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Cablegate: New Constellation Poses Challenges for Advancing Anti-Crime

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DE RUEHUNV #0035/01 0351312
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041312Z FEB 10
FM USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0539
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1835
INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 1048
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 0097
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0975
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 0334
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 0270
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0940

UNCLAS UNVIE VIENNA 000035

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV UN AU KCRM KCOR RS CH PK EG AG SZ
SUBJECT: NEW CONSTELLATION POSES CHALLENGES FOR ADVANCING ANTI-CRIME
AND ANTI-DRUG GOALS IN VIENNA

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Our partial success in negotiating a U.S.- backed
review mechanism for an anticorruption convention last year has
inspired a group of countries -- Russia, Iran, Algeria, China and
Pakistan -- to coordinate more closely in Vienna at UN-related
meetings on anti-crime and anti-drug issues. Following the
departure of their sophisticated Egyptian leader last year, the
group has taken on a more blunt and obstructionist character as they
pursue their common negative agenda. In turn, this has charged the
atmosphere with delegations such as Argentina, Mexico and several
European Union members that do not share their goals. Post will
monitor the progress of the alliance and determine if it can be
broken through outreach to select individual members, to G-77
"bridge" delegations such as Indonesia and South Africa, or whether
it will self destruct under the weight of its polarizing tactics.
END SUMMARY

---------------------------------
Russia Takes on an Egypt's Mantle
---------------------------------
2. (U) On January 25-26, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
hosted an expert group meeting to discuss the development of a
review mechanism for the UN Convention against Transnational
Organized Crime (UNTOC)(Note. Septel provides a readout of the
substantive results of the meeting. End Note). At this meeting,
U.S. delegation members were struck by a negative multilateral
dynamic spearheaded by Russia, with assistance from Pakistan, Iran,
Algeria, and China, that could possibly affect our work in key
UNODC-related gatherings scheduled over the next several months,
including the March UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the April UN
Crime Congress, the May UN Commission on Crime Prevention and
Criminal Justice and the ongoing Financial and Governance Working
Group for UNODC. Throughout the two-day meeting, Russia produced a
series of delay tactics aimed at halting discussions regarding a
review mechanism. These tactics were a pale imitation of previous
efforts by a recently-departed Egyptian delegation member, who was
able to argue the hardliner point of view more persuasively. With
the departure of the sophisticated Egyptian diplomat, Russia and its
partners are now resorting to rough procedural objections to promote
their negative multilateral objectives.

3. (SBU) The current hardline alliance appears to be an offshoot of
a group assembled during last year's negotiations to create a new
review mechanism for the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
That group, which also included Egypt and Cuba (which also lost one
of its most able diplomats this past fall), was partially effective
in limiting the scope of the U.S.-led UNCAC mechanism. In
hindsight, however, these countries are unhappy with agreeing to any
peer review process in Doha, and want to ensure that the UNTOC does
not follow the same path. The result is that the group (minus Egypt
and Cuba) began coordinating more closely on UNTOC and is now
transplanting its negative agenda to other Vienna meetings and
issues.

--------------------
Blunt but Effective
Obstructionism
--------------------
4. (U) Led primarily by the Russians, a coordinated hardline
alliance of Russia, Algeria, Iran and China, with occasional help
from Pakistan, delayed and blocked progress throughout the two-day
UNTOC meeting. Their actions moved Member States backwards in their
efforts to create a mechanism to review implementation of UNTOC.
The alliance refused to accept any reference in the final
conclusions to a "review mechanism," despite the fact that the
convention authorizes the States Parties to create any such
"mechanisms" needed to review implementation, and the COP had
specifically tasked the expert group to provide options for "review
mechanisms."

5. (U) A local Russian delegate led the charge with lengthy and
numerous interventions during the two-day meeting, many timed to
overturn extended efforts to reach compromise language on key
issues. For example, the Russians intervened at 8:00 PM on the
final day to reopen compromise language that had already been
approved by the delegates and gaveled as accepted by the Chair. The
reason for reopening the language was to further water down
reference to the possibility of the October COP charging a new
working group with developing terms of reference for a review
mechanism. The language had been the subject of extensive
negotiations and was already riddled with conditional caveats aimed
at mollifying the nay sayers. Iran then further extended the late
hour of the meeting by demanding that the report of the meeting be
issued as a "report of the chair," notwithstanding the fact that the

chair had made perfectly clear during the day, without objection,
that the report would not be a chair's report.

-------------------------
Raising Hackles among
Constructive Delegations
-------------------------
6. (SBU) Generally, multilateral negotiations on crime and drug
issues in Vienna have benefited from considerable collaboration
among delegations. Faced with the very unhelpful slow-rolling
tactics of this small group of hardliners, a number of active
delegations, including Argentina, Mexico, and several European Union
countries, reacted quite strongly and openly expressed frustration.
Other G-77 delegations, from which the hardliners would
traditionally look for allies, took no steps to encourage these
countries in their obstructionist pursuits. Such G-77 "bridge"
countries, for example, Indonesia and South Africa, could play a
role in pressuring the hardliners to desist with their bullying
tactics. We will work closely with these countries to try to
moderate the negative influence of Russia and its cohorts in the
weeks ahead.

7. (SBU) COMMENT: The rough procedural tactics have already been
noticed elsewhere; for example, they were evident during a
subsequent expert meeting on trafficking in persons last week. The
UNCAC experience has clearly galvanized Russia, Algeria, Iran, China
and Pakistan. However, with the loss of their capable Egyptian ring
leader, their tactics have become more blunt and obstructionist.
Although Russia is notorious in other multilateral venues for using
such tactics, in the drugs and crime context, Russia has generally
played a more moderate role emphasizing shared interests with the
U.S. Therefore, the frustration with Russia in the room among the
more constructive delegations was palpable. As the former Egyptian
leader originally provided the substantive glue for the hardliners,
we believe that the current alliance may be more vulnerable to
efforts to pick apart the group. We will work with likeminded
countries and bridge G-77 countries to assist in deflating the
hardliners before their bullying tactics reach other drugs and crime
fora. END COMMENT


DAVIES

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