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2008-06-13 22:26:00
USUN New York
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DE RUCNDT #0522/01 1652226
P 132226Z JUN 08
						UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000522 


E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: USUN 00469

1. (U) Summary. The "Facilitator" for the General Assembly
Counter-terrorism Strategy Review told Amb. Wolff that he
expects the September review will result in adoption of a
resolution re-committing but not re-opening the Strategy. He
summarized the views expressed during a series of
consultations with member states "most interested" in the CT
Strategy and concluded that while he thought a satisfactory
outcome could be achieved at the review, he is concerned that
the "Victims" conference could detract from a positive UN CT
Strategy review. End Summary

2. (U) Amb Wolff met on June 11 with Guatemalan Permanent
Representative Gert Rosenthal, Facilitator for the General
Assembly review of the GA Counter-terrorism Strategy
(A/60/288) which is scheduled to take place on September 4.
Rosenthal reported that he is conducting consultations with
the most interested delegations to assess views on the
outcome of the review. Based on these discussions, he does
not expect delegations to reopen the Strategy. The most
likely result will be a resolution reaffirming the Strategy
and noting activities to implement it.

3. (U) Rosenthal said that states with whom he spoke
emphasized the importance of clarifying the respective roles
of the Secretariat and the GA in the process. Some queried
why the Secretariat was deciding what working groups should
be established and how often states should receive reports on
the groups activities? Another theme raised in the contacts
was the relationship between GA Strategy implementation and
the Security Council's counter-terrorism activities.

4. (U) Amb. Wolff noted that the Strategy had been a
difficult but successful negotiation. The consensus achieved
is fragile and the Strategy should not be re-opened. GA
Resolution 60/288 represents a good framework for concrete
actions and that should be the focus of the next phase of
General Assembly work. He said that the new Director of the
Security Council Counter-terrorism Executive Directorate had
been urged to engage the entire membership and has done so.

5. (U) Commenting on complaints from some delegations that
the Secretariat is acting without sufficient guidance,
Rosenthal said that there may be need for a better system of
consultation between the Secretariat and GA members. He
reported that the Islamic group has been particularly
critical of the "Radicalization" Working Group mandate, which
they claim targets Islam. He said the solution might lie in
regular (3-4 times/yr.) briefings by the Chairman of the Task
Force (UN ASG Robert Orr). Wolff agreed that attempts by
some member states to micromanage the Strategy implementation

process could create a situation which would hamper progress.
He asked Rosenthal about his expectations for the review.
Rosenthal responded that there may be some difficulty in
reconciling views but he hopes the GA will adopt a resolution
that: reaffirms the Strategy, welcomes or endorses the
Secretary General's Report on Strategy implementation (not
yet released), indicates what has been and remains to be
achieved, renews the mandate until 2010 and recommends next

6. (SBU) Rosenthal also referred to the "Victims" meeting
proposed to be held at UN headquarters on September 2-3 to
bring together victims of terrorism. He noted that while the
proposal by the Secretary-General appears to be a positive
undertaking, it presents some complex and controversial
questions. The UK is funding an expert to assist with
arrangements for the meeting. States continue to press for
details. Who will be invited? What criteria will be applied
to determine participants? What constitutes a victim of
international terrorism? Since participants will not be
representatives of governments, member states will not be
responsible for words or actions of participants. He noted,
for example, that self-identified Israeli or Palestinian
victims could create a polarized atmosphere which would have
a negative effect on the situation in the Middle East as well
as on UN efforts to foster co-operation among states in the
negotiation of the Strategy review outcome. Rosenthal, an
experienced UN diplomat, lamented that the victims
conference, which would be largely run by NGO
representatives, could become quite controversial and spin
out of control. While there is widespread support among
states for the victims of terrorism, some states with whom he
has consulted expressed concern at the potential for
politicization of the victims conference and its impact on
the process.

7. (SBU) Comment: Rosenthal's comments require serious
reflection. As the highest profile UN Counter-terrorism
event since the Strategy's adoption, the victims meeting
would provide a platform not only for the Cubans and

Venezuelans to parade the families of victims of the
terrorist bombing they allege was perpetrated by
Posada-Carrilles but also for enemies of Israel to gain
sympathy for their anti-Israeli activities by identifying
victims of Israel's alleged "state terrorism". Comments at
the May informal consultations (USUN 00469, para 6) lend
credence to Rosenthal's concerns. Cuba, Venezuela and Iran
argued that the absence of an agreed definition of terrorism
would make it difficult to identify victims of terrorism and
could lead to "political manipulation." They asked whether
States could bring "victims" and whether States would be
limited in the number of victims they could bring. In view
of those remarks, and Amb. Rosenthal's cautionary
comments,and our own assessment that such a meeting at the UN
is likely to turn into an anti-Israel rally, USUN urges
Department to re-consider whether it is advisable to convene
the victims conference. End Comment.