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Cablegate: Bsec Ministerial: View From Istanbul

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIT #1910/01 2910608
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 180608Z OCT 06
FM AMCONSUL ISTANBUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6159
INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5706
RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS PRIORITY 0733
RUEHKB/AMEMBASSY BAKU PRIORITY 0003
RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE PRIORITY 0037
RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST PRIORITY 0139
RUEHCH/AMEMBASSY CHISINAU PRIORITY 0046
RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV PRIORITY 0001
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 0317
RUeHSF/AMEMBASSY SOFIA PRIORITY 0216
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI PRIORITY 0115
RUEHTI/AMEMBASSY TIRANA PRIORITY 0063
RUEHYE/AMEMBASSY YEREVAN PRIORITY 0075
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

UNCLAS ISTANBUL 001910

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL SENV KCRM TU RS SR
SUBJECT: BSEC MINISTERIAL: VIEW FROM ISTANBUL

REF: STATE 162288

Sensitive But Unclassified, Please Protect Accordingly

1. (SBU) Summary: BSEC Secretariat officials and members of
key delegations recommend that the USG discuss reftel project
on environmental enforcement for economic development in
general terms at the November 1 Council of Ministers meeting.
Seeking to place discussion of reftel project on the agenda
runs the risk of getting bogged down in political squabbles
unrelated to the merits of the proposal. Project details
including content, venue and financing should be agreed by
the Environmental Working Group prior to presentation to the
Ministers. Turkey, who chairs the Environmental Working
Group and will be taking up the BSEC Chairmanship in May, is
interested in working with the USG on environmental
protection issues. End Summary.

2. (SBU) We discussed reftel talking points with BSEC First
Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Murat Sungar who was
receptive to the idea of an environmental protection-focused
U.S. project. We also raised the idea informally with
members of the Greek, Turkish and Ukrainian delegations as
well as with Russian chairman-in-office Sergey Goncharenko
during the course of the October 5-6 BSEC Senior Officials
meeting. During a subsequent visit to Istanbul,
Budapest-based EST Hub officer reviewed reftel points with
Stefana Greavu, the BSEC secretariat staffer with
responsibility for BSEC's Environmental Working Group.

3. (SBU) Asim Arar, Turkish MFA Deputy Director General for
Multilateral Economic Affairs, advised us that the GOT would
likely be very interested in working on environmental
protection issues with the United States during Turkey's May
- November 2007 chairmanship. Turkey would like to work
seriously on environmental issues within BSEC and chairs
BSEC's Environmental Working Group so is well-placed to move
forward on this type of project, he noted. Based on previous
BSEC experience Arar predicted that it would be difficult to
add a 'conceptual' U.S. proposal to the agenda for the Moscow
Ministerial. He noted however, that most delegations would
likely be receptive to the idea as described reftel and that
it would be useful for the U.S. delegation to elaborate on
the concept given reftel during the Ministerial meeting in
Moscow. In a separate discussion Goncharenko, who chaired
the senior officials meeting, noted that it would be
virtually impossible for any proposal (whether from an
observer or member state) to be added to the Ministerial
agenda without prior discussion in a working group.

4. (SBU) Visiting EST Hub officer met with Stefana Greavu the
BSEC staffer who works with the environmental working group.
Although interested in the concept, she recommended that the
USG develop a more detailed proposal (including financing)
prior to presentation to BSEC. She questioned whether it was
necessary to add discussion of a U.S. proposal to the agenda,
noting that in the past events have been organized under the
auspices of the BSEC chair without a resolution or
intergovernmental decision. She noted that one of the
advantages to seeking to organize a Chair's initiative rather
than an intergovernmental decision was that a decision (or
resolution) ran the risk of getting bogged down in political
squabbles.

5. (SBU) When queried directly concerning the modalities of
adding reftel U.S. proposal to the agenda for the November 1
Ministerial meeting, Sungar explained that the agenda was
largely prepared by the working groups, approved by the
senior officials and then endorsed by the Ministers. He
recommended that rather than seeking to add discussion of a
U.S. environmental proposal to the agenda, the US delegation
come to Moscow prepared to give broad outlines of the
proposal as part of our opening statement. The USG could
then work directly with the environment working group to
discuss details such as content, venue and financing that
would not normally be handled by the Ministers.

6. (SBU) Comment: The adoption of the agenda at BSEC
meetings tends to be an unusually difficult and lengthy
process. We recommend that the U.S. delegation to the Moscow
Ministerial be prepared to review the concepts discussed
reftel during opening/closing statements rather than seeking
to have the U.S. project added to the agenda. The program
can then be discussed in detail at the working group level
with the aim of having it presented as a Chair's initiative
when the GOT takes the Chair in May 2007. Serbia will hold
the chairmanship from November 2006 through April 2007;
however, Serbia is an unlikely partner for this initiative as
it is focused on law enforcement cooperation, particularly
trafficking in persons, as a theme for its term in office.
End Comment.
JONES

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