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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05VIENNA2247
2005-07-05 14:01:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Vienna
Cable title:  

AUSTRIAN VIEWS ON UN REFORM

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  KUNR  AORC  AU  UNSC 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VIENNA 002247 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/AGS - VIKMANIS-KELLER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KUNR AORC AU UNSC
SUBJECT: AUSTRIAN VIEWS ON UN REFORM

REF: A. (A) STATE 111637


B. (B) STATE 111657

C. (C) STATE 113168



1. Summary: Austria welcomes U.S. initiatives for UN
reform. In conversations with the Foreign Minister and the
MFA's International Organizations director, we found broad
Austrian agreement to U.S. objectives regarding reftel
concepts on development, reform of the Commission on Human
Rights, democracy initiatives, administrative reform, a
Peacebuilding Commission, the Comprehensive Convention on
International Terrorism and Security Council reform. End
Summary.



2. The Ambassador presented U.S. views on UN reform to
Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik on July 1 (reported
septel). In preparation for that meeting, EconPolCouns
discussed UN reform in detail on June 24 with Walter Lichem,
the Austrian MFA's assistant secretary-level Director for
International Organizations Affairs. Lichem has been deeply
engaged for years in high-level discussions of UN reform, and
helped create many of the concepts now reaching fruition. In
general, he welcomed the initiatives we outlined.



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


Development


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





3. Lichem agreed that Official Development Assistance (ODA)
is not the only component of a development strategy.
Economic interaction is crucial, he acknowledged. He added
that as an Austrian who benefitted from CARE packages, he
also values private charity. (Note: As reported septel, FM
Plassnik noted that Austria still values agreed targets for
ODA. End note.)



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


Reform of the Commission on Human Rights


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





4. Austria agrees with the concept of replacing the
Commission on Human Rights with a Human Rights Council.
Austria also agrees that the body should be smaller, that
membership should be by a 2/3 vote, and that the other
organizational reforms we suggest should enter into effect.



5. Lichem urged the U.S. to take the lead conceptually. He
said only the U.S. understands the concept of integrating
multiple policy objectives, and, therefore, only the U.S. can
grasp how to integrate the human rights dimension into
overall economic, social, environmental and societal policy.
Lichem acknowledged that the Economic and Social Council
(ECOSOC) is "a disaster." However, ECOSOC has potential, he
said, because it is a platform for the integration of the
various elements of development.



6. In this connectdion, and on a cautionary note, Lichem
said creation of a Human Rights Council could run counter to
the goal of integrating human rights objectives into overall
economic and social policy. This area "needs a discourse,"

he said.



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


Democracy Initiatives and the Democracy Fund


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





7. Lichem said Austria agrees with the U.S. on the creation
of the Democracy Fund. It is important to use it properly,
he said. The programs needing support were those which would
help transform societies into ones in which people could
assume the responsibilities of democracy. This was a
capacity-building exercise, he said.



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


Budget, Management and Administrative Reform


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





8. Lichem agreed with our specific organizational
recommendations. As someone who served for years in the UN
Secretariat and who worked with several American Under

SIPDIS
Secretary Generals for Management, Lichem added that reform

SIPDIS
efforts had to recognize the complexity of the Secretariat.
He said that a U.S. study of the Secretariat staff many years
ago had highlighted the fact that the motivations and
aspirations of international staff members were different
from those which prevailed in specialized UN agencies, in
national foreign services or in the corporate world.



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


Creation of a Peacebuilding Commission


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





9. The Peacebuilding Commission could indeed be a
deliverable for a High-Level Event, Lichem said. He argued
that the composition of the Commission should be "mixed"
among permanent and ad hoc members. A permanent "core group"
would consist of the P-5, the chair of the Human Rights
Council, and perhaps the chair of ECOSOC. Others, such as
key contributors to the budget and contributors to
peacekeeping missions, could participate as the circumstances
of a particular mission might require.



10. Lichem said the European Union had discussed this issue
at the expert level. The emerging consensus was that it was
necessary to encourage more coordination at the local level
of crisis management. It was also important to consider who
would take the lead at different stages of a peacebuilding
operation. If, for instance, the primary focus at a
particular stage was development, and security forces were
there to enable development, then perhaps development experts
should take the lead.



11. Lichem disagreed with our opposition to the
establishment of a multi-year Standing Fund for
Peacebuilding. He argued that it would be important for the
UN to be able to respond immediately, and not wait weeks or
months for national governments to make funds available.



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



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


Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT)


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



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





12. Lichem agreed that the international community should
not get stuck on agreeing to a "definition" of terrorism.
Instead, we should "describe" it, and move on.



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


UN Security Council (UNSC) Reform


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





13. Lichem said he was pleased that the U.S. was taking a
"go slow" approach to UNSC reform. In view of the findings
of Administrative Science, as developed in the U.S., a body
with more than 20 members could not manage crises.
Therefore, it was important to limit UNSC membership to that
figure, if possible.



14. The Austrian position, he said, is that the Security
Council has worked well, and that current proposals to expand
it could kill it. He expressed grave concern that the "G-4"
resolution had already garnered support from most African
members, and could well pass. He urged the U.S. to take
leadership for defeating the G-4 proposal.



15. Austria had a proposal which it would deploy as a
compromise, once the G-4 proposal failed. It called for
expanding the Security Council by four (preferably) or no
more than five non-permanent members. The non-permanent
members would be subject to re-election (abolishing Article
23.2 of the UN Charter, which prohibits re-election).
Elections would occur two years before countries assumed
their seats -- permitting capacity building and a "buy in" of
a larger number of countries into the work of the Security
Council.



16. Lichem described Austria's guiding principles for UNSC
reform. The first is sovereign equality: aside from the
historical exception of the P-5, no other countries should
become permanent members. The second is effectiveness: the
UNSC should be no larger than 20 members. The third is a
democratic mandate for UNSC members: the possibility of
re-election would make UNSC members accountable, responsible
and responsive to their "electorate" (i.e., the other member
states of the UN).



17. Lichem said he very much liked the U.S. view that the UN
does not have to make a decision on UNSC reform before the
September HLE. The issue requires a rational development of
ideas, he said.
Brown