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Viewing cable 08LONDON1761, CWS/BWC: CLOSE ALLIES MEETING, JUNE 17-18, 2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08LONDON1761 2008-07-02 14:02 2011-02-04 21:09 SECRET Embassy London

DE RUEHLO #1761/01 1841428
P 021428Z JUL 08
S E C R E T LONDON 001761 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/30/2028 
REF: A. ) STATE 064404 
     B. ) IIR 663 2405 08 Classified By: Political Counselor Richard Mills for reasons 1.4 (b & d)

1.(SBU) Summary. The Close Allies (U.S., UK, France, Germany) met in London on June 17-18 to discuss issues related to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions. The focus was on taking stock after the Second CWC Review Conference and mapping out next steps. Discussions covered priorities, strategy and tactics for the near term. An afternoon brainstorming session on the longer-term future of the CWC and OPCW post - 2012 pushed allies to think more broadly about overall aims and challenges. Allies also previewed key issues that would appear on the agenda for the Executive Council (EC-53) meeting on June 23-27.

2.(SBU) Summary con't. The BWC discussion was useful in reviewing the current state of play, determining how to make best use of the August Experts meeting, and beginning to think beyond 2008. In reviewing preparations for the August Experts Meetings, the four agreed to share papers with a view to ensuring comprehensive coverage. As for results, most were aimed at "best practice," continuity, and maintaining momentum. Germany will prepare a compendium of CBM-related proposals from the RevCon for review by the four, without prejudice to next steps, if any. The EU Joint Actions were reviewed, as well as a variety of BWC-related outreach activities being conducted by the four countries. End summary.

------------------------------- CWC Review Conference Follow-Up --------------------------------

3.(SBU) Allies were invited to exchange views on the recent CWC RevCon and its aftermath. All agreed that the report was an acceptable document that did not go as far in some areas as desired but was "on the right side of the line." However, Camille Grand, the French Deputy Director for Multilateral Affairs and Disarmament, expressed concern at the increasing level of politicization and North-South division in The Hague, which he had previously regarded as "relatively insulated" from the dynamics common in other disarmament/nonproliferation fora. He noted that the RevCon was the first time he could recall where there was a real risk that CWC States Parties would be unable to reach consensus on a report, and decried the lack of any direct references to UNSCR 1540. Issues with CW destruction deadlines had been successfully deferred, but he cautioned that difficult debates lay ahead. Grand concluded that one positive development at the RevCon had been an increasingly prominent and visible role for the EU, which he termed "useful."

4. (C) German, UK, and U.S. reps all disagreed with this assessment to some degree, noting that the only real obstacles to consensus were the Iranian delegation and the incompetent Chairman of the Committee of the Whole. The NAM, they felt, had been coopted by Iran, India, South Africa, and Cuba, but most NAM delegations (including Cuba) had been fairly quick to distance themselves from extreme Iranian positions. German rep Peter Beerwerth called attention to the language in the report on Articles X (CW protection and assistance) and XI (economic and technical cooperation), which he felt expanded the role of the Organization in these areas, and urged Allies to exercise great caution.

5. (C) Allies briefly discussed India's relatively unconstructive role at the RevCon. There was agreement that India's positions, driven in part by its industry association, were particular barriers to the evolution of the industry verification regime, although certain positions (e.g., "hierarchy of risk") were likely to evolve over time if India's industry continues to focus on specialty chemicals. Efforts to engage with India on CW nonproliferation and CWC implementation issues were flagged as an important focus of political outreach.

--------------------------------------------- Functioning of the OPCW Policy-Making Organs ---------------------------------------------

6. (SBU) Allies discussed how to improve the functioning of the OPCW Executive Council on the basis of a U.S.-drafted discussion paper. There was broad support for the idea of encouraging greater planning and involvement by officers of the Council. French Head of Delegation (HOD) Grand suggested building on the existing mechanism of the "chairman's consultations" prior to each EC, by having two such sessions, the first at least three weeks earlier, to review progress on issues and set priorities for the remainder of the intersessional period. He also proposed that the Chair "cluster" all the routine or non-controversial agenda items for each EC and dispatch them on the first day of the session. The Chairman's consultations prior to the Session could be used to identify documents for this clustering exercise.

