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Cablegate: Agreement with Nicaragua On Status of Forces For

VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #0453 3462236
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 112227Z DEC 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHMU/AMEMBASSY MANAGUA PRIORITY 0000
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 130453

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/10/2018
TAGS: KTIA MARR MOPS PM PREL US
SUBJECT: AGREEMENT WITH NICARAGUA ON STATUS OF FORCES FOR
EXERCISES IN NICARAGUA DURING 2009

REF: A. MANAGUA 001109
B. STATE 002677

Classified By: WHA A/S Thomas A. Shannon for reasons 1.4 (b and d)

1. (U) THIS IS AN ACTION REQUEST. SEE PARAGRAPHS 2, 5 AND 6.

2. (C) ON AUGUST 8, 2008, AMEMBASSY MANAGUA AND THE
GOVERNMENT ON NICARAGUA (GON) COMPLETED AN EXCHANGE OF
DIPLOMATIC NOTES REGARDING A STATUS OF FORCES AGREEMENT
(SOFA) AND CUSTOMS PROCEDURES FOR U.S. FORCES IN NICARAGUA
FOR EXERCISES, VISITS, AND OTHER COOPERATIVE ACTIVITIES
DURING 2008. AS DISCUSSED IN REF A, WASHINGTON CONTINUES TO
BELIEVE IN THE NEED TO PURSUE A DURABLE SOFA WITH THE GON.
AT AN INTERAGENCY MEETING ON OCTOBER 15, 2008, IT WAS AGREED
THAT THE USG WOULD SEEK A MULTIPLE YEAR SOFA WITH THE GON.
HOWEVER, THE INTERAGENCY IS STILL DEVELOPING A STRATEGY FOR
APPROACHING THE GON ON THIS SUBJECT, AND AT PRESENT WE HAVE
SEEN NO INDICATIONS THAT SUCH AN AGREEMENT CAN BE ATTAINED IN
THE SHORT TERM. IN THE INTERIM, AGENCIES HAVE AGREED TO
PROCEED WITH A SIMPLE ROLL-OVER OF THE EXISTING ARRANGEMENTS.
BASED ON DOD'S REQUEST, POST IS REQUESTED TO PRESENT THE
NOTES IN PARAGRAPHS 3 AND 4 TO THE GON REGARDING A SOFA
AGREEMENT AND CUSTOMS PROCEDURES FOR DOD OPERATIONAL
ACTIVITIES IN 2009, STRESSING THAT THE N
OTES ARE SUBSTANTIALLY IDENTICAL TO THE NOTES EXCHANGED ON
AUGUST 8, 2008, EXCEPT TO REFLECT FUTURE ACTIVITIES AND DATES.

3. (U) BEGIN TEXT OF DIPLOMATIC NOTE ON SOFA:

THE EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESENTS ITS
COMPLIMENTS TO THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE
REPUBLIC OF NICARAGUA AND HAS THE HONOR TO REFER TO
DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF NICARAGUA AND THE
GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA REGARDING THE
JOINT COMBINED EXCHANGE TRAINING (JCET) FOR OEF-CCA FROM
OCTOBER 12, 2008 TO SEPTEMBER 30, 2009; THE MEDICAL READINESS
EXERCISE (MEDRETE) FROM JANUARY 1 TO JUNE 30, 2009; THE
MEDRETE FROM MAY 9 TO MAY 23, 2009; FUERZAS ALIADAS
HUMANTARIAS (FA HUM) FROM APRIL 15 TO MAY 8, 2009; THE
CONTINUING PROMISE DEPLOYMENT FROM JULY 3 TO JULY 22, 2009;
THE HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE DEPLOYMENT TO BLUEFIELDS FROM
JULY 11 TO JULY 22, 2009; AS WELL AS OTHER
MILITARY-TO-MILITARY ACTIVITIES IN NICARAGUA, AS MUTUALLY
AGREED, DURING 2009. THE IMPLEMENTATION OF EACH OF THESE
SEPARATE ACTIVITIES (HEREAFTER REFERRED TO COLLECTIVELY AS
2009 OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES) WILL BE CARRIED OUT TO FURTHER
THE RELATIONSHIP OF FRIENDSHIP AND COOPERATION THAT EXISTS
BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF NICARAGUA AND THE UNITED STATES OF
AMERICA.

