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Cablegate: Unsc Welcomes Latest Brammertz Report but Differs

DE RUCNDT #1907/01 2771408
O 041408Z OCT 06




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 162320

USUN NEW Y 00001907 001.2 OF 004

This is a corrected copy of USUN 1900.

1. (SBU) Summary. During a public briefing to the UNSC on
September 29, UN International Independent Investigation
Commission (UNIIIC) Head Serge Brammertz hewed closely to the
contents of his latest report to the UNSC to document
progress in the investigation into the murder of former
Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Asserting that Hariri
likely had been killed by a male suicide bomber in his 20s,
Brammertz reaffirmed that the Commission is developing its
case to an "evidentiary standard" sufficient for an
international tribunal, and asserted that the other 14
attacks carried out in Lebanon since October 2004 had not
been carried out by 14 separate groups. Brammertz described
Syrian cooperation with UNIIIC as "generally satisfactory"
and asked for assistance from member states to protect
witnesses, provide information, and supply qualified
personnel to the Commission. Brammertz was similarly
tight-lipped during closed consultations with UNSC members
after his public briefing, but outlined his expectation that
the investigation of the other 14 cases would confirm links
between those attacks and the Hariri assassination.

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2. (SBU) Summary, cont'd. During a separate bilateral meeting
with Ambassador Bolton on September 27, Brammertz confided
that the same cell phone numbers had been used before several
of the other 14 attacks. He confessed he was unsure if the
investigation would conclude by June 2007 or if it would need
an additional year, but saw no problem with the UN and
Lebanese establishing the tribunal soon. Brammertz did warn
against hiring judges too soon, however, lest the Lebanese
force the issue of four generals incarcerated on UNIIIC's
advice before the prosecutor can argue those cases. He
confirmed it would be "extremely difficult" for him to remain
at UNIIIC beyond December 2006, but pledged to help identify
a successor.

3. (SBU) Summary, cont'd. Speaking during closed
consultations, most member states welcomed the progress
UNIIIC had achieved. Russia, however, argued against
"artificially" forcing the investigation forward and decried
the willingness of other UNSC members to treat preliminary
observations as facts. Slovakia and Denmark joined P-3
delegations in highlighting the "variable" quality of answers
given by Syrian witnesses to insist that the SARG meet UNSCR
demands by "fully and unconditionally" cooperating with the
Commission, but Russia, Qatar, Argentina, Japan, Greece, and
Tanzania welcomed Syria's "generally satisfactory"
cooperation. France and the UK joined Ambassador Sanders in
arguing that the Council would need to ensure the tribunal to
try those responsible for Hariri's murder enjoys the same
authorities provided to the Commission. During the public
meeting, Syrian PR Bashar Ja'afari argued that the Commission
should consider "war crimes" supposedly perpetrated by Israel
against Lebanon as well as the killing of the Mazjoub
brothers (reportedly members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad) in
Lebanon in May 2006. Due to differences in assessments of
Syrian cooperation with the Commission, the Council adopted a
general press statement welcoming Brammertz's report and
reaffirming the UNSC's support for the UNIIIC. End Summary.

Brammertz Hews Closely to Report in Public...

4. (U) During his public briefing to the UNSC, Brammertz
hewed closely to the contents of his latest report to the
Council in describing the progress UNIIIC had achieved over
the past three months. He said several of the human remains
discovered at the blast site point to a male in his early 20s
as the suicide bomber and reported that the Commission is
trying to determine the bomber's regional origin through DNA
and dental examinations. Brammertz suggested that Rafiq
Hariri had been the subject of surveillance and possibly
earlier assassination attempts, and that the bombing team
knew enough to evade the counter-measures Hariri's security
employed to protect him. Turning to investigations into the
other 14 attacks, the Commissioner argued that these attacks
were not commissioned and executed by 14 separate groups. He
underscored his assessment that Syrian cooperation with
UNIIIC continued to be "generally satisfactory," and during
the public briefing did not repeat charges in his report that
the quality of cooperation given by Syrian witnesses had been
"variable." Brammertz concluded his public briefing by
appealing to member states to respond quickly to UNIIIC's
requests for assistance, to help in protecting the
Commission's witnesses, and to ensure that the Commission can

USUN NEW Y 00001907 002.2 OF 004

recruit and retain qualified personnel.

