WikiLeaks cable: Missile technology control regime (MTCR)

April 1, 2005
Missile technology control regime (MTCR) - NZ chews over 2006 chairmanship



Classified By: Political-Economic Counselor Katherine Hadda,
for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).

1. (C) Summary: New Zealand officials are considering
whether the country should serve as the Missile Technology
Control Regime (MTCR) Chair for 2006-7, as suggested by
current Chair South Korea and quietly endorsed by the United
States and Australia. The officials will be unable to make a
decision by the April 6 RPOC, although they hope to have an
answer later that week. A key concern seems to be whether
GNZ has enough personnel on hand to manage the work
associated with Chairmanship. End Summary.

2. (C) Reftel asked the Embassy to encourage New Zealand
officials to consider positively South Korea's suggestion
that New Zealand host the 2006 Missile Technology Control
Regime (MTCR) Plenary and serve as MTCR Chair for 2006-7.

March 31, Pol-Econ Counselor delivered the request to
Caroline McDonald, Director of the Disarmament Division at
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

3. (C) McDonald said that the South Koreans had raised this
suggestion with New Zealand's Ambassador in Seoul, and then
again through the South Korean Embassy in Wellington. She
said that as the initial request was made just before last
week's Easter break, Ministers were only just now having the
question put to them whether New Zealand should accept the
Chair. For this reason, the Kiwis will be unable to reach a
decision before the April 5 RPOC meeting. McDonald said she
hopes a decision will be made shortly thereafter.

4. (C) McDonald noted with a bit of consternation that the
South Koreans had implied to the NZ Ambassador that very
little work would be involved in chairing the MTCR. In
reality, the scale of operations would be large, requiring
the hosting of two meetings in parallel with the plenary, an
April RPOC meeting, and others. There would also be a lot of
outreach required, McDonald said, listing as examples South
Korea's contacts with Pakistan, India, Syria, Iran, the UAE,
and Egypt, all slated between now and June. McDonald
stressed that MFAT has just 6 officials covering all
disarmament and non-proliferation issues in addition to
export controls. She added as a comparative afterthought that
there would of course be other considerations Ministers would
take into account in making their decision, but she did not
elaborate on what these would be.

5. (C) Pol-Econ Couns acknowledged that MFAT's staff is
small. She told McDonald that in similar circumstances, USG
agencies often make use of secondments from other sections
and even other agencies. McDonald agreed this might be
possible in New Zealand, although other ministries may also
be short of extra staff. Following an e-mail exchange with
NP/CBM Acting Director Van Diepen, Pol-Econ Counselor also
told McDonald that New Zealand could also rely on the
expertise of past Chairs and other MTCR members. McDonald
appreciated the suggestion.

6. (C) Comment: Undoubtedly factors other than staffing will
go into Ministers' decision on whether to take the Chair, but
in this small government the views of working-level officials
will be taken seriously into account. When DCM and Pol-Econ
Counselor meet (on an unrelated matter) with Minister for
Disarmament Marion Hobbs on April 4, we will again encourage
New Zealand to consider the Chairmanship and highlight that
there are ways to handle the manpower problem.


- Herald on Sunday

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