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Cablegate: Swiss Counter-Terrorism "Process" Challenges U.S.

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUCNDT #0669/01 2072254
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 252254Z JUL 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4693
INFO RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1164
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY 9048
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA PRIORITY 0510
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3316

UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000669

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER UN SZ
SUBJECT: SWISS COUNTER-TERRORISM "PROCESS" CHALLENGES U.S.
WAR ON TERROR

REF: USUN 1006 (NOV 07)

1. (U) Summary. In November 2007, Costa Rica, Japan,
Slovakia, Switzerland and Turkey launched a series of
meetings described as the "International Process on Global
Counter-terrorism Co-operation (Process)" (reftel). On July
24, they circulated a final document which states that the
purpose of the Process was to provide an opportunity for
frank and open, off-the-record discussion among a broad array
of states, representatives of the UN and civil society. An
Associated Press interview (para 5), however, indicated that
the conclusions are a response to the U.S.- led war on terror
and the counter-terrorism work of the powerful UN Security
Council. The article quotes the Swiss UN Permanent
Representative as saying, "It's an attempt maybe to shift, or
should I say, to rebalance the focus away from the war on
terror to a more comprehensive way of dealing with
terrorism." End summary.

2. (U) Reftel reported the launch of the Process and plans
for workshops in Switzerland, Slovakia, Turkey and Japan.
The sponsors of the Process have now released a "Final
Document" which they say reflects the key elements of the
discussions that took place during the workshops. Curiously,
both the cover letter and the document contain a form of
disclaimer making it clear that not all the sponsors endorse
each of the recommendations. For example, the report
mentions, as an option, funding the CT Task Force through the
UN regular budget, a position that Japan has repeatedly
publicly opposed, as has the United States.

3. (U) The Report (emailed to IO) addresses actions that UN
member states, the UN system, and regional and sub-regional
bodies should take. There is a heavy focus on the work of
the UN Counter-terrorism Committee's Executive Directorate, a
body mandated by Security Council resolutions. The report
recommends that CTED could be "transformed into a UN
Secretariat office, department, or program which could
service both the CTC and the Task Force. (Comment. Such a
transformation would presumably remove CTED from control by
the Security Council and put it under the direction of the
Secretary General. End Comment).

4. (SBU) The Process report also calls for including human
rights expertise on CTED site visits and contains a section
with a series of recommendations for improving CTED's
performance. Comment. It is somewhat surprising that states
that usually share U.S. views on counter-terrorism would
spearhead an effort which would undermine the effectiveness
of CTED at a time when its recently renewed mandate has it
poised to become an even more significant CT actor within the
system. End Comment.

5. (U) Begin text. Panel urges anti-terrorism agency by
John Heilprin Associated Press Writer 24 July 2008.
United Nations (AP)

A Swiss led, five-nation panel proposed Thursday that the
United Nations assert itself as leader of a global fight
against terrorism and establish a new agency or program to
coordinate that effort.

U.N. ambassadors from Costa Rica, Japan, Slovakia,
Switzerland and Turkey suggested that the U.N. General
Assembly create an agency for counterterrorism along the
lines of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International
Atomic Energy Agency.

It also recommended that the U.N. assist counterterrorism
officials from individual nations in promoting "a human
rights-based approach to counterterrorism" that disdains
torture and preserves prisoners' rights.

The panel, launched by the Swiss U.N. mission in November, is
an attempt to involve more of the General Assembly's 192
member nations in fighting terrorism. It also seeks to shift
some of the emphasis away from military or police work and
onto grappling with interrelated social, economic and health
factors.

Its proponents say the panel's conclusions, reached after
holding five workshops on three continents, is a response to
the U.S.- led war on terror and the counterterrorism work of
the powerful U.N. Security Council.

"It's an attempt maybe to shift or, should I say, to
rebalance the focus away from the war on terror to a more


comprehensive way in dealing with terrorism," Swiss
Ambassador Peter Maurer told The Associated Press.

Another panel member, Costa Rican Ambassador Jorge Urbina,
also serves on the 15-nation Security Council.


"There is a need to deepen interagency cooperation and
cooperation, both at the national and international level,
and this should not be limited to traditional
counterterrorism actors, but also include human rights,
development, health and social services," he said. "We
continue to advocate for the creation of a body that unites
all current U.N. counterterrorism efforts under one roof, and
gives it a clear mandate and direction."

In March, President Bush said the global war's main
challenges included securing Iraq, fighting al-Qaida,
combating Iran's "destructive influence," and ending "the
flow of suicide bombers through Syria."

But the panel pointed toward an alternative strategy, an
approach based on a belief that the U.N. also must provide a
framework all nations can participate in.

"The problem is that it is a one-dimensional view, suggesting
that with military deployment and military means you can cope
with the phenomenon of terrorism," Maurer said. End Text.
Khalilzad

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