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Cablegate: New Zealand to Remain Tough On Burma

VZCZCXRO2134
PP RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHWL #0806 3130145
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 090145Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4877
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0373
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 5029
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 0173
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 0149
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0673
RUEHDN/AMCONSUL SYDNEY PRIORITY 0603
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0103

C O N F I D E N T I A L WELLINGTON 000806

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/ANP, EAP/MLS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/09/2017
TAGS: PREL PHUM ASEAN BM NZ
SUBJECT: NEW ZEALAND TO REMAIN TOUGH ON BURMA

REF: A. A) STATE 148530
B. B) STATE 148528

Classified By: Pol/Econ Counselor Margaret McKean; Reason 1.4 (b) (d)

1. (C) Pol/Econ Counselor met on November 5 with Bernadette
Cavanaugh, the newly arrived head of the SouQast Asian
office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) to
discuss Burma and next steps for the GNZ. Cavanagh related
that her office has been working on a proposal for the
government that outlines various ideas to remain engaged on
Burma. She underscored that PM Helen Clark has been clear
that New Zealand will raise Burma at every appropriate
bilateral and multilateral meeting, and at all levels. The
PM plans to discuss Burma at the East Asian Summit Leaders
lunch. During the recent ARF intersessional meeting Brunei,
Burma was a topic of discussion, according to Cavanaugh.

2. (C) Raising Burma to the level of the Security Council
would be a new step for New Zealand, allowed Cavanaugh, but
New Zealand is looking at a variety of options. Regarding
sanctions, absent a Chapter 7 resolution, New Zealand
domestic law does not allow imposition of sanctions.
However, the violence in Burma has underscored to the
government that there may be instances where New Zealand may
want to impose sanctions without the benefit of a UNSC
resolution. Therefore, the government has asked MFAT's legal
division to examine if New Zealand might usefully be amended
to allow for such a possibility. The legal division has also
been asked to discuss the matter with other partner
governments.
3. (C) Cavanagh reported that the GNZ assesses the most
useful avenues for positive action on Burma are China, India,
and the ASEAN countries. To that end, New Zealand missions
in China and New Delhi and in those ASEAN capitals where New
Zealand has a diplomatic presence were asked last week to
demarche the Foreign Ministries in capitals regarding Burma,
said Cavanaugh. In all instances, New Zealand officials
pressed host country governments to do more as well as stated
New Zealand's position that the issue should to go to the
Security Council. In Beijing, Chinese authorities reportedly
told New Zealand interlocutors that China believed that
Gambari was doing a good job and to allow him to continue to
work. In New Delhi, the New Zealand embassy's attempts to
schedule a meeting with the Foreign Ministry have been
rebuffed; Cavanaugh opined that their mission believed Indian
officials were trying to avoid discussing Burma.

4. (C) New Zealand's assistance program to Burma amounts to
roughly NZ$500,000, with all of it going through
international agencies such as UNDP and WFP. The GNZ is
examining if any of that money is more available to Burmese
officials as opposed to the public. There are also a small
number (approximately 6) English-language training
scholarships and roughly a dozen other scholarships; the GNZ
is also analyzing if those benefit officials or their
families.

5. (C) Finally, New Zealand has put off indefinitely its
ASEAN dialogue meeting, originally scheduled for later this
year. New Zealand is Burma's dialogue partner, and the GNZ
has informed other ASEAN countries that there will be no
meeting with ASEAN because of Burma. Initial reaction within
ASEAN has been positive, and Cavanaugh acknowledged that
pressure on New Zealand to schedule a meeting may materialize
in the future, as there remains 18 months before the rotation
to Malaysia -- a long time without a dialogue meeting between
ASEAN and New Zealand.

6. (C) P/E Counselor noted that the Asian Pacific
Parliamentary Forum (APPF) would be meeting in January 2008,
and that might be a useful venue for discussions on Burma,
particularly with those ASEAN countries represented.
Cavanaugh responded that the APPF was a useful idea and
agreed to include it in the MFAT proposal to government.
Cavanaugh offered to provide a readout to us regarding New
Zealand's discussions on Burma at the EAS

McCormick

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