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Cablegate: Unsc Reform: Open-Ended Working Group Meets; Pga

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5360
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN IMMEDIATE 1000
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA IMMEDIATE 1045
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RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO IMMEDIATE 1023
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD IMMEDIATE 2109
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON IMMEDIATE 0584
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO IMMEDIATE 0739
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI IMMEDIATE 2389
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL IMMEDIATE 0954
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 8593

C O N F I D E N T I A L USUN NEW YORK 001065

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/12/2018
TAGS: PREL UNSC UNGA KUNR IN BR IT JP GM
SUBJECT: UNSC REFORM: OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP MEETS; PGA
IMPLIES NEGOTIATIONS WILL BE LAUNCHED IN NOVEMBER

REF: A. STATE 119780
B. USUN NEW YORK 960
C. USUN NEW YORK 927
D. USUN NEW YORK 840

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

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In the first meeting of the Open-ended
Working Group (OEWG) during the 63rd UNGA session, the
President of the General Assembly (PGA) reiterated his
October 10 letter to the membership about launching
intergovernmental negotiations November 21, though he had
previously indicated to a number of delegations that he
planned to postpone the launch until February, per the
"spirit" of GA decision 62/557. The PGA openly criticized
the Uniting for Consensus bloc for pressuring him to respect
a gentleman's agreement on a February launch he claimed not
to know. As a result, the meeting was polarized between the
Group of Four supporting the PGA's decision to accelerate the
negotiations timetable and the Uniting for Consensus bloc's
defense against the PGA's criticism. Due to scheduling
constraints, the afternoon session was postponed until
November 17 when we hope the PGA will clarify his intentions
regarding the launch of intergovernmental negotiations. END
SUMMARY.

PGA's opening remarks
polarize subsequent debate
--------------------------

2. (SBU) The President of the General Assembly (PGA) Miguel
d'Escoto Brockmann, speaking at the first meeting of the
Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) during the 63rd UNGA session
on November 11, emphasized his number one priority,
democratization of the United Nations, and said "every
country counts." He referenced Nobel Prize-winning Economist
Joe Stiglitz's remarks two weeks earlier at the PGA's Global
Financial Crisis Interactive Panel when Stiglitz said, "We
are now at another Bretton Woods moment." The PGA described
the Security Council as largely unchanged from the post-World
War II period and called for "adapting yesterday's
multilateral institutions to today's multipolar world."

3. (SBU) While the PGA noted the membership's consensus
decision in General Assembly decision 62/557 to launch
intergovernmental negotiations before February 28, 2009, and
that the OEWG was meeting, per the decision, to begin
discussions on framework and modalities to prepare and
facilitate those negotiations (ref D), he also reiterated his
October 10 letter to the membership (ref C) that he would
convene an informal plenary of the General Assembly on
November 21, 2008 to commence intergovernmental negotiations.
He then said, "However, I have been under an undue amount of
pressure from the United (sic) for Consensus Group that has
accused me of not respecting a gentleman's agreement reached
on the evening of September 15 to the effect that the
intergovernmental negotiations in the informal plenary could
not start until the OEWG finished its work (February 1,
2009). Although I was not a party to any such agreement and
had no way of knowing about it, if it really existed, I want
to be as reasonable and flexible as possible without, at the
same time, allowing a very small minority to impose its will
on the majority."

4. (SBU) Before ending his opening remarks, the PGA
highlighted the upcoming November 18 plenary debate on
Security Council reform and the report of the Open-ended
Working Group from the last session and drew particular
attention to the report of the Security Council to the
General Assembly. He then noted his appointment of Afghan
Perm Rep Zahir Tanin as a Vice Chair of the OEWG.

5. (SBU) The PGA's specific reference to the Uniting for
Consensus (UFC)'s lobbying efforts to have him return to the
original timetable anticipated in the September 15, 2008
compromise effectively polarized the rest of the session.
Group of Four (G-4) supporters echoed the PGA's comments, and
UFC members denied exerting pressure. Of the 23 speakers, at
least fourteen supported launching intergovernmental
negotiations in February 2009.


