EO 12958 DECL: 06/19/2017 SUBJECT: GHANA’S NEW NARCOTICS DIRECTOR, GROWING INTERNATIONAL CONCERN REF: A. ACCRA 1275 B. ACCRA 1280 ACCRA 00001437 001.2 OF 002 Classified By: PolChief Scott Ticknor for reasons 1.4 (d) and (e). ¶1. (C) Summary: On June 13, Polchief and Pol FSN met with Ben Botwe, who recently took over from Major General Richardson Baiden as the Acting Executive Director of Ghana’s Narcotics Control Board (NCB). Botwe is preparing a budget for urgent funding priorities and wants to build a stronger relationship with the police. He lacks security or law enforcement experience and we question whether he has the political weight or support to make an impact in his new job. The British continue to be very discouraged by the narcotics situation in Ghana. Other governments share these concerns and the Mini-Dublin group of donors plans to write to the Minister of Interior urging more effective action against narcotics trafficking. End summary. Meeting the New Man at NCB -------------------------- ¶2. (SBU) Botwe, who only started two weeks ago, said he plans to create a three-year strategic plan for counternarcotics. Asked about the dimension of the narcotics concern, he said “shipments are happening,” although he was not sure why they are coming to Ghana. He wants to establish SOPs for handling relations with other government agencies and to strengthen Human Resources management. He saw the need to strengthen existing programs, rebuild internal structures, and work with the media on an anti-drug campaign. ¶3. (SBU) In the short-term, he will prepare an “immediate needs budget” for the Minister of Interior, who he claims has assured him additional resources. NCB has just graduated 35 new recruits as core field staff but needs additional vehicles and equipment. Botwe said the GOG has approved 60 more new recruits before the end of 2007. He hopes to work with local authorities to strengthen air and sea interdiction as well as intelligence gathering. Equipping the navy to do a better job in counternarcotics is a high priority, he said. ¶4. (SBU) Botwe hoped to strengthen the NCB’s relationship with the Ghana Police Service and opined that the recent dismissal of over 80 police officers suspected of narcotics offenses is a healthy “purging” of the police system. He thought the NCB should take the lead in narcotics intelligence gathering, monitoring, coordination and reporting, providing overall direction for counternarcotics while also helping other agencies with expertise and capacity building. The NCB should participate in operations but it has no prosecutorial or arrest authority and its agents are unarmed, he said, lamenting that in the past the NCB had taken on too many police duties. This had created tension with the police, reducing the GOG’s ability to conduct sustained raids, he said. Brief Bio --------- ¶5. (U) Benjamin Kwame Botwe (47) was the Chief Regulatory Officer and Deputy Chief Executive (Drugs Division) of the Food and Drugs Board from 2000-2007. Starting in 1988, he held different jobs at the Food and Drugs Board, including three years (1997-2000) as Principal Enforcement Officer. He holds a Masters in Public Administration from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and a Masters of Science (Pharmaceutical Analysis) in Quality and Management. Other Government Views of Narcotics in Ghana -------------------------------------------- ¶6. (C) The British remain very concerned about narcotics trends in Ghana. A British Embassy official provided PolChief with data from Operation Westbridge, a U.K.-supported program to strengthen narcotics interdiction at Accra’s airport. He reported that in the seven months since the start of this Operation at the end of November, 2006 the UK had made 51 seizures of narcotics originating ACCRA 00001437 002.2 OF 002 from Ghana, totaling 197.5 kilograms of cocaine, 713 kilograms of cannabis and 300 grams of heroin. Operation Westbridge is ongoing but will now shift from screening passengers to also screening freight. Lagos-based British Serious Organized Crime (SOCA) Officer John King recently met PolChief after several days of discussions with counternarotics contacts in Accra, including the Ministers of Interior and National Security. King told PolChief that the U.K. recently shared intelligence with the GOG on a vessel coming to Ghana from South America suspected to be carrying cocaine. King said a vessel left from Tema to provide the suspect ship with fuel and water. According to King, however, the Ghana navy failed to find it and may not have even tried (although it is not clear to us that the navy received the U.K. information). King found Minister of Interior Kan-Dapaah dismissive and irritated when King raised problems with narcotics at the airport. King concluded that the GOG was more indifferent to the narcotics issue than in 2006 and had made little progress to tackle this problem in the past year. ¶7. (C) These concerns were mirrored in a June 25 Mini-Dublin Group meeting, the second such narcotics cooperation meeting held in Accra, hosted by the French Embassy and attended by diplomats from the U.S., Dutch, Spanish, Italian, British, and German Embassies. The French DCM told the group that two weeks ago a French naval vesse l intercepted a ship loaded with cocaine coming to Ghana from South America. Given concerns about narcotics trafficking here, a French narcotics liaison officer will be assigned to Ghana starting in September, she said. The German official noted that Lufthansa is seeing small but increasing quantities of narcotics trafficking on its flights out of Ghana. The Germans are also exploring assigning a permanent narcotics liaison officer to Accra. The Italian rep said their Dakar-based narcotics watcher is reporting a large increase of narcotics trafficking from South America through West Africa. The group agreed to send a joint letter to the Minister of Interior expressing growing concerns about Ghana’s narcotics situation.
