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Cablegate: Usg Policy Toward Yemeni Arms Acquisitions

VZCZCXYZ0010
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #0330 3562230
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 222224Z DEC 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY SANAA PRIORITY 0000

S E C R E T STATE 130330

NOFORN
SIPDIS

EO 12958 DECL: 12/22/2019
TAGS MARR, MCAP, MOPS, PARM, PINR, PREL, PTER, MASS
SUBJECT: USG POLICY TOWARD YEMENI ARMS ACQUISITIONS

REF: SANAA 002208

Classified By: NEA/ARP Director Andrew W. Steinfeld for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (U) This is an action request. Please see paragraphs 6-8.

2. (S/NF) SUMMARY: We have received reports of an arms deal between the Yemeni Ministry of Defense and what is believed to be a front company for Serbian arms dealer Slobodan Tesic. This individual is designated under the travel ban under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1521 (2003) and its subsequent extensions for his assistance in providing arms to Liberia in violation of the UN arms embargo. Washington seeks to verify this reporting with the government of Yemen, and strongly urges Yemen not to deal with individuals designated by United Nations Security Council Resolutions. End Summary.

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BACKGROUND
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3. (S/NF) Intelligence reporting indicates that in early October the Yemeni Ministry of Defense signed a weapons deal with
, for $95 million in early October 2009, to be delivered by early January 2010. The scheduled delivery will include small arms ammunition, heavy artillery ammunition, sniper rifles, demolition equipment, anti-aircraft guns, and howitzers. Reporting indicates that
, both named in the contract, are linked to Serbian arms broker Slobodan Tesic, and that Tesic has made frequent trips to Yemen in the past year in connection with this contract. Tesic is designated in the travel ban annex of UNSCR 1521 for his assistance in providing arms to Liberia in violation of the UN arms embargo.
(S/NF) We have learned through sensitive reporting that Yemen may be pursuing sizable arms deals with several other Eastern European countries for $30 million to $55 million each. It is currently unclear if the Yemeni government is merely shopping around, or if the country is actually attempting to purchase several hundred million dollars in small arms for use against Houthi rebels. If the latter is true, we have concerns about stockpile security and the potential for these weapons to be diverted to Yemen,s robust black market.

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OBJECTIVES
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4. (S) Posts should seek to:
--Ascertain whether the Yemen Government is dealing with Slobodan Tesic.
--Discourage Yemen from working with individuals designated by United Nations travel bans.
--Note USG concerns about a possible small arms buildup in Yemen.

-------------------------------
ACTION REQUEST / TALKING POINTS
-------------------------------
5. (S) Post is requested to demarche host governments at the highest appropriate level to convey the following points to all action addressees:
BEGIN TALKING POINTS
SECRET/REL YEMEN
-- The United States understands that you might be using a Serbian arms broker connected to Slobodan Tesic to procure arms.
-- If this is true, you should know that Tesic is designated under a travel ban under UNSCR 1521 for his assistance in providing arms to Liberia in violation of the UN arms embargo.
-- We would discourage your government from working with this individual, due to his UN designation and history of disreputable arms deals.
-- In addition, it has been our understanding that, since 2005, your government was no longer using arms brokers to procure weapons for your military.
--While we recognize your right to acquire arms for your legitimate defense needs, we have concerns that any arms in excess of your requirements may fall into the black market. We encourage your government to be vigilant in securing your weapons stockpiles and reiterate our offer for a visit by the Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to provide a technical assessment to assist you in this effort.
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END TALKING POINTS
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REPORTING REQUIREMENT
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6. (U) Post is asked to report results of its efforts.
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POINTS OF CONTACT
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7. (U) Washington points of contact for follow-up are XXXXXXXXXXXX , ISN/CATR and XXXXXXXXXXXX , NEA/ARP.

8. (U) Department thanks post for its assistance. Please slug all responses for ISN, NEA, and T. CLINTON

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