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Cablegate: Hague Convention Committee Meeting Misfires

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Lucia A Keegan 10/27/2006 10:15:54 AM From DB/Inbox: Lucia A Keegan

Cable
Text:


UNCLAS PARIS 07054

SIPDIS
cxparis:
ACTION: UNESCO
INFO: ECON AMBU AMB AMBO DCM SCI POL

DISSEMINATION: UNESCOX
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: AMB:LVOLIVER
DRAFTED: POL:DROSTROFF
CLEARED: DCM:AKOSS

VZCZCFRI884
RR RUEHC
DE RUEHFR #7054 2991648
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261648Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2580

UNCLAS PARIS 007054

SIPDIS

FROM USMISSION UNESCO PARIS

DEPARTMENT FOR L - RICHARD LAHNE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNESCO SCUL
SUBJECT: HAGUE CONVENTION COMMITTEE MEETING MISFIRES


1. The first meeting of the Committee for the Protection of
Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict at UNESCO ended
practically before it got started today, after member states
complained that the key document to be considered had not been
distributed in sufficient time for consultations with their
capitals. The meeting was suspended and will be rescheduled for
spring 2007.

2. Dr. Guido Carducci, Chief of UNESCO's International Standards
Section in the Division of Cultural Heritage, attempted to plow
forward with the agenda despite the fact that his office had only
distributed the 33-page legal document to member states at the start
of the meeting. Carducci apologized, explaining that his office is
extremely short-staffed, and overworked.

3. After talking with various representatives of the 12 member
states on the committee, Ambassador Oliver sparked the reaction
which prompted Finland, followed by other states, to call for the
meeting to be suspended until the document could be reviewed by
experts in their capitals. (The draft guidelines document, which
was to be considered for approval today, and the document suspending
the meeting will be forwarded to Washington by e-mail.)

4. As the US is not a signatory of the Convention, Ambassador
Oliver spoke only briefly. She noted that UNESCO must be held to its
own rules, which require a six-week period for review of such
documents. The Ambassador also told those present that using
UNESCO's limited resources to pay for organizing such an meeting at
this level without giving member states ample time to prepare is a
terrible example at a time when we are urging the organization to
use its funding more effectively. (COMMENT: The US was pleased to
see that instead of just complaining, as is often done by member
states, today, Committee members actually made a decision that they
would not participate in another one of the Secretariat's poorly
organized meetings. This should send an important message to
everyone at UNESCO that member states run the show and must have the
needed documents and consultation time before important meetings
take place in the future. End comment.)
OLIVER

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