SUMMARY 2004-07-09 08:08: Per reftel request, we interviewed Spanish officials regarding marine security programs. No single GOS agency is responsible for marine security. Each regional port authority is responsible to assure that ports in its jurisdiction comply with International Ship and Port Facilities Code (ISPS) protocol. Ports of State (or Puertos de Estado), loosely affiliated with the Ministry of Public Works, has been helping ready applicable ports for ISPS compliance, although it is not directly responsible for any port security issues. Contacts from the Ports of State informed us that they were confident preparations for the 1 July deadline would be met, and that they believe the state of port security in Spain is generally higher than in most European ports due to Spain,s experience with homegrown terrorist groups. Spain,s Merchant Marine is responsible for ISPS and Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations for applicable ships. Additionally, the USG and GOS are collaborating on several security initiatives. The Department of Energy's (DOE) Megaports Initiative continues to progress, with a DOE team arriving for a familiarization tour of the Port of Algeciras in late July. The Container Security Initiative will begin implementation in late July as well when a USG-owned scanner will be lent to the GOS for use in Algeciras. END SUMMARY. SPAIN,S ISPS PLANS: PORT FACILITIES ¶2. The ports of Spain are implementing a series of port security measures to comply with the ISPS. According to Pedro Roman, Safety and Security Department Manager of Infrastructures and Port Services Directorate, the ISPS code only applies to 50 port facilities in Spain, known as Ports of General Interest (or Puertos de Interes General). They are designated as such because of their international importance or volume of traffic. Ports of General Interest are overseen by the Ports of State of Spain through 27 regional port authorities. According to Roman, only those Ports of General Interest that receive ships carrying loads greater than 500 gross tons and/or receive any international passengers must comply with the ISPS. Each regional port authority (and not the Ports of State) is directly responsible for assuring compliance by all ports within its jurisdiction. Roman reiterated that Spain's ports do not have a true centralized management structure. Because of this fact, there is no fully-coordinated port facilities security plan. The individual port authorities will develop their own security plans within the context of the ISPS code. ¶3. The ports that are not Ports of General Interest are known as Autonomous Ports (or Puertos Autonomos). They answer to the Ministry of Public Administration. Autonomous Ports are generally not involved in international trade, with the exception of specialized businesses such as shipment of salt to France and Italy. They mostly service local fishing, transportation, or commercial activities. Per Roman, these ports are not required to comply with ISPS, and are not being briefed on its requirements.
A senior government official in Yemen warned US diplomats that poor security at the country’s main store of radioactive products could allow dangerous material to fall into the hands of terrorists, according to a leaked US embassy cable.
The official told the Americans that the lone guard standing watch at Yemen’s national atomic energy commission (NAEC) facility had been removed from his post and that its only closed circuit TV security camera had broken down six months previously and was never fixed.
