Wikileaks: Bolivia's UN rep on secret US manipulation of climate talks & West's blocking action at Cancun

[For more analysis of the Cancun climate talks, click HERE.]

December 6, 2010 -- Democracy Now! -- Secret diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks have revealed new details about how the United States manipulated last year’s climate talks in Copenhagen. The cables show how the United States sought dirt on nations opposed to its approach to tackling global warming, how financial and other aid was used to gain political backing, and how the United States mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the [US-sponsored and -imposed] "Copenhagen Accord". We speak to Bolivia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Pablo Solón. Several of the cables addressed Bolivia’s opposition to the US-backed accord.

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AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting from Cancún, Mexico, from the UN climate change global summit. Secret diplomatic cables released by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks have revealed new details about how the US manipulated the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen. The British Guardian newspaper (see below) reports that the cables show how the US sought dirt on countries opposed to its approach to tackling global warming, how financial and other aid was used by countries to gain political backing, and how the US mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the controversial "Copenhagen Accord".

Several of the memos addressed Bolivia’s opposition to the US-backed accord. One cable from the US embassy in Brussels describes a meeting this January between European Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard and White House adviser Michael Froman. The memo states, quote, "Hedegaard responded that we will need to work around unhelpful countries such as Venezuela or Bolivia. Froman agreed that we will need to neutralize, co-opt or marginalize these and others such as Nicaragua, Cuba, Ecuador." Soon after that meeting, the US cut off millions of dollars in environmental aid money to Bolivia and Ecuador.

Bolivia’s president Evo Morales is also criticised in the leaked cables for organising the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in April. John Creamer, the chargé d’affaires at the US embassy in Bolivia, writes, quote, "Bolivia is already suffering real damage from the effects of global warming, but Morales seems to prefer to score rhetorical points rather than contribute to a solution. This radical position won him plaudits from anti-globalization groups, but has alienated many developed nations and most of Bolivia’s neighbors."

To talk more about the WikiLeaks cables on the international climate negotiations and Bolivia, as well as the talks here in Cancún, we’re joined by Pablo Solón, Bolivia’s ambassador to the United Nations. He’s holding a news conference today in Cancún.

How are these talks going?

PABLO SOLÓN: Well, I would say that the final result, until now, is not good, because we don’t have a commitment from developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in a way that will stabilise the increase of the temperature well below 1 degree Celsius. Not even 2 degrees Celsius. The current pledges on the table will raise up the temperature in 4 degrees Celsius. That is catastrophic for human life and for Mother Earth.

AMY GOODMAN: Before we go on talking about these talks, I wanted to ask you about these WikiLeaks cables. These are not cables by WikiLeaks, of course; they’re WikiLeaks whistleblowing website released hundreds of—a quarter of a million of US diplomatic cables that they have. You’ve just heard some of the quotes from the cables about Bolivia.

PABLO SOLÓN: Yes. I hope that we are not going to have to wait one year until we know really what happened here in Cancún, because what happened in Copenhagen is also happening here in Cancún, because there is a lot of pressure put into countries in order to force them to accept, I would say, a new version of the Copenhagen Accord. And we are afraid that we are going to have Copenhagen Accord part two in Cancún. So, for us, it is key to keep a very transparent and open negotiation, where all parties really put their positions on the table and where we negotiate. We have made a very strong criticism on Friday—on Saturday, because the papers that are put on the table don’t reflect the positions of the different parties, of the different states. They reflect the positions of the chair, of the facilitators. But we are not still in a negotiation between parties.

AMY GOODMAN: You had some of the US documents, for example, talking about the Maldives. At Copenhagen, they were fierce about the possibility of their island being submerged and that they would never cave around the issue of global warming. Then we see these documents, where they turned around, signed on to the Copenhagen Accord. No one quite knew why they turned so quickly. But the documents suggest that the US paid them tens of millions of dollars.

PABLO SOLÓN: I can only speak for facts, because one thing that I must say in relation to the WikiLeaks is that they don’t bring the facts. So, I do not want to judge any nation. But one thing that I can say for sure is they cut aid to Bolivia and to Ecuador. That is a fact. And they said it very clearly: "We’re going to cut it, because you don’t support the Copenhagen Accord." And that is blackmail.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to read for you a part of the text of another leaked cable from John Creamer, the chargé d’affaires of the US embassy in Bolivia, your country. Creamer writes, quote, "Many Bolivians are quick to observe that Morales’s climate change campaign is about enhancing his global stature, not about the environment. Former Morales Production Minister and MAS replacement Senator Javier Hurtado said there is a huge gap between Morales’ strident, pro-environmental rhetoric in international fora and his domestic emphasis on industrialization as the key to development. The foundation of this effort is large-scale natural gas, iron, and lithium production projects, enterprises that have historically proven extremely damaging to the environment." Your response, Ambassador Solón?

PABLO SOLÓN: Well, I think this WikiLeaks reflects the strategy of the United States against Bolivia. They want to show that Bolivia is not seriously committed to fight climate change. They want to present Bolivia as having a double standard. Of course, that is their strategy. They cannot buy us. They cannot put pressure on us. So they try to sell an image that we say one thing and we do another thing. That is absolutely not true.

Bolivia, of course—and I have always said it—is a country that needs to have industrialization, but a very sustainable industrialization. Why? Because we import in Bolivia almost everything. And they know it. We import nails, paper, everything. So we have to develop some industries. But we cannot follow the same path of development of industrialised countries, because that is unsustainable. The planet cannot accept if we all live like Americans or like Europeans. And we know it, and we want to develop a new model, that we call to live good. So, that is our point of view. But the WikiLeaks show exactly the campaign that the US has developed in order to undermine the Bolivian position in these talks.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what about right now here in Cancún, Ambassador Solón? You have the possibility that Kyoto is dead, Japan saying they will not extend, which is very significant since the Kyoto Protocol was hammered out in Kyoto, Japan. The same goes also for Australia, for Canada.

PABLO SOLÓN: The problem with the Kyoto Protocol is that Japan, Canada, Australia, Russia can think that there is no need for a second commitment period, but they have signed it. They are part of the Kyoto Protocol. And the Kyoto Protocol established in its Article 3.9 that there should be a second commitment period. So, while they are part of the Kyoto Protocol—and they are still part of the Kyoto Protocol—there has to be a second commitment period. We have come here to negotiate the number of the reduction of emissions, of greenhouse gas emissions. But we haven’t come here to negotiate if there is going to be a second commitment period or not of the Kyoto Protocol. I mean, if you are a nation, a serious nation, that have signed an international binding agreement, you have to comply with it. You can ask for an amendment, you can withdraw, but while you’re part of that agreement, you have to comply. Otherwise, you’re going to be in a very difficult position, because you’re going to go against the ruling of international law.

AMY GOODMAN: The US. has been talked [inaudible] balanced package here. What do they mean?

PABLO SOLÓN: Well, for the US, a balanced package is a balanced package where developed countries do whatever they want. They are not committed to a target for emission reductions. That guarantees destabilisation and increase in the temperature. And a balanced package for the United States is that also developing countries begin to do commitment. So, for them, it’s less responsibility for developed countries and more obligations for developing countries. That’s what they understand for a balanced package.

AMY GOODMAN: How, in a word, would you say these talks are going?

PABLO SOLÓN: Well, from the point of Bolivia, we are going to fight until the last minute to have really a good outcome out of Cancún. The situation is very complicated now. Very difficult. We don’t see a clear movement in relation to emission reductions, strong emission reductions from developed countries. That is why it’s so difficult at this time. And just one thing. Each year, 300,000 persons die because of natural disasters that are caused by climate change. So, what we are going here to decide or to do will affect 300,000 persons that die per year because of climate change.

AMY GOODMAN: Would you pull out of these talks if Kyoto is ended?

PABLO SOLÓN: No. We will never pull out out of any talks at a multilateral level. We will always be there fighting and defending what is legal, what are our positions, and what are the positions of all humankind.

AMY GOODMAN: How does global warming affect Bolivia?

PABLO SOLÓN: Well, we have lost one-third of our glaciers in our mountains. We’ll lose, in the next decade, the other one-third. And this has terrible consequences for water, for agriculture, for biodiversity. In other areas of Bolivia, there is already almost no water. In the rivers, we begin to see that the temperatures have went very down, and we see fishes that have freeze in regions where that nearly never happen. So we’re already suffering the consequences of climate change. Look at Venezuela. Look at Colombia now. And to say, "OK, we’re going to postpone again the negotiation for one more year or maybe two more years," that’s to be irresponsible. That’s not acceptable for us.

AMY GOODMAN: At this global warming summit, you have the carbon market, all of the various companies that are very interested in what the carbon markets will look like. What does that mean? And what do you think has to be done?

PABLO SOLÓN: As we said it before, they don’t want to save humanity, but they want to save their business, their carbon market business. They want to apply to us to accept to launch new market mechanism. Bolivia has said we are not going to accept to launch new market mechanism, and we are not going to accept to have a mechanism that commodifies forests. We want to have a mechanism to save forests, to preserve forests, but not to develop a market around forests at the worldwide level.

AMY GOODMAN: How does war fit into the picture of global warming?

PABLO SOLÓN: Well, that’s another key issue. Bolivia presented a paragraph saying that we should take into account also the greenhouse gas emissions that come from warfare. They have erased it. Second thing, we have said the finance for climate change should be the same finance that now developed countries give to security, defence, and even war. How much do they give? About US$1.60 trillion per year. How much do they say they are going to mobilise for climate change? Only $100 billion. So, it is really unfair to see that defense, security, war has more than 15 times than what they want to do for climate change.

AMY GOODMAN: There are few leaders that are coming here. There were over 120 in Copenhagen. Maybe there will be 20 here. President Morales is coming?

PABLO SOLÓN: President Morales is going to be here on December 9.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’ll certainly cover that. We hope to be interviewing him right here. Ambassador Solón, we thank you for being with us. Ambassador Pablo Solón is the Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations, speaking with us here in Cancún.

Guardian environment editor John Vidal on WikiLeaks and US manipulation of climate talks

December 7, 2010 -- Democracy Now! -- John Vidal, the environment editor for The Guardian of London, is in Cancún after reporting on the Copenhagen summit a year ago. The Guardian is one the five news outlets to receive the massive trove of WikiLeaks cables ahead of time and has been publishing new revelations every day. We speak to Vidal about the latest diplomatic cables on the US manipulation of the climate talks.

