Search

 

Cablegate: Fourth Visit of Status of Forces Negotiation Team

VZCZCXYZ0003
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPG #1319 3541412
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (CCY AD40E85E WSC2852-695)
P 201412Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY PRAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9920
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEAMDA/MDA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS PRAGUE 001319

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

C O R R E C T E D COPY CAPTION
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MASS MARR EZ
SUBJECT: FOURTH VISIT OF STATUS OF FORCES NEGOTIATION TEAM
TO PRAGUE

REF: PRAGUE 1205

1.(SBU) Summary and Comment: From December 11-13, PM Senior
Advisor Ambassador Jackson McDonald led an interagency team
in Prague through the fourth round of negotiations for the
Supplemental Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). Ivan Dvorak,
Director of Strategy and Policy at the Czech Ministry of
Defense, led the Czech inter-ministerial delegation.
Significant progress was made on important environmental
portions of the text, an area that had not been substantively
addressed in previous rounds. Both sides also made progress
on criminal jurisdiction and construction standards. As the
agreements have several overlapping provisions, Ambassador
McDonald and several members of the SOFA team remained in
Prague for the fourth round of Ballistic Missile Defense
Agreement (BMDA) negotiations on December 14.

2.(SBU) Although sticking to their strict negotiating
mandate, Dvorak and other Czech negotiators indicated on
several occasions they may have greater flexibility on major
issues, such as scope and symbolic rent, after a January 17
Czech National Security Council review of their negotiating
positions. Taxes and labor issues will be a major focus of
the next round in late January. Both the Czech and American
teams expect two or perhaps three more rounds will be
required to finish the SOFA talks. End Summary and Comment.

Environment

3.(SBU) Four senior Department of Defense (DOD) environmental
experts exchanged information with their Czech counterparts
at the Ministry of Environment during the week of December 5.
The team members stayed for the first day of SOFA
negotiations to help the legal team draft language for the
SOFA text. The Czechs largely accepted the U.S. proposal
requiring the U.S. to respect, as opposed to comply with,
Czech environmental laws.

Criminal Jurisdiction

4.(SBU) Per reftel, the Czechs refusal to provide a blanket,
advance waiver of primary criminal jurisdiction had been one
of the major stumbling blocks to completing the SOFA
agreement. During this round, the U.S. accepted the Czech
proposal that the Czechs would have primary jurisdiction over
any offenses committed outside of the radar base. However,
the U.S. can ask the Czechs to waive their right of
jurisdiction. If the Czechs agree or do not respond within 30
days, the U.S. will have primary jurisdiction over the case.
This is similar to the formulation the U.S. has in other
countries, e.g. Spain.

Construction Disputes

5.(SBU) Both sides also developed a mechanism to resolve
construction disputes. The U.S. agreed to provide the Czech
executive agent, most likely the Ministry of Defense, with
drawings and plans for any construction projects at the
proposed facility. The Czech authorities will have the right
to monitor construction projects to insure compliance with
the submitted plans. However, if the inspector believes the
project deviates from the plans, he or she must seek approval
from a senior MOD official to suspend construction. A
U.S.-Czech Joint Commission would then seek to resolve the
impasse. Unfortunately, the Czechs still insist that their
construction standards apply to the non-mission areas of the
proposed radar facility.

Taxes and Labor Issues

6.(SBU) The fourth round revealed that the SOFA tax
provisions remain one of the major outstanding issues. Czech
Ministry of Finance officials are still struggling to
comprehend many of the SOFA,s concepts. They also must fully
understand their relationship to European Union directives,
Czech domestic legislation, the U.S.-Czech Treaty for the
Avoidance of Double Taxation, and existing obligations under
the NATO SOFA. The Czechs continue to insist that all
employment at the radar facility conform to the Czech,s very
restrictive labor laws. The planned expert consultations
before the next round should help resolve these two areas of
concern.

7.(U) Ambassador McDonald cleared this cable.
Thompson-Jones

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: As COVID Deaths Pass Two Million Worldwide, Guterres Warns Against Self-Defeating ‘Vaccinationalism'

With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement , Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Washington Riot And The Georgia Results

Hong Kong and Washington DC. On the same morning, the tyrants in power in Beijing and their counterpart in the White House have shown how they refuse to accept the legitimacy of any different points of view, and the prospect of losing power… More>>

UN: Violent Attempt At US Capitol To ‘overturn’ Election, Shocking And Incendiary

Unsplash/ElevenPhotographs The US Capitol building in Washington D.C. A group of independent UN rights experts released ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>