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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08PARIS2134 2008-11-21 08:08 2011-02-02 21:09 SECRET Embassy Paris
DE RUEHFR #2134/01 3260821
O 210821Z NOV 08
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 05 PARIS 002134


E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/12/2018



Classified By: Political Minister-Counselor Kathleen Allegrone for reas ons 1.4 b and d.

1. (C) Summary. On November 7, Acting U/S John Rood met in Paris with his French and British counterparts Jacques Audibert and Mariot Leslie, respectively, to discuss a broad range of nonproliferation, arms control, and disarmament issues. Topics included regional issues (Iran, North Korea, and Syria) and multilateral efforts (IAEA, Nuclear Suppliers Group, Conference on Disarmament, Convention on Conventional Weapons). U/S Rood, Audibert and Leslie agreed on the need to continue to pressure Iran wherever possible and to work within the IAEA to combat Syrian proliferation. The P3 also discussed Russia and China, developments in bilateral cooperation, and ideas for further initiatives. The parties planned to meet again in Washington in late December or January. Separately, U/S Rood held side discussions with both Audibert and Leslie. Audibert and U/S Rood agreed on the need to work closely with the UK on their proposed initiatives to ensure their end results remain constructive. End Summary.

------------------------------------------ REGIONAL ISSUES: IRAN, NORTH KOREA, SYRIA ------------------------------------------

2. (S) The parties agreed that Iran is progressing steadily in developing its nuclear program. Leslie agreed with U/S Rood that the possibility of covert facilities is the biggest concern. U/S Rood stated the need for continued close collaboration in pursuing national measures and multilateral efforts beyond the UN Security Council, such as a possible G7 statement. Leslie noted that financial measures are controversial in the UK, with several legal challenges pending from private firms and any measures requiring House of Lords approval. That said, she expressed support for continued utilization of financial measures. Leslie also said the UK is disappointed in Italy and Germany, but thinks focusing more on Japanese banks would be constructive. She said Japanese banks were beginning to take up more Iranian business as financial sanctions bite in Europe. She emphasized the need to use sanctions to pressure the Iranian leadership while taking care to preserve Iran's economic linkages to the global economy. UK and French representatives agreed that efforts within the EU were not dead, with the French EU presidency planning to push for designation of additional entities by the EU.

3. (C) U/S Rood provided an update on the Six-Party Talks, stating that the DPRK has a deliberate, systematic approach that emphasizes conditionality. The key challenges were to continue disablement of North Korean nuclear facilities and to begin verification activities. The U.S., South Korea, Japan, China and Russia have reached a common position on principles of the verification protocol, which we hope to codify soon at a head of delegation level meeting. ISN Acting Assistant Secretary Patricia McNerney briefed on the specific steps taken to date at Yongbyan and the challenges to completing disablement by the end of the year. All concurred that efforts so far had borne some fruit, but the situation could reverse. Both the UK and France expressed support for U.S. efforts and a willingness to help if desirable.

4. (C) U/S Rood stated U.S. hope for a report from Director General ElBaradei on Syria at the next IAEA Board of Governors meeting that would give the BOG the opportunity to take action to pressure Syria to cooperate with the IAEA investigation of its current nuclear program. Audibert, Leslie, and Rood agreed that Syria's request for IAEA technical cooperation on a reactor project was of concern. Leslie expressed caution that if the report's content is insufficiently strong, a failed attempt for a resolution prohibiting such cooperation or pressing for greater Syrian cooperation with the investigation would weaken the P3 position. She also warned against inadvertently giving the impression that the IAEA takes Syria more seriously than Iran, since a resolution on Iran is unlikely. UK Head of Counter-Proliferation Department Paul Arkwright noted that the BOG nonetheless offers the right moment for strong national statements on Syria. Acting A/S McNerney highlighted U.S. concern that the November IAEA Board of Governors was poised to approve a project to help Syria develop a nuclear reactor absent greater effort to halt this proposal. The P3 agreed to press the IAEA not to pursue the technical cooperation project with Syria on a new nuclear reactor, which they agreed seemed completely inappropriate in the circumstances, and to confer again as soon as the IAEA report on Syria is available on the prospects for pursuing a BOG resolution. PARIS 00002134 002 OF 005

