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Cablegate: Argentina Welcomes Dialogue On Priorities for Unga

VZCZCXRO6696
OO RUEHCD RUEHGA RUEHGD RUEHHA RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHMT RUEHQU RUEHTM
RUEHVC
DE RUEHBU #1249/01 2492114
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 052114Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1974
INFO RUCNMRC/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS IMMEDIATE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0236
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE 0734

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BUENOS AIRES 001249

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR DRL/MLGA ALYSON GRUNDER AND LYNN SICADE
FOR IO/RHS REBECCA JOVIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL UN AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA WELCOMES DIALOGUE ON PRIORITIES FOR UNGA
THIRD COMMITTEE

REF: A. SECSTATE 93981
B. GOMEZ-GRUNDER 9/4/08 TELCON
C. 2007 BUENOS AIRES 1055

1. (SBU) Poloff raised ref A points with Minister Silvia
Fernandez, Director for the Argentine MFA's Office of Human
Rights on September 5.

No-action motions
-----------------

Poloff thanked the GOA for voting against all no-action
motions and voting for country-specific resolutions against
Belarus, Burma, the DPRK, and Iran in 2007. She asked
whether the GOA would do the same this year. Fernandez
indicated that the GOA would continue to take a stand against
all no-motion actions raised in the Third Committee. She
also stated that although the GOA does not have instructions
on country-specific resolutions, in principle, the GOA has
not changed its position since last year.

Country-specific Resolutions
----------------------------

Belarus: Poloff explained that although the GOB's overall
human rights record remains very poor, the recent release by
the GOB of its last political prisoners in August was a
welcome sign. She added that if this positive trend
continues, the USG believes introducing a human rights
resolution at the UNGA Third Committee this year might be
counterproductive. Fernandez stated that Argentina's
position on Belarus had not changed, but agreed that the
release of political prisoners was a good sign. She said
that Argentina will continue to monitor the situation in
Belarus, but it must continue positive change for Argentina
to reconsider its position.

Zimbabwe: Fernandez stated that Argentina would "wait and
see" whether negotiations would help resolve the current
conflict before deciding whether a resolution is warranted.

Sudan: Fernandez stated that the GOA has not issued formal
instructions yet, but that in principle, the UN Human Rights
Council (UNHRC) should renew all Special Rapporteur mandates,
especially the Sudan's.

Thematic Resolutions
--------------------

Freedom of Religion: Fernandez explained that Argentina
abstained last year on the "defamation of religions"
resolution sponsored by the Organization of Islamic
Countries. She stated that if the resolution's text is the
same, Argentina will continue to abstain. She noted that
Argentina co-sponsored the EU's Religious Intolerance
resolution last year, and would do so again this year. When
asked if Argentina could work to encourage the EU to
introduce the resolution in the Third Committee as well as
the UNHRC, she said the GOA would have to consider the
matter. She added that the GOA supports the idea in
principle, but prefers to avoid the duplication of debate in
the UNHRC and the Third Committee.

Freedom of Expression: Fernandez noted that Argentina
upholds the right to freedom of expression but would have to
discuss internally to suggest tactics to defend this
principle at the UN. She opined that a generic resolution
condemning states that restrict freedom of expression would
be "too problematic" and could lead to an "infernal debate"
over the definition of freedom of expression. Speaking
unofficially, she stated that the GOA would "not discard"
strategies to vote against resolutions that infringe freedom
of expression rights when they come up at the UN or
supporting amendments to resolutions to strengthen such
rights.

Prisoners of Conscience: Fernandez noted that the GOA did
not sign the declaration and was studying it. She said that
if the Declaration were re-opened to new signatories, the GOA
would look at the text closely. She stated that in
principle, the declaration is a good one, but that there may
be concerns in the Latin American region over the paragraph
where countries commit to making the release of prisoners of
conscience a priority in their relations with other
countries.


BUENOS AIR 00001249 002 OF 002


Human Rights Consultations
--------------------------

2. (SBU) Per ref B, poloff told Fernandez that DRL/MLGA would
be willing to discuss these issues in the coming weeks in
response to the GOA's interest in holding informal bilateral
consultations on human rights issues expressed at the July
senior-level bilateral consultations (ref C). Poloff relayed
that DRL/MLGA had held digital video conferences (DVCs) with
Canada, the EU and Poland to discuss human rights issues with
positive results. Fernandez welcomed the idea, saying that
she is traveling to Geneva to participate in the upcoming
UNHRC, and a DVC would be a good opportunity to share
perspectives after the UNHRC session.
WAYNE

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