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Cablegate: Russia Puts Hold On U.S. Bsec Observer Request

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

UNCLAS ISTANBUL 000645

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECIN ETTC KFPC KTIA TU XG
SUBJECT: RUSSIA PUTS HOLD ON U.S. BSEC OBSERVER REQUEST

REF: A. ISTANBUL 470
B. STATE 43828
C. ANKARA 398
D. STATE 4274

Sensitive but unclassified. Not for internet distribution.
This message was coordinated with Embassy Ankara.

1. (SBU) Summary: Sources in the Secretariat of the
Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation indicate the
Russian Delegation blocked approval of the U.S. application
for observer status at last week's Meeting of Senior
Officials in Komotini, Greece. While the Russians
technically "supported" the U.S. application, they insisted
that it only be considered together with the other eleven
pending applications for observer status. Organizatin
officials predict that the action will effectiely postpone a
decision on the application for sx months, but note that
they expect it to be appoved during the upcoming Moldavian
Chairmanship. They also note the development underscores the
ned for BSEC to move away from its current requiremnt that
all decisions be made by consensus, and nstead adopt another
approach. End Summary.

. (SBU) Nyet: In e-mails to State Department personel,
which they promise will soon be followed by n official
diplomatic note, officials at the Orgnization for Black Sea
Economic Cooperation indiate that the negative scenario they
outlined in ef A had come to pass as a result of a Russian
deision to insist that the U.S. application for obsever
status be considered only in conjunction wit the other
eleven pending observer applications. BSEC Secretary General
Ambassador Tedo Japaridz indicated that the Russians are
particularly comitted to observer status for Belorussia and
the epublic of Cyprus, and hence argued that the U.S.
application is not "exceptional" and should be cosidered in
the same way. He expressed frustratin with the development,
noting that it is part ofa pattern of "obstruction" in a
number of interntional fora, but was at pains to emphasize
that t did not indicate "opposition" to U.S. observer
status. On the
ntrary, Russia had technically "upported"
the application, provided that it was cnsidered as part of
the total group.

3. (SBU)Next Steps: Japaridze indicates that the
Secretariat has already formally asked all pending candidates

SIPDIS
(some of which date from several years ago) to confirm that
they remain interested in becoming a member of BSEC. Once
this is done, all 12 applications will be taken up as a group
in the next senior officials' meeting (during the Moldavian
Chairmanship). Japaridze noted that a number of countries,
including Georgia, Azerbeijan, Moldova, Albania and Ukraine,
signed a formal statement of support for the U.S.; others,
including Turkey, Greece, Armenia and Serbia, did not join
the statement, but separately expressed a positive view.

4. (SBU) BSEC Reform: Japaridze, who is currently in Albania,
noted that he is talking to the Albanians about the need to
rethink the rule of consensus. He predicted that this will
be difficult to do, but might be possible by creating "some
linkages in this regard." He noted that the Albanian Foreign
Minister will be in touch with the American Ambassador next
week in Tirana to discuss this issue. Japaridze indicated
that he has heard from some "BSEC insiders" that the Russians
also want to talk to the U.S. about the Black Sea and BSEC
directly. This, he said, has been communicated through
former Romanian Foreign Minister Segi Cheluk to Ron Asmus.

5. (U) Comment: We will push the dialogue further when BSEC
officials return to Istanbul from the Komotini meeting and
their follow-on travels. End Comment.

ARNETT

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