WikiLeaks cable: EAP/ANP Director McGann's visit to Wellington

Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

This is one of the cables about New Zealand held by Wikileaks.

May 29, 2007
SUBJECT: EAP/ANP DIRECTOR MCGANN'S MAY 21 VISIT TO WELLINGTON

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

1. (C) Summary: During his May 21 visit to Wellington,
EAP/ANP Office Director C. Steven McGann and GNZ counterparts
agreed to work towards firm messages on Fiji, the Solomon
Islands, Pacific Island Forum (PIF) reform, and other
regional issues at October's PIF meetings in Tonga. They
also exchanged information about their assistance to the
Pacific Islands as well as regional economic opportunities
such as the construction of the U.S. military base in Guam.
Building on the improvement in US-NZ bilateral cooperation
over the past 10 months, McGann and GNZ officials agreed to
explore joint approaches to problems in the Pacific Islands,
Homeland Security, and Antarctic issues. NZ Defence
Officials told McGann that the GNZ recognizes it must make NZ
Military capabilities and plans clear to U.S. counterparts in
the coming months. End Summary

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KEEPING IN TOUCH ON PACIFIC ISSUES

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2. (C) At a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT)
roundtable McGann and Embassy officials traded notes with
Deputy Secretary Alan Williams and other GNZ officials on the
recent Pacific Island Leaders Conference (PICL) in
Washington. They observed the PICL helped clarify for
participants that U.S. regional assistance is moving towards
capacity building, technical cooperation, and developing
trade and economic opportunities. By discussing with them
pressing problems outside the region, including Iraq and
N.Korea, the Pacific Leaders realized their views are taken
seriously by USG officials. The conference also highlighted
the potential USD 14 billion in opportunities that the
construction of the new U.S. military base in Guam would
create for Pacific Island Country (PIC) businesses. Both
sides agreed that the Core Partners meeting on the margins of
the PICL allowed China and other participants to take a
unified approach to regional donor assistance. Approving the
EU's benchmark approach also allowed the donors to send a
potent message that Fiji's interim government must return to
democracy. McGann noted with appreciation NZAID Pacific
Director Craig Hawke's visit to the Millennium Challenge
Corporation while in Washington, as coordination will allow
us to maximize the impact of US-NZ assistance.

3. (C) Both sides agreed US-NZ officials must keep in close
contact to ensure that the October PIF calls for progress on
Fiji, PIF reform, support for the Regional Assistance Mission
Solomon Islands (RAMSI), good governance, and other regional
issues. Looking forward, Williams said that Papua New Guinea
(PNG) will hold elections before the October PIF meetings,
and that could affect the solidarity of the Melanesian
Spearhead Group on Fiji and other issues. All agreed it was
important to send a consistent, tough message to Fiji, as
this will make clear to the Solomon Islands and PNG that
they, too, are on the hook to reform. Williams said that the
recent Solomon Islands Tsunami has helped check deteriorating
GOSI-RAMSI relations, and PM Sogavare is now even saying he'd
accept a RAMSI close protection unit instead of one from
Taiwan. GNZ expressed concerns about the new, Fijian Solomon
Islands Police Chief, but said they were trying to keep an
open mind. As for Fiji itself, Williams said the GNZ is
"somber" as they see little progress there. NZ diplomats in
Suva report that the Cabinet is fractured and the economy is
weak.

4. (C) McGann explained that the proposed USG draft Regional
Maritime Law Enforcement Agreement now under review by the
Quad 1 countries (US, UK, France, NZ, and Japan) would
strengthen existing bilateral and Quad maritime cooperation.
The draft is still just a discussion paper, however, and U.S.
officials are very interested in exchanging views with other
Quad members via a "virtual working group." U.S. officials
would also be happy to come to New Zealand to explain the
draft. Hawke said a virtual working group focused on
technical issues would be helpful. GNZ officials believe
sharing background information with PICs and other simple
measures could help the Islands develop the capacity to
enforce any agreement. Both sides highlighted recent
problems with Cook Island vessels registration (Reftel) as an
example of why an agreement would be useful.

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BILATERAL TIES: WHERE TO FROM HERE?

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5. (C) At a follow-on meeting on bilateral issues chaired by
MFAT America's Division Carl Worker, all agreed that PM
Clark's March visit to Washington was a milestone. They also
agreed Embassy Wellington, MFAT, and the Ministry of Defence
would draft a conceptual framework for longer-term
cooperation, particularly on security issues. Initiatives
could include annual consultations on Pacific Island issues;
developing means to coordinate on regional flare ups; working
to create a regional police force to help stabilize PIC
governments in crisis; cooperation on regional Homeland
Security issues such as trafficking in persons; and creating
public events around the US-NZ Antarctic programs. The group
also reviewed upcoming bilateral visits and meetings,
including Opposition Leader John Key's trip to Washington in
late June, July 9-10 Trade and Investment Framework Agreement
(TIFA) talks in Wellington, and OSD BG Toolan's visit to
Wellington in late July/early August, and Trade/Defence
Minister Goff's November visit to the Seattle Export Year
Trade Mission.

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A REALISTIC LOOK AT SECURITY COOPERATION

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6. (C) McGann also met with Defence Secretary John McKinnon,
who had recently accompanied Defence Minister Goff to
Washington. McKinnon said that from a Ministry of Defence
view, both the Prime Minister's and Defence Minister's visit
had been very helpful. He also said the GNZ was very pleased
with recent working-level US-NZ consultations at the
Pentagon, noting that OSD's Jessica Powers and others had
shown a real disposition to work with New Zealand without
losing sight of possible difficulties. McKinnon said that
MoD was now taking a hard look at the things the NZ military
is currently doing, the things they might want to do in the
future, and the things they probably will not be able to do
in the near and medium term. McKinnon said the GNZ would let
US officials know which things fall in the latter category,
in order to prevent misunderstanding.

MCCORMICK

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