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Cablegate: Meeting On Pa Bid for Wto Observer Status

VZCZCXRO7325
RR RUEHIK
DE RUEHGV #0902/01 2951650
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 221650Z OCT 09
FM USMISSION GENEVA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9735
INFO RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 4645
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0903
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 6914
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 5738
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 6547
RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN 8537
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 2050
RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV 1247
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 0729
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2015
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 1076
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 1824
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GENEVA 000902

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

SIPDIS

DEPT PASS USTR
TEL AVIV FOR AMB, DCM, AND ECON
USTR FOR CKLEIN, AVENKATARAMAN,SFRANCESKI, MMOWREY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD WTRO ECON PREL KWBG IS
SUBJECT: MEETING ON PA BID FOR WTO OBSERVER STATUS

GENEVA 00000902 001.2 OF 002


Reftels: (a) Jerusalem 1607 (B) Secstate 99831 (c) Geneva00783
(d) Tel Aviv 02166 (e) Geneva 00839

1.(SBU) SUMMARY - This afternoon General Council Chair (GC) Matus
held an informal consultation with a small group of countries, not
including Israel or the Arab States, on the PA's request for WTO
observer status. The purpose was to begin to resume the process
that he had started prior to the October 20 General Council meeting
as part of the preparation for the November 17 GC meeting. As in
past discussions, most delegations expressed support for the PA's
request but were measured in their approach. However, the EC
Ambassador said that if a consensus could not be reached on the
issue, his instructions were to place this issue on the agenda for
the November GC meeting. Charge laid down a strong marker that this
course of action would not only lead to a politically charged debate
ending in deadlock but would also be likely to kill any chance to
secure observer status for the PA at the Ministerial Conference
(MC). Other reps came in at this point to urge a careful approach
but the EC rep told Charge he is under instructions from Brussels so
any change in approach will have to come from there. End Summary

2. (SBU) In addition to U.S. and EC reps, the meeting was attended
by Brazil, Canada, China, and Norway. Matus opened the discussion
with very little by way of introduction other than to note that the
requisites for observer status are that the entity must be
considered a customs territory and that it must have an authority
governing it. Later he added that the applicant must indicate
intent to accede to the WTO within 5 years. Matus noted in response
to a question on process that it is normal that a request such as
this is not place on a GC agenda until there is a consensus to act
on it. However, this is not a normal situation and he is unsure how
to approach it. He also mentioned that the PA was in the process of
preparing a revised application, responding to issues that had been
raised.

3. (SBU) The EC Ambassador said he appreciated the Chair's effort to
find a consensus, though it appeared that this was not easy. He
said that the EC fully supports the request and that if no consensus
was found they would insist on putting this issue on the November GC
agenda.

4. (SBU) Charge noted that the PA was a friend and partner but that
we continued to have questions about whether they meet the criteria
to become an observer and are unlikely to be in a position to
deliver a positive response before the November GC meeting. He
noted, however, that we would support their observership at the MC
if they requested it. Responding to the EC's statement, he noted
that if they proceeded as planned it was clear there would be an
acrimonious debate in the GC and no conclusion. He noted that,
while it cannot be assured at this point that observership at the MC
would be agreed, the EC's approach would kill any chance of it.

5. (SBU) The Indian Ambassador noted the sensitivity of the issue
and supported the Chair's careful approach. India will do its best
to help develop a consensus. He urged a cautious approach.

6. (SBU) The Canadian DCM said that Canada is still examining the
issue but the devil is in the details. They are waiting for legal
analysis from Ottawa.

7. (SBU) The Chinese DCM expressed support for the PA and noted that
it was possible to differentiate between eligibility for observer
status and eligibility for accession.

8. (SBU) The Norwegian rep expressed support for the request but
agreed on the need to avoid an acrimonious debate in the GC. If
some were not ready on GC observer status, we should aim to secure
MC observer status.

9. (SBU) The Brazilian rep thought that the flexibility should be
found to agree to the PA's request.


GENEVA 00000902 002.2 OF 002


10. (SBU) Matus's next step will be to consult individually with
Israel and other key players.

11. (SBU) We strongly recommend that Washington agencies reach out
to the EC and appropriate Member States as soon as possible.

SHARK

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