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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04THEHAGUE1801
2004-07-16 15:38:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy The Hague
Cable title:  

EU/US COOPERATION IN THE UNGA AND ON HUMAN RIGHTS

Tags:   PREL  ECON  PHUM  KDEM  AORC  NL  CH  UN 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 THE HAGUE 001801 

SIPDIS

IO FOR LAGON; DRL FOR KOZAK; GENEVA FOR DELAURENTIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/14/2014
TAGS: PREL ECON PHUM KDEM AORC NL CH UN
SUBJECT: EU/US COOPERATION IN THE UNGA AND ON HUMAN RIGHTS

REF: A. STATE 153876

B. THE HAGUE 1737

Classified By: CLASSIFIED BY ANDREW SCHOFER, POLCOUNS, FOR
REASONS 1.4 B AND D



1. (C) SUMMARY: The Dutch are deeply committed to the
Transatlantic Dialogue, a successful EU Presidency, and
leadership during the UN General Assembly that values USG
input if not always agreeing with it. In discussions with
DRL PDAS Kozak and IO DAS Lagon on July12 - 13, Dutch
interlocutors acknowledged Chinese backsliding on human
rights in the last six months but did not expect this to
influence EU thinking on lifting the China Arms Embargo.
Dutch MFA and NGO officials remain "terribly troubled" by Abu
Ghraib and welcomed USG clarification regarding the status of
Guantanamo prisoners. The Dutch agreed to collaborate on a
US-EU package of agreed language to settle references to
contentious issues in Third Committee resolutions. USDel
signaled new flexibility on UN Commission on Human Rights
elections, prompting the Dutch to agree to restart WEOG
negotiations. Sudan, Chechnya, Iran, Burma, Turkmenistan,
and Zimbabwe seem likely subjects for Third Committee
resolutions, while Belarus and Uzbekistan are not. End
summary.



2. (U) China, Guantanamo, human rights and a range of United
Nations issues were the agenda in The Hague, June 12 - 13,
for DRL PDAS Michael Kozak's and IO DAS Mark Lagon's meetings
with Dutch MFA officials. MFA interlocutors included Special
Ambassador for Human Rights Piet de Klerk, Deputy Political
Director Hermann Schaper, Human Rights Director Adanna Adema,
and Director of the UN Department Karel van Kesteren. The DCM
hosted an NGO reception and Lagon briefed a large group of
university students on U.S. Human Rights concerns and
multilateral issues generally.

CHINA ARMS EMBARGO AND BACKSLIDING ON HUMAN RIGHTS



3. (C) Amb. de Klerk will travel to China soon to review the
human rights situation. Schaper reminded USDel that the EU's
embargo was a specific response keyed to Tiananmen Square.
It was not intended as retaliation for human rights issues
generally and was not imposed for military considerations,
although both concerns now prompt the USG push for
maintaining the ban. He admitted Chinese backsliding over
the last six months caused concern but stressed that this in
itself was not a sufficient argument for maintaining the
embargo.



4. (C) The Dutch said that the next senior EU discussion of
China in September would focus on the last couple of years of
Chinese actions. The EU will examine whether their China
dialogue has made a difference on the ground. The Dutch
shared elements from the EU decision matrix:

a. The EU does not want the embargo to stand in the way of
overall better relations.

b. Human rights is but one issue here; the question is more

than "is the glass half full or half empty. There are more
glasses on the table." There has been recent backsliding,
but overall the situation has improved over the last 15
years. The embargo was a response to Tiananmen Square.

c. The EU does not expect to export its best weapons to
China should the ban be lifted, and it does not want European
weapons to be used or deployed against U.S. forces.

d. What effect would lifting have on the US presidential
elections; and would it lead to Euro-bashing that would
embarrass the Dutch EU Presidency, for example.



5. (C) PDAS Kozak disputed the Dutch assertions regarding
China's improved human rights record and shared recent
examples of China's unfulfilled commitments. A dialogue
without results was pointless, he stressed. Regarding
Tiananmen, Chinese restraint from running people over with
tanks in recent years could not justify lifting. He
suggested the EU should take a closer look at the status of
those who were punished for Tiananmen, if resolution of that
issue is the threshold for lifting.



