WikiLeaks cable: NZ and the Serbian ICJ resolution

Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

October 16, 2008
New Zealand and CCW cluster munitions negotiations

date:2008-10-16T01:31:00
source:Embassy Wellington
origin:08WELLINGTON341
destination:VZCZCXRO6704 OO RUEHRN DE RUEHWL #0341 2900131 ZNY CCCCC
ZZH O 160131Z OCT 08 FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC
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VIENNA IMMEDIATE 0062 RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO IMMEDIATE 0086
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME IMMEDIATE 0001
classification:CONFIDENTIAL
reference:08STATE108303
?C O N F I D E N T I A L WELLINGTON 000341

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/ANP AND PM/WRA
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2018
TAGS: PARM, PREL, MARR, N...
?C O N F I D E N T I A L WELLINGTON 000341

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/ANP AND PM/WRA
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2018
TAGS: PARM, PREL, MARR, NZ
SUBJECT: NEW ZEALAND AND CCW CLUSTER MUNITIONS NEGOTIATIONS
REF: STATE 108303

Classified By: Pol/Econ Counselor Margaret McKean, Reason: 1.4 (b) and
(d)

1. (SBU) On October 14, Pol/Econ Counselor met with Jillian Dempster, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's office for disarmament. PE Counselor made the points in the reftel, focusing on whether or not New Zealand and other core Oslo Process supporters are willing to be flexible enough to see progress in the CCW forum. She asked if achieving binding language on technical improvements would
not constitute a small measure of progress that moves major suppliers in a positive direction and could be built upon in the future. If the CCW cannot make progress on areas of mutual agreement that have some humanitarian benefit then the success of the CCW negotiation process looks doubtful, she added.

2. (SBU) Dempster started out by acknowledging that the positions look very far apart going into the final negotiation week in November. New Zealand would feel more confident if the Chair was working behind the scenes to try and reconcile the positions. She placed a certain amount of the blame on the Chair, saying that NZ did not feel that the Chair was making much of an effort in that regard. Dempster also said that she was disappointed in the level of consultation between the Chair and the various groups/states so far. She specifically pointed out that NZ has a great deal of experience on working on the issue of definitions,
and that the Chair has not incorporated some NZ positions. She allowed that some GNZ views may not be acceptable to all states, but New Zealand was still not happy with how the negotiations have gone so far.

3. (C) New Zealand, said Dempster, believes that the CCW is still important and would like to see the CCW as complementary to the Oslo Treaty. She also allowed there is benefit in having major suppliers such as Russia and China be part of something that is legally binding -- "but not at any price." She added that NZ is not convinced Russia will see the CCW process as legally binding. Moreover, she said that
there is a risk of having two different legal instruments that could increase the ambiguities in international law and its application to cluster munitions. She said that the CCW does not have to mirror the Oslo Treaty, but NZ worries about two sets of standards. She added that NZ and other Oslo core group members are not the only ones in the CCW worried about dual standards.

4. (SBU) The Chair's proposal as it stands will not achieve consensus, predicted Dempster. She said New Zealand will be open minded going into the final week but there will be certain areas/issues (although she refused to be drawn out on specifics) that will require New Zealand's delegation to consult with Wellington and receive concurrence from
government ministers, notably Minister for Disarmament Phil Goff.

5. (C) Comment. New Zealand's national election will take place on November 8, the day after the conclusion of the CCW negotiation round (November 3-7). Goff and other government ministers will be on the campaign trail during that week and the New Zealand Geneva-based delegation's ability to consult with its political leadership will be limited. Dempster did not sound optimistic at the prospect for success in Geneva nor did she signal any sense of urgency from New Zealand's
standpoint. It is unclear how much influence NGOs involved in the Oslo process are wielding on the CCW negotiations; Dempster noted several times during the discussion that she is in regular contact with NGOs in the lead up to the December signing of the Oslo Treaty. End Comment.

MCCORMICK

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