Cablegate: Colombo Plan: Report On November 18 Special

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





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Colombo Plan: Report on November 18 Special

Refs: (A) State 314650

- (B) Colombo 1850 (All Notal)

1. (U) This message is Sensitive But Unclassified --
Please handle accordingly.

2. (SBU) On November 18, the Colombo Plan Council held
a Special Session to address pressing matters in the
wake of the postponed 39th Consultative Committee
Meeting (CCM), originally scheduled for April 2003, in
Tehran, Iran. The following key decisions were taken:

-- Mongolia and Vietnam were approved for full
membership by the Council.

-- The proposed amendment to the Colombo Plan
Constitution regarding suspension of training
opportunities to member states with annual dues four or
more years in arrears was tabled pending further
consultation by the U.S. representative with its host
government. (Septel will provide expanded background on
the issue and request Department guidance.)

-- Cambodia's request for exemption of 20 years of
unpaid dues and request for future exemption of
membership fees was denied by the Council.

-- The offer, by Bhutan, to host the 40th CCM in 2005
was welcomed by the member states.

-- The offer, by Iran, to host the rescheduled 39th CCM
in April or May 2004 was noted by the Secretary General,
who then suggested May 9-10, 2004 for the meeting.
Member states welcomed the suggested date, but noted
that they had to discuss it with their respective
governments. The U.S. indicated that, in its long-held
position, it had no objection to the Iranian government
hosting the meeting, but added that it would not attend.
(Note: The 39th CCM, originally scheduled for April
2003 in Tehran, Iran, was postponed due to the Iraq

-- Regarding the substance of the 39th CCM, the
Secretary General suggested that, as 2004 is the 10 year

anniversary of the revitalization program of the Colombo
Plan, an "Eminent Persons Group" be formed, prior to the
CCM, to evaluate what the organization has accomplished
in the past 10 years and to provide strategic planning
for the next 5-10 years. In response to Ambassador's
query, given that the U.S. will not be present in
Tehran, the Secretary General said he will present to
the Council the terms of reference for this group at the
next Council meeting.

3. (U) The Special Session was attended by
representatives of Australia, Burma, India, Indonesia,
Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri
Lanka, Thailand, the U.S., and Vietnam, as well as the
Colombo Plan President and Secretary General.


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