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Cablegate: Agreement with Nicaragua On Status of Forces for Mutually

VZCZCXYZ0004
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #4926 0492349
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 182345Z FEB 10
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHMU/AMEMBASSY MANAGUA 0000
INFO RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS STATE 014926

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR MOPS PREL KTIA NU OPDC PINS US
SUBJECT: AGREEMENT WITH NICARAGUA ON STATUS OF FORCES FOR MUTUALLY
AGREED ACTIVITIES IN NICARAGUA DURING 2010

REF: A) 10 MANAGUA 182

1. This is an action request. See paragraph 4.

2. Reftel A requested guidance regarding the renewal of the
U.S.-Nicaragua Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) for 2010, and
regarding GON-proposed modifications to the 2009 SOFA text. The
GON proposed six changes.
Guidance follows.

3. Regarding GON-proposed changes detailed in reftel A, concur with
GON proposals to summarize 2010 activities in an annex, and agree
to notify the GON of changes to activities in advance (para 1).
However, other requested changes cannot be accommodated:

(1) The release of lists of personnel and of personal information
is restricted per USG policy. Providing a list of crew members
(including military and non-military personnel) or any other
passengers on board a USS vessel as a condition of entry into a
port or to satisfy local immigration officials upon arrival is
prohibited.

(2) Requiring DOD personnel to enter on passports, even if
caveated, is unacceptable. Not all DOD personnel have passports,
and requiring all of them to obtain/maintain passports would be
overly burdensome and expensive. (Para 2, line 8). Past practice
in Nicaragua of authorized entry on orders and ID cards is
consistent with worldwide practice and should be maintained.
(3) Substituting bring in for carry, as it pertains to
U.S.
forces
weapons, is inconsistent with DOD worldwide practice and past
practice in Nicaragua (para 2, last line). This provision has been
modified to address some of the GON concerns outlined in reftel A.

(4) U.S. forces and their equipment cannot be subject to
host-nation inspection, but U.S. forces may certify that certain
standards are met (para 3, line 2).

(5) the United States cannot submit its forces to host-nation
legislation (para 3, line 3).

(6) Will cannot be substituted for shall because clarity
in
conveying the meaning of obligation is integral to an international
agreement and is consistent with USG worldwide policy.
Also note that operational activities has been replaced by
mutually agreed activities to reflect more accurately the broad
nature of activities to be conducted in the coming year. Please
relay our concerns to the government of Nicaragua.

4. Please relay the updated text to the government of Nicaragua as
follows. Begin text:

The Embassy of the United States of America presents its
compliments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of
Nicaragua and has the honor to refer to discussions between the
Government of Nicaragua and the Government of the United States of
America regarding the activities that the Governments of Nicaragua
and the United States have mutually agreed to conduct in 2010,
which are listed in Annex A. The implementation of each of these
separate activities (hereafter referred to collectively as 2010
mutually agreed activities) will be carried out to further the
relationship of friendship and cooperation that exists between the
Republic of Nicaragua and the United States of America. in the
event that one government has identified a need to make significant
changes in the nature of certain mutually agreed activities, or in
the nature of personnel and equipment related to those activities,
that government shall provide reasonable notification of changes to
the other government in advance of the activity.
In support of 2010 mutually agreed activities, the Embassy proposes
that United States military and civilian personnel (defined as
members of the United States Armed Forces and civilian employees of
the United States Department of Defense, respectively, hereafter
referred to collectively as United States personnel) present in
Nicaragua in connection with the 2010 mutually agreed activities be
accorded treatment equivalent to that accorded to the
administrative and technical staff of the Embassy of the United
States of America under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic
Relations of April 18, 1961; that United States personnel be
permitted to enter and exit Nicaragua with United States
identification and with collective movement or individual travel
orders; that Nicaraguan authorities shall accept as valid, without
a fee or driving test, valid, unexpired driving licenses or permits
issued by the appropriate authorities in the United States to
United States personnel for the operation of vehicles; that such
personnel be authorized to wear uniforms while performing official
duties in Nicaragua; and that United States personnel be authorized
to bring into Nicaragua United States Government weapons, which
must be secured by United States personnel and which may be carried
by United States personnel for such purposes as are agreed by both
governments.

The Embassy also proposes that the Government of the Republic of
Nicaragua accord duty-free importation and exportation, as well as
exemption from inspections and taxation on products, property,
materiel, and equipment, imported into, acquired in or exported
from Nicaragua by or on behalf of the United States Government or
its personnel in connection with the 2010 mutually agreed
activities; and that the Parties shall cooperate in taking such
steps as shall be necessary to ensure the security of United States
personnel and property in Nicaragua. The Embassy further proposes
vehicles, vessels, and aircraft owned or operated by or for the
United States Armed Forces shall not be subject to the payment of
landing or port fees, pilotage charges, navigation, overflight, or
parking charges or lighterage or harbor dues while in Nicaragua;
however, the United States Armed Forces shall pay reasonable
charges for services requested and received.
Vehicles owned by the United States need not be registered, but
shall have appropriate identification markings.
The Government of Nicaragua shall accept as valid professional
licenses issued by the appropriate government authorities in the
United States to United States personnel.
Title to United States Government Property (such as equipment,
materiel, supplies, and other property) imported into or acquired
in Nicaragua by or on behalf of the United States Department of
Defense in connection with the 2010 mutually agreed activities
shall remain with the United States Department of Defense, which
may remove such property from Nicaragua at any time, free from
export duties, taxes, and other charges. The exemption provided in
this paragraph shall also extend to any duty, tax, or other charge
that is assessed upon such property after importation into or
acquisition in Nicaragua. United States Armed Forces and United
States personnel property may be removed from Nicaragua, or
disposed therein, provided that disposition of such property in
Nicaragua to persons or entities not entitled to exemption from
applicable taxes or duties shall be subject to payment of such
taxes and duties by such persons or entities.

