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Cablegate: Unsc Reform: General Assembly Passes Consensus

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DE RUCNDT #0840/01 2622128
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 182128Z SEP 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4965
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA IMMEDIATE 0977
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO IMMEDIATE 0985
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD IMMEDIATE 2025
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI IMMEDIATE 2311
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME IMMEDIATE 1010
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 8528

C O N F I D E N T I A L USUN NEW YORK 000840

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/15/2018
TAGS: PREL KUNR UNSC IN BR PK IT JP GM
SUBJECT: UNSC REFORM: GENERAL ASSEMBLY PASSES CONSENSUS
DECISION TO LAUNCH INTERGOVERNMENTAL NEGOTIATIONS ON
SECURITY COUNCIL EXPANSION IN AN INFORMAL GA PLENARY

Classified By: Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (SBU) Summary: The final, acrimonious negotiations
September 15 over the end-of-session report and draft
decision by the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) on Security
Council expansion were only resolved with a last minute
negotiation on the floor of the General Assembly, prior to
closing the final plenary of the 62nd session. According to
the consensus decision, the OEWG will continue to discuss the
framework and modalities of intergovernmental negotiations
until February 1, 2009, and then intergovernmental
negotiations will be launched in an informal plenary session
of the UNGA no later than February 28, 2009 with a view to
seeking a solution that can "garner the widest possible
political acceptance by Member States." End summary.

PGA Insists on
Two-tracks
--------------

2. (SBU) Throughout the negotiations, the PGA and the Vice
Chairs of his Task Force on Security Council expansion, the
Permanent Representatives of Bangladesh, Chile, Djibouti, and
Portugal, tried to appeal to both main blocs by setting forth
a two-track process shrouded in "constructive ambiguity," as
the PGA described in the September 12 OEWG meeting. To
appeal to the Uniting for Consensus (UFC) bloc, led by Italy,
Pakistan, Spain, Argentina, and Mexico, the text called for
the OEWG to continue immediately to discuss the framework and
modalities of intergovernmental negotiations. To appeal to
the Group of Four (G-4), led by the leading contenders for
future permanent Security Council seats - India, Germany,
Japan, and Brazil, the text called for intergovernmental
negotiations to commence in an informal plenary of the
General Assembly no later than March 2009 that would seek a
solution that can "garner the widest possible political
acceptance by the membership."

3. (SBU) Both sides refused to follow the PGA's path of
"constructive ambiguity" and instead clamored for clarity and
the track which advanced their interests. India and Germany
led the speakers from their group in arguing vehemently
against any continuation of the Open-ended Working Group,
even for discussion on the framework and modalities for the
negotiations. The UFC, while speaking in favor of the idea
of intergovernmental negotiations, argued against starting
those negotiations in an informal plenary of the UNGA, which
would be subject to votes.

4. (SBU) The PGA disseminated a compromise proposal late on
September 14 which called for a discussion of the negotiating
framework and modalities in the Open-ended Working Group with
the PGA presenting the results of these consultations to an
informal plenary session of the GA, no later than December
31, 2008. Then, intergovernmental negotiations would
commence in an informal plenary of the GA no later than
January 31, 2009.

Last minute negotiations
lead nowhere
------------------------

5. (C) When the 12th meeting of the OEWG meeting opened at
11 am on September 15, Italy spoke first, on behalf of the
UFC and called for an amendment of the text to change the
venue for intergovernmental negotiation from an "informal
plenary of the GA" to the "OEWG." As the Italian Perm Rep
made the proposals, the German delegation led a chorus of
snickers that proceeded to set the tone for the rest of the
day. After ten UFC member states spoke in favor of the
amendment and 17 G-4 supporters rejected it, the PGA called
for the meeting to be suspended at 1 pm for further
consultations. He said he would consider withdrawing the
text if no consensus emerged and leave it to member states to
decide next steps. The PRs of the main parties then gathered
in the PGA's office for a fractious three-hour meeting trying
to work out a possible compromise.

PGA withdraws text;
South Africa tables text
------------------------

6. (C) When the OEWG reconvened at 4 pm, the PGA announced
there was no consensus, given the reservations on the text

expressed by 10 delegations, and withdrew it. The South
Africans then formally introduced the same text for
consideration as their own draft and declared that they had
50 co-sponsors. After a long debate on procedural charges
and counter charges, Germany called for an end of the debate.
The PGA then called for two speakers in favor of closing
debate and two against, as if the OEWG were going to vote.
After hearing two speakers in favor of closing debate and
none against, he gaveled the debate closed and then quickly
gaveled the text through, though placards were raised in
opposition, leaving most in the room stunned. He then was
forced to call on those member states with placards raised
and they all spoke out against the motion. Pakistan
specifically noted that some of their fears about
negotiations outside of the OEWG were being realized that
day. The PGA then gaveled the session closed with the
understanding that the South African proposal would be voted
on in the General Assembly plenary, which had suspended its
final session in the morning to await the outcome of the
OEWG. Both the G-4 and UFC were ready to vote.