6. (C) Comment: The PGA's explanation for his statement was
that he was furious with Italian Perm Rep Terzi for revealing
the contents of the deal they struck to cancel the November
21 session. Terzi wrote the PGA October 31 to summarize
their agreement and then disseminated that letter to the
membership November 6, after meeting with Afghan Perm Rep
Tanin who referred to plans to still hold the November 21
meeting. While Terzi's clumsy tactics subjected his entire
bloc to the PGA's criticism during the OEWG meeting, the PGA
did not "rise above" the machinations of the various blocs
and "bridge the divide." Instead, the optics were that he
supported the G-4 camp, much to the delight of the German and
Indian delegations. End comment.

U.S. remarks
------------

7. (SBU) Ambassador DiCarlo, speaking ninth, made the U.S.
intervention (drawn from ref A) focusing on the need for all
member states to concentrate on the work in the OEWG to
prepare the path forward for intergovernmental negotiations
in February. Ambassador DiCarlo noted this period would
allow delegations to prepare themselves fully for the start
of negotiations and that there was no reason to rush the
process. She also reminded member states that reform of the
Council must be undertaken as part of an effort whose
ultimate purpose should be increasing the effectiveness of
the entire UN system -- including reforms in other areas such
as GA financing and decision-making.

Other P-5 remarks
-----------------

8. (SBU) Three other members of the P-5 spoke November 11.
The French DPR, as a G-4 supporter, stressed that the
September 15 decision could not be reversed; that the
necessary parameters are known; and that the OEWG's work
cannot be a pre-condition for the start of intergovernmental
negotiations. The Russian DPR argued in favor of continued
discussions in the OEWG because if intergovernmental
negotiations start now, current disagreements among the
membership will not disappear and will lead to a rapid
stalemate of the negotiations. He stressed that time is
needed to develop mutually acceptable bases and called on the
Chair to act as an impartial broker between member states.
He noted that Security Council reform is "first and foremost
a political question" and that there is a "need to remove the
dividing lines, not deepen the existing lines." He said
Russia is ready to consider any reasonable approach, even a
transitional approach. The UK Perm Rep, another supporter of
the G-4, stressed the importance for the Security Council to
reflect the realities of the 21st century; urged that there
be an open and transparent process, given the real chance for
progress; and agreed that the OEWG should focus on modalities
and framework but said that the start of intergovernmental
negotiations do not depend upon such an agreement. (Note:
China will speak on November 17. November 11's afternoon
session was postponed because both the PGA and Ambassador
Tanin were unable to chair the meeting due to the PGA's
preparations for the November 12-13 plenary session on agenda
item 45 (Culture of Peace) and Tanin's attendance at
President Karzai's arrival for that plenary. That afternoon
session, with 17 speakers currently on the list, has been
rescheduled for Monday, November 17 at 3 pm. End note.)

The UFC
-------

9. (SBU) The Mexican Perm Rep, a UFC member, spoke first and
stressed Mexico's commitment to Security Council reform and
to GA decision 62/557, saying that to ignore the decision
would lead to paralysis. He proposed a draft schedule of
work for five meetings of the OEWG before negotiations would
start in February. Two meetings would focus on the purposes
and principles of the negotiations and three meetings on the
terms of reference for the actual negotiations. Then a final
meeting would assist the Chair in preparing the report of the
OEWG to the informal plenary, due no later than February 1.
The Italian Perm Rep, in his own remarks later in the
session, referred specifically to the PGA's own words that
"every country counts" and stressed that was why there needed


to first be a discussion in the OEWG on modalities and
framework before the launch of negotiations. He referred to
the PGA's emphasis in his June acceptance speech on the
"United" in "United Nations" and the need to respect the
sovereign equality of all members. He also noted that the
UFC represents almost 45 percent of the world's population,
thereby politely countering the PGA's assertion that the UFC
is a "very small minority."

