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Cablegate: Icc: Italy's Encouraging Position On Article 98 Agreement

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L ROME 003796

SIPDIS

MOSCOW FOR U/S BOLTON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/01/2012
TAGS: PREL IT KICC

SUBJECT: ICC: ITALY'S ENCOURAGING POSITION ON ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENT

REF: A. ROME 3580 B. ROME 3703 C. ROME 3760

CLASSIFIED BY: ACTING DCM THOMAS COUNTRYMAN FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D)

1. (C) ON AUG 1, THE AMBASSADOR AND ADCM MET WITH AMBASSADOR GIOVANNI CASTELLANETA, THE DIPLOMATIC ADVISOR TO PM AND ACTING FM BERLUSCONI, TO DISCUSS THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC). (OTHER ISSUES REPORTED SEPTEL.) THE AMBASSADOR DEPLOYED THE "SUPER-TALKER" POINTS ON THE ICC AND ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENTS WITH CASTELLANETA AND STRESSED, AS HE HAD PREVIOUSLY, THAT SIGNING AN ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENT WITH THE GOI IS A TOP PRIORITY FOR THE PRESIDENT. THE AMBASSADOR UNDERSCORED THAT THE U.S. IS NOT TRYING TO SABOTAGE THE COURT BUT IS RATHER TRYING TO PROTECT ITS PERSONNEL WITH AN ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENT. FURTHERMORE, SUCH AGREEMENTS FALL WITHIN THE ROME STATUTE PROVISIONS.

2. (C) CASTELLANETA REPLIED THAT THE GOI PREFERS TO WAIT UNTIL THE EU REACHES A CONSENSUS ON ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENTS. IN ANY CASE, THE GOI WOULD BE WILLING TO SIGN ONE WITH THE U.S., SAID CASTELLANETA. THE GOI LEGAL ADVISORS HAVE CONFIRMED THERE WAS NO LEGAL OR JURIDICAL OBSTACLE TO SIGNING SUCH AN AGREEMENT. CASTELLANETA SUGGESTED THE OPTION OF SIGNING A "ONE-SIDED AGREEMENT" WITH THE USG BY WHICH THE GOI WOULD AGREE NOT TO TURN U.S. PERSONNEL OVER TO THE ICC BUT WOULD NOT SEEK SIMILAR PROTECTION FOR ITALIAN PERSONNEL FROM THE USG.

3. (C) COMMENT: THIS IS THE MOST POSITIVE RESPONSE EMBASSY HAS YET RECEIVED ON THE ISSUE OF AN ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENT WITH THE GOI (SEE REFTELS). IT APPEARS THAT ONCE AGAIN, WHEN PRESIDENT BUSH ASKS PRIME MINISTER BERLUSCONI FOR HELP, THE HELP IS FORTHCOMING. DURING HIS ROME CONSULTATIONS ON AUG 5, WE RECOMMEND THAT U/S BOLTON FOLLOW UP WITH GOI INTERLOCUTORS ON THE USG'S STRONG INTEREST IN SIGNING A BILATERAL ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENT WITH ITALY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND ENCOURAGE ITALY TO PREVENT A COMMON EU POSITION OPPOSING ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENTS. WE SPECULATE THAT CASTELLANETA'S SUGGESTION THAT WE SIGN A "ONE-SIDED AGREEMENT" COULD BE THE GOI'S WAY TO STRIKE A BALANCE BETWEEN THE U.S. AND THE EU POSITIONS ON THE ICC. IT MAY OFFER THEM A WAY TO REAFFIRM, TO BOTH ITALIAN AND EUROPEAN PUBLIC OPINION, THEIR COMMITMENT TO THE ICC BY DEMONSTRATING THAT THEY ARE WILLING TO SUBJECT THEIR OWN PERSONNEL TO THE COURT, EVEN WHILE HONORING OUR REQUEST TO USE OUR OWN COURTS TO TRY ACCUSED US PERSONNEL. END COMMENT. SEMBLER

C O N F I D E N T I A L ROME 004031

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/09/2012
TAGS: PREL IT KICC

SUBJECT: GOOD ADVICE ON ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENTS FROM ITALY

REF: A. ROME 3855 AND PREVIOUS B. STATE 150277 C. STATE 146035 D. ROME 3984

CLASSIFIED BY: A/DCM THOMAS COUNTRYMAN, REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D).

