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Cablegate: Same Question, Same Answer: Egypt Still Unwilling To

VZCZCXRO0647
RR RUEHAST RUEHDH RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHSL RUEHTRO
DE RUEHEG #0286 0411523
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101521Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0219
INFO ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS CAIRO 000286

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
DEPT FOR DREW NELSON AND RACHEL KASTENBERG
DEPT FOR NEA/ELA AND NEA/RA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAID TSPL KGHG EG
SUBJECT: Same Question, Same Answer: Egypt Still Unwilling to
Associate with the Copenhagen Accord

REF: 10 STATE 11182; 10 CAIRO 162

1. (SBU) Key Points:

--Egypt remains unwilling to associate with the Copenhagen Accord
at this time and may not make a final decision about whether to do
so until April 2010.

--According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Egypt's
concerns about the accord include a lack of information about
financing for the $30 billion 2010-2012 fund and what organization
will carry out verification measures for countries' promises to
lower emissions

--Egypt has "reservations" about the African Union (AU)'s support
for the accord and will make its decision independent from the AU.

2. (SBU) MFA First Secretary for Sustainable Development and
Environmental Affairs Mohamed Nasr told ESTH officer on February 8
that Egypt remains unwilling to associate with the Copenhagen
Accord at this time (Ref A). Noting that Egypt is "not
necessarily opposed," Nasr explained that different government
ministries continue to evaluate the accord. He explained that the
National Committee on Climate Change - chaired by Environment
Minister Maged George - and a technical group - led by Dr. Mostafa
Tolba, a scientist and former director of the United Nations
Environment Program - have met regularly to review the accord. He
then reiterated Egyptian concerns about financing, emission
commitments, and technology transfer mechanisms (Ref B).

3. (SBU) Nasr said the Egyptian government (GoE) is seeking
information about financial commitments to assist developing
countries reduce their emissions. It remains unclear when and to
which countries the $30 billion 2010-2012 fund will begin
disbursing money. Nasr emphasized several times that Egypt is not
seeking financing but consider this an important element of the
accord that has not been sufficiently addressed. He stated that
Annex I countries have not laid out when they will begin supporting
the fund.

4. (SBU) Nasr expressed reservations about the reporting system for
countries' pledges to lower emissions. He said that the accord
fails to specify what organization will verify which countries are
fulfilling their emission commitments and also does not address the
issue of compliance. According to the GoE, there is nothing in the
accord that will compel countries to report how they are lowering
their commitments - this remains conditional and voluntary. Nasr
noted several times during the meeting that the only legal document
about climate change is the Kyoto Protocol (KP) and that Egypt
would prefer to see it extended five years until 2017.

5. (SBU) In response to ESTH officer inquiry about the African
Union (AU) endorsement of the accord, Nasr again pointed out the
GoE's "reservations" and stated that Egypt will not be swayed by
the AU and will make its decision independently. He said that
representatives from the French and Canadian embassies had recently
urged MFA officials to associate with the accord and that his
office had also explained Egypt's current "wait and see" position.


6. (SBU) Nasr said he did not expect a final decision about GoE
support for the accord until "possibly April" but noted that this
is ultimately a political decision and the timeframe may be moved
up - possibly to March. He stated that any decision must have
"political approval" from the MFA and that Prime Minister Ahmed
Nazif will announce the GoE's position on the accord. If Egypt
chooses to associate with the accord, "we will fully honor our
obligations," he said.
SCOBEY

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