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Cablegate: Libyan Mfa Briefed On Heu Security Concerns

VZCZCXRO4320
OO RUEHTRO
DE RUEHTRO #0943 3351728
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 011728Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5516
INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW IMMEDIATE 0102
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA IMMEDIATE 0087
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 6066

S E C R E T TRIPOLI 000943

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/FO AND NEA/MAG. STATE PLEASE PASS TO ENERGY
(KELLY CUMMINS AND SARAH DICKERSON).

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/1/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV MNUC PARM PINR RS KGIC KNNP KRAD ENRG
LY
SUBJECT: LIBYAN MFA BRIEFED ON HEU SECURITY CONCERNS

REF: A) TRIPOLI 938, B) TRIPOLI 941

CLASSIFIED BY: Joan A. Polaschik, Charge d'Affaires, U.S.
Embassy Tripoli, Department of State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
1. (S/NF) Pol/Econ Chief met MFA Americas Acting A/S-equivalent
XXXXXXXXXXXX December 1 to convey our serious
concerns about the security of the seven HEU-filled casks
at the Tajoura Nuclear Facility. XXXXXXXXXXXX
dismissed U.S. concerns, stating there
was "no one sophisticated enough" in Libya to be able to do
anything with the casks and that the chances of anything
happening were very low. He mentioned the IAEA seals as
evidence that the fuel was protected (Ref A). Pol/Econ Chief
underscored that the GOL should be concerned about the
situation, as the casks were easily transportable and Tajoura
was a poorly protected facility. U.S. DOE specialists had
recommended an increased security guard presence -- armed if
possible -- around Tajoura and the disengagement of the crane
inside the facility. Pol/Econ Chief emphasized that the casks
were easily transportable, and advised him not to be too
dismissive of the security risks involved in keeping the casks
unprotected. XXXXXXXXXXXX said that he would meet with Foreign
Minister Musa Kusa today to relay our concerns.

2. (S/NF) Pol/Econ Chief also described the environmental
disaster that could take place if we did not ship the casks to
Russia for disposal within a month. The U.S. needed a decision
from the Libyan side as soon as possible on the shipment, as it
would take time to reschedule the travel of the specialized
Russian plane, including overflight permits, landing permits,
and negotiating with the Russian MFA to cancel other scheduled
stops. XXXXXXXXXXXX was not aware of how complicated
it would be to schedule a return visit of the plane, although he understood
that only a few such planes exist in the world. He said he
agreed that a decision needed to be passed to us within a few
weeks.

3. (S/NF) XXXXXXXXXXXX was not aware that Dr. Gashut claimed to have
prepared a document for senior regime officials listing all of
the environmental dangers associated with holding the shipment
back. XXXXXXXXXXXX said that Gashut probably gave the paper to Prime
Mininster-equivalent al-Baghdad al-Mahmoudi (Gashut's boss) but
did not think it had been passed to the MFA. (XXXXXXXXXXXX may well
have been unaware of any communications between Gashut and Kusa
on this issue.) XXXXXXXXXXXX promised to call us after he had briefed
Kusa.

4. (S/NF) We also are seeking a meeting with Saif al-Islam
al-Qadhaif's aide Mohamed Ismail Ahmed to relay the same
information, in hopes of ensuring that senior Libyan officials
understand the grave security and safety risks posed by the
halted shipment.

POLASCHIK

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