7. (SBU) Allies also discussed how best to deal with the disruptive tactics of Iran and a few other delegations, noting that there was effectively no way to prevent any Council member from blocking consensus on a decision or introducing last-minute proposals. After some discussion, however, reps agreed that concerted efforts could increase the political cost of such behavior and might thus damp it down. In particular, allies agreed that failure to reach agreement on a Council report when Iran was seeking problematic language might have a salutary effect, particularly if there were other elements in the report that were important to moderate NAM members.

8. (SBU) German reps noted that the group had identified useful ideas, and that the new EC Chairperson, Ambassador Tomova, was energetic and interested, but questioned how best to convey these suggestions to her. U.S. del suggested that, since the German Ambassador is the WEOG Vice-Chairperson, he should meet with Tomova at the earliest opportunity and informally share ideas on how the Council leadership might function more effectively.

------------------------------------- June Executive Council Session Agenda -------------------------------------

9.(C) Maradykovskiy and Leonidovka. U.S. reps provided Allies an update on U.S. discussions with the OPCW Technical Secretariat and the Director-General on our concerns with the Russian documents. U.S. Head of Delegation (HOD) Bob Mikulak explained the need for the required corrigendum or amendment to the Russian verification plan at Maradykovskiy in order to accurately reflect the current activity ongoing on the ground. German reps concurred, but noted their understanding that the the Maradykovskiy revisions were unlikely to be ready for consideration at EC-53. Allies agreed, however, that the Leonidovka documents should be approved at EC-53, even if the Maradykovskiy documents had to be deferred. U.S. Del concurred, provided that the Russians were prepared to agree to our Newport documents.

10.(SBU) The Allies agreed that report language on this issue could strengthen our position if agreed. James Harrison, UK MOD, further stated that the DG intends to continue to make the distinctions between the two stages when discussing Russian destruction.

11. (SBU) Pine Bluff. USDEL noted our intention to propose that the amendments to Pine Bluff documents be deleted from the agenda, since operations are completed and there is no useful purpose to continued EC consideration. France and Germany, however, objected to this approach, arguing that it would set a harmful precedent that Russia could exploit in future (although how it would further Allied interests to continue to disagree on Russian destruction facility documents after a facility had ceased to operate was never convincingly explained by either delegation). In light of these concerns, Del agreed not to seek deletion.

12.(SBU) EC Visit to Shchuch'ye. German Ambassador Burkart and ISN/CB Office Director Mikulak will both be on the EC delegation to the Shchuch'ye CWDF this fall. Burkart urged allies to provide him with any information or suggested questions well in advance of the visit so he could prepare. The group also discussed the need to encourage other regional groups to provide input to their representatives on the delegation, which did not happen in advance of the October 2007 Anniston visit.

-------------------- Near-Term Priorities --------------------

13.(C) Allies' views on near-term (next 12 months) priorities varied significantly: -- German rep Peter Beerwerth thought that the next 12 months should see concerted efforts within the Close Allies to re-examine options for actually conducting a challenge inspection, because challenge is critical to the long-term viability of the verification regime. He also thought the allies should begin seriously discussing how to address issues posed by incapacitants, and suggested that rather than engaging in a debate over the meaning of "law enforcement," the group should explore whether it would be possible to agree on what chemicals or types of chemicals would be suitable for law enforcement purposes. Beerwerth also suggested that a political focus on managing Article XI issues would be important over the coming months. -- UK reps suggested focusing not on conducting a challenge inspection, but on building both technical capability and political support by persuading a non-aligned country to host an exercise involving a challenge inspection or investigation of alleged use, and suggested that South Africa might be amenable. The UK also noted the desirability of a "test case" for amending the schedules. (Allies were in agreement that moving Amiton to Schedule 1 would be a good candidate.) UK reps also suggested establishing a substantive agenda for the upcoming CSP, including efforts on universality, Article X, and Article XI to take the initiative from Iran and the NAM. The UK also noted the need to establish new, cross-group consultative mechanisms to build closer ties with Brazil, China, and Russia. -- U.S. reps outlined priorities based on guidance: beginning the process of finding the next DG; improving the functioning of the Council; building the OPCW's capability to adapt and evolve over time, and its perceived relevance to member states.

