|05PARIS6534||2005-09-23 15:26:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Paris|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available. 231526Z Sep 05
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 006534
1. Summary. The final vote was 54-1 in the UNESCO
Executive Board PX Committee for the Canadian-sponsored
resolution that paves the way for adoption of the current
preliminary draft Cultural Diversity Convention at the
October 2005 UNESCO General Conference. In discussions
leading up to the vote, however, some reps (Afghanistan,
Australia, Indonesia, and Japan) strongly urged further
negotiations. Russia expressed doubts about the procedure
concerning the Canadian resolution and Egypt generally
expressed regret that the current preliminary draft version
did not address all important issues. End summary.
2. The Resolution urges UNESCO's Executive Board to
recommend that the General Conference consider the current
'preliminary draft' convention as a 'draft' convention and
to approve it as a final UNESCO Convention at the October
2005 General Conference. (Text faxed to IO/UNESCO.) The
Canadian Ambassador, in presenting the resolution, said that
the current June 2005 version of the Convention, when
adopted, would 'respect' international obligations 'while
placing the convention on an equal footing with other
3. In remarks preceding the vote, the Japanese Ambassador
said that his country's doubts about some aspects of the
convention had not yet been overcome. He stressed that
Japan did not view this Cultural Diversity Convention as
superceding rights and obligations derived from other
international agreements and asked his counterparts to state
explicitly their agreement with this interpretation in the
debates. He concluded by strongly urging further
4. Australia's representative characterized as 'incoherent'
the derogation clause of the current preliminary draft
version (Article 20), pointing to the internally
inconsistent language on whether the preliminary draft
Convention could supersede current international
obligations. She also expressed reservations about the
unclear and potentially expansive definition of cultural
goods and services.
5. Indonesian and Afghan representatives advocated further
negotiations in order to achieve consensus. (Note. Both
the Indonesian representative, who will likely be the next
chairman of the Executive Board, and the Ambassador from
Afghanistan, a long-time UNESCO Secretariat official who
became Ambassador after retiring from UNESCO, have a strong
interest in maintaining the tradition of consensus. End
6. The Russian representative objected strongly to the
'artificially accelerated ' procedure set forth in the
Canadian resolution, but noted that his country would vote
for the adoption of the Convention in October.
7. The Egyptian representative noted that the present draft
Convention did not address all the important issues and
seemed to favor more negotiation. (Comment. In a recess,
The Algerian Ambassador told poloff that the Egyptian
remarks had been misunderstood and that the entire Arab
group was in strongly favor of the Canadian resolution and
the adoption of the June 2005 version of the preliminary
8. During the interventions we saw the emergence of group
positions. The Brazilian ambassador claimed he spoke for the
Latin Union, which includes Latin American and other
countries, the UK ambassador spoke for the EU, and the
Tanzanian ambassador said he spoke for the whole Africa
9. Per instructions (ref), Ambassador Oliver's
interventions stressed the need for more negotiations on
this important document. Her speech was apparently
respectfully received. Remarks will be distributed and
posted on Mission website. They will also be sent to IIP
for distribution in the Washington File.
10. At the end of discussions, Ambassador Oliver invoked a
roll-call vote. (Note. Votes, especially roll-call votes,
are unusual in UNESCO, which generally works by consensus.
End Note.) Despite reservations expressed in discussions,
all countries save Australia voted for the resolution.
Australia, citing instructions from its capital, abstained.
Japan raised reservations about the convention but voted in
favor of the Canadian resolution while making the point that
its support did not preclude further discussion of the
convention. Pakistan and Cape Verde were absent. All other
countries of the 58-member Executive Board voted in favor of
the Canadian resolution.
11. Despite Embassy Kinshasa's recent report that Congo
will support us, the Congolese delegate stated he had no
instructions from his capital. This points to the perennial
problem at UNESCO, getting delegates to follow instructions.
We will address next steps in a separate message.