6. (SBU) USDel and NGO reps, meeting later at the DCM's
residence, brainstormed ideas for trying to use public
opinion to deflect what looks like a pending EU decision to
lift the ban. One idea that resonated was to hold a European
NGO forum on the Chinese human rights situation early in the
fall.

GUANTANAMO AND OTHER DETAINEES IN THE WAR ON TERROR


7. (C) Dutch MFA officials and NGO reps remained "terribly
troubled" by what happened at Abu Ghraib and were clearly
hungry for the latest information on the status of all
detainees (ref b). Discussions of the new Cuba resolution in
ECOSOC (ref b) led to thinking about how to a discussion of
how improve Dutch and EU public opinion, including
development of new public affairs products or informal visits
to Guantanamo by an EU or EU Presidency rep. USDel did not
commit to these proposals but promised to study options.

THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY



8. (U) UN Priorities for 59 UNGA

The USG's UNGA priorities paper has inspired the EU to devise
a concise working paper of their own, the Dutch told us.
They promised to study our UNGA priorities (septel) and
offered to review the EU list with us later in the week as
well (septel).



9. (C) Working together at the UNGA - Third Committee

USDel committed to sending the EU a draft package of agreed
language to settle references in resolutions to contentious
issues in the Third Committee, including how to refer to the
International Criminal Court, the death penalty, and the
Convention on the Rights of the Child, among others. The
Dutch agreed to vet our draft at the EU's September COHUM
(working group on human rights) and to arrange a bilateral
meeting, if needed, to work out problems. This might be in
Brussels on or about October 1, or in Warsaw around the same
time.



10. (C) Country specific issues included:

- Sudan: We agreed to wait to see what the Security Council
would do before considering Third Committee action to follow
on the UNCHR resolution. (Sudan is discussed in more detail
below).

- Burma: We agreed there is a need to have Third Committee
action.

- Turkmenistan: The EU wondered if it made sense to table
another resolution this year. Not doing so might send the
wrong signal. On the other hand, we are trying to streamline
the UN agenda. The EU suggested we could run one last
resolution and announce that henceforth we would focus on
action in the UNCHR.

- Zimbabwe: USDel offered to support any British action in
New York if they want to have a resolution there.

- Belarus and Uzbekistan: We agreed that there is no need
for Third Committee action since rapporteurs have been
already been assigned.

UN REFORM



11. (C) Reformed and better UN

Geopolitical reality and strategic practicality inspire the
Netherlands' "devotion to the multilateral system with an
active, constructive, and reformed UN at the center," Schaper
said. The upcoming review of the Millennium Development
Goals is a natural deadline for UN reforms. DAS Lagon
assured him that the US is as committed to building up the UN
as we have been to reforming it, however we cannot
single-handedly reach the goal of a UN living up to its
original purposes.



12. (C) The Dutch do not want UN reform to stall over
Security Council enlargement. They favor, eventually, one EU
seat. The MFA working level, however, opposes Germany's SC
seat bid, but publicly the MFA has had to go along for now.
On voting, the Dutch have proposed to SYG Annan a voting
weight system as follows: 1/3 based on being a member of the
UN; 1/3 based on population; and 1/3 based on the total
amount of assessed and voluntary contributions to the UN.



13. (U) Community of Democracies/Democracy Caucus

In courting the wary Dutch to become involved, we reassured
them that the Democracy Caucus (DC) would augment, not
compete, with traditional, long-standing groups. Admitting
the idea has theoretical merit, the Dutch remained curious
about how the Caucus would admit borderline members. We
noted that UN PermRep Danforth cited the DC in his
confirmation hearings and thought it a useful tool not
limited to use in human rights but also good for development
issues, UN reform, and so on.
UN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND ACTION FOR COUNTRY SPECIFIC
CONCERNS



14. (C) UNCHR Elections

We signaled U.S. readiness to restart negotiations over an
agreed WEOG slate for UNCHR elections, with new flexibility
on forgoing membership for two years, rather than one, out of


21. Van Kesteren, co-chair (with the Canadians) of earlier
negotiations on this issue, agreed to explore restarting
negotiations based on this welcome information. He added
that the U.S. might end up having to relinquish three years
to get a deal. He added that, after the Security Council,
membership on the UNCHR was a valuable prize for many
states. DAS Lagon reported the French seemed prepared to
work it out so WEOG could focus on substance and discourage
the current practice of vote trading with undesirable
countries from other regions. Finally, van Kesteren fingered
Austria as a problem country that insisted on maintaining
their position based on the established pattern of Commission
membership.