“Very little now stands between the bad guys and Yemen’s nuclear material,” the official warned, in a cable dated 9 January this year sent from the Sana’a embassy to the CIA, the FBI and the department of homeland security as well as the US secretary of state in Washington and others.
Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest nation, has emerged as al-Qaida’s most active base, after Iraq and Afghanistan. It is home to Al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP), the group behind a series of attacks on western targets, including the failed airline cargo bomb plot in October and the attempt to bring down a US passenger jet over Detroit on Christmas Day last year. The Nigerian-born Detroit bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was radicalised in Yemen, according to security sources.
The cable, classified as secret by the US ambassador Stephen Seche, and sent during the immediate aftermath of the Christmas Day bomb, describes how the “worried” official implored the US to help convince the Yemen government “to remove all materials from the country until they can be better secured, or immediately improve security measures at the NAEC facility”.
The cable revealed that the facility holds large quantities of radioactive material used by hospitals, local universities for agricultural research and in oilfields. The international community fears radioactive isotopes could be used to make a dirty bomb – a device combining simple explosives with radioactive materials, which it would disperse over a wide area.
The isotopes are not explosive themselves, unlike nuclear material such as uranium. Although unlikely to kill a large number of people, such a device could cause tremendous damage and disruption by creating large no-go areas contaminated by radioactivity.
International experts said today the lack of security at the Yemen facility would be a “high priority” for the US government. Told of the cable’s revelation of the type of materials and the amount stored in Yemen’s NAEC facility, Matthew Bunn, a former White House science adviser who specialises in nuclear threat and terrorism, said: “Holy cow. That’s a big source.
“If dispersed by terrorists it could make a very nasty dirty bomb capable of contaminating a wide area,” said Bunn, an associate professor at Harvard University’s John F Kennedy school of government, who compiles an annual assessment of the nuclear terrorism threat titled Securing the Bomb.
Such a bomb would be “enough to make a mess that would cost tens of billions of dollars in cleanup costs and economic disruption, with all sorts of controversy over how clean is clean, how will people go back there”, he said.
“It’s the type of thing that the US programme have been working on securing all over the world. The global threat reduction initiative (GTRI) in the department of energy has two missions: one, to get rid of enriched uranium and two, to improve security on radioactive facilities so that dirty bombs cannot be used.
“The location in Yemen is obviously of particular concern given terrorism, given Al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula headquartered there, also the spotty effectiveness of the government.
“I would think it would be a high priority to do something about it.”
While a dirty bomb has never been detonated, terrorists have been accused of plotting such attacks.
A Briton, Dhiren Barot, admitted plotting to build a radioactive bomb in the UK and was convicted in 2006.
The leaked US cable revealed that, in the days following the official’s warning over security and probably as a result of US diplomatic pressure, the radioactive material was moved to a more secure facility and the remainder of it was likely to follow.
In a section of the cable titled Comment, it read: “Post will continue to push senior ROYG (Republic of Yemen Government) officials to increase security at all national atomic energy commission facilities and provide us with a detailed accounting of all radioactive materials in the country.”
A spokesman for the US state department said: “We decline to comment on any cable. A team from the US department of energy visited Yemen in February and continues to work with the government on security upgrades at relevant sites as part of its global threat reduction initiative.”
The US national nuclear security administration declined to comment on the cable or any action taken as a result of it.
A spokesman added: “I am not going to comment on upgrades to any specific sites. I can say that we have programmes to co-operate with more than 100 countries around the world to secure vulnerable nuclear material, improve security at nuclear facilities, and prevent nuclear smuggling. We are working day and night to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear material, no matter the source.”
