Cablegate: Unsc: Middle East Consultations Tame This Month,

DE RUCNDT #0764/01 2352203
O 222203Z AUG 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: U/SYG Lynn Pascoe briefed the Security
Council during an open meeting on the Middle East on August
20. He stressed that the benefits of the cease-fire have not
translated into an improvement of everyday living conditions
in Gaza. He welcomed the planned release of 200 Palestinian
prisoners by Israel and highlighted the two shootings of
Palestinian children by Israeli forces in the West Bank using
live ammunition. On Lebanon, he said the UN looks forward to
working with the Lebanese government to meet its objectives
on the national dialogue process and encouraged Lebanon and
Syria to move quickly on border delineation. After Pascoe's
briefing, the Council moved to closed consultations where the
majority of delegations echoed Pascoe's remarks, including
those on continuing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Israeli
settlement activity, and condemnation of the August 14 attack
in Tripoli. Ambassador Wolff called on the Secretary General
to dispatch a technical team to Israel, Lebanon, and Syria on
the Sheba'a Farms issue to discuss the cartographer's report
and next steps and then report back to the Council. The
South African Permanent Representative suggested that the
Security Council invite the Quartet to update the Council in
September. End summary.

U/SYG Pascoe: Gaza cease-fire
has not yielded better
conditions for population

2. (SBU) U/SYG Lynn Pascoe briefed the Security Council
August 20 on developments in the Middle East over the last
month, noting the internal Palestinian violence in Gaza and
its potential consequences for UN operations. Overall, he
stressed that normal life in Gaza remains very difficult and
the benefits of a cease-fire have not translated into an
improvement in the everyday living conditions of the
population. While he described a 75 percent increase in
truck shipments into Gaza, he noted that they represented
only 54 percent of the May 2007 level. He highlighted the
continued pumping of Gaza sewage into the Mediterranean and,
after the South Africans raised that it was a lack of
equipment issue, noted that the UN is seized with finding a
solution to this problem. He welcomed Israeli plans to
release 200 Palestinian prisoners but also flagged the two
shootings of Palestinian children by Israeli forces in the
West Bank using live ammunition. He briefed on the
continuing Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank,
including outside the footprint of established settlements.
He urged donors to fulfill their assistance pledges to the
Palestinian Authority, given the anticipated budgetary
shortfall in September.

3. (SBU) On Lebanon, he welcomed the cabinet statement; the
vote of confidence; and President Sleiman's intention to
start the National Dialogue process. Pascoe stressed that
the UN looks forward to working with the Lebanese government
to meet its objectives. On the Sleiman/Asad meeting in
Damascus, he encouraged the two parties to move immediately
forward with border delineation. He vigorously condemned the
August 14 bombing in Tripoli. He noted that UNIFIL continues
its operations south of the Litani River. He listed the
upcoming meetings in September, on the margins of the UNGA:
(1) the Quartet; (2) the Secretary-General's Iftar; and (3)
the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) where he hoped progress
could be made on the actual delivery of pledges to the PA,
given the budget crisis.

U.S. remarks

4. (SBU) In his remarks during the Council's closed
consultations, Ambassador Wolff began by first describing the
ongoing talks between the Israelis and Palestinians as
sincere, substantive negotiations that are addressing the
core concerns and remain confidential at the parties'
request. While the U.S. is focused on that track, Israel and
Syria continue their indirect talks and we support those
efforts, he said, but the breadth of Syria's activities of
concern must be addressed. Second, he stressed that
Palestinian capacity-building is key to the success of the
process. The Palestinian Authority is in dire straits
financially, he said, and urgently needs additional financial
support, and encouraged regional governments with outstanding
commitments, especially those around the table, to assist.
Third, he condemned the violent efforts by Hamas and other
groups to usurp the lawful authority of the PA in Gaza, in
sharp contrast to the improving situation in the West Bank.
He stressed that the Quartet's principles remain
determinative: renunciation of violence and terror,
recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements
between the parties. Finally, he welcomed the opening by

USUN NEW Y 00000764 002 OF 002

Israel of two checkpoints in the West Bank and the announced
intention to release 200 Palestinian prisoners but also
reiterated our deep concern at continuing Israeli settlement
activity and called on Israel to freeze this activity and
dismantle outposts erected since March 2001.

5. (SBU) On Lebanon, he said that the U.S. views full
implementation of UNSCR 1559 and 1701, as well as the pledges
made in the Doha Agreement as essential to the safeguard of
Lebanon's sovereignty and security. He welcomed the August
14 announcement on the establishment of diplomatic relations
between Syria and Lebanon and called for a normalization of
relations, including the delineation of the Lebanese-Syrian
border. He called on the Secretary General to engage with
Syria and Lebanon to encourage immediate progress on this
issue. He noted U.S. concern with the reports of breaches of
the arms embargo on the Lebanon-Syria border and noted the
Secretary-General's observation that full implementation of
the arms embargo is an indispensable provision of UNSCR 1701
and that regional group, especially Iran and Syria,
maintaining ties with Hizballah and other groups in Lebanon
are obliged to respect and fully abide by the arms embargo.
He conveyed condolences for the August 14 attack and stressed
that the international community must stand with the GOL and
insist on the authority of the state. He urged the Secretary
General to send engage directly with Israel, Lebanon, and
Syria on the Sheba'a Farms issue, including by dispatching a
technical mission to visit the three countries to discuss the
cartographer's report and next steps and then report back to
the Council.

South Africans suggest UNSC briefing
by Quarter Rep Tony Blair in September

6. (SBU) The South African Permanent Representative
suggested that the Security Council invite the Quartet to
update the Council in September. When Mr. Pascoe later
responded to this comment, he said he would speak with
Quartet Representative Tony Blair about briefing the Council.

Members on Israeli-Palestinian
negotiations and Israeli settlement
activity; concern about Gaza conditions

7. (SBU) On Israeli-Palestinian issues, most delegations
welcomed the continuing negotiations but voiced concern that
an agreement would not be reached before the end of the year.
All delegations highlighted the potential harm from
continuing Israeli settlement activity. Costa Rica stated
that settlements had grown by a factor of six since the
Annapolis conference. Many states, including Vietnam,
highlighted the continued obstacles to movement in the West
Bank and the crossing closures into Gaza and called for an
end to such restrictions. France highlighted Israel's
decision to re-open the Kerem Shalom crossing. Several
delegations, including Libya and South Africa, highlighted
the large number of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, as
compared to the 200 scheduled for release. The UK deplored
the violence instigated by Hamas in Gaza. Russia noted the
need for a "unitary" Palestinian Authority. Most delegations
welcomed the continuing talks between Israel and Syria under
the auspices of Turkey.

Calls for implementation of
Lebanon-Syria border delineation;
condemnation of Tripoli attack

8. (SBU) On Lebanon, the majority of delegations welcomed
the new government and the vote of confidence it received.
Delegations also welcomed the joint Syrian and Lebanese
decision to delineate their borders, with Croatia expressing
hope for a swift process. There was uniform condemnation of
the August 14 attack in Tripoli. Burkina Faso used the
Tripoli bombing as an example to call upon all actors in the
region to exercise restraint given the tension in the
international community.

© Scoop Media

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