14. (SBU) The UK undertook to draft a compilation with a view to arriving at an agreed set of near-term objectives that the Allies could review periodically in The Hague and work toward.

------------------------- Next Steps on Article XI -------------------------

15. (C) The UK distributed a paper outlining possible measures that could be undertaken in support of international cooperation and assistance under Article XI. The UK thinking is apparently that by taking the initiative to propose a series of additional ICA activities, funded either voluntarily or through the regular budget, Western governments could remove this issue as a NAM rallying cry.

16.(C) All allies agreed that positive steps on Article XI would be politically useful, although the U.S. stressed that they would not resolve the issue - just remove some pressure and help to manage it. German reps were hesitant about the likely financial costs of some of the initiatives proposed; both Germany and France also expressed reservations about proposals that would increase the numbers of students from developing countries studying chemistry in Western countries, noting that their governments went to considerable lengths to limit and manage the degree to which students from countries of concern had access to such programs. Camille Grand suggested that, in addition to considering what additional programs could be offered, allies should be collecting information about programs their governments already offer that could be packaged as CWC ICA-related, and noted that this approach has been used for some time in the IAEA. He urged that allies add collecting such data to their lists of priorities and try to compile information in advance of the next Conference of the States Parties.

------------------------ An Unexpected Discovery ------------------------

17. (S) German del briefed allies on the recent discovery in Germany of 300 grams of high-purity (>90 percent) sarin. Information was consistent with more detailed reporting provided in ref B. The agent, stored in a container marked "sarin" in Cyrillic, appears to have been imported from an eastern European country in 2006 as part of a shipment of several tons of toxic waste. On discovery by the company handling the waste, the container was brought to the attention of German authorities, who transported it to the CW destruction facility in Munster for destruction. The material was destroyed in April 2008. The MFA was not informed of the find until after destruction was completed, but has since reported the find to the OPCW. A criminal investigation is being conducted by the German FBI-equivalent (BundesKriminalamt). The toxic waste was delivered by a ship that made intervening port calls, so while the presumption is that the sarin was part of the original shipment, this is not certain.

--------------------------------------------- ------- Brain Storming Session/Future of the OPCW Post-2012 --------------------------------------------- -------

18. (SBU) In the afternoon the UK conducted an exercise intended to stimulate and elicit ideas about: expected trends and developments to 2020; a "vision for the future" (i.e., what we would ideally like to see); and likely challenges and obstacles, across an array of CWC-related issues (e.g., universality, industry verification, and science/technology). The limited time and large group limited the value of this exercise as a "brainstorming" tool, but it was a useful effort to initiate thinking and discussion. The UK will circulate a write-up of the exercise.

---------------------------------------- U.S.-UK Bilateral on Iraqi CWC Accession -----------------------------------------

19. (S) U.S. and UK Reps met to review the status of Iraqi CWC accession and related issues regarding Iraq's initial declaration. Neither side had further progress to report. U.S. HOD Mikulak reported that Iraq law requires that the law(s) relating to CWC accession must be published in the official "Gazette" prior to Iraq being able to deposit instruments of accession. Apparently there is a long queue of such items waiting to be published and sometimes publication takes "many months." UK Rep recalled that the U.S. and UK meeting with the OPCW Technical Secretariat (TS) on Iraq's draft CWC declaration in March resulted in some additional suggestions to Iraq; so far nothing further has been heard from Iraq.

20. (S) Regarding presentation of Iraq's declaration and the related U.S. and UK information, the OPCW TS (Reeps) suggestion that Iraq make a presentation, even informally, on its declaration as soon as it is provided seems to be a good idea and could help to defuse any comments Iran might wish to make. The U.S. updated the UK on the draft amendment to the U.S. declaration to account for recovery and destruction efforts since 2003. Since the last bilat, the U.S. destruction number has increased to 3,715. U.S. DOD Rep reported that DOD is still reviewing the numbers of recoveries of filled vs. unfilled munitions. (During the bilat on the margins of the Review Conference, the UK asked for clarification of these numbers because the total number in the draft U.S. declaration did not match the number in their records.) The U.S. intends to classify the amendment as OPCW HIGHLY PROTECTED. The UK is considering an annex to its own declaration on its Iraq recoveries; however, the UK has yet to decide how to provide their information. In addition, the UK is carrying out an internal review of the Iraqi CW samples that the UK conducted research on. The UK said that once the internal review is completed, the UK and U.S. should have a classified video conference to discuss the declaration format and process for delivery to the TS.

