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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05ALGIERS2168 2005-10-26 18:08:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Algiers
Cable title:  

SUBJECT: ALGERIA PREPARED TO COOPERATE ON CHAPTER

Tags:   PREL PTER IO LY SY AG 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ALGIERS 002168 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/26/2015
TAGS: PREL PTER IO LY SY AG
SUBJECT: SUBJECT: ALGERIA PREPARED TO COOPERATE ON CHAPTER
VII RESOLUTION THAT SUPPORTS MEHLIS COMMISSION, DOES NOT
PREDJUGE SYRIAN CULPABILITY

REF: STATE 197619

Classified By: Ambassador Richard W. Erdman: Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

SUMMARY
-------



1. (C) In an October 26 meeting with the U.S., French, and
British ambassadors, FM Bedjaoui confirmed he would
participate in the October 31 UNSC ministerial, said he would
immediately instruct their New York delegation to engage in
resolution consultations later today, and indicated Algeria
was prepared to go along with a Chapter VII resolution and,
if warranted by a final Mehlis report, eventual sanctions.
He said Algeria's approach would be influenced by its UNSC
role representing the interest of the Arab world, its current
responsibilities as rotating presidency of the Arab League,
its principled rejection of political assassinations, and its
condemnation of terrorism by anyone, anywhere, and for any
purposes. Emphasizing that any action on sanctions needed to
await a final Mehlis Report, he said Algeria was willing to
help with any initiative that would strengthen Mehlis'
ability to carry out his mission and could agree to
"everything" in the resolution that called for full
cooperation with the Mehlis Commission. On the draft text,
he positively noted the absence of a call for sanctions on
Syria prior to a definitive report; stressed the importance
of keeping the focus of a new resolution on the Mehlis
Commission; and expressed some misgivings about language
referring to Syria's having lied to the Mehlis Commission.
He also suggested (but then backed off in response to a
strong French and U.S. rebuttal) the idea that calling on
Syria to cease interference in Lebanon might be prejudging
the situation, and quibbled that calling on Syria to renounce
terrorism might also be prejudicial, absent a final Mehlis
Report. (End summary.)

ALGERIA'S VIEWS WILL BE SHAPED BY ITS STRONG
CONDEMNATION OF TERRORISM AND POLITICAL ASSASSINATIONS


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



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





2. (C) Algerian FM Bedjaoui convoked British, French, and
U.S. Ambassadors October 26 to discuss draft UNSC resolution
concerning the Mehlis Commission report. He prefaced his
remarks (in French) by noting that he had earlier in the
morning met with ambassadors of other UNSC member countries
present in Algiers but had wanted to meet separately with the
ambassadors from the countries that had co-drafted the
proposed resolution. The current situation between Syria and
Lebanon was very difficult, he said, "with implications we
all know." Algeria's approach to the issue was influenced by
several factors. First, on the Security Council it had the
responsibility of reflecting Arab world concerns and
interests. Second, since March Algeria has held the rotating
presidency of the Arab League. Third, as a matter of
principle, Algeria vigorously condemned any and all political
assassinations. Finally, Algeria opposed terrorism
"anywhere, by anyone, and for whatever purpose." In this
regard, the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri was
clearly an act of terrorism which Algeria condemned in the
strongest terms.



3. (C) Noting that Algeria firmly held to these principles,
Bedjaoui said it was within this framework that President
Bouteflika had discussed the issue over the last couple days
with various leaders and would consider the proposed
resolution. Algeria, he emphasized again, firmly condemned
terrorism and political assassinations, especially those
aimed at holding on to power or territory. As for the
proposed resolution, Bedjaoui said the UNSC should take note
of the Mehlis report while keeping in mind that this was an
interim report only. Mehlis himself had asked for more time
in order to complete a thorough investigation and prepare a
definitive report.

