WikiLeaks cable: NZ supports existing draft ship boarding amendments to Sua convention

April 8, 2005
NZ supports the existing draft ship boarding amendments to the Sua convention

STATE FOR L/LEI: DENISE MANNING, NP/RA EYTHAN SONTAG,
AND EAP/ANZ
DOJ FOR WAYNE RAABE
USCG FOR LCDR BRAD KIESERMAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/08/2015
TAGS: KNNP, KTIA, MNUC, PARM, PREL, PHSA, EWWT, PGOV, NZ
SUBJECT: NEW ZEALAND SUPPORTS THE EXISTING DRAFT SHIP
BOARDING AMENDMENTS TO THE SUA CONVENTION

REF: SECSTATE 55182

Classified By: Acting DCM Katherine Hadda,
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: New Zealand is likely to oppose efforts to
reopen the draft SUA 8bis text, and hopes the United States
will support the Canadian text for Article 2bis. New Zealand
strongly supports the Proliferation Security Initiative
(PSI), and feels the proof of the exercise's effectiveness
will be how well it enhances enforcement mechanisms at the
border. NZ officials have encouraged Pacific Island nations
to adopt PSI, and may be willing to encourage others in Asia
to sign on as well.

Our key Foreign Ministry interlocutor on
PSI believes a slow, regional approach may be the best way to
encourage ASEAN nations' participation in the initiative.
End Summary.

1. (C) On March 31, Pol-Econ Couns shared reftel demarche
points with Caroline Bilkey, Deputy Legal Advisor at the
Ministry or Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), a key
Government legal advisor on PSI and Counter-terrorism issues.
Bilkey had heard from the NZ rep who attended the February
Intersessional meeting that Greece had wanted to reopen the
8bis language in the draft SUA amendments, but was very
surprised to learn that other countries were now supporting
the Greek position. None of the countries who are interested
in reopening the text have approached New Zealand about the
issue, she said. Bilkey added that she could not imagine
that New Zealand would agree to reopen the text and said she
would recommend against it. In her view, it is especially
important to leave the existing draft as it is because the
proposed language was only approved by a very narrow margin
and there are more important issues to talk about.

2. (C) Bilkey said that one part of the text that New
Zealand is concerned about is Article 2bis, where the Kiwis
would like to see a carve out for the NPT. New Zealand
strongly supports the Canadian text and hope the United
States will support it as well.

3. (C) Bilkey attended the PSI Operational Experts Group
Meeting in Omaha in March, which she found very useful. She
regretted the NZ contingent there was so small. (The Defence
Force lawyer had a family emergency and another
representative was similarly unable to attend.) Bilkey
stressed that New Zealand really supports PSI, and has been
pleased if a bit bemused to seemingly have graduated from an
observer to a participant (albeit one with very limited
military resources to contribute). She was struck at Omaha
by how different governments seem to be emphasizing different
aspects of the initiative, as evident by their choice of lead
agencies. Japan was clearly managing the initiative through
its foreign affairs ministry, while Singapore and the United
States were concentrating more on the military aspects.
Revealing her own bias in the matter (not surprisingly, given
the small size of the NZ military), Bilkey said ideally we
should get to the point where border and export controls will
make military intervention unnecessary.

4. (C) Bilkey will not be attending the April 18-22 Legal
Committee meeting. New Zealand's chief delegate there will
be MFAT's new Legal Advisor, Gerard Van Bohemen, who will not
formally start in his position until June. Bohemen has for
some years been in private practice at the Wellington law
firm Chen and Palmer. Bringing in an outside legal advisor
is unusual, according to Bilkey, but Bohemen used to work at
MFAT so this may be part of the reason he is being given the
job. (Comment: Personal connections doubtless are also at
work, as the "Palmer" is former Labour PM Geoffrey Palmer.
End comment.)

5. (C) New Zealand has been encouraging others to join PSI,
according to Bilkey. MFAT has stressed the importance of the
initiative to Pacific Island states, including through a
monthly newsletter to those governments. Pol-Econ Counselor
asked whether New Zealand would consider encouraging other
hold-outs to join. She raised Thailand specifically,
pointing out that New Zealand's recent Free Trade Agreement
with and close ties to Thailand should give the Kiwis some
influence there. Bilkey said she had already briefed the
lead Thai lawyer on the legal opinion drafted by her
department that had allowed the NZ Government to join PSI.
She said her sense from discussions with the lawyer is that
the Thai bureaucracy is both complex and powerful, and that
there seems to be one ministry still opposed to Thailand's
joining the initiative. She said she would definitely be
open to further approaches to her Thai counterparts if that
would be useful. Bilkey also believes that a slow, regional
approach could be the best means to encourage ASEAN and other
regional hold-outs to participate in PSI.


Burnett

- Herald on Sunday

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a3 at 21 Aug 2014 18:26:28 Processing Time: 1493ms