Friday, 26 February 2010, 06:33 S E C R E T NEW DELHI 000367 SIPDIS EO 12958 DECL: 10/01/2020 TAGS PREL, PTER, IN, PK SUBJECT: FBI DIRECTOR MUELLER DISCUSSES HEADLEY CASE WITH INDIAN HOME MINISTER CHIDAMBARAM Classified By: Ambassador Tim Roemer. Reason: 1.4 (b,d). ¶1. (S) Summary: In a February 23 meeting, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Indian Home Affairs Minister P. Chidambaram that the USG would continue to cooperate with the GOI in providing information on the David Headley case and other cases involving terrorism directed at India. Chidambaram requested direct access to Headley, even if such access produces no information, as well as access to Headley’s spouse, who he said was in Chicago. Chidambaram asked whether a GOI official could monitor Headley’s interrogation and submit questions “in real time.” Chidambaram said he had “a feeling in my bones that Headley was not acting here alone,” but conceded that he had no evidence to support his supposition that Headley formed sleeper cells in India, one of which may have been involved in the February 13 Pune bombing. Mueller assented to Chidambaram’s request for expedited FBI lab assistance regarding forensic cyber and voice recognition analysis. Chidambaram complained that Pakistan had “done damn near nothing” to prosecute Mumbai terror suspects, and Mueller said he would press the Pakistanis to take action during an upcoming visit to Islamabad. End Summary. ¶2. (S) Director Mueller opened the 20-minute meeting by expressing satisfaction over increasingly close bilateral cooperation. Characterizing the information produced by interrogations of David Headley as among the most important intelligence the USG has gleaned in the past 6 - 8 months, the Director assured Chidambaram that we would continue to pass such information in a timely manner to India. Noting that the process of Headley’s proffer of evidence is nearing a critical stage, Mueller observed that Headley has expressed hatred toward India and may “clam up” if his guilty plea is tied in any way to cooperation with the GOI. ¶3. (S) After thanking Mueller for the “outstanding cooperation” displayed by the USG, Chidambaram stated that he understood from his discussions with Attorney General Holder that the GOI cannot use any information provided by the USG at this time in Indian prosecutions. He noted, however, that GOI investigators had developed information on their own through examination of Headley’s computer and emails. Chidambaram insisted that the GOI have access to Headley: “we must be able to say we had access, even if Headley did not speak.” He also requested access to Headley’s spouse, Shaiza, who he said is in Chicago so GOI investigators can question her on the meaning of her alleged message to Headley that she “saw your graduation.” Director Mueller said he would look into both requests. In reply to Chidambaram’s observation that the “worst outcome would be a light sentence of 2 or 3 years for Headley,” Mueller stated that Headley is looking at a considerably longer sentence. ¶4. (S) Chidambaram informed Mueller that the GOI would soon send a number of Letters Rogatory to the USG in relation to the Headley case, and Mueller responded that we would welcome such documents. Returning to the issue of access to Headley, Chidambaram asked whether GOI personnel could monitor and pass questions “in real time” to USG personnel conducting Headley’s interrogation. Mueller replied that he would look into this possibility. Chidambaram again thanked the USG for providing information and assistance, but asked whether GOI requests could be handled more promptly. The Home Minister asked for increased cooperation in three areas: 1) cybser security; 2) forensic cooperation; and 3) some financial initiatives and cooperation. ¶5. (S) Chidambaram confided that “I have a feeling in my bones that Headley was not acting alone” in India and expressed frustration over what he characterized as Headley’s false claim that he had no accomplices in India. The Home Affairs Minister conceded he had no evidence to support his working hypothesis that Headley formed sleeper cells in India, one of which may have perpetrated the February 13 Pune bombing. He noted that the GOI would not file formal charges against Headley until the trial of Mumbai defendant Mir Kasab is finished for fear that Kasab would use the Headley charges as a way to delay conclusion of his own trial. Chidambaram complained that Pakistan had “done damn near nothing” to prosecute Mumbai-related terror suspects, but added that the GOI would present a list of terror suspects to Pakistani officials when the two sides meet for talks in New Delhi on February 25. Mueller said he was traveling to Pakistan and would press the Pakistanis for increased cooperation. ROEMER
