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Cablegate: Negotiations Over Mil-Mil Mou Continue

VZCZCXRO4026
OO RUEHTRO
DE RUEHTRO #0505/01 1781605
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 261605Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3602
INFO RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 4111

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TRIPOLI 000505

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR NEA/MAG

E.O. 12958: DECL: 6/25/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR MASS PBTS PINS LY
SUBJECT: NEGOTIATIONS OVER MIL-MIL MOU CONTINUE

REF: A) JACUBEC-CARNAHAN EMAIL 06/17/2008, B) TRIPOLI 481, C) TRIPOLI 478 (NOTAL) CLASSIFIED BY: Chris Stevens, CDA, U.S. Embassy Tripoli, Dept of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 1. (C) Summary: After two days of negotiations to attempt to finalize language for a military-to-military memorandum of understanding (MOU), the U.S. and Libyan teams identified four areas of disagreement requiring further consultations with their respective capitals: 1) whether language referring to Libya's decision to abandon WMD could be modified; 2) whether language referring to Libya's decision to abandon state-sponsorship of terrorism could be deleted; 3) whether language providing security assurances to Libya could be amended or deleted, and; 4) whether there is flexibility with respect to including language that provides for reciprocal visits to weapons research & development facilities. The Libyan team, possibly reflecting direct guidance from Muammar al-Qadhafi, made it clear that unless security assurances are included, it could recommend postponing the signing of an MOU altogether until outstanding bilateral "political issues" - believed to be a reference to ongoing government-to-government negotiations for a comprehensive settlement of outstanding terrorism-related claims against Libya - are resolved. End summary. 2. (C) Representatives from several U.S. Department of Defense offices (Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Office of General Counsel and the Joint Staff) traveled to Libya to meet with officials of the Government of Libya (GOL) on June 22-23 to attempt to finalize language (ref A) for a military-to-military (mil-mil) memorandum of understanding (MOU). U.S. Participants: - Patricia Jacubec, Office of African Affairs, International Security Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense - Linda Lourie, Office of General Counsel, U.S. Department of Defense - Lt. Colonel Paul Estavillo, Joint Staff Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate, U.S. Department of Defense - Lt. Colonel Kyle Carnahan, Defense Attache, U.S. Embassy - Tripoli - John Godfrey, Political and Economic Chief, U.S. Embassy - Tripoli - Mabruk Bin Said, Interpreter GOL Participants: - General Ahmed al-Zwayy, Director of the Bureau of Technical Cooperation & the National Committee, Interim People's Committee for Defense - Colonel Mukhtar Osman, Chief of Staff for General al-Zwayy - Muhammad al-Suala, Legal Advisor, People's Interim Committee for Defense U.S.: MOU USEFUL VEHICLE TO EXPAND MIL-MIL COOPERATION 3. (C) The U.S. team, led in its presentation by Jacubec, stressed that, from its perspective, the two sides were close to finalizing language for a mil-mil MOU, which it understood the Libyan Interim People's Committee for Defense (MOD) had stipulated as a requirement for expanded mil-mil engagement. The MOU would not be a formal treaty or agreement, but rather an MOU between the U.S. DOD and the Libyan MOD to expand bilateral military cooperation in areas of mutual interest. Jacubec also asked for the GOL's views on when, where and by whom the mil-mil MOU could be signed. 4. (C) The U.S. team then commented on specific points on which the two sides differed. The U.S. team indicated that the reference to Libya's decision to renounce terrorism as a political adjunct had been included since abandoning weapons of mass destruction programs and state-sponsored terrorism were the commitments that had facilitated the lifting of sanctions against Libya. On security assurances, the U.S. recognized that this was an important issue for the GOL; however, an informal MOU of the type envisioned was not an appropriate vehicle in which to articulate a commitment to guarantee Libya's sovereignty and security. The U.S. was interested in the possibility of discussing such issues in greater substance with the GOL, but the team was not in a position to address those issues in the context of an MOU. On assistance to development centers, the U.S. requested clarification as to the type of development centers the MOD wished to visit. GOL: NO REFERENCE TO TERRORISM; SECURITY ASSURANCES "ESSENTIAL" 5. (C) General al-Zwayy offered a strong introductory statement. (Note: al-Zwayy then left to attend other duties; the balance of the negotiations were conducted by Osman and al-Suala. End note.) Stressing his personal involvement in negotiations under the U.S.-U.K.-Libya Tri-lateral Steering and Coordination TRIPOLI 00000505 002 OF 003 Committee (TSCC) that led to Libya's decision to abandon WMD, al-Zwayy said the GOL "rejected" including any reference in the preamble to Libya's decision to abandon state-sponsorship of terrorism. In addition, language referring to abandonment of WMD aspirations should be amended to read " ... [recognizing Libya's decision to] renounce voluntarily programs THAT COULD HAVE led to the production of weapons of mass destruction ... " to emphasize that Libya had not/not actually attained WMD. 6. (C) On security assurances, al-Zwayy adopted an even harder line. Reiterating arguments we've heard before, he complained that the U.S. had "given gifts" to Iran and North Korea in an attempt to persuade them to abandon their WMD programs. The U.S. had promised in the course of TSCC negotiations that it would help Libya acquire missiles and other conventional weapons to replace SCUD-C's and other weapons Libya surrendered; those promises had not, from the GOL's perspective, been met. The U.S. had persuaded Libya to abandon its WMD programs, which it had done voluntarily, and therefore "owed" Libya security assurances. The mil-mil MOU was, from the GOL's perspective, of a piece with earlier negotiations under the TSCC rubric; including in the MOU security assurances envisaged in the TSCC negotiations was therefore natural. Claiming that the General People's Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation (MFA-equivalent) had insisted on including language providing security assurances, al-Zwayy dismissed the distinction by the U.S. team between an MOU and a political agreement as a "meaningless bureaucratic reason". Characterizing the U.S. as "a great country" and stressing positive bilateral commercial ties, particularly in the oil and gas sector, al-Zwayy suggested that the U.S. was being petty by not offering assurances to Libya on "sensitive issues" such as security and defense. 