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AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting from Mexico. Here in Cancún, WikiLeaks is also a hot topic after secret diplomatic cables published by the whistleblowing group revealed new details about how the United States manipulated last year’s climate talks in Copenhagen. The Guardian newspaper reported the cables provide evidence that spying, threats and promises of aid formed part of the US diplomatic offensive to shore up the controversial Copenhagen Accord.

One striking example was the case of the Maldives, which was one of the fiercest critics advocating for a robust climate treaty. The cables reveal that in February, two months after the Copenhagen talks, the US deputy climate change envoy, Jonathan Pershing, met the European Union climate action commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, in Brussels, where she told him, quote, "the Alliance of Small Island States countries 'could be our best allies' given their need for financing". The cables show talks between officials between the Maldives and the US referring to several projects costing approximately US$50 million. The Maldives has since wholeheartedly embraced the Copenhagen Accord.

The cables also reveal Hedegaard and Pershing also discussed the issue of "fast-start" funding where the Copenhagen Accord had promised $30 billion in aid for the poorest nations hit by global warming they had not caused. Hedegaard reportedly asked if the US would need to do any "creative accounting" in funding aid pledges.

EU climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard held a news conference yesterday here in Cancún, so I had a chance to ask her about the issue.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask about the US State Department cable documenting your conversation with Jonathan Pershing that was released by WikiLeaks about the—how the Alliance of Small Island States could be, you said, "our best allies" given their need for financing. This was a conversation you had in February. This is what’s leading many to say you’re talking about blackmail. So you have countries like Maldives, who are fierce critics in Copenhagen, turning around and signing on to the accord when they get tens of millions of dollars from the United States. You also talked about "creative accounting". Can you explain this conversation?

CONNIE HEDEGAARD: I can only say that what I could read also, and that is a one-sided and selective report of what that conversation was all about. I think that one of the things we have done from the European Union is to try to do a lot of outreach to some of the least developed countries, some of the most vulnerable countries, and for many good reasons, we want to work very much with them. For instance, I went myself this spring to the Maldives to discuss with the Maldives exactly what could be the way forward. A lot of constructive countries, we have been working with them, others we have been working with them, and our conversations definitely is not just about financing.

I’m not going into a lot of detailed things about these WikiLeak documents. You can imagine that there is a conversation. Some of it is sort of reported back home by the one side, but all the elements from the other side is not there, so it makes not a lot of sense to go in and argue a lot about what is in and what is not in. The fact is that we have done a lot of outreach with developing countries, the most vulnerable countries. We are delivering on our financial pledges. And we all know that this is very important also to the credibility of the developed countries here in Cancún.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s European Union climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard. I put a similar question to US special climate change envoy Todd Stern and his deputy envoy, Jonathan Pershing. They held a news conference right after Hedegaard. Todd Stern answered.

AMY GOODMAN: A question about the WikiLeaks documents, the US State Department cables, for example, the one in February of this year, the meeting between you, Jonathan Pershing, and the European commissioner on climate change, Hedegaard, talking about especially the Alliance of Small Island States, that they could be the "best allies" on the Copenhagen Accord, given their need for financing, and then Maldives getting millions of dollars. There’s a great deal of discussion here, inside and outside the summit, about the kind of coercion that goes on either to get nations to sign on to the accord or to punish those who won’t, like Bolivia and Ecuador. The question has been going back and forth: is it bribery or democracy? What can we expect from this? And what is your comments on the WikiLeaks release?

TODD STERN: Thanks very much. Well, on the WikiLeaks release, per se, I have no comment. And that’s a US government position, and we don’t comment on leaks of classified or private information. So I’m not going to comment on WikiLeaks directly.

I will tell one little anecdote in connection with your broader question, let’s say, which is to be reminded of one of the most forceful, eloquent and powerful interventions that was made in that long middle-of-the-night final night in Copenhagen last year, where the forceful and eloquent minister from Norway, Erik Solheim, stood up after being accused directly—and I don’t remember what country did it—of Norway engaging in bribery by being so outstandingly generous in its provision of climate assistance. And he just stood up and blasted the person who suggested that, by saying, you know, you can’t, on the one hand, ask for and make a strong case, legitimately strong case, for the need for climate assistance and then, on the other hand, turn around and accuse us of bribery. I mean, if you want to accuse us of bribery, then, you know, you don’t need to—you don’t need to—we can eliminate any cause for accusation of bribery by eliminating any money. And Erik was powerful in that statement. I agreed with it 110 per cent then, and I do now.

AMY GOODMAN: What about the countries that were punished then, Bolivia, Ecuador, for not signing?

TODD STERN: Let’s go to the next question.

MODERATOR: I think we’ll go to the next question, and we’ll turn to this side of the room.

AMY GOODMAN: That follow-up question that I asked the US special climate change envoy—Todd Stern refused to answer—was about the US withholding funds to countries like Ecuador and Bolivia, when they refused to sign on to the Copenhagen Accord.

John Vidal, the environment editor for the London Guardian, reported on the exchange. John Vidal covered the UN climate talks in Copenhagen and is in Cancún covering the summit here. His newspaper is one of five news outlets to receive the massive trove of WikiLeaks cables ahead of time and has been publishing new revelations every day. I asked John Vidal about the latest diplomatic cables on the US manipulation of the climate talks.

JOHN VIDAL: We’ve lifted the lid on what actually happens at conferences like that, and we begin to see the kind of intense pressure and arm twisting and blackmail and different tactics, which has always been used by the rich countries over the poor countries. The only new thing now is that it is—we actually have it written down, we can see it for the first time with our own eyes. So what, you know, we tried to report two years ago, three years ago, whatever, now we actually know. We know for a fact this happened and that happened and he said that and what. The surprising thing is it’s not surprising, in a funny way. I mean, it’s like, we always suspected that this is how [the US] operates, and now we know. So, in a way, our information was good at the time. I think that Bolivia and other countries’ reaction has been very, very interesting, because that’s that outrage that the—how the rich have been bullying and press ganging the poor. It’s a terrible situation.

AMY GOODMAN: You refer to the terrible night in Copenhagen. Explain exactly what you meant, what went down, and what was revealed in the WikiLeaks documents.

JOHN VIDAL: Copenhagen was just a complete nightmare, a diplomatic meltdown, I think is the fairest way to say it, where you had countries accusing each other of genocide. You had a total failure of the diplomatic process, that text which was meant to enhance everybody and bring them together in fact did the absolute opposite, and it shattered the confidence and the trust between different countries. And WikiLeaks just shows us, from that one point of view of the US cables, that—but this was happening in many, many other countries. It wasn’t just the US. You know, if we could get hold of the British equivalent of WikiLeaks or the French or the Germans or the Canadians or whatever, we would see similar things, I’m quite sure. This is international diplomacy, which is a very, very dirty business.

AMY GOODMAN: What about the money that was offered to countries, the tens of millions of dollars that we see in the WikiLeaks documents, for example, offered to places like Maldives, the country that was fierce, their representatives, about getting some kind of global warming deal at Copenhagen, and then signed on to the accord?

JOHN VIDAL: I mean, that’s how these meetings work. I mean, frankly, it goes to the line, in the end, there’s this horse trading thing where I’ll give you money if you side with me. This is how—this is how the world works. I mean, we’re seeing it very clearly. It is not at all amiable negotiation. People are using every tactic under the book, including blackmail, including, you know, finance. They’re using muscle. They’re threatening. And that’s what happens in the last hours of these conferences. And we’ll it again, similar, this time. It won’t be quite as bad, because there’s not so much at stake at this particular meeting. But when it goes forward next year to Durban, we will see exactly the same stuff, and even in spades. We’ll see far more [inaudible].

AMY GOODMAN: Why is there less at stake here in Cancún?

JOHN VIDAL: Because they’re not trying to find a final agreement. They’re trying to find a path to a final agreement. So they have limited their—their ambition is much less than it was last year. So they’re going to push it all forward to next year, so they can have more talks in between or whatever. But they have to make some very, very important decisions. And even to get to there, they will need to twist arms. But they won’t—I don’t think we’ll be seeing the money. I don’t think we’ll be seeing that kind of pressure as we saw last time.

There’s trillions of dollars at stake. I mean, that’s the point about this. You know, for a country to offer US$100 million to another country in these circumstances is not great, when the prize may be $10 billion or $100 billion. I mean, a REDD agreement on forests may be worth $30 billion a year to carbon markets, to developing countries. A good deal on carbon markets might be worth $100 billion. I mean, you know, we’re talking about massive flows of money here. And so, it’s not surprising that countries are offered or being offered, you know, an awful lot of money under the counter to develop.

AMY GOODMAN: John Vidal, there are much—many fewer of the elite media represented here. Some might say it’s because they act as stenographers to power, that the leaders are not here—maybe there will be 20 leaders here, but before, at Copenhagen, there were 120—and so they don’t bother coming. And when they don’t bother coming, it doesn’t rev up the conversation in their country about this critical issue of global warming. So, in Copenhagen, we saw thousands of journalists packed into the press halls. Here, we’re often in a room with no one else.

JOHN VIDAL: Yeah, and in a funny way, I think that’s quite a good thing, because world leaders have a sort of an awful habit of mucking up everything. I mean, they destroyed the talks last year, because they didn’t have a clue what they were talking about. I mean, most world leaders are absolutely, totally ignorant when they turn up in a meeting like this, which is being very carefully negotiated by diplomats and trade people and whatever over a long period of time. The world leaders come in, they are given a choice, and they make a political choice. Fair enough. But if you want to get decent agreements, you need the negotiations beforehand. You need that careful thing. And that’s what we’re seeing much more of here. That’s why these talks will not collapse in the same way, is because there are very few world leaders here, so there’s much less grandstanding, far fewer presidents standing up and making their sort of enormous points or whatever.

Yes, I mean, the media is always attracted to power. I mean, it’s as simple as that, because that’s the way these things operate. And the fact that not all the world’s media is here, I don’t think matters particularly at this point. I mean, by next year, when these talks are, you know, at their final conclusion or reaching their conclusion, then you will see absolutely everybody.