SUBJECT: FORBES ENERGY CITES CORRUPTION IN ETHANOL PROJECT DELAYS REF: A. STATE 85047 ¶B. SANTO DOMINGO 1353 Classified By: Ambassador PRFannin for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) ¶1. (C) SUMMARY. Executives with Forbes Energy met with the Ambassador regarding the company,s planned USD 700 million sugarcane ethanol project straddling the Dominican Republic-Haiti border. They said that while they have already obtained all needed permits for the project, which will be based in Manzanillo, Montecristi, Dominican Republic, they continue to face unnecessary delays and moving goalposts that they interpret as prompts for bribes from government officials. They also described two overt solicitations from high-level officials for cash payments. The project is currently held up due to delays in finalizing a negotiated land swap with a state entity; the Ambassador has sent a letter to the top official of this entity requesting a status update. END SUMMARY. ¶2. (U) On August 28, the Ambassador met with Forbes Group CEO Lucien Forbes, Director of External Relations Josh Fenton, and Chief Legal Counsel D. Edward Wilson . Also present were DCM Bullen, EconChief, PAO, EconOff and FCSO. The meeting followed a July 31, 2008 meeting between the company and WHA Assistant Secretary Shannon (ref A). ¶3. (U) The Forbes executives said that the company has been working since 2006 to establish operations in the northern border region to produce ethanol from sugarcane stock primarily for export to the U.S. market. Initially, the plant would denature Brazilian &wet8 ethanol for the United States. Subsequently, the company will produce ethanol from locally-grown sugarcane stock for the domestic and export markets as well as generate 50 MW of electricity from bagasse (sugarcane waste) for sale to the Dominican electricity grid. The major part of the project will operate under the Special Duty-Free Zone tax incentive regime. The local affiliate of the company, Forbes Energy Dominicana, S.A., has already received a 20-year renewable permit for a duty-free zone. The executives said that this will be one of the largest private investments ever in the country and the largest commercial venture of its kind in the world. ¶4. (U) The project would also impact Haiti. While the ethanol and electricity production will all take place in the Dominican Republic, Forbes plans to either cultivate land that it buys or else buy feedstock from Haitian producers directly across the border from its Dominican assets. Forbes said he aims to make the project fully operable with an entirely Haitian-Dominican workforce within five years of launch.
EO 12958 DECL: 09/19/2016 TAGS PGOV, PHUM, TH SUBJECT: THAILAND: MY MEETING WITH GENERAL SONTHI Classified By: Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce, reason 1.4 (b)(d) ¶1. (C) I met with General Sonthi privately directly after he addressed the diplomatic corps this afternoon. He thought the session had gone well (see septel for details; I doubt most of the Western diplomats, at least, will share his assessment). ¶2. (C) I began by asking Sonthi about the audience with the King last night. Who had attended? He said Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda had brought him, Supreme Commander Ruangroj and Navy Commander Sathiraphan in to meet the King. Sonthi stressed that they had been summoned to the palace; he had not sought the audience. He said the King was relaxed and happy, smiling throughout. He provided no further details. ¶3. (C) Turning to the US reaction, I reminded him of our conversation, August 31, when I told him any military action would result in immediate suspension of assistance programs such as IMET, FMF and numerous others. I told him he could expect us to announce such a measure shortly. He understood. I added that the restoration of such assistance could only come after a democratically elected government took office. In the meantime, I stressed that the coup group needed to make every effort to demonstrate a sincere intention to return to civilian rule as soon as possible. His announcement today that an interim constitution and civilian government would be installed within two weeks was a good example. I reiterated these points several times. ¶4. (C) Sonthi responded by saying the military had truly acted in order to improve Thai democracy, not destroy it. The prevailing situation had become untenable. Had Thaksin only been willing to announce publicly that he would not return as Prime Minister, this action could have been avoided. But his unwillingness to do publicly what he had repeatedly told many privately had led people to fear that his true intention was to seek a renewed mandate and return to power. Thus the military had acted. But they did not seek sustained political power and would return to barracks as soon as possible. The sooner the better, I repeated. I told him to expect fairly broad international criticism, as military coups were generally seen as a thing of the past. ¶5. (C) Was he going to seize Thaksin,s assets? No, he stated flatly. Would Thaksin and his family and colleagues be allowed to return to Thailand? Yes, unconditionally. What is the officially approved English rendition of the coup group,s title? &Council for Democratic Reform Under Constitutional Monarchy,8 or CDRM. ¶6. (C) Why had the military chosen to act at this particular point in time? Smiling slightly, he leaned forward. &Thaksin was at his weakest and we were at our strongest.