21. (S) The DoD rep reported that a DOD internal working group is addressing issues related to the contents of two suspect cruciform bunkers at the Muthanna State Establishment and what can be done with them. DOD conducted a "paper" assessment on the status and condition of the two bunkers, which included a thorough review of UNMOVIC documents. However, there are still questions on the current state of the bunker contents. DOD plans to conduct a pre-inventory site survey. This will assist in the development of courses of action (COA) for a long-term solution addressing management, security, and ultimate disposition of the bunkers' contents. The results of the pre-inventory survey and the COAs will help facilitate a decision on whether or not to conduct an intrusive survey. DoD is also reviewing other related questions, such as CWC implications and ownership. This external site assessment should take about a week, and should be completed by the end of July. The COAs will be completed by the end of August.

22. (S) UK rep raised the issue of whether ricin, botulinum, and aflatoxin, which are not currently in the draft Iraqi declaration, should be included in the initial declaration (or in an amendment). UK noted that information concerning Iraq's weapons-related work with these toxins is publicly available in UNMOVIC documents. (Note. According to the UNMOVIC Compendium on the Iraqi BW program, all three toxins were produced in limited quantities and weaponized for field trials. Toxins are captured by both the definition of "biological weapons" in the BWC and by the definition of "chemical weapons" in the CWC. Of the three toxins mentioned above, however, only ricin is subject to the CWC's routine declaration and verification requirements when produced for peaceful purposes. End note.)

23. (S) All participants agreed that Iraq's production of ricin, a Schedule 1 chemical, should be reported to the OPCW. The UK expressed the view that, particularly since the information is publicly available, work on all three toxins should be reported to the OPCW to avoid accusations that that Iraq purposely omitted information. Both the U.S. and UK, however, saw a need to investigate the possible implications of Iraq's declaring weapons activities involving aflatoxin and botulinum toxin, since neither government has declared any former weapons activities involving toxins under the CWC. The UK also raised the issue of related production facilities. If ricin is declared as CW, related production facilities, including clandestine facilities, will require declaration as well. The U.S. and UK agreed to discuss this issue again prior to raising it with the OPCW TS.

----------------------------------------- BWC: Plans for August Meeting of Experts ----------------------------------------- 24. (U) The UK plans to provide four national papers/presentations, in addition to updating information for an EU paper on legislations and regulations. Papers will address: -- Science and Technology: recent advances in the sciences, such as synthetic biology, nanotechnology. An account of UK activities related to oversight in these areas, and involvement of government, societies, and funders. This paper will build on a recent UK presentation at an Australia Group meeting; -- Revisions to UK regulations, lessons learned (resulting from the recent foot-and-mouth disease outbreak); -- UK implementation of Crime and Anti-Terrorism Legislation; -- and, report on a recent seminar held with scientists and Royal Society reps on oversight and awareness issues.

25. (U) France indicated that it would provide four national papers, as well as updates to an EU paper, as follows: -- two papers by the Food and Health Agency, focusing on biorisk analysis and internal regulations to manage risk, best practices; -- an MOD paper on how to analyze risk in the bio field and related methodology, focusing on laboratory notebooks and best practices; and -- something on codes of conduct, which the French are still thinking about.

26. (U) Germany reported on three papers in preparation: -- an update of legislation on licensing and regulations of personnel in facilities working with critical biological materials; -- vetting and security check procedures at BL3-4 level labs for personnel, including procedures for foreign post-graduate students; and -- codes of conduct - reporting on a German organization that has issued a code of conduct relating to funders and on the research side.

27. (U) France, with its "incoming" EU Presidency hat on, reported on three EU papers in preparation: -- a paper on EU legislation on bio-safety and biosecurity (based on the EU "green paper"); -- an inventory of the 27 EU Members on national implementation legislation (to be provided in a matrix); and -- a report on EU outreach and joint actions. Although this will be written by the Council Secretariat, it will be presented by the EU Presidency (France).