1. (C) SUMMARY: MFA POLITICAL DIRECTOR GIANCARLO ARAGONA URGED THE U.S. TO EXPLAIN THE EFFORT TO NEGOTIATE ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENTS UNDER THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT "ROME TREATY" IN TERMS OF THEIR IMPORTANCE FOR ALLOWING CONTINUING USG INTERNATIONAL INVOLVEMENT. "DON'T EMPHASIZE YOUR SEPARATENESS," ARAGONA ADVISED. RATHER, THE U.S. SHOULD ARTICULATE POSITIVE REASONS FOR ITS NEED FOR AGREEMENTS ON THE BASIS OF ITS ONGOING COMMITMENT TO INTERNATIONAL INVOLVEMENT. HE HIGHLIGHTED THE IMPORTANCE OF THE USG'S HAVING ALLIES LINED UP TO SPEAK OUT IN FAVOR OF THE AGREEMENTS AT THE UPCOMING EU DISCUSSION ON THE SUBJECT. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) A/DCM TOOK ADVANTAGE OF AN AUGUST 8 MEETING ON HOW BEST TO FOCUS ASSISTANCE TO AFGHANISTAN (SEPTEL) TO DOUBLE-TRACK WITH POLITICAL DIRECTOR ARAGONA A NUMBER OF ISSUES. IN SHORT SIDEBARS, A/DCM SHARED REF C POINTS ON U.S. GOALS FOR THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY. REVIEWING THEM BRIEFLY, ARAGONA COMMENTED, "I SUSPECT YOU READ OUR OWN (POSITION) PAPERS." ARAGONA REVIEWED WITHOUT COMMENT THE POINTS ON RUSSIAN-IRANIAN NUCLEAR COOPERATION (REF B). A/DCM EXPLAINED THOSE POINTS HAD ALSO BEEN LEFT AT THE PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE THE SAME DAY (GOI SUBSEQUENTLY INFORMED US THAT THE PM HAD RAISED THIS ISSUE IN A PHONE CALL TO PUTIN - SEE REF D).

3. (C) THE BULK OF THE CONVERSATION WAS DEVOTED TO CONFIDENTIAL DISCUSSION OF ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENTS UNDER THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT "ROME" TREATY. A/DCM REGRETTED PRESS ARTICLES NAMING ITALY AS THE NEXT COUNTRY WITH WHICH THE USG HOPED TO NEGOTIATE AN ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENT. ARAGONA AGREED THAT THE REMARK DID NOT HELP ITALY AS IT SOUGHT TO MOVE FORWARD ITSELF AND WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF EU DISCUSSIONS. "WE ARE ALREADY RECEIVING STRONG CRITICISM FROM THE OPPOSITION AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS," ARAGONA EXPLAINED. "ITALY HAS AN EXTREMELY STRONG CONSTITUENCY IN FAVOR OF THE ICC." HE SAID THAT THE GOI'S NEGOTIATING ROOM HAD NOT BEEN IMPROVED BY THE COMMENT.

