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WikiLeaks: Missile technology control regime (MTCR)

WikiLeaks cable: Missile technology control regime (MTCR)

April 1, 2005 Missile technology control regime (MTCR) - NZ chews over 2006 chairmanship

SUBJECT: MISSILE TECHNOLOGY CONTROL REGIME (MTCR) -- NEW ZEALAND CHEWS OVER 2006 CHAIRMANSHIP

REF: A. HADDA/VAN DIEPEN 3/31 E-MAILS (NOTAL) B. SECSTATE 57321

Classified By: Political-Economic Counselor Katherine Hadda, for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).

1. (C) Summary: New Zealand officials are considering whether the country should serve as the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Chair for 2006-7, as suggested by current Chair South Korea and quietly endorsed by the United States and Australia. The officials will be unable to make a decision by the April 6 RPOC, although they hope to have an answer later that week. A key concern seems to be whether GNZ has enough personnel on hand to manage the work associated with Chairmanship. End Summary.

2. (C) Reftel asked the Embassy to encourage New Zealand officials to consider positively South Korea's suggestion that New Zealand host the 2006 Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Plenary and serve as MTCR Chair for 2006-7. On March 31, Pol-Econ Counselor delivered the request to Caroline McDonald, Director of the Disarmament Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

3. (C) McDonald said that the South Koreans had raised this suggestion with New Zealand's Ambassador in Seoul, and then again through the South Korean Embassy in Wellington. She said that as the initial request was made just before last week's Easter break, Ministers were only just now having the question put to them whether New Zealand should accept the Chair. For this reason, the Kiwis will be unable to reach a decision before the April 5 RPOC meeting. McDonald said she hopes a decision will be made shortly thereafter.

4. (C) McDonald noted with a bit of consternation that the South Koreans had implied to the NZ Ambassador that very little work would be involved in chairing the MTCR. In reality, the scale of operations would be large, requiring the hosting of two meetings in parallel with the plenary, an April RPOC meeting, and others. There would also be a lot of outreach required, McDonald said, listing as examples South Korea's contacts with Pakistan, India, Syria, Iran, the UAE, and Egypt, all slated between now and June. McDonald stressed that MFAT has just 6 officials covering all disarmament and non-proliferation issues in addition to export controls. She added as a comparative afterthought that there would of course be other considerations Ministers would take into account in making their decision, but she did not elaborate on what these would be.

5. (C) Pol-Econ Couns acknowledged that MFAT's staff is small. She told McDonald that in similar circumstances, USG agencies often make use of secondments from other sections and even other agencies. McDonald agreed this might be possible in New Zealand, although other ministries may also be short of extra staff. Following an e-mail exchange with NP/CBM Acting Director Van Diepen, Pol-Econ Counselor also told McDonald that New Zealand could also rely on the expertise of past Chairs and other MTCR members. McDonald appreciated the suggestion.

6. (C) Comment: Undoubtedly factors other than staffing will go into Ministers' decision on whether to take the Chair, but in this small government the views of working-level officials will be taken seriously into account. When DCM and Pol-Econ Counselor meet (on an unrelated matter) with Minister for Disarmament Marion Hobbs on April 4, we will again encourage New Zealand to consider the Chairmanship and highlight that there are ways to handle the manpower problem.

Burnett

ENDS


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