AMY GOODMAN: But then leaders like US President Obama can use that as a way to take pressure off of him at home, his base deeply concerned about global warming. But he is—the question is, who is he catering to? And if he comes here, it will raise the question once again. If he doesn’t, he can be sure that most of the media that will cover him will not be here.

JOHN VIDAL: He came to Copenhagen last year. He made a complete mess of it. And he went back with his [inaudible]—

AMY GOODMAN: That’s not how it was conveyed in the United States.

JOHN VIDAL: Well, no. But I mean—but the reality was that it was a disaster.

AMY GOODMAN: What did he do? What made the mess of it?

JOHN VIDAL: Well, he didn’t have anything to offer, so he came here when Hillary Clinton had already made a financial offer and whatever. There was nothing for him to do. So he came, and he started blaming China, which was like the maddest thing you could possibly do in that situation. And so, he—it was a big strategic mistake, and it set the talks back absolutely enormously. So the presence of these guys, the big beasts of the diplomatic jungle, presence of these guys here can work—that’s what they hoped last year—but it’s a high-risk strategy, and it can all fall apart. And that’s what happens, so they’re desperate, desperate, not to go down that road again.

AMY GOODMAN: What about Kyoto, the Kyoto Protocol being dead? Japan, Canada, Australia saying they’re not going to sign on to an extension?

JOHN VIDAL: Yeah. I don’t know about Australia, but yeah, I mean, it’s a fairly extreme position. And so, it’ll be very interesting to see whether they can, whether the other countries, like Britain or Brazil or whoever, can roll them back and get them to soften their position. You know, is it a negotiating position? It maybe is, so that, you know, next year they can gain purchase from it and get credit. So when countries take a position here, it is very often for a very, very specific reason. So, we don’t need to be too alarmed by it yet, but I would say that it just leaves an awful lot of work to be done.

AMY GOODMAN: The Guardian is one of the newspapers that released the WikiLeaks documents. The US government is slamming on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks right now, basically calling—many in the US government are calling him a terrorist. What do you say about that?

JOHN VIDAL: Well, it’s an outrage. It’s absurd. You know, I mean, you have to believe in a transparent media and government. I mean, so it’s like, you know—it’s absurd. It’s absurd. I mean, this is the US bullying an individual because it has been embarrassed. This is the elephant blaming the fly. You know, the US should clearly look to itself. I mean, it was—its diplomats made those statements at that time. They were working in the public interest. They are paid by the public. It is outrageous that now—

AMY GOODMAN: And the US saying that the release of the documents will muck up diplomacy? Do you think that’s a good thing?

JOHN VIDAL: It certainly may happen. I don’t know how—I think diplomats may be a little bit more careful now about what they actually say. No, it won’t muck up diplomacy, because diplomacy is very much of the moment. It may very much make countries think about very carefully about what they put—what they commit to paper and computers and whatever.

AMY GOODMAN: And do you think the release of the documents will improve this conference here in Cancún?

JOHN VIDAL: Yeah, because anything to exorcise the ghosts of—as Pablo Solón says, of Bolivia, anything which can exorcise the ghosts of that terrible, horrible night in Copenhagen, when the whole thing collapsed, has to be a good thing. So this adds in to that debate, and that makes it easier and clearer, and it gives people like Bolivia even more moral strength to fight for what it believes is the best solution to these things.

AMY GOODMAN: John Vidal is the environment editor at The Guardian of London. His article on my exchange with Todd Stern is called "US Envoy Rejects Suggestion that America Bribed Countries to Sign up to the Copenhagen Accord." We’ll link to it at This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. We’re broadcasting from Cancún, Mexico, from the UN climate change talks.

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Guardian coverage

The US embassy cables WikiLeaks cables reveal how US manipulated climate accord

Embassy dispatches show America used spying, threats and promises of aid to get support for Copenhagen accord

- WikiLeaks cables: Cancún climate talks doomed to fail, says EU president

* Damian Carrington
*, Friday 3 December 2010 21.30 GMT
* Article history

WikiLeaks cables expose US use of espionage before the 2009 Copenhagen summit. Photograph: Luis Perez/AFP/Getty Images

Hidden behind the save-the-world rhetoric of the global climate change negotiations lies the mucky realpolitik: money and threats buy political support; spying and cyberwarfare are used to seek out leverage.

The US diplomatic cables reveal how the US seeks dirt on nations opposed to its approach to tackling global warming; how financial and other aid is used by countries to gain political backing; how distrust, broken promises and creative accounting dog negotiations; and how the US mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the controversial "Copenhagen accord", the unofficial document that emerged from the ruins of the Copenhagen climate change summit in 2009.

Negotiating a climate treaty is a high-stakes game, not just because of the danger warming poses to civilisation but also because re-engineering the global economy to a low-carbon model will see the flow of billions of dollars redirected.

Seeking negotiating chips, the US state department sent a secret cable on 31 July 2009 seeking human intelligence from UN diplomats across a range of issues, including climate change. The request originated with the CIA. As well as countries' negotiating positions for Copenhagen, diplomats were asked to provide evidence of UN environmental "treaty circumvention" and deals between nations.

But intelligence gathering was not just one way. On 19 June 2009, the state department sent a cable detailing a "spear phishing" attack on the office of the US climate change envoy, Todd Stern, while talks with China on emissions took place in Beijing. Five people received emails, personalised to look as though they came from the National Journal. An attached file contained malicious code that would give complete control of the recipient's computer to a hacker. While the attack was unsuccessful, the department's cyber threat analysis division noted: "It is probable intrusion attempts such as this will persist."

The Beijing talks failed to lead to a global deal at Copenhagen. But the US, the world's biggest historical polluter and long isolated as a climate pariah, had something to cling to. The Copenhagen accord, hammered out in the dying hours but not adopted into the UN process, offered to solve many of the US's problems.

The accord turns the UN's top-down, unanimous approach upside down, with each nation choosing palatable targets for greenhouse gas cuts. It presents a far easier way to bind in China and other rapidly growing countries than the UN process. But the accord cannot guarantee the global greenhouse gas cuts needed to avoid dangerous warming. Furthermore, it threatens to circumvent the UN's negotiations on extending the Kyoto protocol, in which rich nations have binding obligations. Those objections have led many countries – particularly the poorest and most vulnerable – to vehemently oppose the accord.

Getting as many countries as possible to associate themselves with the accord strongly served US interests, by boosting the likelihood it would be officially adopted. A diplomatic offensive was launched. Diplomatic cables flew thick and fast between the end of Copenhagen in December
2009 and late February 2010, when the leaked cables end.

Some countries needed little persuading. The accord promised $30bn
(£19bn) in aid for the poorest nations hit by global warming they had not caused. Within two weeks of Copenhagen, the Maldives foreign minister, Ahmed Shaheed, wrote to the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, expressing eagerness to back it.

By 23 February 2010, the Maldives' ambassador-designate to the US, Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed, told the US deputy climate change envoy, Jonathan Pershing, his country wanted "tangible assistance", saying other nations would then realise "the advantages to be gained by compliance" with the accord.

A diplomatic dance ensued. "Ghafoor referred to several projects costing approximately $50m (£30m). Pershing encouraged him to provide concrete examples and costs in order to increase the likelihood of bilateral assistance."

The Maldives were unusual among developing countries in embracing the accord so wholeheartedly, but other small island nations were secretly seen as vulnerable to financial pressure. Any linking of the billions of dollars of aid to political support is extremely controversial – nations most threatened by climate change see the aid as a right, not a reward, and such a link as heretical. But on 11 February, Pershing met the EU climate action commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, in Brussels, where she told him, according to a cable, "the Aosis [Alliance of Small Island States] countries 'could be our best allies' given their need for financing".

The pair were concerned at how the $30bn was to be raised and Hedegaard raised another toxic subject – whether the US aid would be all cash. She asked if the US would need to do any "creative accounting", noting some countries such as Japan and the UK wanted loan guarantees, not grants alone, included, a tactic she opposed. Pershing said "donors have to balance the political need to provide real financing with the practical constraints of tight budgets", reported the cable.

Along with finance, another treacherous issue in the global climate negotiations, currently continuing in Cancún, Mexico, is trust that countries will keep their word. Hedegaard asks why the US did not agree with China and India on what she saw as acceptable measures to police future emissions cuts. "The question is whether they will honour that language," the cable quotes Pershing as saying.

Trust is in short supply on both sides of the developed-developing nation divide. On 2 February 2009, a cable from Addis Ababa reports a meeting between the US undersecretary of state Maria Otero and the Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi, who leads the African Union's climate change negotiations.

The confidential cable records a blunt US threat to Zenawi: sign the accord or discussion ends now. Zenawi responds that Ethiopia will support the accord, but has a concern of his own: that a personal assurance from Barack Obama on delivering the promised aid finance is not being honoured.

US determination to seek allies against its most powerful adversaries – the rising economic giants of Brazil, South Africa, India, China (Basic) – is set out in another cable from Brussels on 17 February reporting a meeting between the deputy national security adviser, Michael Froman, Hedegaard and other EU officials.

Froman said the EU needed to learn from Basic's skill at impeding US and EU initiatives and playing them off against each in order "to better handle third country obstructionism and avoid future train wrecks on climate".

Hedegaard is keen to reassure Froman of EU support, revealing a difference between public and private statements. "She hoped the US noted the EU was muting its criticism of the US, to be constructive," the cable said. Hedegaard and Froman discuss the need to "neutralise, co-opt or marginalise unhelpful countries including Venezuela and Bolivia", before Hedegaard again links financial aid to support for the accord, noting "the irony that the EU is a big donor to these countries". Later, in April, the US cut aid to Bolivia and Ecuador, citing opposition to the accord.

Any irony is clearly lost on the Bolivian president, Evo Morales, according to a 9 February cable from La Paz. The Danish ambassador to Bolivia, Morten Elkjaer, tells a US diplomat that, at the Copenhagen summit, "Danish prime minister Rasmussen spent an unpleasant 30 minutes with Morales, during which Morales thanked him for [$30m a year in] bilateral aid, but refused to engage on climate change issues."

