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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04ROME1425
2004-04-09 16:07:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Rome
Cable title:  

ITALY: NO WAY TO UNSC "REFORM"

Tags:   KUNR  PREL  GM  JA  FR  RS  IT  UNSC 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L  ROME 001425 

SIPDIS


DEPT. FOR P. IO & EUR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/09/2014
TAGS: KUNR PREL GM JA FR RS IT UNSC
SUBJECT: ITALY: NO WAY TO UNSC "REFORM"

REF: A. 03 ROME 02636


B. ROME 00548

C. A/S HOLMES REMARKS TO CFR 10/21/03

Classified By: POL M/C T. Countryman for reasons 1.5 (b) and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L ROME 001425

SIPDIS


DEPT. FOR P. IO & EUR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/09/2014
TAGS: KUNR PREL GM JA FR RS IT UNSC
SUBJECT: ITALY: NO WAY TO UNSC "REFORM"

REF: A. 03 ROME 02636


B. ROME 00548

C. A/S HOLMES REMARKS TO CFR 10/21/03

Classified By: POL M/C T. Countryman for reasons 1.5 (b) and (d).


1. (U) This cable contains an action request for IO: please
see summary and paragraph 9.


2. (C) Summary. Italy is very concerned that a new UN
reform push in New York will end with Italy frozen out of an
expanded UNSC that includes both Germany and Japan. Italians
fear that SYG Annan and the panel of eminent persons,
mandated to study UN reform, are inclined to push for UNSC
expansion due to lobbying efforts from Germany, Japan, France
and Russia. The Italians believe U.S. support for a
permanent German seat would effectively reward one of the
strongest opponents to U.S. Iraq policy and punish one of our
staunchest supporters. As such, it would send the wrong
message to those nations that support the U.S. Embassy has
encouraged the Italians to focus on positive principles for
institutional reform rather than solely a 'negative' position
on UNSC reform. Although UNSC expansion may not occur due to
the same zero-sum dynamics that prevented UNSC expansion in
the 1990s, SYG Annan and the panel may present a detailed,
fast-track proposal that could result in changes. Action
request: Arguing against UNSC expansion will be a dominant
theme in GOI discussions with us, beginning with FM
Frattini's April 20 visit to Washington. To prepare
accordingly, embassy requests inclusion in any internal USG
discussion of UN reform as well as information on the SYG's
and panel's plans. Embassy welcomes points for the Italians.
End summary.


3. (C) The GOI is making a full court press to make sure the
U.S. understands how strongly it feels about UN "reform".
Their primary concern is that reform will result in the
expansion of the UNSC rather than in the improvement of how
the UN functions. Italians fear that SYG Annan and the panel
of eminent persons, mandated to study UN reform and review
how the UN can better deal with important issues, will be

more inclined to propose changes for the UNSC than to analyze
issues related to the functioning of the institution. They
note that there is pressure and lobbying from both the
Japanese and the Germans, citing a 1 million dollar Japanese
donation to the panel and active statements by Chancellor
Shroeder and FM Fischer (related to internal political
problems with the social democrats) as well as apparent
endorsement by France and Russia of a permanent German seat.


Why do the Italians Care?
-------------- --------------


4. (C) Germany's addition to the UNSC as a permanent member
would be an "unthinkable disaster" for Italian foreign
policy. Italy has always put up with the condescension of
London and Paris but found comfort in being in the same
position in New York as Germany. Italians can't resist the
sports metaphor: Germany being promoted to the big leagues
while Italy is left behind in the minors would come as a
terrible political blow both domestically and internationally.


5. (C) Italians also fear that UNSC expansion would
emasculate the G-8. With six of the eight members having
permanent UNSC seats, they believe there would be less reason
to maintain the G-8 as a functioning institution since
important decisions would end up being made in New York. They
tell us Canada shares this concern.


6. (C) Italy's strong support for the UN and its desire to
remain an important player within the institution reflects
strong Italian public support for the UN and also a clear
consciousness that Italy has to punch above its weight and
participate, at times, beyond its means. Italy is a leading
participant in UN missions and provides substantial funding
to the UN. By its tally, Italy is currently the second
largest troop contributor to UN PKOs and the fifth largest
donor. The Italians are neither ready nor willing to risk
losing the gradually increasing stature that they have
recently gained through their active efforts in the UN and

international affairs.


Does the US Care/Should we?
-------------- --------------


7. (C) The Italians believe the U.S. should be equally
concerned about UNSC expansion, especially if it results in a
permanent seat for Germany. On the internal front,
government contacts argue that rewarding Germany with a seat
on the UNSC after its strong opposition to Iraq would reward
critics of the Berlusconi government who have argued and will
now be able to prove that Berlusconi has gotten nothing in
return for his support of the U.S. Internationally, they
believe, rewarding Germany at this time would represent a
slap in the face to those governments who have supported the
U.S. Italian officials with experience at the UN argue that
an expanded UNSC is inevitably less effective and less
supportive of the U.S. They add that inclusion of such
permanent members as Germany, Japan, India or Brazil, would
not help the U.S. advance its interests in the council.


Embassy Comment
--------------


8. (C) Italy realizes that being 'against reform of the
UNSC', is a hard argument to make. Embassy has listened
carefully to the Italian argument and has encouraged them to
make clear that UNSC expansion is only one small aspect of
'reform'. As A/S Holmes outlined in remarks before the
Council of Foreign Relations (ref c), Embassy has suggested
that the Italians embrace our definition of reform by
focusing on the following principles; responsibility,
credibility, accountability, effectiveness and freedom -
which, if adhered to, will do far more than a shuffling of
chairs.


9. (C) We are aware (and have argued to Italian officials)
that this issue has been under discussion for over eight
years and that, due to the zero-sum dynamic among potential
permanent members, consensus on expansion will always be
difficult. From our perch here, it's more difficult to
evaluate the Italians' concern that the panel may generate
its own momentum or at least, under the SYG's proposal,
produce a detailed 'take-it-or-leave-it', fast-track proposal
on UNSC expansion which could attract a consensus. End
comment.


Action Request
--------------


10. (C) The Italians are very concerned with this issue and
kick it to the top of virtually every discussion (as G-8
Political Director Davies learned during his February GME
discussions)(ref b). We must be prepared to discuss UN
reform with Italian counterparts at all levels - including FM
Frattini in two weeks. Due to the intense focus on this
issue, we request inclusion in internal USG dialogue
regarding UN reform - specifically UNSC expansion - and
information on the SYG's panel of eminent persons charged
with reviewing UN reform and any plans or strategies they may
have regarding UNSC expansion. Points detailing our current
position on UNSC reform, releasable to the GOI, would be
extremely helpful. End action request.

Visit Rome's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/rome/index.cf m

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2004ROME01425 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL