Cablegate: Shield S04b-08: Syria Arranging to Acquire Cw


DE RUEHC #5048 3651440
P 301427Z DEC 08

S E C R E T STATE 135048



EO 12958 DECL: 12/23/2033

Classified By: ISN/CB Office Director Robert Mikulak for reasons 1.4 (b), (c) and (d)

1. (U) This is an action request. Please see paragraph 4.

2. (S//NF) BACKGROUND: The U.S. has obtained information indicating that a Syrian institution with connections to the country’s chemical and biological weapons programs is attempting to acquire Australia Group-controlled glass-lined reactors, heat exchangers and pumps from the Indian firms XXXXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXXXXX . Both firms are believed to have received visits from the Syria institution in the past 3 months and may be close to concluding their respective deals.

3. (S//NF) BACKGROUND CONT’D: We would like to alert the GOI to this information. The GOI has a general obligation as a Chemical Weapons Convention State Party to never, under any circumstances, assist anyone in the development of chemical weapons. The U.S. also has publicly stated its belief that India is a strong partner on nonproliferation issues. We therefore seek the GOI’s assistance in investigating this activity and talking all steps necessary to prevent Indian entities from providing CBW equipment to Syria. We also want to remind the GOI that the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act requires us to report to Congress transfers of goods, services and technology on multilateral control lists, such as the Australia Group, to Syria. Sanctions may be imposed against individuals and entities identified in such reports.

4. (SBU) ACTION REQUEST: Request Post deliver the points in paragraph 6 to appropriate host government officials and report a response. The points may be left as a nonpaper.

5. (S//NF) Please begin all responses with SHIELD S04B-08 and slug for ISN.

6. (U) Begin talking points/nonpaper:
-- In the spirit of our cooperation in preventing proliferation we would like to raise a matter of chemical weapons (CW) proliferation concern and request the Indian government’s assistance in investigating this activity.
-- We have information that the Indian company XXXXXXXXXXXX may be planning to sell glass components and related chemical processing equipment to an end-user in Syria.
-- In addition, we have information that the Indian company XXXXXXXXXXXX may be planning to sell heat exchangers, immersion heaters, pumps, and glass equipment to the same end-user in Syria.
-- Further, XXXXXXXXXXXX and probably XXXXXXXXXXXX agreed to support a visit in mid-September 2008 by representatives of a Syrian institution with connections to Syria’schemical and biological weapons programs, to finalize contracts for glass-related equipment.
-- XXXXXXXXXXXX is located in XXXXXXXXXXXX, India. -- XXXXXXXXXXXX is located in XXXXXXXXXXXX, India.
-- While they have legitimate commercial uses, glass or glass-lined chemical reactor vessels, heat exchangers and pumps can be used in the production of CW agents and therefore are controlled by the Australia Group (AG).
-- We are concerned that the equipment in question is intended for, or could be diverted to, Syria’s CW program.
-- The Syrian Research Council (SSRC) is a key entity behind Syria’s chemical warfare program and may be behind Syria’s biological warfare program as well.
-- In light of its CW and other programs of proliferation concern, support to terrorist organizations, and efforts to destabilize other countries in the region, we believe Syria is an unreliable destination for dual-use exports, and Syrian end-user statements or other assurances are neither credible nor trustworthy.
-- In addition, the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA) requires us to provide periodic reports to the U.S. Congress identifying persons (including individuals and entities) who have transferred to, or acquired from, Iran, North Korea or Syria, items that are on multilateral export control lists, such as glass or glass-lined reactor vessels, or that could make a material contribution to developing a weapon of mass destruction or missile system.
-- Under INKSNA, sanctions also may be imposed against persons identified in such reports.
-- We therefore request that the Indian government take all steps necessary to investigate this matter and prevent Syria from acquiring dual-use items, such as glass or glass-lined reactor vessels, heat exchangers, and pumps that could be used in its CW programs.
-- We look forward to the Indian government sharing with us the results of its investigation into this matter.
End talking points/nonpaper.

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