After the Copenhagen summit, further linking of finance and aid with political support appears. Dutch officials, initially rejecting US overtures to back the accord, make a startling statement on 25 January. According to a cable, the Dutch climate negotiator Sanne Kaasjager "has drafted messages for embassies in capitals receiving Dutch development assistance to solicit support [for the accord]. This is an unprecedented move for the Dutch government, which traditionally recoils at any suggestion to use aid money as political leverage." Later, however, Kaasjager rows back a little, saying: "The Netherlands would find it difficult to make association with the accord a condition to receive climate financing."

Perhaps the most audacious appeal for funds revealed in the cables is from Saudi Arabia, the world's second biggest oil producer and one of the 25 richest countries in the world. A secret cable sent on 12 February records a meeting between US embassy officials and lead climate change negotiator Mohammad al-Sabban. "The kingdom will need time to diversify its economy away from petroleum, [Sabban] said, noting a US commitment to help Saudi Arabia with its economic diversification efforts would 'take the pressure off climate change negotiations'."

The Saudis did not like the accord, but were worried they had missed a trick. The assistant petroleum minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told US officials that he had told his minister Ali al-Naimi that Saudi Arabia had "missed a real opportunity to submit 'something clever', like India or China, that was not legally binding but indicated some goodwill towards the process without compromising key economic interests".

The cables obtained by WikiLeaks finish at the end of February 2010. Today, 116 countries have associated themselves with the accord. Another
26 say they intend to associate. That total, of 140, is at the upper end of a 100-150 country target revealed by Pershing in his meeting with Hedegaard on 11 February.

The 140 nations represent almost 75% of the 193 countries that are parties to the UN climate change convention and, accord supporters like to point out, are responsible for well over 80% of current global greenhouse gas emissions.

At the mid-point of the major UN climate change negotiations in Cancún, Mexico, there have already been flare-ups over how funding for climate adaptation is delivered. The biggest shock has been Japan's announcement that it will not support an extension of the existing Kyoto climate treaty. That gives a huge boost to the accord. US diplomatic wheeling and dealing may, it seems, be bearing fruit.


WikiLeaks cables: Cancún climate talks doomed to fail, says EU president

Herman van Rompuy dismisses Copenhagen climate summit as 'incredible disaster' and expects Cancún to be no better

* Ian Traynor
*, Friday 3 December 2010 21.30 GMT
* Article history

Herman van Rompuy, president of the European council Herman van Rompuy, president of the European council. Photograph: Christophe Karaba/EPA

The European Union's new president, Herman Van Rompuy, has predicted "disaster" at the latest crucial round of global climate change negotiations in Mexico and voiced relief that he stayed away from the Copenhagen summit a year ago.

Reporting on a meeting with Van Rompuy in December last year, just after he was the surprise choice to be the first president of the European council, a senior US diplomat described the Belgian as "animated and frustrated".

Van Rompuy said the Copenhagen climate change talks had been "an incredible disaster". Looking forward to the current negotiations in Cancún in Mexico, the European leader predicted that these would be a disaster too.

The US cable paints a picture of an isolated Van Rompuy. The devoutly Catholic former Belgian prime minister has been chairing all EU summits this year.

His first in February amounted to a Copenhagen postmortem of why the EU, proudly branding itself the world pioneer in combating climate change, had been snubbed by the US and China at the talks in Denmark, delivering a blow to prestige from which the EU has yet to recover.

The US diplomat's meeting with Van Rompuy took place on 23 December last year in the cavernous Justus Lipsius building that is the EU headquarters in Brussels. Van Rompuy clearly cut a lonely figure a week before taking up his new job. Brussels' EU quarter had been abandoned for the holiday. The only person around was Frans Van Daele, the veteran Belgian diplomat and baron who is Van Rompuy's chief of staff. "They invited me to have some coffee for about an hour. Given the holiday period the EU building was virtually empty and both men seemed to have time to spare. We first discussed many social pleasantries," the US envoy reports.

Van Rompuy complained bitterly that the Europeans had been "totally excluded" and "mistreated" in Copenhagen and said he was only lucky that he had decided to stay away.

"Had I been there my presidency would have been over before it began," the cable quotes him as saying. The diplomat noted: "He thought it was a wise decision not to attend the conference despite the pressure. He was not angry, in the sense that he never seems angry, but he was as animated and as frustrated as I have seen him."

In public the EU is talking up the case for reviving climate change agreement hopes in Cancún, but last December Van Rompuy was dismissive and pessimistic, both about the Cancún negotiations and about the very format for the talks. "Van Rompuy said he has 'given up on Mexico'," the American reported, while his chief of staff, Van Daele, likened the Cancún talks to the repeat of a bad film and said: 'Who wants to see that horror movie again?' "

Van Rompuy strongly criticised the unwieldy format of the talks, with too many players involved. He urged a concentration on the US, the EU and China, focusing his efforts towards a European-American breakthrough at their summit planned for last May, which in the end did not take place.

"Multilateral meetings will not work," Van Rompuy is quoted as saying. The diplomat went on: "Rather than waiting for a failure at Mexico City he intends to address Copenhagen issues with the United States at Madrid; he envisioned engaging China thereafter. In his mind talks with the US would have to focus on Madrid and not Mexico City."

Van Rompuy's "disaster" in Copenhagen was compounded by a further setback a few weeks later when Barack Obama brushed aside Spanish pleadings for a visit to Madrid for a summit with the EU.

The Spanish took over the rotating six-month presidency of the EU at the start of the year. On 1 February William Kennard, Obama's new ambassador to the EU, met the Spanish ambassador.

Among other things "they discussed the prospects for a US-EU summit in Madrid in May", a subsequent cable says.

"The EU thinks it would be a mistake for the US to opt out of the summit," the cable reports.

But the US ambassador said that while the White House "understands the important symbolism of the summit" Obama was more focused on results.

The Spanish said climate change was one reason for holding the summit but they would be happy if it was cancelled, as long as it was replaced by a bilateral Obama trip to Spain.

The cable notes drily that the two ambassadors parted with the American promising to keep the Spaniards posted. He "placed a phone call later that evening and eventually informed [the Spanish ambassador] of the White House decision on the morning of 2 February".

At the same time US officials in Madrid were talking to the Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and the then foreign minister, Miguel Moratinos.

"Spanish disappointment is profound," reported ambassador Alan Solomont.

"The summit with the US – the first visit of a US president in eight years – was to be the climax of Spain's [EU] presidency. The Spanish do not feel betrayed but they are deeply disappointed … Zapatero has taken a serious political blow."


US embassy cables: EU raises 'creative accounting' with US over climate aid

*, Friday 3 December 2010 21.30 GMT
* Article history


1. The failed Copenhagen climate change summit produced only a non-binding Accord, but the agreement suits US interests as it presents more chance of forcing China to act. US diplomats campaign hard around the world for support for the Accord. In a revealing cable, EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard asks if the US would need to do any "creative accounting" in funding aid pledges, while the US questions China and India's good faith. By November 2010, 140 nations have backed the Accord, at the upper end of the US target. Key passages highlighted in yellow.

2. Read related article


This cable is sensitive, but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing met with EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard on February 11. Also present was Ambassador William Kennard. Pershing and Hedegaard agreed that the U.S- EU cooperation remains important, particularly in light of the statement issued by the BASICs following their January 25 meeting. They agreed on the need to operationalize the Copenhagen Accord and ensure it is incorporated into the UNFCCC process. Pershing said it would be important to convene the ministers prior to the May meetings in Bonn and suggested a meeting of the MEF, to include relevant non-members. Hedegaard questioned whether guaranteed loans should be included in the $30 billion Fast Start financing package, and Pershing suggested a meeting among the key donor states be held in the near term to discuss, and if possible, agree on a common approach to what financing would be listed in each country's contribution. End summary.

2. (SBU) Pershing told Hedegaard that the prospects for climate and energy legislation this year increased following the State of the Union address. He said the President is very focused on this issue and committed to a legislative package - not just an energy bill. Hedegaard said that she would be traveling to Washington in mid-March as part of an EU delegation and asked if it would be useful for the delegation to meet with Senators. Ambassador Kennard cautioned the Commissioner, noting that any messages to the Hill must be constructive.

3. (SBU) Pershing said the focus for the U.S. team in January had been to encourage as many countries as possible to associate with the Copenhagen Accord. He expects the final number to be about 120 countries, which is in the range of the 100-150 that the USG had hoped for, although still less than would be desirable. He said that submissions by some major economies were "opaque"; Hedegaard said China's submission was open to interpretation. Pershing said Brazil's and India's submissions were as well and were probably the result of their January 25 agreement. Citing Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern's February 9 speech, Pershing stressed two points: (1) the heads of states made commitments at Copenhagen and the United States does not take these commitments lightly and (2) the Accord is the result of a long and arduous process - there is no plan B for negotiation of a different agreement.

4. (SBU) Hedegaard asked about China's perceptions on the Accord. Pershing said the letter from Premier Wen to UN Secretary general Ban Ki Moon and Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen was positive, but he was more concerned about communications from Su Wei, China's Climate Negotiator. He noted that there had been no formal bilateral climate discussions between the US and China since Copenhagen, but indicated that these would likely resume in February. Pershing said the U.S. and EU must deal with China, specifically on the subject of transparency. Hedegaard then asked "did you agree with China on MRV or not? I was presented with a paper that China, India and the U.S. could agree upon." Pershing replied: "the question is whether they will honor that language." Hedegaard said she does not have high expectations for COP 16 in Mexico and that we must avoid the expectations that it will resolve all of the unanswered problems from Copenhagen. She asked whether the Copenhagen Accord could be moved into the LCA (Long-term Cooperative Action) or KP
(Kyoto Protocol) working groups for future discussions. Pershing said the two tracks have not yielded much progress but the LCA would be easier, particularly since the United States is not a member of Kyoto. He said in theory, the Accord should guide the work of the COP, but he's not sure if the BASICs will allow this. He said the BASICs, led by India, are resisting any changes to the UNFCCC guidelines (under which developing countries report on their GHG emissions and actions). He said African and Latin American states are looking to turn Copenhagen into a binding agreement, but the BASICs are opposed to this. Hedegaard suggested the AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States) countries "could be our best allies" given their need for financing.

5. (SBU) Hedegaard said that in light of the BASIC announcement, the U.S. and EU must coordinate more closely. She asked whether the MEF process should be continued and suggested a meeting of Annex I countries. Pershing said the forum for further discussions has not been resolved, but he suggested that non-members could be invited to participate in MEF discussions. He said a meeting of the MEF ministers prior to the May/June meeting in Bonn could help frame expectations for Mexico. Hedegaard said she supports the MEF process but said a constructive signal from the COP at Bonn will be important.

