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Cablegate: Libya & U.S. Sign Highly-Enriched Uranium Transfer Agreement

VZCZCXRO2547
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHTRO #0870 3011529
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 281529Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5420
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 0075
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 0639
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 0093
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 5969

S E C R E T TRIPOLI 000870

NOFORN SIPDIS

NEA/MAG, ISN/NESS, AND L; DEPT PLEASE PASS TO DOE - M FOR M. TSIKLAURI E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/28/2019

TAGS: PREL KNNP ENRG TRGY IAEA PINR TSPL TPHY TNGD

SUBJECT: LIBYA & U.S. SIGN HIGHLY-ENRICHED URANIUM TRANSFER AGREEMENT REF: TRIPOLI 794

CLASSIFIED BY: Joan Polaschik, DCM, U.S. Embassy Tripoli, U.S. Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1. (S/NF) On October 28, Libya and the U.S. signed the bilateral agreement for the transfer from Libya to Russia of Libyan Highly-enriched Uranium (HEU). The Ambassador signed for the U.S., and Dr. Ali Gashut of Libya's Atomic Energy Establishment signed on behalf of Libya. No press was in attendance, and there was no public statement made by either side, at the request of the Libyans.

2. (S/NF) The Libyans strongly objected to any public profile or press release for the event, stating that the issue of transferring nuclear fuel from Libya was too sensitive to report before it actually took place. As reported reftel, the shipment is planned to take place on November 21, 2009. Based on updates from the DOE experts who have been traveling to Libya to prepare the shipment, we are confident that the shipment will take place as planned. The Ambassador agreed with Gashut to revisit the press issue once the fuel transfer has been completed.

3. (S/NF) Comment: The signing of the HEU Agreement is an important step on Libya's part towards fulfilling its commitments to dispose of its WMD. While it would have been a positive story to report, we are more interested in ensuring that the fuel transfer takes place with no problems, rather than to insist on press at this juncture. Embassy Tripoli's Public Affairs Office has been in touch with State and Department of Energy counterparts to request that any public acknowledgement of the agreement signing be embargoed until after the shipment has taken place. End comment. CRETZ

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