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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04BRUSSELS2277
2004-05-27 16:26:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Brussels
Cable title:  

EU AGREES NEW NON-PROLIFERATION TEXT FOR SYRIA

Tags:   PREL  PARM  KNNP  ETRD  SY  EUN  USEU  BRUSSELS 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

271626Z May 04
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRUSSELS 002277 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/ERA, NEA/ARN, NP/RA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/27/2009
TAGS: PREL PARM KNNP ETRD SY EUN USEU BRUSSELS
SUBJECT: EU AGREES NEW NON-PROLIFERATION TEXT FOR SYRIA
ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT

REF: BRUSSELS 0338 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: USEU POLOFF LEE LITZENBERGER; REASONS 1.5 (B,D)



1. (C) Summary. On May 26, the EU agreed to new
non-proliferation language for inclusion in the draft
EU-Syria Association Agreement. Last December, EU member
states rejected an ad ref text negotiated by the European
Commission for including non-proliferation language that was
too watered down from the EU's model text. As EU president
since January, Ireland has been working to devise new
language that would meet member state concerns and respond to
issues raised by Syria (e.g. reference to a nuclear weapons
free zone). The new language, obtained by USEU and at para 7
below, has not been shown to Syria. The EU proposal is to
commit Syria to take steps to set up an effective export
control system, and to ratify and implement all international
agreements on non-proliferation. It is unlikely that EU
members could agree on any substantive changes to the text,
and EU negotiators will basically present Damascus with a
take-it-or-leave-it proposition. Syria may balk at the text
and walk away; should it instead seize the opportunity to
demonstrate that it is not isolated internationally, an
EU-Syria Association Agreement could be initialed as early as
mid-June. End Summary.

EU Agrees Non-Proliferation Language for Syria


--------------------------




2. (C) On May 26, EU Permanent Representatives (COREPER)
ended months of internal wrangling and agreed on revised
non-proliferation language for inclusion in the EU's
Association Agreement with Syria. Last November, the EU
endorsed "model" non-proliferation language that the
Commission then negotiated with Syria, reaching ad ref
agreement in December on language that was somewhat watered
down from the Council's model text. In January, EU member
states rejected the Commission's negotiated language
(reftel), putting the otherwise completed agreement on ice.
Some EU members (and the Commission) argued that an agreement
based on the negotiated text was worth more than insisting on
more precise language and risking having Syria walk away from
any agreement. Others (the UK, Netherlands, and Germany)
insisted that the EU press Syria -- as a country of
non-proliferation concern -- to agree to a comprehensive text.

Irish bridge the gap


--------------------------




3. (C) The Irish, as EU president since January, took two
shots at bridging the gap between the two sides. The first
attempt earlier this year failed, but their second effort
succeeded this week in garnering consensus support among all
25 EU members. USEU has obtained an informal copy of the
agreed text (para seven below). The new text is very similar
to the (non-watered-down) model EU language originally agreed

in November; in places even going further in specifying steps
Syria will take in establishing an export control system.
The agreed text also commits both parties to work toward a
"Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction," an
issue raised by Syria and a reference to Israel.

Complex Next Steps, Even if Syria Agrees


--------------------------




4. (C) Syria has not seen the new text yet; the Commission
expects to present it to Damascus in the next few weeks. The
Commission Syria desk (protect) expects that the language
will be difficult to sell. A text, if agreed to by Syria,
will require formal approval by Syria and the European
Parliament (for the economic areas that are in the
Commission's competence) and ratification by all 25 EU member
states (for the political components of the text, including
the non-proliferation portion). According to the Council
Secretariat, the EU and Syria have already discussed

SIPDIS
implementation, on an interim basis, of the economic portion
of the agreement once the European Parliament approves it.
At the same time, the Council expects to begin a "political
dialogue" with Syria, to include non-proliferation,
terrorism, and human rights issues.

Comment


--------------------------




5. (C) It is possible that Syria will balk at the new
language -- as reported reftel, Shara claimed he did not have
complete SARG agreement on the text agreed ad ref in
December. On the other hand, if Syria can find a face-saving
way to accept the new language, Damascus will have in hand
public proof that it is not isolated in the international
community. This may be a powerful incentive in light of the
recent imposition of U.S. sanctions. At this point, the
decision rests entirely with Damascus. Given the
difficulties the EU faced in reaching consensus on this
latest text, it is unlikely to be able to agree on any
substantive changes to it. The Commission will thus have
virtually no latitude in its negotiations, and Syria will be
given a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. Should Syria
conclude that having an agreement now is worth accepting the
new language, an agreement could be initialed sometime in mid
to late June -- perhaps coinciding with the NATO summit in
Istanbul or the US-EU summit in Ireland.



6. (C) Comment continued. From the EU perspective, the
non-proliferation language gives Brussels leverage to put on
hold the trade component of the agreement for political
purposes. For example, should Syria not meet EU expectations
to establish an effective export control system, including
for dual-use goods, the EU would have grounds for withdrawing
(or not implementing) selected trade provisions of the
agreement.



7. (C) Text of EU agreed language on non-proliferation.
(Please note the text was shared informally with USEU; and
protect the fact that we have received the text.)

Begin Text:

Preamble

Considering that the proliferation of weapons of
mass-destruction and their means of delivery, both to state
and non-state actors, represents one of the most serious
threats to international stability and security.

Article 3 bis

The Parties reiterate their shared objective to pursue a
mutually and effectively verifiable Middle East zone free of
weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, biological and chemical
and their delivery systems. They agree to promote jointly
the signature, ratification and implementation by all
Mediterranean partners of all non-proliferation instruments,
including the NPT, CTBT, BWC and CWC.

Article 4

The Parties agree to co-operate and to contribute to
countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,
nuclear, biological and chemical, and their means of delivery
through meeting in full their existing obligations under
international disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and
agreements and other relevant international obligations
including United Nations Security Council resolutions and
ensuring effective implementation. The Parties agree that
this provision constitutes an essential element of this
agreement.

They also agree to cooperate to this end by:

- Taking steps towards the signature, ratification, or
accession, as appropriate, and full implementation of the
other relevant international instruments;

- Setting up effective national systems of export, transit
and en-use controls of WMD-related goods and technologies,
including dual use, and containing enforcement procedures
with appropriate penalties.

The political dialogue as set out in Article 5 will accompany
and consolidate the elements in this article.

End Text

SCHNABEL