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09USUNNEWYORK1060 2009-11-21 00:51:00 CONFIDENTIAL USUN New York
Cable title:  

SINGAPORE ON MODERATE NAM MEMBERS AND NPT/NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT

Tags:   CI CO GT JM MG PARM PREL SN 
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1. (C) Summary. A delegate with the Singapore Mission to the
UN has requested that the USG work with moderate members of
the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to rein in the extremists
elements in the Movement. The delegate, reflecting views
from his Mission in Vienna, said Singapore is concerned that
the extreme views in NAM are overshadowing the more
reasonable views in NAM regarding nuclear disarmament and the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). These same elements,
he said, have tried to undermine support for Security Council
resolution 1887, passed in September, on nuclear disarmament
and non-proliferation. The delegate recommended reaching out
to moderate NAM countries Guatemala, Chile, Jamaica,
Colombia, Panama and Mongolia. End summary.

2. (C) Poloff on November 18 and 20 met with Singapore First
Secretary Jonathan Tow, the Singapore Mission's expert on
disarmament and non-proliferation. Tow explained that as a
moderate country, Singapore is isolated in the Non-Aligned
Movement (NAM) on issues related to disarmament and the NPT.
He said that recent moves by some extreme NAM members--Egypt,
Cuba, Iran, and Syria--such as sending letters to the IAEA
and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO),
stating erroneously that their views represented the common
position of the NAM, distorted the variety of opinion in the
NAM. He said that a core group in Vienna--the Vienna Chapter
of NAM--is made up of these countries and without strong
resistance from moderate members they are taking the lead in
the NAM on disarmament issues. Tow urged the United States
to lobby moderate NAM states to voice their opinions in these
discussions because Singapore cannot continue to go at it
alone. "We need cover," he said, "Or we may find ourselves
in a position where we just acquiesce" to the extreme
positions because it is politically dangerous to do
otherwise.

3. (C) Tow recommended that the U.S. engage with Guatemala,
Chile and Jamaica, countries he described as the most
consistently moderate delegations in the NAM and those with
the best likelihood of speaking out in favor of reasonable
positions. When pressed, he admitted that Colombia, Panama
and Mongolia would also be good candidates but they need more
"pushing." He assessed that the "magic number" in NAM
meetings (which usually draw 20-25 countries) on these issues
to oppose the extreme positions was three to four--that is,
one delegation alone would not be sufficient, but that three
to four delegations arguing for moderation would be
sufficient to derail the extreme statements and positions and
ensure that NAM consensus was not achievable. He said the
African countries were "useless" and never stayed long enough
during negotiations. He judged that given the long sessions
of the NAM caucuses, most delegations do not stay late enough
to make an impact when a final decision is made.

4. (C) Regarding UNSC resolution 1887, he said Singapore
fully supports the resolution. Moreover, he said Singapore
would like to have more resolutions like 1887 because they
would provide Singapore with legal cover for its
export-control regime. He said that, for example, Singapore
does not want bad relations with Iran, but resolutions like
1887 provide it with an excuse to be more strict in its trade
with Iran. However, he said that 1887 is not popular with
most developing nations because they view disarmament as a
General Assembly issue. That issue, he said, was made most
obvious during the statements made by Council members during
the adoption of 1887, when Prime Minister Gordon Brown said
the UK was aiming to reduce its submarine fleet by one
submarine in the coming years. He said Brown's statement
confirmed to many in the NAM--including moderates--that (in
their view) the summit was a sham and that the nuclear-weapon
states were not serious about disarmament.

5. (C) Regarding the upcoming NPT Review Conference, Tow
advised that the U.S. engage broadly and transparently with a
positive message, particularly to the smaller delegations.
He that said by doing so, the extremists will be highlighted
as obstructionists.
RICE