ID: 250411 2/24/2010 10:44 Mission Geneva CONFIDENTIAL GENEVA 000023 SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/20/2020 TAGS: PARM, MNUC, CDG, PK
SUBJECT: PROSPECTS FOR LAUNCHING FMCT NEGOTIATIONS AT THE 2010 CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT; WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO REALIZE THE PRAGUE AGENDA (CD)
Classified By: CD CHARGE D’AFFAIRES A.I. LARSON FOR REASONS 1.5 B, D
1. (C) Summary. The outlook for launching Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty Negotiations (FMCT), one of the President’s signature goals from his Prague agenda, has dimmed considerably since last year’s historic agreement on a Program of Work at the Conference on Disarmament. Pakistan, presumably motivated by a sense of vulnerability and grievance over perceived preferential treatment given India, has continued to be the sole obstacle to moving forward although it continues to cloak its objections in procedural arguments. Pressure from other parties to move Pakistan back to consensus has been insufficient, and more worryingly, appears to be diminishing, particularly among [Non-Aligned Movement] ranks. . . . Member states continue to look to the U.S. for leadership on this initiative, particularly given the common assessment that the Pakistani military remain the key decision maker and that the U.S. has unique access. End summary.
2. (C) The Conference on Disarmament (CD) is beginning its 2010 session, with Pakistan continuing to block the commencement of FMCT negotiations, despite its May 2009 agreement to a Program of Work (POW) which authorized these negotiations to begin. (The POW coupled this FMCT negotiating mandate with a commitment to “substantive discussions” on the other CD agenda items (nuclear weapons free zones, negative security assurances and preventing an arms race in outer space. Pakistan’s counter-proposal to begin negotiations on all four of these “core” issues is seen by most CD delegations as unrealistic and primarily diversionary, and enjoys little support at this point from other CD delegations. We need to ensure that this tactic does not gain any traction.
3. (C) China appears to be reverting to its stance in mid-2009, when it nominally supported the 2009 CD Program of Work (aka CD/1864), but in CD discussions took a “go slow” approach which gave cover to Pakistan’s obstructionist stance, an approach that latest indications suggest is gaining ground with a number of the NAM members, almost certainly reflecting intersessional efforts by the GOP. Pakistan continued its obstruction on this issue at the UNGA First Committee this fall. (Its support for UNGA resolution 64/29, endorsing the CD’s formal restarting of FMCT negotiations, and for UNGA resolution 64/64, endorsing the CD annual report, was both lukewarm and hard-won, with Pakistan stressing that it would not support any “roll-over” of the 2009 program of work (PoW) decision into 2010.)
4. (C) In response, a number of primarily western bloc members (with France in the vocal lead) are suggesting the option of initiating what would amount to “preliminary and informal” negotiations in the format of either side events . . . or by dedicated “discussions” on specific FMCT elements . . . There is a generally accepted view that, a year after consensus agreement on a PoW, the absence of any subsequent substantive work in the CD by the time of the May NPT Review Conference would send a highly damaging signal regarding the state of disarmament activities generally, and of the CD’s viability specifically. . . .
5. (C) Recent meetings and informal discussions with a range of CD members have revealed that there is a reluctance among a small but growing number to move expeditiously on a work program that would challenge the Pakistani position by calling for FMCT negotiations to begin, recommending instead time to explore the reasons for the GOP’s position and trying to accommodate them. In response, USDEL has noted that while we would prefer to move forward using the formally agreed work program as the basis and welcome a full explanation of the GOPs concerns, it would not be acceptable to allow the procedural debate to continue indefinitely and to go into the Revcon with nothing to show for the CD’s work. With this in mind, to date we have notionally supported the option of using the initial few weeks, meetings to attempt to reach consensus on a PoW that carried over the salient points of CD 1864, but if no discernible progress or favorable prospects were observed, to seriously consider alternative options such as the side events. Again, many Western and several (U.S.-friendly) NAM and Eastern European states (but not all) have already indicated support for such an option. . . .
7. (C) Within the CD, and among “civil society” actors . . . the view is widely held that the USG’s efforts and changes in policy in 2009 created the improved climate for disarmament, and that the USG must continue to lead, at the highest levels, if that momentum is to be sustained. With respect to the FMCT and Pakistani (and Chinese) obstructionism, that will require all relevant segments of the USG to keep the FMCT as a high priority in all contacts with, particularly, the GoP.
8. (C) Delegation recommends that we pursue a multi-front strategy to reenergize this stalled initiative. — Send a coordinated USG message to Pakistani counterparts enlisting in particular senior U.S. military to reassure them that their equities can be protected within the consensus-based CD forum and that we want to hear their concerns and are ready to work with them on FMCT issues. . . . — Use upcoming meetings in capitals with P-3 and P-5 partners to coordinate our diplomatic strategy. We will have to be particularly energetic if we are to persuade China to adhere to P-5 unity and work with us to reassure Pakistan rather than catering to Pakistani anxieties. . . .
9. (C) Delegation particularly recommends that senior USG OSD and military figures convey a coordinated message to the key Pakistani military. This should be a positive approach intended to reassure our Pakistani friends. . . .
10. (C) Comment. . . . U.S. credibility could suffer if one of its signature arms control projects is still-born in Geneva. End comment. GRIFFITHS