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Cablegate: Senior Mfa Official On Multilateral Issues: Goe

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 008850

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM EG UN
SUBJECT: SENIOR MFA OFFICIAL ON MULTILATERAL ISSUES: GOE
TAKES STRONG POSITIONS BUT MORE DIALOGUE IN ORDER

REF: STATE 207928

Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: The DCM raised UN reform and the need for
greater U.S.- GOE cooperation at the UN with Assistant
Minister for Multilateral Affairs Naella Gabr on November 16.
Gabr noted that Egypt differs from the U.S. on many reform
initiatives, the use of country specific resolutions on human
rights, the Peacebuilding Commission, the religious
intolerance resolution, the Comprehensive Convention on
International Terrorism (CCIT), and Secretary General
discretion on General Assembly mandates. But she nonetheless
listened to the DCM's points on the USG's positions and
ultimately agreed that there may be room for cooperation and
compromise, particularly on proposals for the Peacebuilding
Commission and the CCIT.

2. (SBU) Iran resolution: DCM delivered reftel demarche
requesting Egypt's support in voting against the "No Action
Motion" pending against the Third Committee human rights
resolution on Iran. Gabr said that Egypt would not support
the U.S. and does not like country specific resolutions in
general. Although they bring pressure, such resolutions do
not, Gabr said, produce results and are highly political.
Accordingly, they should be used minimally, and only after a
staged review of a country's record. Egypt's position, she
explained, is both an Africa group and a national one.

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3, (SBU) Religious Intolerance resolution: Gabr said Egypt
does not support the use of "anti-Semitic" in the Religious
Intolerance Resolution because the phrase concerns race not
religion. The resolution's language must reflect its goal,
as described in the title. FM Aboul Gheit feels strongly
about this issue, Gabr noted.

4. (SBU) Human Rights Commission reform: Gabr said Egypt
wants:
-- the group to be more democratic and representative
(minimum of 53 members) so more nations have responsibility
for human rights;
-- no criteria for membership on the council;
-- votes to be determined by the "majority rules" principle
(vice U.S. preference for a 2/3 vote);
-- the commission to spend fewer resources on conferences and
more on education, training, and capacity building; and
-- nations to contribute funds to the commission without an
earmark so that the commission has greater discretion.

DCM pushed back that these offered no reforms at all. Egypt
just wanted to continue with the status quo in the Human
Rights Commission. Gabr countered that the Commission should
be more involved in providing technical assistance. When
asked if Iran would welcome UN technical assistance on human
rights, Gabr argued it would.

5. (SBU) UNSC reform: Gabr told the DCM that Egypt wants
the African continent to have greater representation on the
UNSC, but said it is equally important that African
representation not be a divisive matter among African
nations. She also noted that she does not believe the U.S.
will tackle the issue of the veto and does not see strong USG
support for Japan. The DCM responded that U.S. support of
Japan is not in question, but added that none of the UNSC
reform proposals currently on the table appear compelling.

6. (SBU) USG Financial Support: Gabr flagged USG financial
support for the UN as a sensitive matter for Egypt. The GOE
would like to see the U.S. funnel more of its development
assistance, in the Palestinian Authority, for example,
through UN programs. DCM noted the need for much greater
management reform within the UN system before the USG would
agree to shift bilateral aid to UN programs.

7. (SBU) Mandate review: Gabr said Egypt strongly opposes
any effort to give the Secretary General discretion to review
mandates. These should remain in the General Assembly so
that nations retain control. DCM suggested that Gabr was
mischaracterizing the U.S. proposal.

8. (SBU) Gabr said Egypt wants the Peacebuilding Commission
to fall under the ECOSOC, not the Security Council, as the
U.S. prefers. However, there may be some room for discussion
on this issue, she added. Gabr concluded that it remains
important to Egypt that the recipient country consent to any
programs.

9. (SBU) CCIT: Gabr said MFA's legal department is working
on language concerning the right to self-determination and
the rights of people under occupation. Her Deputy, Ihab
Fouzy, added that the GOE may consider cooperating on the
desire for a simple "declaration" in exchange for a
discussion (possible topics to include: best practices,
training opportunities, and experiences) at a high level
meeting of the General Assembly. Gabr said Egypt wants there
to be a consensus (not a vote) on the CCIT because a vote on
a legally binding instrument could lead to credibility
problems.

10 (SBU) Comment: Gabr is a genuine expert on the UN
system having served in both NY and as Ambassador in Geneva.
She is also an unreconstructed NAMist, and a champion of NAM
positions. A toe-to-toe exchange with Ambassador Tahir Kheli
should be revealing and constructive.


RICCIARDONE

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