ALGERIA CAN SUPPORT A CHAPTER VII RESOLUTION
CALLING FOR COOPERATION WITH MEHLIS INVESTIGATION


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



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





4. (C) Bedjaoui emphasized that in Algeria's view Mehlis
should have full authority to carry out his mission. At the
same time, it would be important for him "not to lose the
character of his mandate," whose terms of reference were
agreed between the Lebanese government and the UN. Algeria
was willing to help with any initiative aimed at
strengthening Mehlis' ability to carry out his mission and
obtaining the cooperation of the Lebanese government, the
Syrian government, and individuals with the investigation. It
was also willing to call for this in a resolution within the
framework of Chapter VII. Noting appeals to Bouteflika to
help the international community support the Mehlis
Commission's ability to successfully carry out its mandate,
Bedjaoui said Algeria was in favor of "everything in the
resolution that called for cooperation with the Commission."

"WE COULD ENVISION EVENTUAL SANCTIONS"
IF WARRANTED BY FINAL MEHLIS REPORT


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





5. (C) Bedjaoui then turned to the draft text, noting that
they had only received it that morning and were still
studying it. He also noted plans for a ministerial-level
Security Council meeting October 31, confirming his
participation and adding that he would depart for New York
October 28 in order to allow time to work on the text with
his delegation. He positively noted the draft resolution did
not call for sanctions, adding that a definitive report from
Mehlis was first needed before such a step could be taken.
"At that point, we could envision eventual sanctions." He
expressed some misgivings about the language referring to
Syria's having deceived the Mehlis Commission, noting he did
not know how this would come out in the end but that this was
an issue he planned to work on with his colleagues.

FRENCH AMBASSADOR: NON-COOPERATION WITH MEHLIS
WILL BE UNDERSTOOD AS GROUNDS FOR SANCTIONS


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





6. (C) Bedjaoui then asked the three ambassadors if they had
any comments. Ambassador said he had not yet received the
text with instructions, which had been promised, due to an
apparent transmission problem and thus deferred to French
ambassador de Verdiere, who had received the draft text. De
Verdiere explained that the draft resolution had been driven
by a desire of the three co-drafters to help the Mehlis
Commission carry out its mandate by ensuring full cooperation
with the investigation. He agreed with Bedjaoui's point that
the Mehlis Report was an interim report only, adding that was
why the proposed resolution had avoided presenting the
current report as definitive or imposing sanctions on Syria.
"While we cannot prejudge," he assured Bedjaoui, "we are in
the logic of sanctions," given the fact that the resolution
was prepared under Chapter VII and that non-cooperation with
the Mehlis Commission will be understood as grounds for
sanctions. De Verdiere also emphasized the independence of
the Mehlis Commission. It had a UN mandate which must be
implemented. The Security Council must not substitute itself
for the Commission, but the latter must at the same time be
able to carry out its mandate fully.

BEDJAOUI EXPRESSES MISGIVINGS ON PARTS OF TEXT,
POSSIBLY PREVIEWING LINE OF ARGUMENT IN NEW YORK


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

---



7. (C) Bedjaoui, an experienced jurist and former president
of the International Court of Justice in The Hague with a
keen eye for legalisms, questioned whether the resolution's
call on Syria to cease interference in Lebanese affairs was
consistent with a presumption of innocence, pending the final
Mehlis report. De Verdiere responded that this language was
drawn from UNSC Resolution 1559. We could not act as if 1559
has been totally implemented, he said. With the caveat that
he had not yet seen the proposed text, with contextual
language, Ambassador strongly supported this explanation,
adding that Syria's extensive intelligence presence in
Lebanon was a well-known fact and pushing back firmly when
Bedjaoui, downplaying the issue, commented that many
countries have intelligences services operating in other
countries.



8. (C) Bedjaoui in the end backed off this point, noting that
"we can find suitable language." Similarly, Bedjaoui
questioned the demand that Syria renounce terrorism as
prejudging Mehlis. Ambassador pushed back strongly on this
point as well, adding that Syria was supporting Palestinian
groups that were committing terrorist attacks and undermining
peace efforts of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. They
were also allowing suicide bombers and other elements linked
to Zarqawi to enter Syria via Damascus Airport, something
they could surely control if they wanted to. Bedjaoui said
we should keep the focus on the Commission. The fact that
the resolution was under a Chapter VII framework was in and
of itself a threat of sanctions.
ERDMAN