28. (U) The U.S. provided information on its presentations.

--------------------------------------------- --------- BWC - Outreach; Making the Most of the August Meeting --------------------------------------------- ---------

29. (U) The four agreed to share drafts in advance, with a view to ensuring that there are no gaps in coverage at the meeting. U.S. HOD suggested that papers be shared with the "JACKKSNNZ" group as well; this seemed to meet with agreement. To encourage greater participation, France reported on an information seminar it hosted in Geneva in cooperation with UNIDIR, Switzerland, and the Implementation Support Unit for Francophones. Some African nations previously not active in BWC activities attended, and France hopes this augers well for wider participation in August. U.S. HOD reported that the U.S. is encouraging experts from those countries with whom we have engaged on bio issues to attend - Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Pakistan, etc. Germany reported that EU outreach under universality has paid off - three of their five countries have acceded and a fourth will soon do so (UAE).

30. (U) On outreach, France asked that the list of outreach activities in which the four were engaged be updated by the U.S. before the next meeting of four to reflect the recent events, including the good news that demarches are fruitful. UK agreed that the demarches were making a difference, and noted that the Biological Weapons Prevention Project (BWPP) was conducting a study on why countries do not accede to the BWC. Furthermore, some countries not listed as States Parties, such as Kiribati and Vanuatu, may already be Parties, having inherited the responsibilities undertaken by former colonial powers. France said that they have learned from their African demarches that BWC isn't a priority and the U.S. and France agreed that demarches from several sources can be mutually reinforcing and help to move BWC accession up on the priority list. Germany observed that the new EU Joint Action, awaiting approval, will allow for bilateral interaction which could help pursuit of universality.

31. (U) Experts' Meeting Goals. In response to U.S. HOD's query about goals, UK identified "best practices," continuity, and identifying further opportunities to provide assistance and advice. Germany agreed, adding "forward movement by those that haven't done much." U.S. added attention to "lessons learned." France agreed with all, stressing the importance of maintaining momentum between Review Conferences.

--------------------------- Activity in Support of BWC ---------------------------

32. (U) EU Joint Actions. As incoming EU President, France spoke to two new EU Actions. The second BWTC Joint Action is being finalized, having just been adopted by the CODUN. It will support ISU activities, and is moving through the EU budgetary process. It is more ambitious than the first Joint Action, and not limited to seminars and workshops. It is more flexible and allows for bilateral engagement. The EU took into account U.S. concerns regarding the role of the ISU in drafting the text. As part of France's EU Presidency, they will work to maintain a high profile for BTWC issues. German expert Beck added that the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs (ODA) will serve as executing agency, but keep the ISU posted. The Action has four priorities: universality, national implementation measures, assistance for CBM preparations, and accomplishments for reporting to the meeting of experts.

33. (U) The second EU action is providing support (an expert) for WHO in the field of bio-safety and biosecurity, which is more difficult to set up. WHO hasn't been as clear about what kind of an expert it wants, or where. German expert Beck added that this project will be for 21 months of work, and will take into account similar activities by other countries in order to avoid duplication. In addition to the initiatives, the Commission has been drawing up a list of experts who can provide assistance and work locally with countries that need help in places such as Pakistan and in Central Asia.

34. (U) German expert Beck provided more details on the first EU Joint Action, which ended in April. On the two countries with which they worked directly, Peru and Nigeria, two visits were made to Peru where updating the national implementation law was discussed with members of Parliament. In Nigeria, draft implementing legislation was prepared and EU members visited to review and advise. It will take about another 1-2 years to bring this legislation to Parliament. Costa Rica has requested assistance, and work with them will start with the new joint action plan.

---------- BWC CBMs ----------

35. (SBU) In order to prepare for the next Review Conference in 2011, Germany proposed that work be initiated now on confidence-building measures (CBMs), starting first with a compilation of recent proposals (at the last RevCon), followed by a small working group ("task force") among the four to review and consider next steps, which could start work in 2009. In time, that group can be expanded. UK thought that among the issues to be considered was how to ensure that this not be seen as a Western only initiative. France agreed to the methodology, pointing out that tactics can be discussed later. U.S. HOD recalled U.S. skepticism about opening up CBMs, but was willing to look at a collation among the four, with no commitments. France recalled that there were three aspects to CBMs: enhancing participation, improving current CBMs (electronic submissions, etc.), and substance - new or substantive changes to CBMs. German expert Beck volunteered to pull together a compendium of previous CBM proposals for review by the four in December on the margins of the BWC Meeting of States Parties.

