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Cablegate: Egypt-U.S. Joint Standing Committee On Nuclear

VZCZCXYZ0003
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #2404 3641536
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 301536Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4610
INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW IMMEDIATE 0410
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA IMMEDIATE 0165

C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 002404

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/30/2019
TAGS: AORC EG EU IAEA KNNP PREL RS TRGY UN
SUBJECT: EGYPT-U.S. JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON NUCLEAR
ENERGY COOPERATION (JSCNEC): GOE AGENDA CONCERNS

REF: A. REF: A. STATE 55370 B. CAIRO 2361 C. CAIRO 2348 D. E-MAILS 12/17 AND EARLIER CAIRO (GAYLE) - DEPT(ISN/NESS: HUMPHREY) Classified By: Classified By: Minister Counselor for Economic and Polit ical Affairs Donald A. Blome for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. (C) Main Points: -- During upcoming JSCNEC meetings in Cairo GOE wants a tight focus, both in agenda and in delegation composition, on technical issues related to Egypt's expanding civil nuclear power development. -- GOE flagged several civil nuclear issues as already the subject of GOE consultations with the EU, IAEA, and Russia, and therefore less desirable as subjects for JSCNEC attention. -- Egyptian priorities for JSCNEC discussions are safety, quality assurance, and management. -- U.S. delegation visit to Inshas is feasible.

2. (SBU) Ministry of Electricity First Under Secretary Khalil Yasso, who will head Egypt's delegation at JSCNEC talks January 20-21 in Cairo, on December 28 raised with Embassy GOE concerns about USG's June 2009 proposals for civil nuclear cooperation (ref a). Yasso listed what he said were the five main topics proposed by USG in June -- research reactor operations, neutron activation analysis, the commercial production of radio isotopes, nuclear safeguard regulation, and state systems of accounting and control. He said these are areas in which Egypt is already engaged in technical consultations with the European Union and the IAEA. Yasso also mentioned, without elaboration, that consultations with Russia in some of these areas are already in train.

3.(SBU) In contrast, Yasso said the focus of Egyptian interest at JSCNEC will be themes of safety, quality assurance, and management, as reflected in four topics: Egypt's soon-to-be national nuclear regulatory body (ref b), the restructuring of Egypt's Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA), development and implementation of quality assurance programs, and the development of a safety group within the NPPA.

4. (C) Yasso also said the composition of the USG delegation has, in view of the JSCNEC's narrowly technical purpose, an unexpectedly large proportion of State Department officials and an unexpectedly small number of experts from technical agencies. Yasso said Minister of Electricity Hassan Younis is extremely interested in successful JSNEC consultations. Yasso said that Minister Younis is arguing within the GOE interagency that JSCNEC consultations will be purely technical, with no political element, but that Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials during internal GOE consultations have criticized the composition of the U.S. delegation as more political than technical.

5. (C) Though Yasso has not yet requested a formal USG response, he hopes USG will factor GOE concerns and priorities into JSCNEC planning. Yasso noted significant GOE concern, as reported ref c, on Egypt's lack of "human capacity" for civil nuclear development, with broad civil nuclear cooperation with the United States a way to bridge this gap. Yasso said he hoped to communicate GOE concerns about the JSCNEC in writing at some point.

6. (C) Younis said the GOE would, in response to an earlier USG request (ref d), be happy during the January meetings to arrange a visit by the U.S. delegation to the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority's (EAEA) research facilities at Inshas. Scobey

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