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6. (SBU) Hedegaard asked if the U.S. was prepared to move forward on Fast Start funding. She said some countries like Japan and the UK will press the inclusion of loan guarantees as part of the package and asked whether the U.S. will need to do any "creative accounting. " She added: "$30 billion had been promised - - it cannot be lent." She asked for Pershing's thought on the Soros proposal, which she said was "tempting in the long-term," but she is not sure it will work for Fast Start funding. [Note: In December 2010 George Soros proposed that developed countries return their IMF special drawing rights (SDRs) to the IMF, which could in turn lend the funds to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation. Soros estimated the amount from SDRs could provide about $150 billion. End note.] Pershing replied that this proposal is just another form of loan guarantee, and we were skeptical of its utility; he also said he would share our analysis on it. On Fast Track financing, Pershing said the administration anticipated the need and budgeted funds in 2010 and 2011. He said some U.S. funding would be directly applied for mitigation and adaptation and other sources would be indirect, citing for example program funds from various agencies and funds for food security. He concurred that it would be valuable to agree on what funds would be included in each country's reporting, and said donors have to balance the political need to provide real financing with the practical constraints of tight budgets. He suggested that the small group of key donors - those that provide about 90% of the financing - convene quickly to discuss this issue.

7. (U) The Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change has cleared this cable.


*, Friday 3 December 2010 21.30 GMT

Tuesday, 02 February 2010, 05:38 C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ADDIS ABABA 000163 SIPDIS EO 12958 DECL: 02/01/2020 TAGS PREL, PGOV, KDEM, MOPS, ECON, KE, ET SUBJECT: UNDER SECRETARY OTERO'S MEETING WITH ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER MELES ZENAWI - JANUARY 31, 2010 Classified By: Under Secretary Maria Otero for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D). Summary

1. The failed Copenhagen climate change summit produced only a non-binding Accord, but the agreement suits US interests as it presents more chance of forcing China to act. US diplomats campaign hard around the world for support for the Accord. Here, the US bluntly urges Ethiopia, whose Prime Minister leads the African Union's climate negotiations. By November 2010, 140 nations have backed the Accord, at the upper end of the US target. Key passage highlighted in yellow

2. Read related article

1. (SBU) January 31, 2010; 4:15 p.m.; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

2. (SBU) Participants:

U.S. Under Secretary Otero Assistant Secretary Carson NSC Senior Director for African Affairs Michelle Gavin PolOff Skye Justice (notetaker)

Ethiopia Prime Minister Meles Zenawi Special Assistant Gebretensae Gebremichael



3. (C) Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero his government placed no restrictions on its citizens' democratic and civil rights, only the right of foreign entities to fund them. Foreign funding of civil society organizations
(CSOs) is antithetical to democratization, he said, as it makes civil society leaders accountable to foreign entities rather than their own members, turning the concept of democratic accountability on its head. Democracy in Ethiopia must develop organically, and Ethiopians must organize and fund themselves and defend their own rights. Meles assured U/S Otero that Ethiopia's upcoming elections will be free, fair, transparent, and peaceful, and elaborated steps his government has taken to ensure this. While opposition groups may resort to violence in an attempt to discredit the election, the GoE will enforce the recently enacted Electoral Code of Conduct and its existing election laws without regard to party affiliation. Meles said he has warned opposition leaders that the international community will not be able to save them should they violate Ethiopian law, but rather if they do so they will face the same fate as opposition leader Birtukan Midekssa, who will "vegetate in jail forever." The U.S. delegation noted that Ethiopia's forthcoming elections would be closely watched in the U.S., and urged Meles to exercise wise judgment and leadership, give the opposition more political space, and consider the release of Birtukan Midekssa.

4. (C) Meles said the GoE is not enthusiastic about Kenya's Jubaland initiative, but is sharing intelligence with Kenya and hoping for success. In the event the initiative is not successful, the GoE has plans in place to limit the destabilizing impacts on Ethiopia. On climate change, Meles said the GoE fully supports the Copenhagen accord, but is disappointed with signs the U.S. may not support his proposed panel to monitor international financial contributions under the accord. Meles made no substantive comment on inquiries regarding the liberalization of banking and telecommunications in Ethiopia. End summary.

Foreign Funding of CSOs Antithetical to Democratization

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5. (C) Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told U/S Otero the development of a strong democracy and civil society is the only way Ethiopia can ensure peace and unity among an ethnically and religiously divided population. He noted that the Government of Ethiopia's (GoE) commitment to democracy is directly related to stability, adding that for Ethiopia, "democratization is a matter of survival." Responding to U/S Otero's concern that Ethiopia's recently-enacted CSO law threatened the role of civil society, Meles said while the GoE welcomes foreign funding of charities, those Ethiopians who want to engage in political activity should organize and fund themselves. The leaders of CSOs that receive foreign funding are not accountable to their organizations, he said, but rather to the sources of their funding, turning the concept of democratic accountability on its head. Meles asserted that Ethiopians were not too poor to organize themselves and establish their own democratic traditions, recalling that within his lifetime illiterate peasants and poor students had overthrown an ancient imperial dynasty.

6. (C) Meles said his country's inability to develop a strong democracy was not due to insufficient understanding of democratic principles, but rather because Ethiopians had not

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internalized those principles. Ethiopia should follow the example of the U.S. and European countries, he said, where democracy developed organically and citizens had a stake in its establishment. When people are committed to democracy and forced to make sacrifices for it, Meles said, "they won't let any leader take it away from them." But "when they are spoon-fed democracy, they will give it up when their source of funding and encouragement is removed." Referencing his own struggle against the Derg regime, Meles said he and his compatriots received no foreign funding, but were willing to sacrifice and die for their cause, and Ethiopians today must take ownership of their democratic development, be willing to sacrifice for it, and defend their own rights.

7. (C) Meles drew a clear distinction between Ethiopians' democratic and civil rights on the one hand, and the right of foreign entities to fund those rights on the other. There is no restriction on Ethiopians' rights, he asserted, merely on foreign funding, adding that the U.S. has similar laws. U/S Otero countered that while the U.S. does not allow foreign funding of political campaigns, there is no restriction on foreign funding of NGOs. Ms. Gavin noted the examples of foreign support for the abolitionist movement in the U.S. and for the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa as positive examples of foreign engagement of civil society, and expressed that aside from the issue of foreign funding, the ability of local organizations to legally register, operate, and contribute to democratic discourse was of tantamount importance.

GoE Will Hold Free and Fair Elections, Despite Opposition

--------------------------------------------- ------------

8. (C) Meles assured U/S Otero that Ethiopia's upcoming electoral process will be free, fair, transparent, and peaceful. The GoE has learned from the violence that followed the 2005 elections, he said, and taken action to ensure that violence is not repeated. Meles said the recently signed Electoral Code of Conduct (CoC) was not done for the benefit of political parties, but for the Ethiopian people. The people will ultimately judge political actors, he said, and they must have parameters agreed to by the parties by which they will judge those actors. After the CoC was passed, Meles noted, the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) gathered over 1,300 of its senior leaders to discuss party strategy and train all leaders on the CoC. The EPRDF knows violations of the CoC by its members will hurt the party and provide a rallying cry for the opposition. This message will flow down to all EPRDF members, he said, so that they know what is expected of them, and know both the courts and the party will hold them accountable to the CoC.

9. (C) Meles told U/S Otero he feared a repeat of the 2005 violence, and that many opposition members were not interested in peaceful elections, but would rather discredit the electoral process. As such, the EPRDF cannot give them any excuse to resort to violence. Meles noted that in addition to opposition political parties, the GoE had intelligence that the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Ogaden National Liberation Front
(ONLF), and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki were all directly or indirectly involved in plots to discredit the elections. The EPRDF, he said, would "let them be" to show the population that even though their opponents' goal is not peace, the EPRDF will abide by the law.

10. (C) Meles recalled that in 2005, he had told opposition leaders in the presence of the diplomatic corps that they should not believe foreign allies would protect them if they violated the laws of Ethiopia. Opposition leaders were right to believe the diplomatic corps would try to protect them, he said, as evidenced by the statement they issued demanding the release of opposition politicians upon their arrest in
2005. Today, Meles said, foreign embassies are inadvertently conveying the same message, that they will protest the jailing of opposition leaders and potentially take action against Ethiopia to secure their release. However, the GoE has made clear to both opposition and EPRDF leaders that nothing can protect them except the laws and constitution of Ethiopia, and the GoE will clamp down on anyone who violates those laws. "We will crush them with our full force," Meles said, and "they will vegetate like Birtukan (Midekssa) in jail forever."

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11. (C) In an extended discussion in response to Meles' comments, U/S Otero, A/S Carson, and Ms. Gavin noted that Ethiopia's forthcoming elections would be closely watched in the U.S. and that the GoE's treatment of the opposition would be subject to public criticism by the Ethiopian diaspora and U.S. political figures. The U.S. delegation urged Meles to exercise wise judgment and leadership, give the opposition more political space, and consider the release of Birtukan Midekssa. A/S Carson stressed the importance of putting Ethiopia's democracy on an upward and positive trajectory, and not letting it atrophy or slide backward, using the suffrage and civil rights movements in the U.S. as an illustration of challenges the U.S. has faced as it improved its own democratic system. (Note: Three quarters of the nearly two-hour meeting focused on democracy. End note.)

Ethiopia Not Enthusiastic About Jubaland Initiative

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12. (C) Meles said he had been briefed extensively regarding Kenya's Jubaland initiative. Because Ethiopia had previously intervened in Somalia without seeking Kenyan approval, he said, the GoE would not presume to analyze the Kenyans' chances for success in their own intervention. The GoE is sharing intelligence with Kenya, but Meles expressed a lack of confidence in Kenya's capacity to pull off a tactical success, which he feared could have negative regional impacts. The GoE is therefore working to minimize the likelihood of a spillover effect in Ethiopia's Somali Regional State. Noting that Ethiopia might have underestimated Kenya, Meles said, "We are not enthusiastic, but we are hoping for success."

