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Cablegate: Usun: Council Response to Somalia Piracy Resolution

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O 120049Z DEC 08
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 001165

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM PHSA EWWT KCRM UNSC SO XA XW
SUBJECT: USUN: COUNCIL RESPONSE TO SOMALIA PIRACY RESOLUTION

REF: STATE 129528

1. (U) This is an urgent action request. Please see
paragraph 7.

2. (U) SUMMARY: In response to reftel instructions, USUN
circulated our draft resolution on Somalia piracy to the P3
on the evening of December 9 and to the broader Council on
December 10. Initial expert-level consultations were held on
December 11. While no delegation was able to receive full
instructions from capital on one day's notice, the meeting
yielded significant concern over the broad authorities that
the draft would give states to use force in the territory of
Somalia. More detailed textual negotiation is expected at
the next experts meeting at 10:00am on Friday, December 12.
End Summary.

3. (U) During expert-level consultations on Thursday,
December 11, the U.S. draft resolution on Somalia piracy
received initial positive comments from France, the UK,
China, Belgium, Croatia and Italy, while Vietnam, Panama,
Costa Rica and Burkina Faso said that they were willing to
engage constructively on the basis of our draft. Indonesia
and South Africa indicated that they had reservations about
the U.S. draft.

The core issue: force against pirates on land
---------------------------------------------

4. (U) All delegations other than Libya and Italy raised
concerns over the wording of operative paragraph (OP) 4,
which allows states and regional organizations cooperating
with the Somali government to use all necessary means in
Somali territory and airspace against those suspected of
piracy and armed robbery at sea. Delegations voiced concern
over the broad authorities proposed by the U.S. and
questioned what operations were contemplated that would
necessitate such far-reaching provisions for the use of
force. China worried that under the U.S. draft, third
countries could be allowed to base troops in Somalia. Russia
recalled that the authorizations contained in resolutions
1816 and 1846 were governed by the law of the sea but noted
that the authority to use force in the current U.S. draft had
no reference to any such international legal instrument.
France, the UK, Russia and Burkina Faso asked for
clarification of the word "ashore" in the U.S. text, noting
that this did not necessarily limit the use of force to
littoral areas.

5. (U) Delegations also voiced concern over the stated intent
of the resolution to "interdict" suspected pirates, noting
that determining jurisdiction over suspected pirates of
Somali nationality detained in Somalia would be more
complicated than if they were detained at sea and asking what
legal framework would govern such actions. South Africa and
Indonesia said that actions against pirates on land could
have the unintended consequence of exacerbating political
instability in Somalia.

Other issues:
-------------

6. (U) In addition to the core concerns referenced above,
delegations also raised concerns over:

- Coordination of anti-piracy efforts: China, backed by Libya
and Vietnam proposed language to promote UN coordination of
anti-piracy efforts;

- Shipriders: France, Belgium, South Africa and the UK asked
what legal framework would govern the resolution's Chapter 7
request that states deploy shipriders aboard vessels engaged
in anti-piracy efforts;

- Ransoms: France and Russia objected to language on ransom
payment in OP3 and OP6;

- Investigations: France and Panama objected to the
requirement in OP10 that states make their citizens available
for "forensic investigation at the first port of call,"
noting that if their nationals were rescued from pirates,
their first priority would be to bring them home.

Comment and action request:

USUN NEW Y 00001165 002 OF 002


---------------------------

7. (SBU) As currently worded, OP4 of reftel draft resolution
is too broad to garner support even from our European allies.
In order to secure necessary authorities in time for the
Secretary's ministerial meeting on piracy on December 16, we
urgently need to know what types of specific actions are
contemplated against suspected pirates on land. This
information will help us to craft specific language in order
to respond to our needs as well as the concerns of others on
the Council. Should such operations include possible
detention of suspected pirates, we anticipate the need for
language that will address jurisdiction.

In addition, we urgently request Department input on
applicable international law which could govern actions
covered by our authorization. Citing such principles within
our authorization paragraph (as in the precedent of
resolutions 1816 and 1846) will help allay concerns that the
authorization is overly broad.

Khalilzad

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