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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05BANGKOK2925
2005-04-30 06:22:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bangkok
Cable title:  

PSI: UPDATE ON SECURING THAI ENDORSEMENT

Tags:   MNUC  PARM  PREL  TH  PSI 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 002925 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP, EAP/BCLTV, NP, T

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/21/2015
TAGS: MNUC PARM PREL TH PSI
SUBJECT: PSI: UPDATE ON SECURING THAI ENDORSEMENT

REF: A. STATE 39747


B. BANGKOK 1886

C. BANGKOK 1772

Classified By: Political Counselor Robert J. Clarke



1. (C) Summary: After a year and a half of U.S. and other
lobbying, Thailand apparently has made the basic policy
decision to be more supportive of the Proliferation Security
Initiative (PSI) and is moving through the final steps
towards endorsement of the PSI Statement of Interdiction
Principles (SOP). However, we should not underestimate the
bureaucratic obstacles that remain and it is not yet clear
when the decision will reach the Cabinet for final approval.
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's final scrutiny of the
decision will be key and his endorsement cannot be taken for
granted. Sustained, high-level USG engagement on PSI will
help to ensure the top Thai political leadership understands
the importance the United States places on Thai participation
in PSI. End Summary.



2. (C) Despite high level engagement by Washington, Embassy
Bangkok and others, the RTG has yet to formally endorse the
Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) Statement of
Interdiction Principles (SOP). In March, the Ambassador
demarched then Foreign Minister Surakiart about PSI. At that
time, Surakiart said that endorsement was a matter of time,
but noted that a few RTG agencies continued to hold out on
endorsement because of concerns over legal authorities
related to PSI. The Ambassador's demarche followed up on the
February conversation between Under Secretary Bolton and the
Thai MFA Director General for International Organizations
(Kittiphong) in Tokyo. Our counterparts at the Australian
Embassy in Bangkok also regularly engage the Thai on PSI.
Despite these demarches and others at the Operational Experts
Group (OEG) meeting in Sydney, the Thai have moved only
slowly towards endorsement.



3. (C) However, embarrassment over the awkward departure of
the Thai delegation from the March 21-22 PSI OEG meeting in
Omaha -- after they were informed that only countries who had
endorsed the SOP would be welcome to participate -- seems to
have spurred the Thai towards action on PSI. In recent
meetings MFA officials have been at pains to stress to
Poloffs that the RTG is moving towards endorsement. MFA
chaired an intra-agency meeting on April 4 in order to
address the legal concerns of holdout agencies and to reach
consensus on endorsement among all involved agencies. (Note:
MFA officials claim that the Ministry of Defense (MOD) was
the agency with the most serious reservations about legal
authorities and obligations under PSI and has been holding up
the process. Yet, in numerous conversations with Emboffs,
MOD officials have not expressed these concerns. End Note.)



4. (C) MFA officials claim that they were able to achieve
informal consensus on endorsement at the April 4 intra-agency
meeting. Following that achievement, MFA prepared a formal
decision memo on endorsement of the SOP and circulated it
among all cabinet ministries. According to MFA, there are a
few ministries who still have to sign off on the decision
memo. After all the clearances have been gathered, the memo
will be sent to the Thai Cabinet for final approval -- where
Prime Minister Thaksin, if he agrees, will personally sign
off on PSI SOP endorsement.



5. (C) Comment: We believe that Thai endorsement on the
Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) Statement of
Principles (SOP) is close. Emboffs have been fielding Thai
queries related to the formalities involved in endorsement
such as -- "what is the correct format for the diplomatic
note?" or "how should we inform other countries that we have
endorsed PSI?" -- and we have been told privately that we
will have "good news" soon. These are all positive signs
that our campaign for final Thai endorsement is getting
beyond the misunderstandings, complicated Thai bureaucratic
rituals, and a previous unwillingness of the MFA to take a
leadership role. It appears that the Thai legal concerns
related to PSI have been overcome.



6. (C) Comment continued: The RTG has taken a year and a
half to get to this point on PSI SOP endorsement despite
regular engagement. Given typical Thai bureaucratic
slowness, it will still be a challenge to get the ministries
to take the final step and move the decision memo up to the
cabinet. A second challenge is that cabinet approval will
subject the PSI SOP to the reality of the mercurial decision
making style of Prime Minister Thaksin. At past cabinet
meetings, Thaksin has rejected individual items at cabinet
meetings expected to be approved as a formality, over the
recommendations of his ministers. So we cannot take
endorsement for granted. We should continue to press the
Thai for endorsement in order to ensure that the political
leadership, and specifically the Prime Minister, understand
the importance we place on PSI. End Comment.
BOYCE