GoE Prepared to Move Forward from Copenhagen


13. (C) U/S Otero urged Meles to sign the Copenhagen accord on climate change and explained that it is a point of departure for further discussion and movement forward on the topic. She noted that while the agreement has its limitations, it has the international community moving in the right direction. Meles responded that the GoE supported the accord in Copenhagen and would support it at the AU Summit. However, he expressed his disappointment that despite President Obama's personal assurance to him that finances committed in Copenhagen would be made available, he had received word from contacts at the UN that the U.S. was not supportive of Ethiopia's proposal for a panel to monitor financial pledges regarding climate change. Ms. Gavin assured the Prime Minister that she would look into his concerns.

No Promises on Liberalizing Telecoms, Banking


14. (C) U/S Otero and A/S Carson encouraged Meles to hasten steps to liberalize the telecommunications and banking industries in Ethiopia, and highlighted both the micro- and macroeconomic benefits of liberalization. Meles offered no substantive response to A/S Carson's query whether any progress had been made toward liberalizing or otherwise improving telecommunications, joking that Americans' concept of time was much faster than Ethiopians'. In response to U/S Otero's recognition of the important role of private banks in microfinance projects that directly benefit the poor, and assurance that private and state-owned banks could thrive side-by-side, Meles said he would be happy to discuss the issue in the future. YATES


US embassy cables: EU mutes criticism of US climate stance

*, Friday 3 December 2010 21.30 GMT
* Article history


1. The failed Copenhagen climate change summit produced only a non-binding Accord, but the agreement suits US interests as it presents more chance of forcing China to act. US diplomats campaign hard around the world for support for the Accord. In a revealing cable, EU officials say they have deliberately muted criticism of the US, that opposing nations need to be neutralised and that it is ironic that nations receiving aid oppose the Accord. By November 2010, 140 nations have backed the Accord, at the upper end of the US target. Key passage highlighted in yellow.

2. Read related article




1. (C) Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Michael Froman held wide-ranging discussions with over 25 senior EU officials in Brussels January 27. Froman and the Ambassador met with Commission President Barroso, the incoming European Commissioners for Climate (Hedegaard), Internal Markets (Barnier) and Trade (De Gucht), and with new European Council President Van Rompuy,s Chief of Staff. Froman and the Ambassador also lunched with a dozen Directors General and Commissioner cabinet chiefs, and led a roundtable with Member State Ambassadors. The EU officials welcomed Froman,s call for stronger bilateral cooperation to boost our economies, improve coordination on climate, Doha and financial regulation, and push back against coordinated opposition of BASIC countries (China, India, Brazil, South Africa) to our international positions. They also appreciated the Ambassador,s message that they must capitalize on the Obama Administration commitment to multilateralism to secure with the U.S. concrete achievements to strengthen growth and create jobs.

2. (C) DNSA Froman and Hedegaard committed to work closely to define the right Post-Copenhagen climate negotiating group and process, and agreed to hold a DVC prior to the February 11 European Council. Froman and De Gucht committed to share ideas to improve the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC), with De Gucht planning a February-March DC visit to discuss TEC and trade issues. Froman, Barnier, and lunch attendees agreed on the importance of bilateral coordination to improve G20 and other work on financial reform. De Gucht and other officials noted the urgency of building U.S.-EU crisis response and development cooperation in the wake of the Haiti earthquake. Finally, Froman expressed U.S. support for the new EU Lisbon Treaty structure; the officials explained that the EU will need time to adjust to the new format but should emerge with better, more streamlined decisionmaking. END SUMMARY.



3. (C) Deputy National Security Advisor for International Affairs Michael Froman held intense, broad-ranging discussions with EU and Member State officials on January 27 enroute to the Davos World Economic Forum. Ambassador Kennard accompanied Froman throughout the day. Froman met with European Commissioners-designate for Climate Connie Hedegaard and for Internal Markets Michel Barnier, current Development Commissioner and Commissioner-designate for Trade Karel de Gucht (plus staff for all), and new European Council President Herman Von Rompuy,s chief of staff Frans Van Daele. Froman also met briefly with Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and with Director General for External Relations Joao Vale de Almeida. Froman attended a lunch hosted by Vale de Almeida featuring:

- Marco Buti, Director General for Economic and Financial Affairs Jonathan Faull, Director General for Justice, Freedom and Security - Antonio Cabral, President Barroso Senior Economic Policy Adviser - Fernando Andresen Guimaraes, President Barroso Diplomatic Adviser - James Morrison, Head of Cabinet for High Representative and Commission Vice President Catherine Ashton - Olivier Guersent, Head of Cabinet for Commissioner-designate for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier - Timo Pesonen, Head of Cabinet for Commissioner-designate for Economic and Financial Affairs Ollie Rehn - Mark Vanheukelen, Head of Cabinet of Commissioner-designate for Trade Karel de Gucht - Alan Seatter, Director for North America in Directorate General for External Relations - Jean Claude Thebault, new Commission Deputy Secretary General

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4. (C) Froman and the Ambassador ended with a roundtable including Member State Permanent Representation (COREPER II) Ambassadors from: Austria (Hans Dietmar Schwiesgut); Belgium (Jean De Ruyt); Denmark (Poul Skytte Christoffersen); France (Philippe Etienne); Italy (Fernando Nelli Feroci); Poland (Jan Tombinski); Sweden (Christian Danielsson); and the UK (Kim Darroch).

5. (C) Discussions centered around six themes: the need to improve U.S.-EU bilateral coordination on a range of transnational issues
(including climate, Doha and financial reform), to avoid repeating what Froman termed &disappointments8 of 2009 and to meet the rising challenge of surprisingly united BASIC countries (China, India, Brazil and South Africa); close coordination on climate to build upon the fledgling Copenhagen Accord; better coordination on G20 and financial supervisory and regulatory reform issues; our joint commitment to reach a Doha Development Agenda Agreement; the need to improve the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) and use it to secure concrete achievements that boost growth and create jobs; and improving U.S.-EU crisis response and development cooperation in the wake of the Haiti earthquake.


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6. (C) DNSA Froman made two major points to his interlocutors on bilateral relations. First, he stressed, 2009 was a transition year for both the U.S. Administration and EU institutions, with both facing enormous challenges. Despite our mutual good intentions in relaunching U.S.-EU relations, Froman said, and great improvement in tone, we continued to talk past each other on some issues. He cited Copenhagen as an example, where both sides misread each other,s negotiating bottom lines, and stressed that EU leaders, &one-upsmanship8 model of outdoing each other to push EU-wide policy did not/not work in dealing with the U.S. Administration.

7. (C) Second, Froman told the EU officials, it is remarkable how closely coordinated the &BASIC8 group of countries (China, India, Brazil and South Africa) have become in international fora, taking turns to impede U.S./EU initiatives and playing the U.S. and EU off against each other. BASIC countries have widely differing interests, he said, but have subordinated these to their common short-term goals to block some Western initiatives. The U.S. and EU need to learn from this coordination, Froman said, and work much more closely and effectively together ourselves, to better handle third country obstructionism and avoid future trainwrecks on climate, Doha or financial regulatory reform.

8. (C) Ambassador Kennard underscored that this is a significant moment for U.S.-EU relations. There is important alignment between our interests, he said, with President Obama as a committed multilateralist in the White House. We must feel urgency to work together to deliver real benefits that will boost growth and create jobs, the Ambassador stressed, given that we have a limited window of opportunity before a political referendum occurs on these efforts.

9. (C) The EU officials welcomed Froman,s and the Ambassador,s calls for closer cooperation. Director General for External Relations Vale de Almeida emphasized that the Commission transition and Lisbon Treaty implementation, while seeming to add to the complexity of EU institutions (for example, with greater power for European Parliament) will produce a streamlined EU that is an indispensible U.S. partner. Commission President Barroso is committed to closer relations, Vale de Almeida said, highlighting his shift of TEC leadership to the Trade Commissioner as a positive step. Vale de Almeida asked for U.S. understanding in the EU attaching political importance to annual U.S.-EU Summits and other &processes8; these processes are the way the EU produces results, he declared. He acknowledged the U.S. desire for concrete outcomes but stressed that symbolism is important to EU institutions.

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10. (C) Council President Van Rompuy Chief of Staff Van Daele elaborated on the theme that the Lisbon changes, in adding a permanent EU Council President and Foreign Policy High Representative, will strengthen the EU,s capacity to be an effective U.S. partner. Froman responded that the U.S. welcomes the Lisbon changes and wants to help Van Rompuy in his new position. Van Daele welcomed this, saying he understood U.S. policy constraints on climate and financial regulation, given Capitol Hill dynamics. We must work together on economic reform and must look forward together, he added; there is &no good from wagging fingers.8 The U.S. and EU must focus more on getting China more invested in global cooperation, he concluded, to make the Chinese realize they &can,t have their cake and eat it too.8

11. (C) Member State Permanent Representation Ambassadors appreciated the good will of Froman and the Administration to work for better relations with Europe. UK Ambassador Darroch stressed that President Obama,s engagement with Europe (the President has made six trips to Europe since his inauguration, Froman noted) is welcome, and that European leaders &haven,t sufficiently responded yet.8 The Ambassadors were skeptical that Lisbon would bring rapid benefits. They noted that EU institutions will require an adjustment period to the new structure, implying delay in a fully effective EU under the new treaty. Polish Ambassador Tombinski expected &a big institutional fight,8 but thought eventually Lisbon may speed up EU operations. French Ambassador Etienne said the challenge will be to use these new capabilities effectively so the EU can act coherently with its major partners. Ambassadors Danielsson of Sweden and Christofferson of Denmark agreed that the lesson of our mutual misunderstanding in Copenhagen should be ensuring better communication to avoid a recurrence in other fora.


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12. (C) Climate Commissioner-designate Hedegaard thanked Froman for President Obama,s efforts in Copenhagen. She asked about U.S. legislative efforts on climate and U.S. political dynamics around mid-term Congressional elections and how they might impact U.S. international cooperation moving toward COP-16 in Cancun, Mexico. Froman responded that the U.S., overriding international goal, to work on implementing the Copenhagen Accord as well as on the other UN tracks, will not change. We will still work toward domestic legislation as well, Froman said. He thought midterm dynamics would not strongly impact our work going into Cancun.