4. (C) ARAGONA DESCRIBED THE MOOD IN THE EU AS "TOUGH" AGAINST THE U.S. POSITION. THE EU PRESIDENCY AND SEVERAL STATES WERE LEADING THE CHARGE AGAINST NEGOTIATING BILATERAL AGREEMENTS. "I ASSUME YOU HAVE OTHER COUNTRIES THAT ARE MORE AMENABLE TO YOUR POSITION," ARAGONA SAID, NOTING HE HAD HEARD REPORTS THAT SOME EU COUNTRIES HAD ENCOURAGED THE U.S. IN NEW YORK TO NEGOTIATE ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENTS RATHER THAN SEEK A WAIVER AT THE UN. A/DCM CONFIRMED THIS HAD OCCURRED. THEN IT IS VITAL THAT THESE COUNTRIES SUPPORT THE U.S. IN EU DISCUSSIONS ON SEPTEMBER 4, ARAGONA INSISTED. IT WOULD BE THE RIGHT THING TO DO, BUT IT WAS ALSO CRUCIAL FROM A TACTICAL STANDPOINT. THE U.S. MUST GET THESE COUNTRIES, AND ANY OTHER FRIENDLY EU COUNTRIES, LINED UP IN ADVANCE OF THE MEETING IN ORDER TO AVOID A UNIFIED POSITION AGAINST NEGOTIATION OF ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENTS. "IF YOU FACE A WALL OF OPPOSITION," ARAGONA WARNED, ITALY ALONE COULD NOT REVERSE THE TREND. EMPHASIZING THAT HE TRUSTED HIS REMARKS WOULD BE TREATED WITH DISCRETION, ARAGONA SHARED THAT HE HAD NOT SEEN MUCH SUPPORT FOR THE U.S. POSITION IN THE EU.

5. (C) ARAGONA CONTINUED THAT HE UNDERSTOOD THE REMARKS OF A GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON WERE INTENDED FOR DOMESTIC CONSUMPTION. BUT THE U.S. APPROACH WAS HAVING AN ANTAGONIZING EFFECT ABROAD, HE DECLARED. RATHER THAN CONTINUOUSLY EMPHASIZING THE NEED TO "PROTECT" ITS PEOPLE, ARAGONA URGED THAT THE U.S. FOCUS ON ITS DESIRE TO REMAIN INVOLVED INTERNATIONALLY AND IN PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS. THE U.S. WOULD GET FARTHER IF IT EMPHASIZED ITS COMMITMENT, RATHER THAN ITS SEPARATENESS AND ITS "STANDARD POSITION" AGAINST INTERNATIONAL JURISDICTIONS. ARAGONA AGAIN DECLARED THAT THE GOI WANTED TO ARRIVE AT A WAY TO ACCOMMODATE THE U.S. NEEDS; HIS REMARKS WERE OFFERED IN THAT LIGHT.

6. (C) A/DCM THANKED ARAGONA FOR THE USEFUL INFORMATION AND HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS. HE CONTINUED THAT THE ROME TREATY WAS AN ACHIEVEMENT OF WHICH EUROPEAN MFA LEGAL EXPERTS WERE UNDERSTANDABLY PROUD AND WHICH THEY WOULD WANT TO DEFEND. BUT, HE ADDED, THE ISSUE OF ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENTS WAS TOO IMPORTANT TO LEAVE TO THE EU'S LEGAL EXPERTS. WERE THE EU TO TAKE A POSITION AGAINST BILATERAL AGREEMENTS, THERE WOULD BE SERIOUS NEGATIVE EFFECTS AND NO POSITIVE ONES. IT WOULD BE A SIGNIFICANT IRRITANT IN U.S.-EU RELATIONS. "THAT WON'T HAPPEN," ARAGONA SAID FLATLY. "THERE WILL NOT BE A BINDING DECISION NOT TO SIGN. OF THIS THERE IS NO DOUBT." THE PROBLEM, RATHER, WAS HOW TO SAFEGUARD THE INTEGRITY OF THE COURT WITH A LEGAL RESOLUTION THAT FITS U.S. NEEDS. "ONE MAY BE ARTICLE 98, BUT THERE MAY BE OTHERS," HE SAID. A/DCM PROMISED TO KEEP THE GOI INFORMED OF WHICH OTHER EU MEMBERS WOULD BE SUPPORTIVE OF THE GOI'S POSITION AGAINST A NEGATIVE CONSENSUS.

