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Cablegate: Seeking Progress On Psi Shipboarding Agreement

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #9654 2612058
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 172051Z SEP 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY KYIV IMMEDIATE 0000

UNCLAS STATE 099654

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KNNP KTIA MNUC PARM PHSA PREL UP
SUBJECT: SEEKING PROGRESS ON PSI SHIPBOARDING AGREEMENT
WITH UKRAINE

REF: STATE 032521

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.

1. (SBU) OBJECTIVES: Washington remains committed to
completing a bilateral shipboarding agreement with
Ukraine under the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI)
and is prepared to send an interagency team of experts
to Kyiv to resolve remaining differences between the
Ukraine-proposed and U.S.-proposed texts. Although we
understand the Ukrainian government (GOU) also wants to
meet in Kyiv, we have not yet received official GOU
feedback on whether the explanations we provided them in
February (reftel) have resolved any of their concerns.
We need to obtain GOU feedback to develop solutions and
mutually acceptable compromises before holding our next
meeting.

2. ACTION REQUESTED: Embassy is requested to obtain the
necessary substantive feedback from appropriate host
government officials, and to propose dates for a meeting
in Kyiv. Embassy may draw on or deliver the points in
paragraph 4 below.

3. (SBU) BACKGROUND: Since 2004 we have been negotiating
with Ukraine a Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI)
shipboarding agreement, which will be a key means of
making the PSI operational between our countries and
expediting requests to board U.S. or Ukrainian flagged
vessels suspected of trafficking in WMD-related items.
In February 2008 in Washington, U.S. and Ukrainian
experts held a useful half-day meeting on this proposed
agreement (reftel). The U.S. experts discussed U.S.
concerns with the latest Ukrainian-proposed draft text
and explained the reasons for U.S. positions, including
USG legal constraints. The Ukrainians explained the
rationales behind their proposals.

4. Begin points on PSI Shipboarding Agreement:

-- The U.S. considers the February 13 meeting in
Washington on the draft shipboarding agreement to have
been very useful. We were able to discuss each side's
concerns in sufficient detail so that each side obtained
a much better understanding of the other,s positions.

-- During and after the February 13 meeting, the U.S.
provided additional informational materials to the
Ukrainian MFA:

- An explanation of U.S. procedures for settling
claims for damages during ship boardings, in English
and Ukrainian;
- Draft bilingual forms for communications between the
Competent Authorities of the Parties;
- The U.S. Coast Guard's procedures for the use of
force, in English;
- A U.S. summary report of the February 13 meeting.

-- We would like to receive any feedback Ukraine has on
these documents.

-- We believe the next step toward completing the
shipboarding agreement is to receive Ukraine,s current
positions. In order to be well-prepared for the next
meeting, the U.S. team needs to receive a statement in
advance identifying which issues remain of concern to
Ukraine and which questions have been resolved in
Ukraine,s view.

-- The U.S. is very interested in completing this
agreement and wants to continue working closely with
Ukraine toward that end. A U.S. expert team is available
and willing to visit Kyiv for another round of talks at
a mutually convenient time. U.S. experts would be
available for meetings in the second half of October
(any time from October 16-28). We believe that at least
two days will be needed to address all remaining issues.

-- If Ukraine considers it helpful, the U.S. team could
provide a briefing on the scenarios featured in tabletop
exercises we conducted this spring with Malta and Croatia
to practice implementation of our bilateral shipboarding
agreements with those countries. We could conduct a
similar tabletop exercise with Ukraine's operational
personnel once the provisions of the shipboarding
agreement are finalized.

5. REPORTING DEADLINE AND POINTS OF CONTACT: Embassy
is requested to obtain and report host government
response no later than September 29, 2008. Washington
points of contact are Jane Purcell, ISN/CPI, e-mail:
PurcelJa@state.gov, 202-647-6186; and J. Ashley Roach,
L/OES, e-mail: RoachJA@state.gov, 202-647-1646.
Department much appreciates Post's assistance.
RICE

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