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Cablegate: Unesco: Usg Delegation Final Statement at Cultural

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

1. Robert S. Martin, the co-head of the United States
delegation to the UNESCO-based discussions concerning a
draft Cultural Diversity Convention, summarized the USG
objections to the proceedings in a 3 June oral statement
delivered during the concluding session of the talks. The
text follows.

2. Begin text.

The Final Statement of the United States Delegation by the
The Honorable Robert S. Martin:

The draft convention produced by this Working Group is
deeply flawed and fundamentally incompatible with UNESCO's
Constitutional obligation to promote the free flow of ideas
by word and image.

As we have noted from our very first intervention in these
negotiations last September, the United States is among the
most culturally diverse countries in the world and proudly
celebrates its diversity.

We came here fully prepared to help craft an effective
instrument to promote cultural diversity. We had hoped for
genuine dialogue and true consensus.

However, as this meeting progressed, we have not only
observed but have been told repeatedly that this convention
is not about culture. What we have seen in various press
reports and official statements is that this convention is
actually about trade. In fact, the trade agenda was so
compelling that we even had to bend UNESCO's long-
established rules to accommodate the participation of the
European Commission, which has competency for trade, not

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Because it is about trade, this convention clearly exceeds
the mandate of UNESCO. Moreover, it could impair rights and
obligations under other international agreements and
adversely impact prospects for successful completion of the
Doha Development Round negotiations. In so doing, it will
set back progress toward the economic liberalization that
has done so much to increase prosperity throughout the
world, particularly in developing countries, where culture
plays such an important role in development.

The United States tried to turn these deliberations in a
positive direction at every stage from the moment we
reentered UNESCO. Our entreaties for a serious negotiating
process to produce a convention that would encourage and
promote cultural diversity have been largely ignored.

We are also concerned because the process in which we have
been engaged has not had the collegial atmosphere
characteristic of UNESCO meetings, probably because of the
artificial urgency to produce a completed text in a short
period of time. Although the legal advisor has pointed out
that the charge to this Intergovernmental Meeting is to
develop a "preliminary draft of a convention," we were
instead instructed by the Chair to produce a clean final

The manner in which the Intergovernmental Meetings have been
conducted has inhibited rather than encouraged negotiation
and deliberation. The rules of procedure-as well as
UNESCO's normal practices-have been inconsistently applied
and at times completely ignored. The insistence on voting
under the guise of "signification" has encouraged division
rather than fostering the development of consensus.

What we have done here in the past week has undermined the
spirit of consensus that normally characterizes the work of
UNESCO. It will surely weaken UNESCO's reputation as a
responsible, thoughtful international organization.

In spite of the disappointing results of the past week, the
United States still hopes there remains a possibility to
achieve a truly consensus convention worthy of UNESCO.

End text.


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