----------------------------------------- MULTILATERAL EFFORTS: IAEA, NSG, CD, CCW -----------------------------------------

5. (C) Leslie stated that neither Japanese candidate Amano nor South African candidate Minty is ideal to replace ElBaradei as IAEA chief. The UK is not yet ready to commit to either candidate, but Leslie noted that OPCW DG Pfirter might also be interested and would be a good choice. Audibert and U/S Rood noted that their governments support Amano's candidacy but recognized that if neither candidate gets two-thirds consensus, a third candidate may be needed. All recalled that ElBaradei emerged as a candidate only after other candidates had failed to get two-thirds support and that he did so without the support of his government. U/S Rood said that Japan expects Amano to get support from African and Latin American countries despite the African Union's endorsement of Minty, noting that the vote is secret.

6. (C) For the upcoming Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting, U/S Rood said that the U.S. is working hard to produce consensus on criteria governing trade in enrichment and reprocessing. The partners agreed that Canada is the key, since its vocal opposition to the inclusion of a "black box" requirement in the criteria is based on substantively weak reasons, and other countries would likely follow a Canadian shift in position. Canada might agree to the "black box" approach for current technologies, but wants more flexibility to pursue technologies that are not yet commercially viable. All agreed that multi-pronged pressure on Canada would be necessary. Audibert said France would increase pressure in its own demarches. Leslie said she had already weighed in heavily with the Canadian MFA but requested that the U.S. share the language under discussion with Canada. Leslie further suggested we might be able to identify NGOs that could indirectly pressure the Canadian government, as public opinion would be on our side.

7. (C) Regarding the Conference on Disarmament (CD), the parties agreed that expectations were modest, largely due to the intransigence of China and Pakistan to pursuing negotiations on the FMCT. U/S Rood noted that China is a free rider in the CD context, noting that the proposed Prevention of an arms race in space (PAROS) treaty would not even ban China's own anti-satellite weapons. Leslie said that China could be somewhat vulnerable to public pressure if we expose the fact that China is building more weapons while others are reducing their levels. The parties also agreed that an isolated Pakistan might be more flexible, but prospects for a fissile material cutoff treaty are not good regardless.

8. (C) In a brief discussion of cluster munitions and the ongoing Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) meeting, U/S Rood pressed for movement at the CCW and urged the French and British to use their influence to persuade other adherents to the Dublin convention to take a more practical approach rather than dogmatically sticking to the positions adopted in Dublin. Audibert said a French proposal may have produced a compromise between munitions-possessing states and the more extreme participants of the Oslo Process. Leslie said the UK will sign the Dublin text in December but has not given up on the CCW.

---------------- RUSSIA AND CHINA ----------------

9. (C) P3 relations with Russia and China remain complex. Leslie said UK bilateral relations with Russia have seen a little improvement overall, and Russia is eager to resume military cooperation with the UK. However, Russia is also pressuring Britain through daily overflights of UK territory, which are annoying but more importantly, carry the danger of accidents. France reported that one side effect of its EU presidency's intense negotiations with Russia regarding the Georgia crisis is that French leaders have developed personal relationships with their Russian counterparts. France prioritizes open dialogue and recognizes the need to cooperate with Russia on key issues whether or not we want them as partners. U/S Rood reported that U.S. relations with Russia have taken a more negative tone since the last P3 meeting, though cooperation in some counterproliferation areas has not faltered. U/S Rood said that the U.S. has transmitted a draft follow-on START text to Russia. He commented that Russian officials seemed surprised to receive it, indicating they had perhaps doubted our sincerity. Nonetheless, it remains to be seen how serious the Russians are about negotiating, particularly with the current administration. Leslie asked that the UK be kept apprised of post-START developments, not just as a stakeholder but PARIS 00002134 003 OF 005 because the agreement will set a new standard among nuclear states; PM Brown has personal interest in the issue and may make public remarks along those lines soon. U/S Rood added that the U.S. has developed a new proposal for missile defense, in the same framework, but that Russia seems less open to an understanding than six months ago. In the P5, Arkwright said that Russia will be reluctant to decouple itself from China since China has successfully been a long-time free rider. In the NPT review conference context, P5 cooperation is not the primary cause for concern, though expectations overall are moderate for that meeting. U/S Rood agreed to talk to his Russian counterpart about closer coordination in the run-up to the NPT Revcon.