AS PART OF THE 2009 OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES, THE EMBASSY
PROPOSES THAT UNITED STATES MILITARY AND CIVILIAN PERSONNEL
(DEFINED AS MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES AND
CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF
DEFENSE, RESPECTIVELY, HEREAFTER REFERRED TO COLLECTIVELY AS
UNITED STATES PERSONNEL) PRESENT IN NICARAGUA IN CONNECTION
WITH THE 2009 OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES BE ACCORDED TREATMENT
EQUIVALENT TO THAT ACCORDED TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE AND
TECHNICAL STAFF OF THE EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF
AMERICA UNDER THE VIENNA CONVENTION ON DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS
OF APRIL 18, 1961; THAT UNITED STATES PERSONNEL BE PERMITTED
TO ENTER AND EXIT NICARAGUA WITH UNITED STATES IDENTIFICATION
AND WITH COLLECTIVE MOVEMENT OR INDIVIDUAL TRAVEL ORDERS (IN
ADVANCE OF EACH OF THE 2009 OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES THE UNITED
STATES WILL PROVIDE A LIST OF THE NAMES OF PERSONNEL WHO ARE
EXPECTED TO BE PRESENT IN CONJUNCTION WITH SAID ACTIVITY);
AND THAT NICARAGUAN AUTHORITIES SHALL ACCEPT AS VALID,
WITHOUT A DRIVING FEE OR TEST, VALID, UNEXPIRED DRIVING
LICENSES OR PERMITS ISSUED BY THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITIES IN
THE UNITED STATES TO UNITED STATES PERSONNEL FOR THE
OPERATION OF VEHICLES, THAT SUCH PERSONNEL BE AUTHORIZED TO
WEAR UNIFORMS WHILE PERFORMING OFFICIAL DUTIES IN NICARAGUA,
AND TO CARRY WEAPONS AS AGREED TO BY BOTH GOVERNMENTS.

THE EMBASSY ALSO PROPOSES THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF THE
REPUBLIC OF NICARAGUA ACCORD DUTY-FREE IMPORTATION AND
EXPORTATION, AS WELL AS EXEMPTION FROM INSPECTIONS AND
TAXATION ON PRODUCTS, PROPERTY, MATERIAL, AND EQUIPMENT,
IMPORTED INTO, ACQUIRED IN OR EXPORTED FROM NICARAGUA BY OR
ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT OR ITS PERSONNEL IN
CONNECTION WITH THE 2009 OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES; AND THAT THE
PARTIES SHALL COOPERATE IN TAKING SUCH STEPS AS SHALL BE
NECESSARY TO ENSURE THE SECURITY OF UNITED STATES PERSONNEL
AND PROPERTY IN NICARAGUA. THE EMBASSY FURTHER PROPOSES
VEHICLES, VESSELS, AND AIRCRAFT OWNED OR OPERATED BY OR FOR
THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO THE
PAYMENT OF LANDING OR PORT FEES, PILOTAGE CHARGES,
NAVIGATION, OVERFLIGHT, OR PARKING CHARGES OR LIGHTERAGE OR
HARBOR DUES WHILE IN NICARAGUA; HOWEVER, THE UNITED STATES
ARMED FORCES SHALL PAY REASONABLE CHARGES FOR SERVICES
REQUESTED AND RECEIVED.

VEHICLES OWNED BY THE UNITED STATES NEED NOT BE
REGISTERED, BUT SHALL HAVE APPROPRIATE IDENTIFICATION
MARKINGS.

THE GOVERNMENT OF NICARAGUA SHALL ACCEPT AS VALID
PROFESSIONAL LICENSES ISSUED BY THE APPROPRIATE GOVERNMENT
AUTHORITIES IN THE UNITED STATES TO UNITED STATES PERSONNEL.

TITLE TO UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PROPERTY (SUCH AS
EQUIPMENT, MATERIAL, SUPPLIES, AND OTHER PROPERTY) IMPORTED
INTO OR ACQUIRED IN NICARAGUA BY OR ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED
STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE IN CONNECTION WITH THE 2009
OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES SHALL REMAIN WITH THE UNITED STATES
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, WHICH MAY REMOVE SUCH PROPERTY FROM
NICARAGUA AT ANY TIME, FREE FROM EXPORT DUTIES, TAXES, AND
OTHER CHARGES. THE EXEMPTION PROVIDED IN THIS PARAGRAPH
SHALL ALSO EXTEND TO ANY DUTY, TAX, OR OTHER CHARGE THAT IS
ASSESSED UPON SUCH PROPERTY AFTER IMPORTATION INTO OR
ACQUISITION IN NICARAGUA. UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES AND
UNITED STATES PERSONNEL PROPERTY MAY BE REMOVED FROM
NICARAGUA, OR DISPOSED THEREIN, PROVIDED THAT DISPOSITION OF
SUCH PROPERTY IN NICARAGUA TO PERSONS OR ENTITIES NOT
ENTITLED TO EXEMPTION FROM APPLICABLE TAXES OR DUTIES SHALL
BE SUBJECT TO PAYMENT OF SUCH TAXES AND DUTIES BY SUCH
PERSONS OR ENTITIES.

