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Cablegate: Unesco: Ambassadorial Delegation Switching:

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Lucia A Keegan 12/01/2006 09:38:15 AM From DB/Inbox: Lucia A Keegan

Cable
Text:


UNCLAS SENSITIVE PARIS 07612

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

DISSEMINATION: UNESCOX
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: AMB:LVOLIVER
DRAFTED: LEG:TMPEAY
CLEARED: DCM:ACKOSS

VZCZCFRI455
RR RUEHC RUCNSCO RUCNDT RUEHBS RUEHNE RUEHKO
DE RUEHFR #7612/01 3350517
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 010517Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3479
INFO RUCNSCO/UNESCO COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1037
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS BE
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1042
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2397

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 007612

SIPDIS

FROM USMISSION UNESCO PARIS

SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR IO/FO, IO/UNESCO, L/UNA (SULLIVAN)
L/EUR (OLSON), USUN (WILLSON)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SCUL UNESCO KPAO XG
SUBJECT: UNESCO: AMBASSADORIAL DELEGATION SWITCHING:
REVIEW OF LEGAL, PRACTICE, AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS

REF: PARIS 07127

1. (U) This is an action request. See paragraph 7.

2. (U) Reftel reported on a recent UNESCO Executive Board (EB)
decision (175th session, fall 2006) with respect to a controversial
European Union-initiated practice of ambassadorial switching (or
surrogate representation among ambassadors) during EB committee
meetings. Reftel further reported that the U.S., India, Japan and
several other delegations opposed this action as contravening
longstanding UNESCO practice that heretofore has limited
participation in such meetings strictly to representatives from
States that had been formally elected to serve on those EB
committees.

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3. (U) Reftel also reported that our success in having the EB adopt
a resolution to examine this controversial practice prevented it
from receiving the hurried and expedient endorsement it might
otherwise have received, if left to European Union Member States and
other States that would have gone along unwittingly. The resolution
adopted however sets forth a step-by-step procedure that
contemplates more in-depth consideration of this issue by not only
the UNESCO Director-General, but also by the members of the
Executive Board, and potentially by all UNESCO Member States.

4. (U) The key operative paragraphs of the resolution provide as
follows:

(quote) The Executive Board, . . .

Para. 4. Requests the Director-General to develop a document for
its 176th session outlining the present rules, regulations, and
practices concerning the designation of members to delegations to
the Executive Board of UNESCO and to similar bodies within the
United Nations system generally, and, in that regard, to consult the
Members of the Executive Board in this process;

Para. 5. Decides to have a discussion on how to proceed on this
issue, based on the document requested above, at its 176th session.
(end quote)

5. (U) The review process now underway offers a critical opportunity
for the United States and other Executive Board Member States to
examine this practice soberly and with a measure of objectivity.
U.S. Mission (as well as India and Japan), however, would like to do
more than examine this practice. We would like to discredit it and,
in the process, override the UNESCO Legal Adviser's (LA) overly
simplistic view that the absence of an EB rule expressly prohibiting
this practice renders it by default lawful. However, these
objectives can only be achieved if serious-minded EB Member States
like the U.S., Japan, and India actively seek to influence the
analysis of the D-G's "document" to be presented at the next EB
meeting (April 10-26, 2007)(see para 3 reftel). In that regard, we
believe two statements made by the LA are arguably contradictory and
thus merit closer examination as part of our overall assessment. On
the one hand, he has informed EB members that "proxy representation"
(i.e., one person representing two or more States) is prohibited
under UN rules. On the other, he has opined that what the Europeans
did at UNESCO did not amount to "proxy representation." Query: did
the ambassadorial switching in effect amount to a form of proxy
representation?

6. (U) At the close of the EB session, U.S., Japanese, and Indian
reps reached an informal gentleman's agreement to request our
respective capitals and respective delegations to UN agencies to
contribute to this review by preparing written views and also by
raising pertinent questions aimed at challenging the admissibility
of this practice, taking into account the contemporary and
traditional "rules, regulations, and practices" in place at those UN
agencies. Since it is widely acknowledged (including by UNESCO's
Legal Adviser) that rules and practices can and do vary from one
international organization to another, the specific issue the
Mission needs to decide is whether ambassadorial delegation
switching should be a permitted practice at UNESCO. The answer to
that question will be shaped largely by what we learn from our
respective surveys and analyses. For this reason, it would be
useful to also examine the relevant rules, regulations, and
practices that are recognized at non/non-UN agencies that have
governing bodies comparable to the EB.

7. (U) Action Request. Mission requests that Department prepare as
soon as possible a preliminary draft of a paper reflecting USG views
regarding this practice. Mission proposes that Department assess
the unusual practice that certain European ambassadors have recently
sought to normalize within UNESCO's Executive Board in the light of
representation rules, regulations, practices, and applicable legal
norms and principles recognized by comparable governing bodies
elsewhere within the UN system as well as at other international
organizations. On the basis of Department's preliminary paper,
Mission would then engage in an exchange of views with our Japanese
and Indian Mission counterparts government's respective preliminary
views. Mission would provide feedback to the Department from those
discussions before the USG paper is finalized. It would be highly
desirable if Mission could provide the Department's finished product
to UNESCO's secretariat not later than January 16, 2007. Ideally,
and to have maximum impact, the USG's considered views should be
submitted to the Secretariat in time to influence its separate
analysis of this question. We don't yet have a sense as to when the
Secretariat's "document" will be completed, but we should assume

SIPDIS
that it could be ready fairly early in 2007.

8. (SBU) Japanese UNESCO delegation's legal adviser (Kawahara)
informed Mission this week that the Japanese Foreign Ministry and
Japanese multilateral missions have begun research work to prepare
for submission of an official GOJ paper. Similarly, we learned from
our Indian colleague this week that this issue is India's top
priority of items from the last EB that require follow-up, and that
the Indian foreign ministry is actively preparing a paper on this
issue that it intends for public distribution. Both delegations have
expressed interest in receiving USG views and in collaborating
further with us on this. Hence, the follow-up collaboration that we
anticipated is gaining traction.

9. (U) Comment: Mission welcomes Department's reaction to this
request and to our proposed follow-on collaboration with India and
Japan. Within the Executive Board, Afghanistan, India and Japan are
(correctly) seen as the lead activists on this issue, and the U.S.
seen as a like-minded but less prominent player. This is a
perception and a reality that we wish to encourage, particularly as
we are mindful of the need to avoid needlessly provoking EU Member
States over this issue. Our approach to date has been that this
issue can be, and deserves to be, addressed dispassionately and on
its merits, bearing in mind its wider implications for important
issues of process and principle that affect U.S. interests at
multilateral international institutions. End Comment.

10. (U) Primary contact person at the Mission will be Legal Adviser
Michael Peay, and back-up will be DCM Andy Koss.
Oliver

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