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10USUNNEWYORK103 2010-02-24 21:09:00 CONFIDENTIAL USUN New York
Cable title:  

PREPARING FOR THE 12 - 16 APRIL MEETING ON THE

Tags:   PREL PTER UN KJUS 
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1. (U) This is an action request. See paragraph 6 below.



2. (C) Summary. Negotiations on the CCIT will resume
April 12 through 16 in New York. Discussions within the UN
General Assembly's Sixth (Legal) Committee on the CCIT last
October resulted in no movement towards consensus on a text.
The plenary discussion focused on the 2007 Coordinator's
text, which was not expressly rejected by anyone. Many
(including the EU, OIC, Africa Group, and India), while not
expressly endorsing the text, said that it needed further
consideration. Liechtenstein said that in the next ad hoc
committee meeting (12-16 April), a decisive step forward
needed to be taken and that if there was no consensus the
April 2010 meeting should be the last one. Bilaterally, the
Sri Lankan Chair acknowledged that he thought if no results
were achieved in April 2010, it was a good idea to shelve
discussion of the CCIT for a little while. In late January,
the Spanish (EU Presidency) expert handling the CCIT conveyed
to USUN that the EU would like to see the CCIT concluded in
the next session, although she did not offer any suggestions
as to how to overcome the longstanding differences between
the two sides by then. We have also learned that the
Coordinator for the past several years, Maria Talelian
(Greece), apparently frustrated with the lack of progress,
will likely not reprise this role in the April negotiations.
Recently, the Indian expert handling the CCIT told USUN that
India intends to host a dinner for approximately 16 countries
(including the US) at the expert level to discuss objectives
for the April meeting. Mission seeks urgent guidance at para
6 on the way forward. End Summary.



3. (SBU) As captured in reftel, the most problematic
language in the 2007 coordinator's text is language (para 5
of Article 18) that provides that "This Convention is without
prejudice to the rules of international law applicable to
armed conflict, in particular those rules applicable to acts
lawful under international humanitarian law." USUN
emphasized the ambiguity of this text as a reason for not
supporting it, but did not publicly explain our rationale
in detail. It is conceivable, given that nobody rejected
this text, that we might find ourselves relatively isolated
in April if there is suddenly a push to finish negotiations
(after 10 years).



4. (C) If Ms. Talelian does not participate, we would
have an opportunity to recommend a new process. One
possibility would be to nominate two facilitators (at the
Ambassador level) from Missions in New York, ideally one from
WEOG and one from the OIC. This would provide the ability
for more sustained inter-sessional discussion and move away
from the one week/twice per year discussions in the Sixth
Committee we have been mired in for the last 10 years. Such
an approach involving Ambassadorial-level facilitators proved
critical to bridging the differences between the OIC and the
"West" that allowed for the consensus adoption of the UN
General Assembly's Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. In
addition, it might also fill a leadership vacuum in the CCIT
negotiations that exists from having what is widely viewed as
an ineffective Chair (Sri Lankan MFA Legal Adviser Rohan
Perera, who is based in Colombo), for a number of years.
Absent some heightened and sustained political interest in
the negotiations, which might generate the momentum to bridge
the outstanding differences, the prospects for finalizing the
CCIT in the near future seem bleak, unless it is brought to a
vote, in which case we would lose.



5. (SBU) A new process, however, will not advance the
negotiations unless there is a substantive proposal around
which everyone can coalesce, whether it is the 2007
coordinator's language or a new formulation. The 2002
proposal no longer seems viable, as we are the only ones
actively endorsing it. It may be, of course, that the OIC is
not serious about concluding a convention, and prefers to
shift the action (especially on the definition of terrorism)
to the high-level conference on terrorism that they espouse,
but if so active engagement by the USG would call their
bluff.



6. (C) USUN requests the Department to provide guidance
on the U.S. position on the CCIT. Is finalizing the CCIT a
USG priority? If so, what is our strategy for realizing it,
both in terms of process and substance as discussed in paras
4 and 5? Are we prepared to be relatively isolated in
opposition if the current text is pushed to a vote? USUN
requests this guidance ASAP but in any event by March 12, in
advance of the Indian-hosted dinner.
RICE