7. (C) COMMENT: ARAGONA'S VIEWS WERE HONEST AND DIRECT EXPRESSIONS OF BOTH THE CONSTRAINTS ITALY FACES AND ITS WILLINGNESS TO BE OUR PARTNER IN THIS ENDEAVOR, HELPING US TO MOVE THE ISSUE FORWARD BILATERALLY AND IN THE EU CONTEXT. IT IS INCUMBENT ON US, HOWEVER, NOT TO MAKE THIS EFFORT ANY MORE DIFFICULT FOR THE GOI AND OUR OTHER ALLIES IN THIS DEBATE. ITALY FACES, AS ARAGONA EXPLAINED, A STRONG AND VOCAL DOMESTIC CONSTITUENCY IN FAVOR OF THE COURT. ITS ROLE AS HOST OF THE TREATY SIGNING THAT LED TO THE COURT'S CREATION IMPOSES YET ANOTHER PUBLIC CONSTRAINT ON ITALY'S FLEXIBILITY. MANY OF OUR INTERLOCUTORS UNDERSTAND THAT THE ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENTS ARE NOT MEANT TO UNDERMINE THE COURT OR CONTRAVENE THE TREATY'S INTENT. JUST THE OPPOSITE, AS WE CONTINUE TO STRESS. BUT THE ITALIAN PUBLIC, FANNED BY THE NOTORIOUSLY UNRELIABLE AND PARTISAN ITALIAN PRESS, CAN BE LED TO BELIEVE OTHERWISE UNLESS THE DEBATE IS MANAGED AS CAREFULLY AS POSSIBLE. WE NEED TO ENSURE THAT OUR STATEMENTS HERE, ELSEWHERE IN EUROPE, AND IN WASHINGTON DO NOT MAKE THE GOI'S JOB MORE DIFFICULT AS IT SEEKS TO WORK WITH US IN THIS PUBLIC RELATIONS MINEFIELD.

8. (C) COMMENT, CONT. ARAGONA'S SUGGESTIONS FOR HONING OUR PUBLIC APPROACH AS WE SEEK ARTICLE 98 AGREEMENTS ARE GOOD ADVICE, IN THE EUROPEAN CONTEXT. DESPITE USG EFFORTS TO DISPEL THE MYTH, THE PERCEPTION CONTINUES IN ITALY AND ELSEWHERE THAT THE U.S. PRESSURED, EVEN CONTINUES TO PRESSURE, COUNTRIES NOT TO SUPPORT THE COURT. OR MEASURES TO PROTECT AMERICANS ABROAD STRIKE MAN IN EUROPE AS DISINGENUOUS, HYPOCRITICAL AND OFFNSIVE. AS ARAGONA IMPLIED, WE NEED TO SOUNDLY RFUTE THE MISPERCEPTION THAT AN ARTICLE 98 AGREEMNT IS INTENDED TO CRIPPLE THE COURT. IF WE CAN ONVINCINGLY ARTICULATE HOW THESE AGREEMENTS, BY RSOLVING USG CONCERNS, WILL MAKE IT EASIER FOR THE .S. TO CONTINUE TO OUR LEADING INTERNATIONAL INVLVEMENT, WE WILL HAVE GIVEN OUR ALLIES IN THIS DSPUTE SOMETHING TO ARGUE ON OUR BEHALF DURING UPOMING EU DELIBERATIONS.

9. (C) CONCLUSION: EMBASY APPRECIATES DEPARTMENT'S EXTRA EFFORT TO MAKE AVAILABLE (INCLUDING ON INTRANET) INFORMATION ANDTALKING POINTS ON ARTICLE 98. WE WILL BE DEPLOYIN THESE IN A SERIES OF PRESS BACKGROUNDERS FOR AL MAJOR MEDIA, DESPITE THE LATE-AUGUST ITALIAN HOLIDAY SEASON. WE WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE THE DEPARTMENT AND OTHER POSTS IN EU STATES KEEPING US INFORMED OF WHICH OTHER EU MEMBERS ARE LIKELY TO RESIST ADOPTION OF A NEGATIVE CONSENSUS, SO THAT THE GOI CAN COORDINATE A COMMON APPROACH TO THE EU DISCUSSION OF THIS TOPIC.

SKODON

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