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Cablegate: A Mixed Uk Response to Unga Third Committee Demarche

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DE RUEHLO #2282 2531553
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P 091553Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9687
INFO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1259
RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN 0572
RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE 0172
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON 0064

C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 002282

SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/09/2018

TAGS: PHUM PREL UNGA UK

SUBJECT: A MIXED UK RESPONSE TO UNGA THIRD COMMITTEE DEMARCHE REF: A. STATE 95334 B. STATE 61034 C. PARIS 1446

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Greg Berry for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1.(C) SUMMARY. HMG agrees with the specifics of ref A demarche, according to the FCO's Paul Edwards, Head of the UN Team in the Human Rights, Democracy and Governance Group and Susie Kitchens, Head of the UN Political Team in the International Organizations Department. HMG doesn't consider actions against Zimbabwe at UNGA wise at this time, given current negotiations, and is taking under advisement the country specific resolutions proposed in ref A. HMG demurred on the subject of the Human Rights Council, however, reiterating HMG preference for addressing human rights issues in the council, "the only game in town." END SUMMARY.

2.(C) Edwards said that HMG "totally agrees" that "defamation of religions" should never come before freedom of expression, nor be used to weaken debate on human rights. Similarly, HMG agrees with the U.S. opposition to no-action motions as a strategy to stifle debate on human rights. HMG has noted with concern that some traditionally pro-human rights countries have voted in favor of several of these motions, most notably Switzerland. HMG fears that this marks a quiet erosion of the heretofore solid bloc of Democratic support for full and open debate.

3.(C) Edwards said that HMG would take under advisement the country-specific resolutions concerning Iran, Burma, and the DPRK. In addition, HMG is still considering its strategy on Zimbabwe amid Africa Group opposition to any actions against the Mugabe government. HMG sees the prospects of any successful action in the Third Committee, while settlement talks are pending, as slim but welcomes any thoughts from USG on possible ways forward. Edwards also says that given the Mugabe Government's antipathy to the UK, any proposed action should have an EU or USG origin.

Human Rights Council is "Only Game in Town" -----------------------------------------

4.(C) Edwards said that while HMG welcomed the USG's commitment to multilateral efforts to protect and promote human rights, and agreed that HMG will cooperate in general with USG during the Third Committee session, it remains HMG's position that the UN Human Rights Council is important, and "the only game in town." Edwards stressed it is not wise to rely solely on the UNGA Third Committee for human rights action. Given those "facts" HMG urges the USG to reconsider its stance on the Council.

5.(U) Edwards expressed appreciation for USG's decision to consult HMG about its positions in advance of UNGA, and hoped such consultation would continue. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX
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