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Cablegate: 239th Meeting of the Committee On Relations With

VZCZCXYZ0007
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUCNDT #0906 2771828
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031828Z OCT 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5060
INFO RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 1071
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 1152
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0272

UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000906

SIPDIS

FOR IO/UNP - S. EDMONDSON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OFDP CU
SUBJECT: 239TH MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE ON RELATIONS WITH
THE HOST COUNTRY

1. The Committee on Relations with the Host Country met on
October 2, 2008. Acting Chairman, Branimir Zaimov, (Bulgaria)
oversaw the election of Cypriot Perm Rep Ambassador Minas
Hadjimichael as the Committee chair. The new Chair then
greeted the committee and introduced new UN
Assistant-Secretary for Legal Affairs, Peter Taksoe-Jensen.
USUN Minister Counselor for Host Country Affairs
congratulated the new Chairman on behalf of the USG, and
stated that he looked forward to cooperation with him in the
work of the committee.


Cuban Complaint re: treatment at airport of its Vice
President.

2. Cuban Permanent Representative, Amb. Rodrigo Malmierca
Diaz, protested an incident that transpired on the 20th of
September, 2008, claiming that U.S. authorities took
inappropriate action against Cuba's Vice President, Jose
Ramon Machado Ventura, head of his Cuba's delegation to the
UNGA, while he was passing through customs. Amb. Malmierca
complained that, although Cuba had complied with the
Courtesies of the Port request procedures, Mr. Machado was
forced to remove his shoes, jacket, and belt and submit to a
full body inspection "by technical means." Malmierca stated
that the actions taken by the US authorities were in
violation of the host country's obligations under the Vienna
Convention (VCDR) to adopt all appropriate measures to ease
the arrival of a foreign official. He demanded a thorough
investigation of the matter and a prompt response.

3. USUN/HC MinCouns replied that Cuba had followed the
appropriate procedures and noted that USUN had taken extra
steps to ensure that Mr. Machado received Courtesies of the
Port from US authorities at Montreal's Trudeau International
Airport, prior to his arrival at New York's La Guardia
airport. USUN/HC MinCouns gave detailed information on the
dates that contacts had been made and assured the committee
that all appropriate courtesies had been extended by the USG
in the area under its jurisdiction at the airport. He stated
that the host country did not know precisely what had
transpired following Mr. Machado's passage through U.S.
Customs. He also emphasized that United States Government
aviation security personnel neither have a presence at, or
any authority over, the security procedures carried out at
airports in other countries. As it was clear that the
incident affecting Machado was not the responsibility of the
host country, the Committee was not the appropriate forum in
which to discuss the matter further.

4. An irritated Malmierca took the floor again, noting that
Cuba had been informed that the incident had occurred in an
area that was under the control of U.S. authorities. He
offered that if this were not the case, it might have even
happened "on another planet." Unfortunately the Canadian
delegation, which was aware that Canada's airport security
agency (CATSA) had caused the incident, and had admitted as
much to the Cuban Mission, did not intervene to address the
matter. The Chairman stated that the Committee took note of
the interchange and suggested that discussions outside of the
committee might resolve the matter.

5. The Chair announced that the next meeting of the Committee
would take place on 31 October 2008, to adopt the Committee's
annual report.
Wolff

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