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Cablegate: Costa Rica Sends Mixed Signals On Unga Third

VZCZCXYZ0021
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0761 2661742
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 221742Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0116
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SAN JOSE 000761

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CEN, IO/RHS AND DRL/MLGA.

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/23/2018
TAGS: PHUM PREL UN CS
SUBJECT: COSTA RICA SENDS MIXED SIGNALS ON UNGA THIRD
COMMITTEE STRATEGY

REF: A. STATE 95334
B. SAN JOSE 458
C. SAN JOSE 594

Classified By: Political/Economic Counselor David E. Henifin for reason
1.4(d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: On September 4, we delivered Ref A to the
MFA's UN Desk Officer Deyanira Ramirez. Ramirez reiterated
Costa Rica's commitment to human rights; told us that the
GOCR opposes all no-action motions; and stressed that Costa
Rica, as a matter of principle, did not cosponsor
country-specific resolutions but may vote in favor of them.
The MFA also seemed to signal confounding support for the
Human Rights Council and that more text-tinkering could be
expected in the upcoming 63rd UNGA Third Committee sessions.
END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) On September 4, Ramirez affirmed that Costa Rica
voted "no" to all no-action motions as a matter of principle
because these motions limited debate. The GOCR feels
strongly that debate is necessary to hear all positions.

3. (C) In regard to the possible resolutions mentioned in Ref
A, Ramirez noted that the GOCR voted in favor of past human
rights resolutions condemning Iran, Burma and North Korea.
However, she indicated that for this UNGA, Costa Rica would
wait to see the final versions of the texts and then, if
possible, would work during negotiations to seek "common
language." We responded that we hoped to work in concert
with the MFA and its New York UN Mission in advance of Third
Committee proceedings, in consideration of the GOCR's desire
to be consulted during the drafting (and strategizing)
process. We urged dialogue in New York now so as to avoid
the text-tinkering that delayed action on
the Prisoner's of Conscience declaration and the Zimbabwe
sanctions resolution (Refs B and C).

4. (C) In a follow-up on September 11, Ramirez told us that
she had received instructions to inform us that the GOCR
remained concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe, Sudan,
Burma and "other countries where civil liberties are not
protected" as well as member states that "forget their
economic, social and cultural obligations." She stated that
the GOCR traditionally took a "cautious" approach to
country-specific resolutions, so as not to sideline the
"valuable" work that the Human Rights Council performs.
Ramirez maintained that this "doesn't mean we don't support
resolutions and don't vote in favor of them when the
situation merits, but on principle we don't cosponsor these
types of resolutions."

5. (C) Ramirez continued that the theme of "attacks against
freedom of expression" was important to Costa Rica, but she
chided the USG for not accepting Costa Rica-proposed language
on these issues (presumably referring to the Prisoner's of
Conscience Declaration, Ref B). Ramirez concluded that the
GOCR would therefore "wait for open debate" and would try to
"participate as actively as possible, proposing language that
Costa Rica considers vital." She added that depending on the
final text and the manner in which its proposals are taken
into account, the GOCR would be open to cosponsoring an
initiative regarding freedom of expression.

6. (C) COMMENT: The MFA's implicit support for the Human
Rights Council, as expressed by Ramirez (who made clear she
was responding on behalf of higher authorities in the MFA) is
confounding. FonMin Stagno himself said in last month's
consultations with Acting A/S Brian Hook (septel) that with
the HR Council (HRC), the UN had "gotten something worse than
the Human Rights Commission." With Ramirez and the whole
UNSC Team present, Stagno had agreed to re-examine the GOCR's
"automatic" vote in favor of the HRC's annual report, and
seemed to take Hook's point that Costa Rica's support was
"whitewashing" and legitimizing the work of the HRC. The
GOCR's desire for open debate and adding its own text
suggests that Stagno and his team are likely to insist on
wordsmithing in New York, and not necessarily in accord with
the USG. As we have mentioned before, Costa Rica wants to be
an equal, independent player while it sits on the UNSC, which
presents a coordination challenge for us in San Jose, but
even more so in New York. END COMMENT.
CIANCHETTE

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