7. (C) Continuing, al-Zwayy said a mil-mil MOU would be "meaningless" unless it contained security assurances. If/if the U.S. was not willing to offer such security assurances, the Libyan military "could" recommend postponing the signing of a mil-mil MOU altogether until "political issues were resolved" and the MOU was "complete", i.e., included security assurances. (Note: al-Zwayy's reference to "political issues" was believed to be a reference to ongoing government-to-government negotiations regarding a comprehensive settlement of outstanding terrorism-related claims against Libya in U.S. courts. End note.) Legal Advisor al-Suala echoed al-Zwayy, stressing that security assurances were "essential" to the spirit of the MOU and did not/not exceed the scope of the MOU from the GOL's perspective. Al-Zwayy and al-Suala rejected Jacubec's characterization of the MOU as a non-binding document that only encompassed a desire to cooperate in mutually-agreed areas. LIBYA WANTS ACCESS TO U.S. WEAPONS R&D FACILITIES 8. (C) After considerable discussion concerning section two ("Areas of Cooperation") - assistance to and the exchange of visits between development centers - Osman and al-Suala clarified that, from the GOL's perspective, such language would encompass visits by Libyan military officers and scientists to U.S. weapons research and development (R&D) facilities, and reciprocal visits to Libyan facilities by U.S. officials. Carnahan explained that in the U.S., unlike in Europe, private companies perform a majority of weapons-related R&D. The USG could not instruct private U.S. companies to facilitate visits by foreign governments; however, the U.S. could agree to help facilitate such visits, as it had for a recent visit by Libyan military officers to an American Motors Corporation facility at which military vehicles the GOL wishes to purchase are manufactured. Jacubec suggested that guaranteed visits to U.S. weapons R&D facilities would, from the U.S. perspective, necessitate a separate MOU with U.S. DOD elements responsible for weapons R&D; however, with concurrence from Washington, the U.S. could/could agree to reference interest in finalizing such an agreement in the mil-mil MOU. Claiming that the Libyan side had stressed its interest in R&D in all previous discussions with the U.S. on mil-mil cooperation, al-Suala and Osman stressed that the issue was "critical and essential" from the GOL's perspective, and pushed hard to amend the language to explicitly refer to reciprocal visits to weapons R&D facilities. 9. (C) The Libyan side offered no details on when, where and by whom the mil-mil MOU could be signed. At the conclusion of the negotiating sessions, the two teams agreed that further consultations with their respective capitals were needed to clarify positions on the following issues: - Whether language in para three of the preamble referring to Libya's decision to abandon WMD programs could be amended to refer to a decision by Libya to " ... renounce voluntarily TRIPOLI 00000505 003 OF 003 programs THAT COULD HAVE led to the production of weapons of mass destruction ... " to emphasize that Libya had not/not actually attained WMD (U.S. action); - Whether the reference in para three of the preamble to Libya's decision to abandon state-sponsorship of terrorism could be deleted (U.S. action); - Whether references in para three of the preamble affirming the commitment of the U.S. to ensure Libya's security and independence could be amended or deleted (U.S. and Libyan action); - Whether there is flexibility with respect to including language that provides for reciprocal visits to weapons R&D facilities (U.S. and Libyan action) 10. (C) Comment: Al-Zwayy's inflexible stance on security assurances and removal of references to state-sponsorship of terrorism may have been approved at the highest levels of the regime. As reported ref B, we learned after recent discussions concerning the disposition of Libya's C-130 fleet that Muammar al-Qadhafi personally briefed the Libyan team before they met with their U.S. interlocutors and provided specific guidance on export license guarantees. It appears likely that al-Zwayy's warning that the Libyan side could postpone signing a mil-mil MOU until "political issues" had been resolved that would facilitate (from the GOL's perspective) including security assurances reflected his understanding of al-Qadhafi's marching orders. The position conveyed by al-Zwayy is consistent with a parallel message recently delivered by another senior regime official to the effect that political and military issues were, from the GOL's perspective, intricately intertwined and could not be addressed as discrete issues (ref C). Despite our efforts to delineate between an MOU to facilitate routine cooperation and a high-level political-military agreement that could incorporate security assurances, the regime appears to have calculated that the U.S. would be willing to consider including security assurances if/if a comprehensive settlement of outstanding terrorism-related claims is achieved. End comment. 11. (U) The DOD team did not have an opportunity to clear on this cable. STEVENS

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