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Cablegate: Shannon: Ireland Asks Usg Opinion On Searching

VZCZCXRO3748
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHDL #1516/01 3471634
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 131634Z DEC 05
FM AMEMBASSY DUBLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6251
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DUBLIN 001516

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/09/2015
TAGS: PREL PROV KDEM KPAO IZ EI
SUBJECT: SHANNON: IRELAND ASKS USG OPINION ON SEARCHING
AIRCRAFT

REF: A. SECSTATE 220728
B. SECSTATE 221875

Classified By: DCM Jonathan Benton, for reasons 1.4 (b) (c)

1. (U) This is an action request, please see paragraph 4.

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SUMMARY
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2. (C) On December 7, DCM met with Rory Montgomery,
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Political Director to
follow up on the December 1 meeting between Foreign Minister
Dermot Ahern and Secretary Rice in Washington, parliamentary
pressure to search U.S. aircraft in transit at Shannon
airport, and the December 15 Iraqi elections. Montgomery
stated that Minister Ahern was pleased with his meeting with
Secretary Rice. He added that the GOI continues to take it

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on faith that there have been no changes in U.S. practices at
Shannon and the GOI will not conduct searches of authorized
state aircraft. Nonetheless, he cited pressure from
parliament to inspect U.S. carriers and asked the USG to
clarify its interpretation of international law and
sovereignty governing searches of state and state contracted
aircraft. DCM also delivered reftel points on Iraqi
elections. The GOI will issue a supportive statement in the
December 14 parliament session.

--------------------------------------------- ------
MEETING WITH SECRETARY RICE AND U.S. USE OF SHANNON
--------------------------------------------- ------

3. (C) Montgomery noted that Minister Ahern was very pleased
with his meeting with Secretary Rice, during which topics
such as the Iraq war, extradition, and U.S. state aircraft
stopovers in Shannon were discussed. Montgomery also greatly
appreciated his meeting with EUR Principal Deputy Assistant
Secretary Kurt Volker. He expressed understanding of the

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U.S. approach to EU concerns about renditions, and he said
that the GOI took it on faith that there had been no changes
in U.S. practices regarding transits at Shannon airport.
Montgomery expressed mild concern over Secretary Rice's
speeches during her European tour which defend USG practices,
not only in Shannon, but throughout Europe, but which also
emphasize the Government's commitment to the War on Terror,
in effect making the first point less persuasive, in his
view.

--------------------------------------------- -----
ACTION REQUEST:
GOI SEEKS LEGAL OPINION ON SEARCH OF U.S. AIRCRAFT
--------------------------------------------- -----

4. (C) The Irish parliament has been pressuring the GOI
relentlessly to inspect US aircraft using Shannon.
Anticipating more questions on December 14, Montgomery asked
for clarification of the U.S. Government's interpretation of
international law and sovereignty principles that applied to
state/contract aircraft searches. He said that that would be
a valuable tool in guiding the GOI,s actions and policy.
Montgomery stated that the GOI's current interpretation, and
approach when questioned by parliament, of the legality of
these searches is similar to the stopping of a vehicle on the
road by police: neither would be done, in normal
circumstances, without suspicion. The GOI has told
parliament it has no grounds for suspicion and thus does not
plan to inspect aircraft. Per Montgomery's request, please
advise and provide post with talking points on USG
interpretation of the legality of searches of this type.

--------------------------------------------- -----
IRAQI ELECTIONS: GOI TO ISSUE SUPPORTIVE STATEMENT
--------------------------------------------- -----

5. (C) DCM asked the GOI for a public statement supporting
the December 15 Iraqi elections (ref A). Montgomery stated
that the GOI is supportive of the upcoming Iraqi elections
and the work underway to make them possible. Montgomery
noted previous intense debates within the GOI concerning the
Iraq war, but added that the Government had begun to balance
internal criticism by accentuating positive developments,
including the upcoming elections.

6. (C) In a follow-up call by emboff, DFA's Deputy Regional
Director of the Middle East and North Africa, Stephen Dawson,
confirmed Montgomery's sentiment and stated that the GOI will
issue an official statement in next week's Parliament

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sessions expressing anticipation of the December 15 elections
and wishing luck to the Iraqi people. Ireland will likely be
represented by an EU post-election statement. An individual
GOI statement, although unlikely, will depend on the outcome
of elections and the following events.
KENNY

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