--------------------------- BILATERAL AGREEMENT UPDATES ---------------------------

10. (C) Audibert provided updates on French bilateral agreements on civil nuclear cooperation, a French Presidency priority. Framework agreements are underway, but not yet finalized, with a range of countries including Jordan, Algeria, Libya, Slovakia, and India. Audibert stressed that all agreements will be consistent with France's legal obligations including NSG engagements, which are legally binding for EU member-states. Audibert said safety is a huge concern because French public support for nuclear power is largely founded on France's excellent safety record. Leslie said the UK was reassured to have France taking the lead with these countries, since France takes its obligations so seriously. U/S Rood said the U.S. is pursuing civil nuclear cooperation with countries like the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, where we have signed MOUs that Will be drawn upon to negotiate legally binding 123 agreements. Acting A/S McNerney highlighted that the U.S. approach is intended to shape the development of nuclear energy in the Middle East in a manner that meets high nonproliferation standards but also makes good economic sense and relies on the markets for fuel generation. As this approach takes root it would help shape debate in multilateral fora away from stale discussions of "rights" under the NPT. U/S Rood noted that the U.S. agreed to permit the UAE to pursue overseas reprocessing in France or the UK only, and expected that any separated plutonium would not go back to the UAE including plutonium incorporated in mox fuel. The P3 agreed these developments were positive, and should continue to be developed.

----------------------------- IDEAS FOR FURTHER INITIATIVES -----------------------------

11. (C) Leslie said UK Prime Minister Brown is eager to host a conference focused on topics, such as the UK proposal for a fuel enrichment bond, in order to demonstrate commitment to all three NPT pillars. The conference, which might occur in March, would group supplier states and potential purchasers at the ministerial level, going "beyond" MFAs to include other relevant ministries. Audibert noted that the French EU presidency is working for the EU to contribute "up to 25 million euros" to the NTI/IAEA fuel bank initiative, which he said complements the UK's enrichment bond proposal. U/S Rood said that a significant EU contribution could push the fuel bank into operational status, a big accomplishment. The UK also welcomed the French EU presidency's effort, which Leslie said would decrease the skepticism of non-aligned states due to the EU stamp. On the British proposal for a P5 conference on verifying nuclear disarmament, U/S Rood urged that we focus on bringing Chinese and Russian transparency up to P3 levels. He referenced his discussion in Beijing this past summer with Chinese Deputy Chief of the PLA General Staff Ma Xiaotian, who in apparent keeping with Sun Tzu dicta said he did not wish to reveal his country's military strengths or weaknesses through transparency. Audibert agreed that we should focus in the proposed conference on advancing Chinese and Russian transparency, and the British seemed to take this on board.

12. (C) U/S Rood discussed the U.S. proposal for a suppliers' code of conduct, which would go farther than NSG commitments especially on qualitative points. He acknowledged that such an effort would need to be conducted sensitively to avoid the perception of creating a "cartel" and angering non-aligned states. U/S Rood said the U.S. would refine its concepts and then send out a discussion paper. Audibert said the GOF was also developing a list of common principles for suppliers and recipients, which it would transmit as a discussion paper in approximately two weeks.

13. (C) Leslie distributed a UK government discussion paper PARIS 00002134 004 OF 005 on how to fill gaps in the current "patchwork" architecture surrounding nuclear trade, particularly in the area of physical protection. She said the UK's goal would be to create comprehensive, legally binding institutions to address growing proliferation concerns, noting that nonproliferation structures have not evolved to keep up with advanced technology that makes proliferation easier than ever. She said the paper did not reflect a formal proposal, but reflection and preparation would need to take place now for a push in the 2010 timeframe. Audibert and U/S Rood remarked that the current patchwork seemed to work and questioned why a single, comprehensive instrument was necessary, but agreed to review the paper.