IT SHALL BE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF UNITED STATES
PERSONNEL TO RESPECT THE LAWS OF NICARAGUA AND TO ABSTAIN
FROM ANY ACTIVITY INCONSISTENT WITH THE SPIRIT OF THE 2009
OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES. AUTHORITIES OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE
UNITED STATES SHALL TAKE NECESSARY MEASURES TO THAT END.
NICARAGUAN AND UNITED STATES MILITARY POLICE INVESTIGATORS
SHALL COOPERATE IN THE INVESTIGATION OF ANY CRIME BELIEVED TO
HAVE BEEN COMMITTED BY OR AGAINST UNITED STATES PERSONNEL.

THE EMBASSY PROPOSES THAT BOTH GOVERNMENTS SHALL WAIVE
ANY AND ALL CLAIMS (OTHER THAN CONTRACTUAL CLAIMS) AGAINST
EACH OTHER FOR PERSONAL INJURY TO OR DEATH OF THEIR MILITARY
OR CIVILIAN PERSONNEL, OR FOR DAMAGE, LOSS, OR DESTRUCTION OF
PROPERTY ARISING OUT OF THE 2009 OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES.

THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT SHALL PAY, IN ACCORDANCE
WITH UNITED STATES LAW, FAIR AND REASONABLE COMPENSATION IN
SETTLEMENT OF MERITORIOUS CLAIMS BY THIRD PARTIES ARISING OUT
OF ACTS OR OMISSIONS OF UNITED STATES PERSONNEL OR THAT IS
OTHERWISE IN CONNECTION WITH ACTIVITIES OF THE UNITED STATES
ARMED FORCES UNDER THIS AGREEMENT.

IN THE EVENT THAT AGREED ACTIVITIES INVOLVE THE USE OF
CONTRACTORS, THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE MAY
AWARD CONTRACTS FOR THE ACQUISITION OF ARTICLES AND SERVICES
IN ACCORDANCE WITH UNITED STATES LAW AND REGULATIONS. THE
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO
CHOOSE SUCH CONTRACTORS, AND SUCH CONTRACTORS AND THEIR
EMPLOYEES WHO ARE FOREIGNERS OR NON-NATIONALS OF NICARAGUA
SHALL BE ACCORDED THE SAME PRIVILEGES AS UNITED STATES
PERSONNEL WITH REGARD TO LICENSING AND REGISTRATION OF
VEHICLES, DRIVERS, AND PROFESSIONAL PERSONNEL; AND WITH
REGARD TO THE EXPORT, IMPORT, AND ACQUISITION OF GOODS AND
EQUIPMENT FOR OFFICIAL OR PERSONAL USE.

THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES AND UNITED STATES
PERSONNEL MAY USE WATER, ELECTRICITY, AND OTHER PUBLIC
SERVICES AND FACILITIES, FOR WHICH THE GOVERNMENT OF
NICARAGUA WILL ASSIST THE UNITED STATES AUTHORITIES IN TAKING
MEASURES TO OBTAIN SUCH SERVICES FROM THE INSTITUTIONS AND
CORRESPONDING OFFICES, FOR THE APPROPRIATE DEVELOPMENT OF THE
AFOREMENTIONED 2009 OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES.

FINALLY, ADDITIONAL ARRANGEMENTS AS MAY BE NECESSARY MAY
BE ENTERED INTO BY THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITIES OF THE TWO
GOVERNMENTS.

IF THE FOREGOING IS ACCEPTABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE
REPUBLIC OF NICARAGUA, THE EMBASSY PROPOSES THAT THIS NOTE,
TOGETHER WITH THE MINISTRY'S REPLY TO THAT EFFECT, SHALL
CONSTITUTE AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE TWO GOVERNMENTS, WHICH
SHALL ENTER INTO FORCE ON THE DATE OF THE MINISTRY'S REPLY,
AND SHALL REMAIN IN FORCE FOR THE DURATION OF THE 2009
OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES.

THE EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AVAILS
ITSELF OF THIS OPPORTUNITY TO RENEW TO THE MINISTRY OF
FOREIGN AFFAIRS THE ASSURANCES OF ITS HIGHEST CONSIDERATION.


EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
MANAGUA, (DATE).

END TEXT DIP NOTE ON SOFA.

4. (U) BEGIN TEXT OF DIP NOTE ON CUSTOMS PROCEDURES.

THE EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESENTS ITS
COMPLIMENTS TO THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE
REPUBLIC OF NICARAGUA AND HAS THE HONOR TO REFER TO
DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF NICARAGUA AND THE
GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA REGARDING
PROCEDURES RELATED TO CUSTOMS ISSUES IN REFERENCE TO
ACTIVITIES DESCRIBED IN DIPLOMATIC NOTE NO. .OF (DATE).


THE MILITARY-TO-MILITARY ACTIVITIES IN NICARAGUA
SCHEDULED FOR 2009, AS MUTUALLY AGREED IN DIPLOMATIC NOTE NO.
OF (DATE), WILL BE CARRIED OUT TO FURTHER THE
RELATIONSHIP OF FRIENDSHIP AND COOPERATION THAT EXISTS
BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF NICARAGUA AND THE UNITED STATES OF
AMERICA.

IN SUPPORT OF THESE MILITARY ACTIVITIES, THE EMBASSY OF
THE UNITED STATES WILL ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR COORDINATING
THE DUTY-FREE IMPORTATION AND EXPORTATION OF PRODUCTS,
PROPERTY, MATERIEL, AND EQUIPMENT, IMPORTED INTO, ACQUIRED IN
OR EXPORTED FROM NICARAGUA BY OR ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED
STATES GOVERNMENT OR ITS PERSONNEL IN CONNECTION WITH THE
2009 OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES, BY MEANS OF DUTY-FREE PERMITS,
AND/OR AS APPROPRIATE, THROUGH PERMITS (FRANQUICIAS) OR A
DUTY-FREE &PROVISIONAL IMPORTATION CERTIFICATE,8 GRANTED IN
THE NAME OF THE MISSION. THE EMBASSY HAS IN PLACE PROCEDURES
TO ENSURE OUR ABILITY TO CARRY OUT THIS RESPONSIBILITY.

THE EMBASSY ALSO REAFFIRMS THE AGREEMENT OF DIPLOMATIC
NOTE NO. IN WHICH THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF
NICARAGUA WILL ACCORD DUTY-FREE IMPORTATION AND EXPORTATION,
AS WELL AS EXEMPTION FROM INSPECTIONS AND TAXATION ON
PRODUCTS, PROPERTY, MATERIAL, AND EQUIPMENT, IMPORTED INTO,
ACQUIRED IN OR EXPORTED FROM NICARAGUA BY OR ON BEHALF OF THE
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT OR ITS PERSONNEL IN CONNECTION WITH
THE 2009 OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES.

IF THE FOREGOING IS ACCEPTABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE
REPUBLIC OF NICARAGUA, THE EMBASSY PROPOSES THAT THIS NOTE,
TOGETHER WITH THE MINISTRY'S REPLY TO THAT EFFECT, SHALL
CONSTITUTE AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE TWO GOVERNMENTS, WHICH
SHALL ENTER INTO FORCE ON THE DATE OF THE MINISTRY'S REPLY,
AND SHALL REMAIN IN FORCE FOR THE DURATION OF THE 2009
OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES.

THE EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AVAILS
ITSELF OF THIS OPPORTUNITY TO RENEW TO THE MINISTRY OF
FOREIGN AFFAIRS THE ASSURANCES OF ITS HIGHEST CONSIDERATION.


EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
MANAGUA, (DATE).

5. (C) ANY HOST COUNTRY PROPOSALS FOR CHANGES TO THE U.S.
TEXT SHOULD BE REFERRED TO THE DEPARTMENT. STATE POCS ARE
ALBERT KRAAIMOORE, WHA/CEN (202-647-1510) AND CDR TOM HEROLD,
L/PM (202-647-7563). DOD POCS ARE WALTER EARLE, OSD/WHA
(703-697-3327) AND VANESSA MITCHELL (703-697-3190).

6. (C) UPON CONCLUSION OF THE EXCHANGE OF NOTES, EMBASSY
SHOULD REPORT THE AGREEMENT BY CABLE AND FAX A COPY OF THE
NOTES TO L/T AT 202-647-9844. POST SHOULD FOLLOW THIS UP BY
SENDING THE ORIGINAL NICARAGUA NOTE WITH A CERIFIED COPY OF
THE U.S. NOTE TO THE DEPARTMENT, L/T, ROOM 5420, ATT: DAPHNE
COOK.
RICE

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