15. (C) Sudan

The Dutch felt the time was ripe for a SC resolution on
Sudan. There were serious problems with both sides and
sanctions might be appropriate. In reviewing the earlier,
troublesome Geneva negotiations on the Sudan resolution and
what to do in the Third Committee, the Dutch predicted New
York discussions would again be a triangle between the U.S.,
EU and African Union (AU). USDel urged the EU to avoid
surprises like the deal it cut with the AU behind our backs
on the last day of talks in Geneva. We agreed it would be
useful to try to split the AU members by peeling off South
Africa and other AU members chafing under the AU's "lowest
common denominator" protection of Sudan. There was consensus
not to let discussion of the "genocide" question delay or
thwart more immediate action.



16. (SBU) NGOs suggested that finding a political solution
should be much higher on the agenda. The rep from Doctors
Without Borders complained that the NGOs are under new
threats because both government and rebels object to their
perceived sharing of information from the field with the
outside world. PDAS Kozak regretted that information sharing
caused problems, and said it is important for the GOS to know
we are collecting facts so as to hold them accountable.



17. (SBU) Chechnya

NGOs believed the international community has increasingly
abandoned Chechnya and that the situation has become more
criminalized in the last four years. Dutch MFA officials had
earlier admitted that the EU has a "bloody nose" on this
intractable issue. PDAS Kozak reassured NGOs that we raise
Chechnya with the Russians "all the time" and have not let
terrorism get in the way of promoting human rights.



18. (C) Iran

The Dutch reported a meeting the EU had in Teheran three
weeks ago where academics and officials discussed police,
prisons, and the legal system. Discussions were "much more
uni sono" than half a year ago since opposition
parliamentarians were absent. There are serious questions
now whether to continue the dialogue and there will be a
decision by early October, they told us. The Dutch reminded
USDel that they see the non-proliferation issue as part of a
broader relationship with Iran that includes expanding
business opportunities.

MEETING WITH UNIVERSITY STUDENTS



19. (U) DAS Lagon had a cordial dialogue with 25 student
leaders from Dutch universities who asked about the U.S.'s
lack of participation with the ICC, its support of Israel in
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its perceived unilateral
approach to the war in Iraq, and its treatment of human
rights in the broader war on terrorism. Praising the EU's
culture of dialogue as a model for other nations, Lagon
cautioned that American realpolitik is a reaction to a belief
that the rest of the world has a less mature approach to
international relations. Lagon warned that that an extended
process of seeking consensus often delayed urgent action.
Rejecting allegations of U.S. unilateralism, Lagon described
America's involvement in many multilateral efforts. Public
diplomacy could reverse impressions of American unilateralism
and build greater consensus for U.S. actions. He suggested
exchange programs, greater awareness by American politicians
of their global audiences, and discussions such as the one he
was currently having were important elements in such a
strategy.

COMMENT



20. (C) Commitment to the Transatlantic Dialogue underlies
much of the Dutch UN agenda during their EU Presidency.
Their exchanges with the USDel were productive, showed
flexibility and receptiveness to US ideas, and a drive to
find consensus while doing their duty for national and EU
positions. Their promise to work more closely on the Sudan
human rights resolutions in New York was welcome and signaled
good intentions on the wider range of issues. On the other
hand, their narrowing of the China arms embargo debate to
Tiananmen Square left us little room to argue the larger
human rights and military points of the issue. Immediately
on Guantanamo and longer term in general, the Dutch public
remains receptive to fresh public diplomacy efforts providing
information they can use to justify alignment with U.S.
positions.
RUSSEL