...And Offers Little More in Private

5. (SBU) Responding to questions from member states during
closed consultations after his briefing, Brammertz offered
only a few more details about the status of his
investigation. Asked whether Syrian cooperation had been
"full and unconditional," Brammertz highlighted the
sensitivity of this issue to defend his earlier
characterization that it had been "generally satisfactory."
The SARG had answered all 11 requests put to it by the
Commission in a timely fashion and had provided all
documentation requested, Brammertz reported. Interviews with
Syrian witnesses had been well-organized logistically, he
continued, but the level of individual cooperation had been
"variable." Brammertz deferred all questions about the
timing of the establishment of a tribunal and its location to
the Secretariat and the GOL. In response to interventions by
Russia and Japan, among others, he shared his expectation
that investigations into the other 14 attacks would confirm
links between those cases and the Hariri case -- a
"complementarity" that should reassure members who prefer the
Commission's focus remain on the Hariri investigation.

Brammertz Meeting with Amb. Bolton

6. (SBU) Brammertz was a bit more forthcoming during a
bilateral meeting with Ambassador Bolton and poloff
(notetaker) on September 27. Explaining that the same cell
phone numbers had been used before several of the other 14
attacks, Brammertz expressed optimism that the Commission
would be able to use this evidence to establish links in
court. He said he could not predict whether the
investigation would conclude by June 2007 or need an
additional year, but expressed confidence that it was making
steady progress. Despite the uncertainty about the timeline
for the investigation, Brammertz said he had no problem if
the Lebanese decided -- for "symbolic political reasons" --
to establish the tribunal soon. But he warned that hiring
judges could force the issue of the four Lebanese generals
detained on the recommendation of former
UNIIIC head Detlev Mehlis. The Lebanese would immediately
ask the tribunal to rule on their fate, Brammertz predicted,
but the prosecutor would not yet have enough evidence to
argue the case against them. He suggested, therefore, that
the UN establish the tribunal on paper to satisfy the
Lebanese, but wait to set it up in practice until the
investigation is further along.

7. (SBU) Asked whether he planned to stay on as UNIIIC head
after his current term expires in December 2006, Brammertz
said it would be "extremely difficult" to secure another
extension of his leave from the International Criminal Court.
Ambassador Bolton told Brammertz the U.S. would want him to
remain at UNIIIC and urged him find a way to stay. But if
that proves impossible, Ambassador Bolton urged Brammertz to
help identify a successor to ensure the Commission suffers no
gap in leadership. Pledging to do his part on that front,
Brammertz predicted it would be easier to attract and retain
personnel to the Commission now that the establishment of a
tribunal appeared likely. Although the Commission still
faces the "normal problems" of recruitment, Brammertz
recalled the strong support he has received from SYG Annan
and Secretariat staff. He expressed hope that he would be
able to convince the UN controller to authorize longer-term
employment contracts for UNIIIC staff than the standard UN
six-month duration.

Predictable Lebanese and Syrian Responses

8. (U) Speaking after Brammertz during the September 29
briefing to the Security Council, Lebanese Charge d'Affaires
Caroline Ziade thanked Council members for supporting the
Commission's work and welcomed progress achieved thus far in
the investigation. She expressed hope that "cooperation with
all relevant parties would continue and improve." Turning to
negotiations between the Government of Lebanon and the UN
Secretariat on the draft treaty to establish the Hariri

tribunal, Ziade reported that establishment of the court
enjoys wide support within Lebanon and that it embodies the
hope that Lebanon will no longer be victim to political
assassinations. Urging the Security Council to approve the
establishment of the tribunal quickly, she emphasized that
Lebanon would continue to insist that the whole truth behind

USUN NEW Y 00001907 003.2 OF 004

Hariri's murder and other crimes be uncovered.

9. (U) Syrian PermRep Bashar Ja'afari, who continued the
SARG's practice of requesting to speak at every public UNSC
meeting on the UNIIIC, welcomed Brammertz's report and
pledged the SARG would continue to cooperate with the
Commission as long it remained "professional and expert." He
noted UNIIIC's observation that Syria's cooperation had been
satisfactory and warned against "attempts by some in the
region and beyond" to exploit the UNIIIC process by jumping
to "prefabricated" conclusions and providing unsupported
information. Underscoring the need to examine "new
hypotheses" regarding the assassination, Ja'afari charged
that those who had provided false testimony should be held to
account. Turning to the Commission's investigations into the
other 14 attacks, he argued UNIIIC should also investigate
"war crimes" allegedly committed by Israel during the recent
war in Lebanon as well as the May 2006 assassination of the
two Mazjoub brothers in Lebanon. (Note: The Mazjoub brothers
were reportedly members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. End

Most Council Members Welcome UNIIIC Progress

10. (SBU) Most Council members, with the notable exception of
Russia, expressed satisfaction with the Commission's
progress, particularly given the challenges imposed by the
Commission's temporary relocation to Cyprus during the recent
war. France, the UK, and Denmark joined Ambassador Sanders
in commending UNIIIC's efforts to develop its cases to an
evidentiary standard required by an international tribunal
and expressed support for the Commission's efforts to explore
links between the 14 other cases and the Hariri
investigation. Qatar also urged the Commission to follow up
on leads related to the other 14 attacks. Russian PR
Churkin, however, stated that the Commission should not be
made to "artificially" force its investigation forward.
Declaring that the UNIIIC's conclusions are only preliminary
and could be modified based on new evidence, Churkin
cautioned his colleagues not to take these observations as
facts before a tribunal decides on their validity. He also
underscored Russia's view that the Commission should be
primarily dedicated to investigating the death of Rafiq
Hariri and asserted that its mandate is only to extend
technical assistance to the GOL in its investigations into
the other 14 attacks. Japanese PR Oshima agreed that the
priority of the Commission's work should focus on the Hariri

But Differ on Assessments of Syrian Cooperation
--------------------------------------------- --

11. (SBU) France, the UK, Slovakia, and Denmark joined
Ambassador Sanders in highlighting the Commission's
observation that the quality of answers provided by Syrian
witnesses had been "variable" and calling on the SARG to
"fully and unconditionally" cooperate with the UNIIIC as
required by UNSCRs. On the other hand, Russia, Qatar,
Argentina, Japan, Greece, and Tanzania welcomed the
Commission's assessment that Syrian cooperation had been
"generally satisfactory" and expressed hope that such
cooperation would continue. Russian PR Churkin lamented the
Council's inability to "objectively reflect" Syrian
cooperation in a statement to the press (see below). China
struck a compromise position by encouraging the SARG to
comply with the relevant UNSCRs by continuing to
satisfactorily cooperate with the Commission.

P-3 Lay Down Marker on Tribunal

12. (SBU) Deploying reftel points, Ambassador Sanders
observed that as the UNSC prepares to consider the draft
treaty establishing the Hariri tribunal, that it must ensure
that the tribunal has the authority it needs to do its job
effectively. Noting that the Commission was working to
provide the best possible basis for the tribunal to conduct
its work, French PR de la Sabliere expressed "no doubt" about
the Council's "common determination" to live up to its
responsibilities in this regard as well. British PR
Jones-Parry echoed Ambassador Sanders' statement that the
tribunal must have the same authority the Commission
currently enjoys.

Council Issues Brief Press Statement

USUN NEW Y 00001907 004.2 OF 004

13. (U) After the meeting, the Greek PR (as President of the
UNSC) read out the statement below to the press on behalf of
all the members of the Council. The French had earlier
circulated a more detailed press statement that noted the
Commission's observations about linkages between the other 14
cases as well as preparations to establish the tribunal, but
the Russians, Chinese, Qataris, and Argentines insisted on
language effectively praising Syrian cooperation with the
Commission. Since member states could not reach agreement on
a more detailed statement, the Council agreed on the general
statement below:

"The members of the Security Council received a briefing
today from Commissioner Serge Brammertz on the fifth report
of the International Independent Investigation Commission on
the assassination of former Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafiq

The members of the Security Council welcomed the report and
commended Mr. Brammertz and his team for their outstanding
professional work.

The members of the Security Council are encouraged by the
report's conclusion that progress has been made in all
investigative areas.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their
unwavering support for the Commission and its central role in
identifying the perpetrators, organizers, and sponsors of the
assassination of former Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafiq
Hariri so that they can be brought to justice.

The members of the Council also reiterated their support for
the Commission in extending further its technical assistance
to the Lebanese authorities in their investigation into the
other attacks perpetrated in Lebanon since 1 October 2004, in
accordance with its mandate established by the Security
Council resolutions.

They stand ready to assist the Commission as necessary."

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