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Cablegate: Sudan/Icc: Uk Prepared to Remain Initially

VZCZCXRO5031
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHTRO
DE RUEHLO #1841 1931445
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 111445Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9175
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM IMMEDIATE 0102
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 1220

C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 001841

SIPDIS
NOFORN

DEPT FOR S/WCI, IO/FO, IO/PSC, AND AF

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/11/2018

TAGS: PREL KPKO UNSC SU UK

SUBJECT: SUDAN/ICC: UK PREPARED TO REMAIN INITIALLY
FLEXIBLE IN THE FACE OF NEW INDICTMENTS REF: USUN 617

Classified By: POLITICAL COUNSELOR RICHARD MILLS, REASONS 1.4 (B/D).

1. (C/NF) In the wake of yesterday's call by Chinese and Russian PermReps in New York to suspend the ICC investigations that may lead to the July 14 indictment of Sudanese President Bashir and other regime higher-ups, the Foreign Office has decided to remain flexible on its strong support for the ICC. According to FCO Sudan Unit contacts, UKUN recommended a "defiant response" to the Chinese and Russian demands, in line with the UK's core policy of supporting the ICC. However, after a hastily called internal meeting this morning with FCO Permanent Under Secretary Peter Ricketts, FCO senior officials reportedly determined to send more "nuanced" instructions to their mission in New York. While there is "no way the UK will be on a forward footing," FCO contacts report HMG may be willing to be "flexible" if the Government of Sudan makes serious efforts to improve immediately the situation in Darfur. That said, top FCO Legal Advisor Daniel Bethlehem is reportedly "nervous" that there may be very little legal space for the UK to remain flexible for long.

2. (C/NF) UK officials plan to seek ministerial advice on UK-Sudan policy in light of the indictments on July 15 at a Cabinet-level meeting on Africa, after the ICC Prosecutor announces the new indictments on July 14. Among UK officials, there is growing skepticism that a Bashir indictment will actually be an "apocalyptic event," even if it could cause drastic damage to the UK's current policy of engagement with Bashir's regime in Khartoum.

3. (SBU) In the interim, Foreign Secretary Miliband has approved the following press lines: -- The ICC will continue to have our full support for its activities. -- Ending impunity is vital to a solution in Darfur. That is why in March 2005, the UK sponsored UNSCR 1593 which referred Darfur to the ICC. The ICC Prosecutor has submitted an application for (insert names) to the ICC judges. It would be premature to comment or speculate on the outcome of the ICC deliberations. -- We call on the Government of Sudan to cooperate with the ICC. The Foreign Secretary raised this with Sudanese President on July 9. Visit London's Classified Website:XXXXXXXXXXXX LeBaron

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