wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09BEIRUT1108 2009-10-08 12:46:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Beirut
Cable title:  

LEBANON GEARS UP FOR UNSC SEAT

Tags:   PREL PGOV UNSC AL LE IR 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO5394
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHLB #1108 2811246
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 081246Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5857
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 3643
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4176
RHMCSUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L BEIRUT 001108 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/07/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV UNSC AL LE IR
SUBJECT: LEBANON GEARS UP FOR UNSC SEAT

Classified By: Ambassador Michele J. Sison for reasons 1.4
(b) and (d).



1. (C) SUMMARY: Lebanon, which expects to be elected to the
Asia group's non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council on
October 15, will decide its positions on UNSC issues through
consultation among the president's office, the prime
minister's office, and the foreign ministry. Its votes will
be guided by the Arab League consensus when possible, and
when no consensus exists, regional and domestic implications,
according to presidential advisor Naji Abi Assi. Regarding
Iran, Abi Assi underscored that Lebanon favors diplomatic
solutions. The MFA is enlarging its staff in Beirut and New
York to accommodate the workload, and Lebanese permrep Nawaf
Salam will be empowered to vote on his own prerogative if he
does not receive timely instructions, the MFA reports.
Although the UNSC seat could aggravate serious domestic
policy disagreements over regional issues, the draw of the
spotlight has proven strong for the GOL. End summary.

TRIPARTITE WILL TAKE DECISIONS


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





2. (C) Lebanon, which is the uncontested candidate for the
Asian non-permanent seat on the UNSC, expects to be elected
to the position on October 15. Lebanon's position on matters
before the Council will be decided through consultations
among the president's office, the prime minister's office and
the foreign ministry, presidential advisor Naji Abi Assi told
the DCM. According to Abi Assi, decisions on routine matters
will fall collectively to him in the president's office,
Mohammed Chatah (currently caretaker finance minister) in the
prime minister's office, and the MFA. Abi Assi implied that
the MFA will play the role of a conduit more than a center of
decision-making power. In choosing particular positions, the
three will be guided first by the Arab League consensus, and
when no consensus exists, they will be guided by factors such
as domestic considerations, regional implications, and the
impact the issue on Lebanon's neighbors, reported Abi Assi.



3. (C) When queried on how Lebanon will determine how to vote
on issues related to Iran, Abi Assi underscored that Lebanon
"seeks stability and peace above all" and favors diplomatic
solutions. The same principles, he added, would apply to
Lebanon's votes in general. Even so, joked Abi Assi,
Lebanon's stances on most issues will be "better than
Qatar's."

MFA STAFFS UP FOR WORKLOAD


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





4. (C) The GOL is going forward with preparations to absorb
the increased workload, MFA U.S. desk officer Majdi Ramadan
told poloff. The MFA will double the number of diplomats at
its UN mission from five to ten (including Ramadan himself)
and provide funding to increase the number of administrative
staff despite the ministry's current caretaker status. With
regard to upgrading the bureaucratic structure in Beirut, the
MFA is creating a special UNSC unit to handle requests for
instructions quickly and route them via the minister directly
to the president and (in the absence of a new cabinet) to
caretaker Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. A primary
interlocutor for the embassies in Beirut to discuss UNSC
issues has not yet been named. Lebanese Permanent
Representative Nawaf Salam is, and will be, empowered to vote
on his own prerogative if he does not receive timely
instructions, Ramadan stated.



5. (C) COMMENT: Although the UNSC seat could aggravate
serious domestic policy disagreements over regional issues --
Iran, in particular -- the draw of the spotlight has proven
too strong for the GOL. In spite of the initial efforts they
are making to prepare for their upcoming responsibilities, we
strongly suspect that the Lebanese do not yet appreciate the
bureaucratic heavy-lifting associated with a seat on the UNSC.
SISON