14. (C) Leslie reported that FM Miliband has repeatedly asked British officials to define "deterrence" in today's context. As part of Miliband's initiative to "bring foreign policy home" in the UK through spurring domestic intellectual debate on foreign policy matters, the UK government is preparing a public discussion document on nuclear issues. Leslie said that preparation of the document was complicated, which by definition goes beyond iterating current British policy, but she would share the paper shortly before it is published, possibly in late December. U/S Rood noted that for the U.S., deterrence is not the same thing as offensive nuclear forces. He said in today,s environment, that deterrence was much more complex than during the Cold War when we often described our nuclear forces as our "deterrent." In today,s world, any discussion needed to being with what we were seeking to deter (e.g. terrorism, attacks by rogue states, etc.) and then progress to consideration of the right means to deter such actors. Audibert noted that the French defense white paper exercise reaffirmed nuclear deterrence as the core of French defense.

15. (C) Audibert also circulated a non-paper, containing basic elements of a treaty banning short- and intermediate-range ground-to-ground missiles. The concept of such a treaty was set forth by President Sarkozy in remarks in March on French nuclear doctrine. Concluding the discussions, the parties agreed to meet again in late December or January in Washington, and U/S Rood agreed to circulate possible dates.

------------------------------- BILATERAL TALKS WITH FRANCE, UK -------------------------------

16. (C/NF) In a bilateral discussion prior to the P3 meeting, Audibert and Rood discussed the UK's thinking on nuclear disarmament. Audibert said the main reason he had sought a bilateral discussion with U/S Rood before the P3 meeting was to express concern with the direction the British are going, and to coordinate with us in advance of the P3 meeting. U/S Rood said increased transparency along the lines of British thinking for states with nuclear weapons wouldn,t necessarily be stabilizing; it would in fact be destabilizing in the case of India and Pakistan. The French agreed that moves toward transparency along the lines of British thinking would also put unhelpful pressure on Israel. Audibert stated that the U.S. and France must work very closely with the UK to ensure their initiatives stay constructive. He also noted that UK Prime Minister Brown seems willing to engage personally in arms control issues, crediting him with the reversal of the UK's position on cluster munitions. Rood noted that even positive steps in arms control sometimes produce negative press coverage and that high visibility is thus not always desirable. They agreed that the UK government seems to be unduly cautious about getting ahead of public opinion. Both sides broadly agreed we should convince the British to shift their focus to enhancing Chinese and Russian transparency.

17. (C) In a bilateral discussion following the P3 meeting, Leslie and Rood focused on Russia and China. Leslie asked for more information on the draft treaty to replace START, noting that the UK has sensitivities about revealing information about its own nuclear programs. Rood outlined the text of the treaty the U.S. recently sent to Russia and assured Leslie it would not require particular actions by the UK. Rood added that Russia believes conventional weapons are part of the bilateral balance of power and should be covered by the treaty. Nonetheless, he said that Russia will likely postpone intense post-START negotiations until the next administration's tenure in hopes of a "better deal." Regarding China, Leslie described bilateral arms control talks with Deputy FM He Yafei as a constructive process despite few deliverables thus far beyond an invitation for UK nuclear scientists to visit their Chinese counterpart lab. She said that the Chinese goal seems to be to "catch up" with the U.S. in weapons capabilities to avoid American strategic PARIS 00002134 005 OF 005 dominance in Asia, seeing the "pax Americana" as a blip in world history.

18. (U) P3 Participants: US: U/S John Rood, Acting A/S Patricia McNerney, T Chief of Staff Hugh Amundson, T Executive Assistant Thomas Cynkin, Embassy Political Officer Emilie Bruchon UK: Director-General Defense and Intelligence Mariot Leslie, Head of Counter-Proliferation Department Paul Arkwright, Team Leader Nuclear Issues and Missile Defense Chris Allan, Embassy Political Officer Ben Fender France: Director (A/S-equivalent) for Strategic Affairs Jacques Audibert, Strategic Affairs Desk Officers Celine Jurgensen and Myriam Pavageau

19. (U) U/S Rood has cleared this cable.