10. (SBU) The Costa Rican Perm Rep gave the strongest speech
in support of the UFC position that Mission officers have
heard in a long time. He specifically cited the increased
level of confrontation amongst the membership as a result of
the "ambition of a handful of states - that you can count on
one hand - that wish at any cost to become permanent members
of the Security Council." He then referred to the small
states who "revolve" around those handful of large states and
questioned the "ephemeral advantage" they would achieve if
those large states achieved permanent membership. Speaking
as a current member of the Security Council, he said that,
while Costa Rice supports Council reform, it is opposed to
the presence of more permanent members on the Council since
it does not believe the Council would be more efficient as a
result. In fact, he said, "More permanent members on the
Council mean that the maxim 'might is right' would be further
confirmed." He noted that if reform of the Council is to
reflect 21st century realities then we must question why
there are two permanent members and two non-permanent members
from the WEOG on the Council when the EU is moving towards a
common foreign policy. Or, why certain permanent members
contribute less than half of what certain non-permanent
members contribute. He then said that the OEWG should
acknowledge that Security Council methods have been reformed,
specifically citing Belgium's Open Debate in the Council in
August on the subject.

The G-4
-------

11. (SBU) The German Perm Rep spoke first from the G-4 and
stressed his belief that "delegations here know what happened
in September" and that Germany is 100 percent behind the PGA.
He said that there is no real gain to be achieved from the
OEWG and the focus should be on the informal plenary and
intergovernmental negotiations. He said that format and
modalities have already been determined by GA decision 62/557
and the rules of procedure of the GA. The Japanese Perm Rep
welcomed the PGA's initiative to organize an informal plenary
and commence negotiations on November 21 but said that Japan
is prepared to participate constructively and demonstrate
flexibility in the process of negotiations and looks to the
PGA for his continuous guidance in leading the negotiations.

12. (SBU) The Brazilian Perm Rep argued against extensive
discussions in the OEWG and suggested that after a first
round of substantive negotiations in the informal plenary on
November 21, the Chair should draft an options paper over the
holiday period to which the member states could then react in
the next meeting of the informal plenary in 2009. The Indian
Perm Rep said there was no "gentleman's agreement" or
sequence to GA decision 62/557 and, ignoring the existence of
paragraph (c) in GA decision 62/557, said that the only role
for the OEWG comes after intergovernmental negotiations begin
and only if an issue needs to be referred to the OEWG. He
termed the OEWG "singularly ineffective" and said that after
15 years no one can accuse them of rushing the process.
(Note: The Argentine Perm Rep, a UFC member countered the
Indian Perm Rep in his remarks, saying that waiting 75 days
to start negotiations is very reasonable. End note.)

Other delegations
-----------------

13. (SBU) Mauritius, usually a stalwart supporter of India
on Security Council reform, spoke on behalf of the African
Group and argued for the Ezulwini Consensus: not less than
two permanent seats for Africa on the Council with a veto and
not less than five non-permanent seats, and that African
states should be responsible for selecting those African
members of the Council. He said, "Africa is running late to
take its rightful place on the Security Council." While the


Egyptian Perm Rep did associate himself with the Mauritian
Perm Rep's remarks, he also stressed the sequence of the
"spirit" of Decision 62/557. He noted that it made sense for
negotiations to not commence until after the Chair's report
on the work of the OEWG to the informal plenary. The
Portuguese Perm Rep, who was a Vice Chair during the last
session and generally regarded as a G-4 supporter, also
reminded the Working Group of the September 15 compromise and
said, "Without the sequential package, we would not have
reached a compromise."

Comment
-------

14. (C) We plan to approach the PGA to seek a clarification
of his intentions for November 21. He did not clarify the
situation in his opening remarks November 11 and left the
membership confused about his ultimate intentions and
questioning his ability to be a force to rally together the
membership. Ambassador Tanin privately told Ambassador
DiCarlo November 13 that the PGA will not hold the November
21 meeting and that Tanin is recommending a series of OEWG
meetings before launching intergovernmental negotiations in
January or February. End comment.
Khalilzad

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