13. (C) Froman and Hedegaard reviewed Copenhagen outcomes. Froman said that while nobody considered the agreement complete, it is a good step forward. Hedegaard said Copenhagen left some disappointed in the UN process, but stressed that we can,t give up. The Accord contains a lot of good points, she said, that should not be wasted. She hoped that the U.S. noted the EU was muting its criticism of the U.S., to be constructive.

14. (C) Both officials agreed we must focus now on operational steps to implement the Copenhagen Accord. Froman said the U.S. will work in the next few weeks on getting countries to sign up for (&associate themselves with8) the Accord, and to inscribe their targets. The U.S. would be happy, he suggested, with the seven emerging market countries in the Major Economies Forum (MEF), saying others would then follow. We also need to work on financing, he added.

15. (C) Froman emphasized that we need to determine the right process and grouping of countries to go forward. This could be the Greenland group of 28 countries from Copenhagen, MEF members, or countries signing the Accord, he speculated. The U.S. is not wedded to a particular grouping, he said, but there seems to be broad consensus that relying on the two UNFCCC working groups is insufficient. Hedegaard agreed, suggesting that an informal MEF grouping might be effective. It would be critical that this have legitimacy, she said.

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The Greenland group is an option, she said, but others might resent this designation.

16. (C) It is vital to get G-77 agreement to whatever grouping we use, Hedegaard continued. Both agreed it will be important to talk to incoming G-77 chair Yemen, with Froman adding it will also be important to be in close touch with Mexico as COP-16 chair. In fact, Froman added, we need all major groups ) the EU, MEF, BASIC, G-77, the island countries ) to agree to a negotiating mechanism. Hedegaard responded that we will need to work around unhelpful countries such as Venezuela or Bolivia. Froman agreed that we will need to neutralize, co-opt or marginalize these and others such as Nicaragua, Cuba, Ecuador. Hedegaard noted the irony that the EU is a big donor to these countries, while Cuba, for example, is actively discouraging others from signing on to the Accord.

17. (C) Both agreed that we need processes for coordination and avoiding recriminations. Hedegaard said the EU will use the February 11 informal European Council meeting to reflect on how to be more focused and effective on climate. Froman noted he will do likewise for the U.S. in meetings with Climate Special Envoy Todd Stern and other Administration officials. He suggested that he and Hedegaard speak before the Council meeting to coordinate; she agreed to a videoconference February 10, the day after the new Commission is expected to be formally approved by the European Parliament.

18. (C) Froman and Hedegaard then discussed specific goals for the Bonn and Cancun meetings. Hedegaard said we must have universal acknowledgment that &the world cannot afford8 failure to reach a binding agreement. Froman thought that we should try for progress by Cancun on MRV (monitoring, reporting and verification), the adaptation framework, technologies, and some resolution of process. Both agreed that we should also get countries to inscribe 2020 targets.

19. (C) Froman and Hedegaard also discussed their respective domestic policy developments, noting the complex issue of carbon border taxes. This is an issue of great concern to China, Froman noted. Hedegaard noted the EU,s struggle with how to manage inclusion of aviation and maritime sectors in the EU,s Emissions Trading Scheme. Both agreed it is vital to show economic benefits and potential job creation from bilateral cooperation on climate and clean energy technologies, to build public support for our efforts; Hedegaard committed to provide to Froman EU studies showing such impacts.

20. (C) Froman summarized his climate points for the Member State Ambassadors; while some Post-Copenhagen soul searching is warranted, he said, we need to focus on avoiding a damaging replay of our division there in the runup to Cancun. We need to work to make the Copenhagen Accord real, getting all countries that matter to associate themselves with the agreement and inscribing their targets. We need early U.S.-EU agreement on the right group and process to take discussions forward, and need progress on financing, technical points and transparency and verification; all are important, he concluded.


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21. (C) Froman heard at length from Internal Markets Commissioner-designate Barnier and several lunch participants on the importance of coordination in the G20 and elsewhere on reform of financial supervision and regulation. Froman stressed with all that the U.S. wants to work closely with the EU on all G20 issues, particularly on agreeing to common principles. The G20 is an important framework for this cooperation, he said, and it is vital that we deliver results on G20 commitments not just for their own sake but to build the credibility of the G20 framework. Froman said he wants to ensure the G20 is effective.

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22. (C) Director General for Economic and Financial Affairs Buti agreed that the ascendency of the G20 has raised our need for bilateral coordination. He lauded the new macroeconomic and financial dialogue with Treasury launched just days ago, noting we have agreed to hold this to coordinate views before major events. Buti said 2009 was a &fantastic year8 for the G20, and noted we are delivering on many of the major commitments, including IFI reform, resources and quotas, the framework for balanced growth agreed in Pittsburgh, and sharing plans for withdrawal of stimulus when appropriate. Froman responded that a major medium-term challenge should then be more structural reform; Buti agreed. Vale de Almeida said the G20 is improving and streamlining as it develops, which is positive. He pointed to Buti and others at the lunch as those who can deliver on EU commitments and cooperation in the G20.

23. (C) Barnier told Froman he wants to work closely and in confidence with the U.S. He wants to move as much as possible in step with the U.S., he stressed. Barnier,s first non-EU trip will be to the U.S., he added, possibly for the April G20/IMF Spring Meetings. Froman responded that Treasury had the primary role on financial services issues, but that he looked forward to staying in touch. Before President Obama,s recent announcements on banking reform, Barnier noted, there had been doubts in the EU on U.S. willingness to fulfill G20 commitments. There have been doubts about U.S. willingness to implement Basel II bank capital rules, but said this is important to ensure a level playing field. Froman again emphasized U.S. willingness to work with Europe on these issues.

24. (C) Barnier said he was impressed by President Obama,s announcements on bank size and scope. He noted EU reaction has varied, with the UK against, the Dutch in favor and the French &supportive of the direction.8 David Wright, Director for DG Internal Market, said the announcements were a significant and structural change from what had been under discussion in the international community. He emphasized that the EU normally does not regulate via caps on particular business lines but through competition policy. Vale de Almeida in the lunch also questioned whether the announcements were &off-mark8 from the G20. Froman responded that these proposals were consistent with what had been raised previously, noted that we were not alone in showing leadership on these issues, but returned to the U.S. commitment to cooperate toward agreement on basic principles and avoid damaging regulatory arbitrage.

25. (C) Barnier said &his roadmap is the G20 roadmap,8 and he seeks relevant, proportionate regulation in Europe that leaves no market or player unregulated. He said his immediate priorities include resolving Council-Parliament differences over EU financial supervisory architecture, OTC derivatives (and cooperation here with the U.S.), corporate governance, and improving crisis prevention and management tools.



26. (C) Froman emphasized to Commissioner De Gucht and other EU officials the U.S. commitment to try to complete an ambitious Doha Development Agenda agreement, but said that public spats over negotiations were damaging; we should work to prevent this going forward. Froman described our Doha position, and our bilateral engagement with India, Brazil, China and others to produce market access. He emphasized the vital importance of this market access to our stakeholders and the Congress. Froman said that the current offer is not acceptable to U.S. agriculture, NAMA or services stakeholders. De Gucht responded that it is important to close the Doha Round, and that blaming others does not get us there; the question is how to manage the process with appropriate ambition. He said that the EU can live with the result on the table, but if other things come onto the table, we will need a &new equilibrium.8 De Gucht said he hoped that the U.S. bilateral efforts would not interfere with the ability to nail down existing tariffs (Comment: this probably

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refers to proposed bound tariff reductions in recent DDA texts, which reduce maximum permitted ) bound ) tariffs but do not reduce currently applied tariffs significantly. End comment).

27. (C) De Gucht added that he faces a similar challenge, because the Spanish Presidency is pushing for bilateral FTAs with Latin America, and he wants to ensure such efforts do not interfere with the DDA. Froman responded that eliminating &water8 between bound and actual tariffs is insufficient, that there has to be additional market access. Froman emphasized the importance of the U.S. and EU sending a consistent message on this issue to third countries, even though he recognized that our positions, though similar, are not identical. He encouraged open dialogue and transparency with the EU. Froman said he did not want there to be misunderstanding among our trading partners (similar to what happened in Copenhagen) that the U.S. would ultimately agree to what is on the table.


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28. (C) Froman emphasized to all of his interlocutors the Administration,s interest in making the TEC deliver real results. We are open to all ideas, he said; we can reform, restructure or even eliminate the TEC, based on what we identify together as the best way to secure concrete achievements. The Ambassador added that the bottom line should be generating growth and creating jobs, which could help us prioritize issues for the TEC agenda.

29. (C) De Gucht welcomed Froman,s interest in the TEC. He viewed the TEC as very important, particularly in the context of the rising Chinese economy and significant trade deficits of both the U.S. and EU with China. De Gucht noted that as U.S.-EU tariffs have fallen, non-tariff barriers (NTBs) are the logical next challenge. De Gucht Chief of Staff VanHeukelen stressed that U.S.-EU economic links are &hard to overestimate,8 with &colossal8 bilateral FDI. De Gucht highlighted a recent study showing that if we could remove one half of existing bilateral NTBs, the EU and U.S. would get many billions of dollars in welfare gains (GDP increases) by 2016, or greater than Doha. Seatter of DG External Relations pointed to the 12-14 million jobs dependent on transatlantic trade, stressing that steps to expand these jobs could be an important near-term TEC achievement. VanHeukelen said that to date the TEC has not been seen as extremely effective, but it is important that it do better.

30. (C) Both the EU and U.S. need more growth, De Gucht said, in the face of such challenges as rising social security and health care costs. De Gucht recognized, however, that there are political problems with addressing some NTBs. He agreed it is important that the next TEC meeting produces concrete results, and should not be a simple get-acquainted session. Therefore, he added, we must prepare carefully, out of the spotlight. He said Spain is pushing for a TEC before its Presidency ends June 30, but noted it is unclear if this would provide adequate preparation time. He said a low-profile planning meeting might be more appropriate in the near term. He added he is preparing a paper on TEC goals to send to the U.S. in the next few weeks and hoped the U.S. could do the same. De Gucht said he hopes to visit Washington in late February to discuss key TEC and trade issues with Froman and others. (Note: his staff clarified that the trip will likely be in early March. End note).

