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04COLOMBO668 2004-04-20 11:26:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Colombo
Cable title:  

Colombo Plan: How do we deal with arrears?

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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000668 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 04-20-14
SUBJECT: Colombo Plan: How do we deal with arrears?

Refs: (A) SA/INS-Colombo 04/07/04 class email
- (B) Colombo-IO/T 03/25/04 class email
- (C) Colombo 301, and previous

(U) Classified by Ambassador Jeffrey J. Lunstead.
Reasons 1.5 (b,d).

1. (U) This is an Action Request -- Please see
Para six.

2. (C) Poloff attended the bimonthly meeting of the
Colombo Plan Council on April 7. On the margins of the
meeting, poloff spoke to Colombo Plan Secretary General

K. Kanjanapipatkul and reiterated the USG position that
we would not be able to support the proposed amendment
to the Colombo Plan constitution that would restrict
training opportunities for members in arrears (per Ref
A). In explaining the USG's position, Poloff noted --
again per Ref A -- that the U.S. held in high regard the
Colombo Plan's efforts in the area of drug awareness and
demand reduction, and would not want countries to be
prohibited from participating in such beneficial

3. (C) In response, the Secretary General requested
that the USG consider the following two suggestions on
how to handle the matter:

-- Would the U.S. consider a statement for the record
citing its opposition to the amendment as an "official
view," but not obstructing the consensus of the other 25
member countries to support the amendment?


-- Would the U.S. consider officially offering an
alternative to the proposed training sanctions
amendment? The Secretary General felt such an effort by
the U.S. would be welcomed by other member countries.
Lack of a viable alternative would effectively terminate
the discussion and leave Council members wondering how
next to address the issue of countries in arrears.

4. (C) COMMENT: As currently designed, the proposed
amendment restricts a member country's access to
training opportunities if it is four or more years in
arrears of its annual dues (see Ref C). Participation
in training would be restricted until a partial payment
of arrears was made. As reviewed in Refs, Mission
believes that member states have given careful
consideration to the issue and developed a
straightforward method for addressing the problem of
arrears. (Restricting training opportunities appears to
be the sole way for the organization to impact countries
not paying their share of the annual dues.) Other forms
of sanctions were discussed in the Council and deemed
not effective, including those related to the suspension
of voting rights. In fact, all decisions are taken by
consensus, and there are no provisions in the
constitution for formal voting. Hence a suspension in
voting rights, as suggested by the Department, would
have no practical effect, since there are no votes.

5. (C) COMMENT (Continued): The Secretary General's
first suggestion that the USG officially voice non-
support yet not prohibit the majority view to implement
the amendment seems to be a possible way out of the
quandary. With our official view on record, the U.S.
would remain capable of monitoring the consequences of
the amendment and have standing within the Council
should an issue arise concerning its implementation.

6. (C) COMMENT (Continued): At present, the United
States is the only Council member voicing opposition to
the proposed amendment. Even states such as Indonesia,
which would be subject to the new sanctions because it
is currently in arrears, are in support of the proposed
amendment. It is also distinctly in the US interest to
motivate countries to pay their dues. The US
contributes money for counter-narcotics programs under
the Drug Advisory Program, administered by the
Secretariat. Member dues are the Secretariat's only

source of income. The Secretariat tells us that non-
payment of dues will soon damage their ability to
function effectively. END COMMENT.

7. (C) ACTION REQUEST: We understand the concern that
a financial restriction could set an unwelcome precedent
for other international organizations. The proposed
course of action would at least partially deal with this
problem. The US could express its opposition to such
measures in principle, but state it would not oppose
consensus. Mission requests that the Department review
this matter further. If such a stance is not supported
by the Department, Mission then further requests that
the Department consider proposing an alternative means
for sanctioning member states who are four or more years
in arrears on their annual dues. The next opportunity
for the U.S. to finalize its position is at the next
Council meeting, scheduled for July 7, 2004. (Note:
The Colombo plan is holding is biennial Consultative
Committee Meeting in Tehran from June 14-16, 2004. Due
to the fact that the meeting is in Tehran, the USG will
not be in attendance.) END ACTION REQUEST.

8. (U) Minimize considered.