:

a) Asch said that Dobles has not yet been briefed about, nor has he
made a decision on, the plan of action set forth in IWC 60/10.
Arguedas expected that Costa Rica will continue to oppose lifting of
the commercial hunting moratorium and will support the bid to
establish whale sanctuaries in the southern hemisphere. Asch said
that Costa Rica would not support scientific whaling. She added
that Costa Rica would like to see a greater focus by the Commission
on non-lethal uses of whales, like tourism.

b) Asch said that Costa Rica believed that any small group would
need to balance stakeholder interests among states (hunting states,
non-lethal use states, and conservation-minded states, for example)
and geography, with one or two representatives per geographic block.
She said that there might be value in inviting international
organizations like the United Nations or the Convention on
Biological Diversity to participate on the working group.

c) Asch noted that IWC participation is expensive, given membership
costs and the need to underwrite a delegation for at least a
two-week period. Broader participation by less wealthy countries
could be achieved if membership costs are lowered or if the
Commission agreed to fund a representative from each country.
Country participation could be more effective if Commission meetings
were preceded by regional preparatory meetings. Because the number
of science and policy events at IWC Commission meetings is large,
governments and the Commission might consider establishing
geographical "pools" to cover different events.

5. Asch noted that Costa Rica may not be able to exercise its vote
this year. Although its legislature approved funding to eliminate
its IWC debt, exchange rate changes resulted in a USD 5,000
shortfall. It is not certain whether Costa Rica will be able to pay
off the remaining debt in time to permit it to reclaim its vote.

6. Asch recently met with Nicaragua's International Whaling
Commission deputy Commissioner. The Deputy Commissioner indicated
that Nicaragua would attend and maintain an anti-whaling position.

7. Asch asked whether there would be any changes to the U.S.
position on aboriginal whaling. Post requests further guidance on
this point.

Cianchette

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