WikiLeaks cable: Asia democracy partnership pitched to NZ

Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

August 30, 2007
Asia democracy partnership pitched to New Zealand


date:2007-08-30T19:47:00
source:Embassy Wellington
origin:07WELLINGTON653
destination:VZCZCXRO4857 PP RUEHPB DE RUEHWL #0653/01 2421947 ZNY
CCCCC ZZH P 301947Z AUG 07 FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON TO RUEHC/SECSTATE
WASHDC PRIORITY 4657 INFO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 4944
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0070 RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA 0546
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0139 RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0295
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 0677 RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0263
RUEHSV/AMEMBASSY SUVA 0627 RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0648 RUEHBN/AMCONSUL
MELBOURNE 0114 RUEHBAD/AMCONSUL PERTH 0027 RUEHDN/AMCONSUL SYDNEY 0573
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL
WASHDC
classification:CONFIDENTIAL
reference:07STATE56424
?C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 WELLINGTON 000653

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

NSC FOR WILL INBODEN; G FOR PAUL LETTOW; EAP FOR RSP
E.O....
?C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 WELLINGTON 000653
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
NSC FOR WILL INBODEN; G FOR PAUL LETTOW; EAP FOR RSP
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/30/2017
TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, NZ, KDEM
SUBJECT: ASIA DEMOCRACY PARTNERSHIP PITCHED TO NEW ZEALAND
REF: STATE 56424

Classified By: Poloff Gary Rex, for reasons 1.4(b) and (d) 1. (C)

SUMMARY: On July 23 and 24, National Security Council Senior Director William Inboden and Senior Advisor Paul Lettow from the State Department's Global Affairs Bureau briefed the U.S. proposal for an "Asia Democracy Partnership" (ADP) (reftel) to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), and with John Hayes, an opposition party spokesman for foreign affairs. MFAT and MOJ
officials posed questions about how the initiative could be most practically structured and implemented. MFAT officials stated that New Zealand was in complete agreement with the goal of ADP and is likely to participate from the beginning, though the GNZ has not yet made a decision. At the same time, MFAT desires to continue discussions with the USG to address "modalities" and questions relating to the South Pacific. END SUMMARY.

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ADP PRESENTATIONS

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2. (SBU) Inboden and Lettow provided three separate briefings on the concept of ADP: to a roundtable organized by MOJ; to a roundtable organized by MFAT; and to MP John Hayes. Imboden and Lettow first explained the genesis and purpose of ADP, which emerged from the lack of a central resource to coordinate and promote democracy programs in the Pacific region. They explained that ADP would provide a forum and a structure for prioritizing and coordinating such programs among donor nations and for receiving requests for assistance from nascent and struggling democracies in the area. Membership in ADP would be by invitation only. Inboden/Lettow described ADP as being demand driven and modular, similar to the Tsunami core group, and explained that it would not function to raise funds, establish a secretariat or implement military or other sanctions. The SIPDIS next step would be to establish an ADP "core group" at the upcoming Community of Democracies meeting in Bamako in November 2007. That group would invite potential members to an organizational and planning meeting in January/February 2008 at a location to be determined. Inboden and Lettow reported that India was supportive of the ADP concept, that Indonesian parliamentarians embraced the idea, and that the Japanese and Canadian governments also favored the plan. The Australian government, they added, is currently studying the proposal but is positive about it.

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MINISTRY OF JUSTICE BRIEFING

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3. (C) Officials representing MOJ consisted of Gregor Allan (Manager, International Law), Boris van Beusekom (Senior Advisor, International Law), Stuart Beresford (Manager, Public Law), Malcolm Luey (Manager, Criminal Law), Kelvin Ratnam (Senior Advisor, Criminal Law), Chelly Walton (Criminal Law Team), and Professor Jim Veitch (Victoria University and MOJ Consultant). The MOJ interlocutors commented that many small Pacific countries are already overburdened with reporting and fora responsibilities, some of them duplicative, and it is important to not add to that burden. They also stated that ASEAN currently has hundreds of committees with plenty of talk and no action. It would be counterproductive to undercut existing processes, though the proposal should move forward if the new process has a positive effect, perhaps using the Pacific Island Forum as a good model. They also pointed out that some coordination in this subject is already occurring within the Asia Development Bank, and similar organizations. Adding the word "Pacific" to the title of ADP was recommended as well, if the organization is serious about including the entire region.

