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Cablegate: New Zealand and Ccw Cluster Munitions Negotiations

VZCZCXRO6704
OO RUEHRN
DE RUEHWL #0341 2900131
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 160131Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5478
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 0441
RUEHDL/AMEMBASSY DUBLIN IMMEDIATE 0042
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW IMMEDIATE 0190
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO IMMEDIATE 0120
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA IMMEDIATE 0062
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO IMMEDIATE 0086
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME IMMEDIATE 0001

C O N F I D E N T I A L WELLINGTON 000341

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/ANP AND PM/WRA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2018
TAGS: PARM PREL MARR NZ
SUBJECT: NEW ZEALAND AND CCW CLUSTER MUNITIONS NEGOTIATIONS

REF: STATE 108303

Classified By: Pol/Econ Counselor Margaret McKean, Reason: 1.4 (b) and
(d)

1. (SBU) On October 14, Pol/Econ Counselor met with Jillian
Dempster, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and Trade's office for disarmament. PE Counselor made the
points in the reftel, focusing on whether or not New Zealand
and other core Oslo Process supporters are willing to be
flexible enough to see progress in the CCW forum. She asked
if achieving binding language on technical improvements would
not constitute a small measure of progress that moves major
suppliers in a positive direction and could be built upon in
the future. If the CCW cannot make progress on areas of
mutual agreement that have some humanitarian benefit then the
success of the CCW negotiation process looks doubtful, she
added.

2. (SBU) Dempster started out by acknowledging that the
positions look very far apart going into the final
negotiation week in November. New Zealand would feel more
confident if the Chair was working behind the scenes to try
and reconcile the positions. She placed a certain amount of
the blame on the Chair, saying that NZ did not feel that the
Chair was making much of an effort in that regard. Dempster
also said that she was disappointed in the level of
consultation between the Chair and the various groups/states
so far. She specifically pointed out that NZ has a great
deal of experience on working on the issue of definitions,
and that the Chair has not incorporated some NZ positions.
She allowed that some GNZ views may not be acceptable to all
states, but New Zealand was still not happy with how the
negotiations have gone so far.

3. (C) New Zealand, said Dempster, believes that the CCW is
still important and would like to see the CCW as
complementary to the Oslo Treaty. She also allowed there is
benefit in having major suppliers such as Russia and China be
part of something that is legally binding -- "but not at any
price." She added that NZ is not convinced Russia will see
the CCW process as legally binding. Moreover, she said that
there is a risk of having two different legal instruments
that could increase the ambiguities in international law and
its application to cluster munitions. She said that the CCW
does not have to mirror the Oslo Treaty, but NZ worries about
two sets of standards. She added that NZ and other Oslo core
group members are not the only ones in the CCW worried about
dual standards.

4. (SBU) The Chair's proposal as it stands will not achieve
consensus, predicted Dempster. She said New Zealand will be
open minded going into the final week but there will be
certain areas/issues (although she refused to be drawn out on
specifics) that will require New Zealand's delegation to
consult with Wellington and receive concurrence from
government ministers, notably Minister for Disarmament Phil
Goff.

5. (C) Comment. New Zealand's national election will take
place on November 8, the day after the conclusion of the CCW
negotiation round (November 3-7). Goff and other government
ministers will be on the campaign trail during that week and
the New Zealand Geneva-based delegation's ability to consult
with its political leadership will be limited. Dempster did
not sound optimistic at the prospect for success in Geneva
nor did she signal any sense of urgency from New Zealand's
standpoint. It is unclear how much influence NGOs involved
in the Oslo process are wielding on the CCW negotiations;
Dempster noted several times during the discussion that she
is in regular contact with NGOs in the lead up to the
December signing of the Oslo Treaty. End Comment.
MCCORMICK

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