It shall be the responsibility of United States personnel to
respect the laws of Nicaragua and to abstain from any activity
inconsistent with the spirit of the 2010 mutually agreed
activities. Authorities of the Government of the United States
shall take necessary measures to that end. Nicaraguan and United
States military police investigators shall cooperate in the
investigation of any crime believed to have been committed by or
against United States personnel.

The Embassy proposes that both governments shall waive any and all
claims (other than contractual claims) against each other for
personal injury to or death of their military or civilian
personnel, or for damage, loss, or destruction of property arising
out of the 2010 mutually agreed activities.

The United States Government shall pay, in accordance with United
States law, fair and reasonable compensation in settlement of
meritorious claims by third parties arising out of acts or
omissions of United States personnel or that are otherwise in
connection with activities of the United States Armed Forces under
this Agreement.

In the event that agreed activities involve the use of contractors,
the United States Department of Defense may award contracts for the
acquisition of articles and services in accordance with United
States law and regulations. The United States Department of
Defense shall have the right to choose such contractors, and such
contractors and their employees who are foreigners or non-nationals
of Nicaragua shall be accorded the same privileges as United States
personnel with regard to licensing and registration of vehicles,
drivers, and professional personnel; and with regard to the export,
import, and acquisition of goods and equipment for official or
personal use.

The United States Armed Forces and United States personnel may use
water, electricity, and other public services and facilities, for
which the Government of Nicaragua will assist the United States
authorities in taking measures to obtain such services from the
institutions and corresponding offices, for the appropriate
development of the aforementioned 2010 mutually agreed activities.
Finally, additional arrangements as may be necessary may be entered
into by the appropriate authorities of the two governments.
If the foregoing is acceptable to the Government of the Republic of
Nicaragua, the Embassy proposes that this note, together with the
Ministry's reply to that effect, shall constitute an agreement
between the two governments, which shall enter into force on the
date of the Ministry's reply, and shall remain in effect for the
duration of the 2010 mutually agreed activities.
The Embassy of the United States of America avails itself of this
opportunity to renew to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the
assurances of its highest consideration.

Embassy of the United States of America,
Managua, [date].

Attachment: Annex A - Projected list of 2010 mutually agreed
activities in Nicaraguan territory

1. Fifteen personnel and a C-12 aircraft from the United States
Naval Oceanographic Office to conduct a joint hydrographic
evaluation, and to update nautical charts for the area in and
around the Miskitos Keys (5 January-30 April 2010).

2. One P-3 aircraft from the United States Navy, for the purpose of
national overflight in support of NASA missions (1 January-31
December 2010).

3. Ten United States Special Forces military personnel to
participate in a training exchange with the Nicaraguan Special
Operations Command (1
March-15 December 2010).

4. Five members of the United States Air Force for the purpose of a
training exchange with the Nicaraguan Air Force (8-13 February
2010).

5. Four United States Coast Guard personnel to participate in a
Subject Matter Exchange with the Nicaraguan Navy (1-27 March; 1-28
May 2010).

6. Three hundred United States military personnel in rotation for
the Medical Readiness Exercise Beyond the Horizons (25
February-15 June 2010).

7. Three hundred United States military personnel and the vessel
HSV-2 Swift of the United States Navy to conduct a Subject Matter
Exchange with the Nicaraguan Navy (17 April-30 September 2010).

8. Ten United States Marines to conduct a training exchange with
the Nicaraguan Navy (8-23 May; 6-21 September 2010).

9. One amphibious assault ship (LHD) from the United States Navy to
participate in the Humanitarian Assistance MEDRETE exercise
Continuing Promise 2010 on the Atlantic Coast in the town of
Bluefields (14-27 September 2010).

10. Twenty-five United States military personnel, by rotation, and
a United States Maritime Patrol Aircraft to conduct aerial
counter-narcotics operations in accordance with the terms of the
2001 agreement between the governments of the United States and
Nicaragua concerning cooperation to suppress illicit traffic by sea
and air (1
January-15 December 2010).

11. Thirty-five United States military personnel, two UH-60
Blackhawk
helicopters, and one CH-47 Chinook helicopter from the United
States Armed Forces to conduct a MINI-MEDRETE exercise (1-30 May
2010).

12. Fifty United States military personnel, by rotation, four UH-60
Blackhawk helicopters, and one CH-47 Chinook helicopter
from
the United States Armed Forces to participate in and support aerial
counter-narcotics operations in accordance with the terms of the
2001 agreement between the governments of the United States and
Nicaragua concerning cooperation to suppress illicit traffic by sea
and air (1
January-15 December 2010).
End text dip note on SOFA.

5. The suggested reply of the Government of the Republic of
Nicaragua should read as follows: begin text: (complimentary
opening) and refers to the Embassys note (number and date) which
reads as
follows:

(quote U.S. note in its entirety).
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the further honor to inform the
Embassy of the United States of America that the proposals set
forth in the Embassys note are acceptable to the Government of the
Republic of Nicaragua and to confirm that the Embassys note and
this note shall constitute an agreement between the two
governments, which shall enter into force on this date. End text.
6. Upon conclusion of the exchange of notes, Embassy should report
the agreement by cable, and send the original host country note
with a certified copy of the U.S. note to the Department, L/T, Room
5420
(attn: Daphne Cook).
CLINTON

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