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WELLINGTON 00000653 002 OF 003

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE BRIEFING

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4. (C) Officials representing MFAT included Carl Worker (Director, Americas Division), Elizabeth Halliday (Co-director, Americas Division), David Taylor (Director North Asia Division) and Rupert Holborow (APEC Directors), Tim McIvor (Asia Division), and Rich Woodham (NZAID). They raised several issues relating to ADP membership, and asked how membership would be determined? Would only states be invited? For example, what about Taiwan and Hong Kong? They commented that use of the term "Asia" in the organization's title would not seem to cover Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands or, for that matter, the U.S. and Canada, and suggested the term "Asia-Pacific" in the ganization title. They also commented that a narrow invitation-only membership could create problems. For example, Indonesia would naturally want to become a member, Malaysia would expect to be invited, and China might expect to be involved as well. They stated that China's response to ADP would be critical, and even the use of the term "democracy" within the ADP title could be problematic for China. Furthermore, they asked how ADP would involve the large number of civil society organizations which play a significant role in supporting
good governance within the region?

5. (C) MFAT representatives also expressed concern about duplication of effort, noting that ASEAN already works to address good governance issues among its members. They suggested that ADP's integration within the ASEAN framework would be crucial. Woodham of NZAID stressed the already ongoing efforts of the Pacific Island Forum's Secretariat (PIF) and its initiatives in building democratic institutions in Pacific Island countries as possibly being duplicative. MFAT officials emphasized that they supported the goals of ADP, but that the structure and process raised some questions. In the words of one MFAT interlocutor, "This is a mine field. The goal is fine, but the process and details will be difficult to work out. The challenge is how to do it without creating more problems."

6. (C) Carl Worker, Americas Division Director, stated that the GNZ desires to be closely abreast of USG efforts in this area, and that MFAT will consult internally on the proposal. He said he has every expectation that New Zealand will join on. He asked that the U.S. keep New Zealand informed as planning for the initial stages of the ADP goes forward.

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INBODEN AND LETTOW REPLY TO MOJ AND MFAT QUESTIONS

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7. (SBU) Inboden and Lettow responded to comments by MOJ and MFAT by emphasizing that the ADP would merely help to prioritize and coordinate programs promoting democracy in the region, and would operate without a secretariat or formal structure that might overlap or encumber the activities of other multilateral frameworks. The ADP structure would be
flexible and action-oriented, with the intent of supplementing the efforts of existing organizations, and not duplicating them. Participation would also be "modular" (meaning that participants could opt-in or opt-out of particular programs as they desire) and demand driven (meaning that ADP activities would be determined largely by the expressed needs of nations requesting assistance). NGOs and other civil society partners that support democracy programs would, of course, be invited to participate in ADP efforts. Inboden and Lettow also recommended that the initial efforts of ADP should modestly target "low-hanging fruit" -- that is, easy to accomplish projects such as facilitating parliamentary exchanges, or helping to establish effective civil/military relations.

8. (SBU) Regarding the name of the organization and whether ''Pacific'' should be included in the title, Inboden and WELLINGTON 00000653 003 OF 003 Lettow expressed openness to other monikers. In any event, they emphasized that the name should not stand in the way of going forward and that the USG is willing to consider other titles.

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MP JOHN HAYES' BRIEFING

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9. (C) John Hayes commented that the concept and goal of ADP would obviously receive widespread endorsement. However, according to Hayes, the Pacific is already crowded with similar regional architectures promoting democracy and good governance. Small Pacific nations have limited ability to participate in yet another regional forum. He cautioned that any such initiative must demonstrate political accountability and the capacity to make a significant difference. In order to produce gains, Hayes suggested that ADP must have direct ministerial-level participation and backing. Inboden and Lettow both assured Hayes that the ADP would have full senior level support within the NSC and State Department.

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LATER COMMENT FROM MFAT

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10. (C) on August 17, in a subsequent private conversation between Carl Worker and DCM Dave Keegan, Worker stated that while the GNZ has not yet made a decision on ADP, he could not imagine that NZ would not participate. Although, according to Worker, without Indonesia's participation it will be difficult for other nations to join. He commented that the GNZ shares the same objectives with respect to ADP and is supportive, but the GNZ still has questions relating to "modalities" and to the South Pacific, and wants to have more constructive discussions on the subject when the USG is ready. "We're in much the same space on this as Australia," he added.

11. (U) Senior Advisor Paul Lettow has cleared on this message.

KEEGAN

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