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Cablegate: Pedersen Opposed to Joshka Fischer's Appointment

VZCZCXRO2072
OO RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK
DE RUEHLB #3128 2701503
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 271503Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5803
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 0355

S E C R E T BEIRUT 003128
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
NSC FOR ABRAMS/DORAN/MARCHESE/SINGH
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/27/2026
TAGS: PREL PGOV LE SY
SUBJECT: PEDERSEN OPPOSED TO JOSHKA FISCHER'S APPOINTMENT
Classified By: Jeffrey Feltman, Ambassador, per 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (S) In a one-on-one meeting with the Ambassador, Geir
Pedersen, the UNSYG Annan's Personal Representative for
Lebanon, reported that he has learned that Annan plans to
appoint former German Foreign Minister Joshka Fischer as his
special envoy for Lebanon. Describing the idea as "terrible"
for both political and substantive reasons, Pedersen hoped
that what he understood as stiff French opposition would
derail the idea. If Fischer is appointed, Pedersen said that
he would quit his UN position by the end of the year and
return to Norway.

2. (S) Politically, Pedersen argued, Annan is "playing
right into the hands of the conspiracy theorists." Consider,
he said, the following elements: German Chancellor Merkel's
comments about "protecting Israel," the German naval task
force, German technical assistance at the Lebanese border,
Fouad Siniora's current trip to Germany, and the rumors in
Beirut that Detlev Mehlis and Gerhard Lehmann will come back
to replace Serge Brammertz and his UNIIIC team in January.
Silly as it sounds, Pedersen said, Fischer's appointment will
be taken as an part of an "ominous pattern," and he'll start
off in an atmosphere of deep suspicion and hostility he will
not be able to transcend.

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3. (S) On substance, Pedersen said, Fischer's appointment
makes no sense. As Pedersen understands it, Fischer will not
be resident in Lebanon but travel here periodically. This
means that he will never truly understand the issues or be
trusted by the Lebanese. Worse, by being here only
periodically, he will not be able to exercise discipline over
the UN humanitarian and reconstruction efforts being overseen
by an unorgnized and incompetent UNDP. UNDP's Lebanon chief
Mona Hammam will still be free to operate independntly from
the broader political agenda of the UNC.

4. (S) Pedersen was at a loss to explain wy Kofi Annan
would come up with an idea that "isso wrong." The end
result, Pedersen said, will e that the UN loses its
political expertise on Leanon, as Terje Roed-Larsen will
join Pedersen inleaving. Pedersen expressed consternation
that nnan would take what Pedersen saw as a radical and
misguided step, and one that will cause upheavalin the UN's
ability to deal with Lebanon issues, n his last months in
office. He expressed hope hat the USG would join France in
trying to dissude Annan of formally appointing Fisher.
Perhaps,Pedersen said, the USG can quietly whisper to
Ficher himself why it would be better for him not to ccept.
5. (S) Comment: Pedersen -- like Larsn -- has
self-interest in seeing that Fischer's ppointment does not
happen. While Pedersen has ears of experience dealing with
Terje Roed-Larse and can adjust his own work to Larsen's
UNSCR 159 role, Fischer would probably see himself as more
of a traditional supervisor to Geir's office (whch for all
practical purposes is currently indepndent). But we agree
with Pedersen's analysis tat the Lebanese will not view
Fischer as a credibe, neutral envoy. In the context of what
else Grmany is doing these days in Lebanon, he will be sen
as part of a German plan to "protect Israel" t the expense
of Lebanon's sovereignty. It is ausing to speculate whether
Larsen or Fischer woul be viewed with greater alarm by
Hizballah. Endcomment.
FELTMAN

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