UFC decides to concede at 11th hour
-----------------------------------

7. (C) As the plenary session opened, the Italian Perm Rep
approached Ambassador Khalilzad and other members of USdel to
say that he had reconsidered. He said that a vote would set
a bad precedent for working groups that operate by consensus,
and would eliminate the OEWG altogether. Was there still
time to make a deal, he asked. He needed two changes to the
text: (1) pushing back the start date of intergovernmental
negotiations and (2) substituting "taking into consideration"
for "taking note of." The G-4 subsequently accepted both
changes. At this point, the UFC began to splinter as a bloc
and individual members began seeking different changes. The
G-4 balked and insisted again on a vote. Ambassador
Khalilzad appealed to the G-4 to be gracious and reminded
them that, if they were going to work together in the future
(on the Council), impressions were already forming about
their heavy-handedness. He noted that, while the UFC may
have made a mistake in not accepting a compromise earlier,
humiliating a group of important countries would make any
future proposal on the Security Council's future
unsustainable.

8. (U) Once the PGA gaveled the resumption of the 122nd
plenary meeting, the GA plenary agreed by consensus on the
decision (A/62/47) concerning the work of the OEWG. The text
of the two decisive paragraphs follows:

"(c) Decides, building on the progress achieved thus far, in
particular during its sixty-first and sixty-second sessions,
as well as the positions of and proposals made by Member
States, to continue immediately to address within the
Open-ended Working Group the framework and modalities in
order to prepare and facilitate intergovernmental
negotiations on the question of equitable representation on
and increase in the membership of the Security Council and
other matters related to the Council. The Chairman of the
Open-ended Working Group will present the results of these
consultations to an informal plenary session of the General
Assembly, no later than February 1, 2009;

"(d) Also decides, taking into consideration the results
achieved so far, in particular during its sixty-first and
sixty-second sessions, as well as the positions of an
proposals made by Member States, to commence
intergovernmental negotiations in informal plenary of the
General Assembly during the sixty-third session of the United
Nations General Assembly, but not later than February 28,
2009, based on proposals by Member States, in good faith,
with mutual respect and in an open, inclusive and transparent
manner, on the question of equitable representation on and
increase in the membership of the Security Council and other
matters related to the Council, seeking a solution that can
garner the widest possible political acceptance by Member
States."

(Note: Full text of the consensus decision (A/62/47) will be
available on the UN website and will be sent to IO/UNP once
it is posted. End note.)

Comment
-------


9. (C) While G-4 members succeeded in achieving a deadline
for the start of intergovernmental negotiations on Security
Council expansion in an informal plenary session of the
General Assembly, these negotiations are not likely to
conclude in the near-term. Any expansion of the Security
Council will require the support of two-thirds of the
membership. The September 15 decision also includes a
political goal of "the widest possible political acceptance
by Member States." Any successful resolution on expansion
would then require ratification by two-thirds of Member
States and all five permanent members of the Security Council.

10. (C) In addition, G-4 cohesiveness has been weakened.
Throughout this latest round of negotiations, Japan
consistently called for a constructive solution, and worked
with the PGA to find a compromise solution. This put it at
odds with India and Germany. Germany took a hard-headed
approach and tried to browbeat Italy and a few other members
of the UFC. The Indian delegation was the most rigid. Their
acerbic interventions in the OEWG insulted the UFC, the PGA,
and irritated China. The Indian Perm Rep, who spoke after
the Chinese DPR at the September 15 OEWG meeting, sharply
criticized the Chinese position in support of the OEWG and
consensus deliberations, characterizing it as the "swan song
of a declining organization (Security Council)." The
Italian-led UFC faltered badly, first by their decision to
stick to their original position instead of presenting a more
compelling alternative earlier in the process to draw the PGA
away from his two-track approach, and second by making an
11th-hour compromise that could have been made hours before.
Finally, China came out publicly in support of the UFC
position September 15 and saw that they had little sway over
the African states, many of whom decided to side with the
G-4.
Khalilzad

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