------------------- BWC - Other Issues -------------------

36. (U) UK reported briefly on the June 12-15 Wilton Park seminar on the G-8 Global Partnership and cooperation in BTWC implemention and on a March seminar of practicing scientists and academics which focused on oversight, and government and MOD bio-defense guidelines. Points from this seminar will be featured in one of the UK expert presentations in August. Germany reported on a G-8 Conference in Berlin in early June on forensic epidemiology which was successful in bringing together diverse communities to focus on the problem, including public health and law enforcement officials. More such interaction is needed in Germany's view; they will encourage Japan and Italy to follow up, and to include additional players including first responders, officials responsible for food chain protection, and transport sector experts. One of the problems is how to connect this G-8 activity to the policy level, according to German reps, who added that it was time to start drafting relevant guidelines.

37. (U) France reported that a White Paper on Defense and Security has just been issued with a nonproliferation section addressing CBRN.

38. (U) Germany reported on the EU follow up to its Green Paper on bio-preparedness. Of the Bio Working Group's four sub-groups, the human pathogen group has finished its work, the detection and diagnosis group will be finished this week, the animal pathogen group will initiate work July 1, and the plant pathogen group will start work in September. Following the work of the Bio Group, the chemical and nuclear/radiological working groups will start. The Commission will review results by next Spring and initiate expert discussions with the U.S. The working groups will provide policy recommendations, and will be internal to the EU. The focus is more on bio-security than bio-safety.

----------------------- Follow-up/Next Meeting -----------------------

39. (SBU) The UK has committed to draft a) a notional list of allied priorities, based on discussions on the 17th, for review and comment; and b) a report on the results of the "brainstorming" exercise. The priorities document will be used by allied delegations in The Hague as a roadmap and coordination tool in the coming months. The French will host the next meeting in the fall, and raised the possibility of holding it in October in The Hague immediately prior to EC-54.

------------ Participants ------------

40. (U) UK Delegation: -- Chris Rampling, Deputy Head (WMD), Counter-Proliferation Deparment, FCO; -- Jackqueline Daley, Head, Chemical and Biological Weapons Section, Counter-Proliferation Deparment, FCO; -- Dr. John Walker, FCO; -- Tsui-Ling Yu, Counter-Proliferation Department, FCO; -- Ashi Brant, Counter-Proliferation Department, FCO; -- Karl Rodrigues, CWC National Authority, BERR; -- John Foggo, CWC National Authority, BERR; -- James Harrison, Assistant Director, Counter Proliferation and Arms Control, MOD; -- Dr. Lorna Miller, Senior Biological Adviser, Non-Proliferation Department, DSTL Porton Down; --Dr. James McGilly, Senior Chemical Advisor, DSTL Porton Down; -- Clive Rowland, Counter Proliferation and and Arms Control, MOD; -- Clare Gallagher, MOD; -- Dr. Matthew Mowthorpe, MOD; -- John Miller, MOD.

41. (U) French Delegation: -- Camille Grand, Deputy Director for Multilateral Affairs, Disarmament and Conventional Arms Control, MFA; -- Anne Lazar-Sury, 1st Secretary, French Embassy, London; -- Annie Mari, Deputy PermRep to OPCW; -- Olivier Sigaud, CW Desk Officer, MFA; -- Isabelle Daoust-Maleval, MOD Department for Strategic Affairs; -- Frederic Aubrey, Ministry of Economy and Industry -- Stephanie Dare-Doyen, Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institute.

42. (U) German Delegation: -- Werner Burkart, PermRep to OPCW; -- Alexander Olbrich, Director, BW/CW Division, MFA; -- Peter Beerwerth, BW/CW Division, MFA; -- Volker Beck, BW Expert, MFA; -- Michael Siebert, German Embassy, London. 43. (U) U.S. Delegation: -- Dr. Robert Mikulak, Director, Office of Chemical and Biological Visit London's Classified Website: ed_Kingdom