31. (C) Both agreed that possible TEC topics could include Doha, climate, China/third country issues, and financial regulation. Froman agreed that there should be no &artificial deadlines8 for the TEC, and that the important thing is to ensure the next meeting produces significant results, to justify the presence of high-ranking officials and respond to stakeholders. We are flexible on timing, and can take five to nine months to achieve concrete results, he underscored. Froman committed to producing a U.S. paper to discuss with the EU.

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32. (SBU) Commissioner De Gucht offered Froman his views on the situation in Haiti, where De Gucht visited the previous week in his capacity as current Development Commissioner. He said that what had happened was a disaster, guessing that &at least 250,0008 were killed, with &20 percent8 of Port-au-Prince destroyed. He thought the Haiti situation manageable, however, with time and money needed for recovery. The Southeast Asian tsunami had been much worse, he noted. A lot of assistance food stocks were already in Haiti when the earthquake hit, he said, and water and food distribution was OK. Roads were mostly unaffected, he added. The biggest near-term problem, De Gucht explained, will be for 250,000 homeless when the rainy season begins in six weeks. The GOH and donors need to rapidly build camps, he said, to avoid pandemics once rains start. Overall, in De Gucht,s view, life in Haiti is &picking up8 again, and despite media reports, security problems are not serious.

33. (SBU) Morrison of Ashton,s cabinet noted our &great8 bilateral cooperation on Haiti, and stressed that the EU is committed long-term to rebuilding the Haitian economy and state. High Representative Ashton seeks greater development cooperation with the U.S., he said. Seatter of DG External Relations said that the challenges we have faced and met in Haiti coordination underscore our need to work on our crisis response and overall development coordination. This is an area where we can achieve strong results this year, Seatter added.

34. (U) This cable has been cleared by Deputy National Security Advisor Michael Froman.


End Cable Text

Zenaida X Toledo 07/30/2008 04:04:14 PM From DB/Inbox: TRANS


US embassy cables: Maldives tout $50m climate projects to US

* o o Share99 o Reddit o Buzz up

*, Friday 3 December 2010 21.30 GMT
* Article history


1. The failed Copenhagen climate change summit produced only a non-binding Accord, but the agreement suits US interests as it presents more chance of forcing China to act. US diplomats campaign hard around the world for support for the Accord. Here, the Maldives responds to US requests for support by raising a $50m adaptation project and its willingness to take a Guantanamo detainee. By November 2010, 140 nations have backed the Accord, at the upper end of the US target. Key passage highlighted in yellow

2. Read related article

1. (S) SUMMARY. Maldives Ambassador-designate (resident in New York) Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed held his first consultations in Washington February 23, ahead of his presentation of credentials to POTUS February
24. Meeting with SCA, S/SECC, S/GC, and OSD, Ghafoor said he would prioritize developing education and parliamentary exchanges during his ambassadorship; expressed confidence that Maldives would win a seat on the UN Human Rights Council; confirmed his government's willingness to take a Guantanamo detainee; underscored the importance of tangible assistance being provided by the larger economies to small countries at the forefront of the climate change debate; and expressed appreciation for U.S. training of Maldives security personnel. He also noted his government's interest in additional training and assistance with customs and border security and prison management. END SUMMARY.

Confident on UNHRC; Keen on Educational Partnerships


2. (C) Pre-viewing Ambassador Ghafoor's meetings with Deputy S/SECC Pershing and S/GC Ambassador Fried, SCA A/S Robert Blake expressed appreciation to Ghafoor for Maldives's willingness to accept a Guantanamo detainee, and President Nasheed's strong personal effort in Copenhagen to reach an Accord. Blake also pulsed Ghafoor on Maldives's candidacy for the Human Rights Council. Ghafoor said he was confident Maldives could get one of the four Asia Group seats; he did not think Iran, lacking Arab support, had the votes. His only concern was that Thailand and Maldives could split their votes and that Iran is working African capitals. As such, Maldives is not only lobbying Asian missions, but also African missions. Blake offered quiet U.S. assistance if it would be helpful; Ghafoor appreciated it and said Maldives might take us up on it. But Maldives needed to be seen as earning the seat in its own right. As a small country, he said, Maldives can't play other countries against each other; it needs to take principled positions (e.g. Kosovo recognition).

3. (SBU) Ghafoor appreciated U.S. efforts to help push the IMF and Maldives toward agreement, but that the conditionality was "harsh." Wage cuts have been politically difficult. Referring to the March 28-29 Maldives donors conference, Ghafoor said international assistance would help the government win over the public and implement its development program. Ghafoor said that promoting educational exchanges and partnerships between the U.S. and Maldives would offer an alternative to students who currently go to Islamic schools in Pakistan and Egypt, where they could become radicalized. A/S Blake suggested Ghafoor reach out to U.S. schools and offered assistance to help build public-private partnerships, such as, for example, a college in the hotel and restaurant management field. Ghafoor was also keen to pursue parliamentary exchanges and to receive CODELs in Maldives, as well as to promote a U.S.-Maldives caucus or friendship association in Congress. We suggested he reach out to National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute, and that we would help arrange meetings for him with Congressional staff.

Ready to Assist with Detainee


4. (S) S/GC Ambassador Daniel Fried conveyed U.S. appreciation for Maldives's willingness to resettle a

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Guantanamo detainee. Ghafoor said Maldives is ready to act quickly on the resettlement. Logistics remain to be worked out between the Home Ministry and the Embassy. Fried detailed those logistics, including finalizing transfer arrangements, concluding an exchange of diplomatic notes (that would include security measures), and requiring GORM permission to notify the candidate. Fried said we would keep the information close hold until we transferred the detainee; noted the offer of $85,000 to assist his resettlement expenses; and offered to make himself available for interviews should the GORM want help shaping any press messaging. Fried stressed the importance of working out more detailed security arrangements for the detainee, along the lines of those applied in other countries that have accepted Guantanamo detainees for resettlement; Embassy Colombo could work directly with the Maldivian government on those arrangements.

Climate Change: Maldives Seeks Concrete Action

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5. (SBU) Meeting with Deputy S/SECC Jonathan Pershing, Ghafoor referred to Copenhagen as a stepping stone toward a legally binding agreement; Maldives is prepared to accept any form of treaty/accord that would lead to concrete action. He said he saw a reluctance within the United States Congress to take action. He would like Maldivian President Nasheed to have the opportunity to speak before Congress in order to provide a sincere voice for the urgency of climate change. Pershing asked if Ghafoor had a sense of why only 105 of 192 countries had associated themselves with the Accord. Ghafoor replied that, following the commitments of the U.S., China and India at Copenhagen, and despite opposition from a small, vocal minority of countries, there had been a political shift; many countries from CARICOM, the African Union (led by Ethiopia), and AOSIS will come to associate with Copenhagen and engage on subsequent agreements. These coalitions must be coaxed and not pushed into making decisions and meeting deadlines. Pershing noted that chairmanship of organizational meetings was vital.

6. (SBU) Ghafoor added that Maldives would like to see that small countries, like Maldives, that are at the forefront of the climate debate, receive tangible assistance from the larger economies. Other nations would then come to realize that there are advantages to be gained by compliance. Pershing noted that Copenhagen provides a generic framework for assistance, but that the next steps are procedural. He asked about Maldivian adaptation programs. Ghafoor referred to several projects, including harbor deepening and strengthening sea walls, that are in the development stage. These projects would cost approximately $50 million. Pershing encouraged Ghafoor to provide concrete examples and specific costs in order to increase the likelihood of bilateral assistance and congressional appropriations. Ghafoor proposed that President Obama deliver a speech on climate change from Maldives when he next visits the region. He said Maldives would provide a dramatic backdrop and draw further attention to environmental challenges the islands face.

Strengthening Security Cooperation


7. (SBU) Meeting with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense for South and Southeast Asia Robert Scher, Ghafoor expressed appreciation for the warm reception he had been receiving in Washington. He said that Maldivian soldiers and police (many now senior staff officials) that were trained by the U.S. have earned the respect of both the government and the citizens of Maldives. (NOTE: Ghafoor's brother is a retired director of the Maldivian National Defense Force. END NOTE.) He said he looked forward to continued cooperation in this field. Scher asked how U.S. training

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compared with that of India in terms of quantity and quality. Ghafoor said that both were substantive and substantial. He acknowledged that Maldives also interacts with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, as one might expect of a 100 percent Muslim country situated in the region. Scher indicated that the U.S. did not want to get in the way of Maldivian relationships with its neighbors. Ghafoor assessed that New Delhi's perception of the U.S. has evolved and that Male would be able to address any concerns. He stated that his government would not let relations with India impact relations with the United States, reflecting Maldives's attempt to "show balance" in the past. Ghafoor replied that, if necessary, Maldives would explain that neither India nor Pakistan need suspect anything "untoward." Ghafoor also noted that young people can receive free education (in Islamic Studies) in Egypt and Pakistan. Scher asked if all of the students return to Maldives after their studies. Ghafoor said that some had been apprehended in round ups in Pakistan, where they had been recruited by extremists. He said he believed that such exposure led to a rise in fundamentalist views within Maldives's peaceful and tolerant culture. "It used to be simply a question of faith; now you must show that you are more Muslim than others," he said. Increased access to liberal western education would help to combat growing fundamentalist trends, he suggested. Scher pointed out that that some groups would hope to exploit this lack of education, and that it was good to hear that Maldivian authorities were actively monitoring the situation. Ghafoor acknowledged that human rights must allow for freedom of expression and said Maldives is looking for guidance on how to peaceably marry two often conflicting agendas, freedom and internal security. Scher replied that hatred is better faced head-on by a benevolent government rather than pushed underground. 8.
(SBU) Ghafoor noted that drug use in Maldives has led to a rise in crime that President Nasheed has pledged to combat with prevention and rehabilitation. In the past, criminals were simply "banished" to a different island. He inquired about training assistance with management of prison facilities and the training of correctional officers. Scher pointed out that this would be a matter better addressed by State/INL, DOJ and USAID. Ghafoor noted that 99 percent of Maldives is extremely vulnerable to attack from the sea. More specifically, he said that an attack (such as by Somali pirates) on an island resort would cripple the country's economy. Maldives is seeking additional equipment and training from the U.S. on customs and border security. Scher expressed DOD's interest in expanding bilateral defense and security engagement, continuing training, and helping build the Maldives's maritime security capabilities to counteract the threat from terrorism, piracy, and trafficking. CLINTON