CLASSIFIED BY: Rafael Foley, Pol Chief. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) ¶1. (SBU) Summary: Pope Benedict addressed the opening of the World Food Summit urging leaders to care for the world's hungry and protect the environment. Similarly, at the UN General Assembly, the Vatican nuncio stressed the need for a comprehensive international energy policy that protects the environment and limits climate change. Meanwhile Vatican officials remain largely supportive of genetically modified crops as a vehicle for protecting the environment while feeding the hungry, but -- at least for now -- are unwilling to challenge bishops who disagree. End Summary. ¶2. (U) In remarks at the opening of the World Food Security Summit in Rome on November 16th, Pope Benedict devoted over one third of his speech to the link between food security and environmental degradation. The Pope stressed that states have an obligation to future generations to reduce environmental degradation. Citing the probable link between environmental destruction and climate change, he stated that protecting the environment requires "change in the lifestyles of individuals and communities, in habits of consumption and in perceptions of what is genuinely needed." Benedict urged the international community to promote development while safeguarding the planet. ¶3. (SBU) The Pope also stated that access to "sufficient, healthy and nutritious" food is a fundamental right upheld by the Catholic Church. Linking development with use of agricultural technologies (i.e., biotechnologies), Benedict stressed good governance and further infrastructure development as essential to increasing food security over the long-term. (Note: Benedict's mention of agricultural technologies is a small but significant step towards more vocal Vatican support of biotechnologies. End Note) ¶4. (C) In a separate meeting November 11, Poloff spoke with Monsignor James Reinert, the point person on food security and biotechnology at the Vatican's Council of Justice and Peace - a Vatican think tank on social issues . Reinert said the Vatican agrees that countries must be empowered to increase domestic agricultural production and that genetically modified crops (GMOs) have a role in this process, but not everybody in the Church is comfortable with them. The Vatican cannot force all bishops to endorse biotechnology, he said, particularly if their opposition has to do with concerns over protecting profits oflarge corporations who hold the patents for the crops, versus feeding the hungry. In the Philippines, he noted, bishops strongly protested GMOs in the past. (Note: South African Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier's November 16 comments to a news agency that "Africans do not need GMOs, but water" is another example of specific Church leaders skeptical about the potential benefits of new biotechnologies. End note.). ¶5. (U) Comment: The Vatican is publicly stressing in various fora the need to care for the environment in the run-up to the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit. Pope Benedict places caring for the environment ("the creation") as a central social, economic and moral issue to his papacy. The Pope's proposal to curb environmental degradation is for people everywhere to reject excessive materialism and consumerism. In the Vatican's view, unsustainable lifestyles in developed countries--and not population growth worldwide--is to blame for global warming. Vatican officials claim that the planet has the capacity to feed and sustain its expanding population, provided resources are properly distributed and waste controlled. Until recently, Vatican officials often noted that the countries that released most of the greenhouse gases were not the world's most populous. As China and India industrialize and release more greenhouse gases, however, the Vatican may find it more difficult to blame climate change on lifestyles only. Even as this happens, however, the Vatican will continue to oppose aggressive population control measures to fight hunger or global warming. ¶6. (SBU) While the Vatican's message on caring for the environment is loud and clear, its message on biotechnologies is still low-profile (ref. b). Quietly supportive, the Church considers the choice of whether to embrace GMOs as a technical decision for farmers and governments.
C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000932 SIPDIS SIPDIS EO 12958 DECL: 04/03/2018 TAGS KDEM, PGOV, PHUM, PINR, RS SUBJECT: SOLZHENITSYN AND METROPOLITAN KIRILL ON RUSSIA, MEDVEDEV, UKRAINE Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns. Reason: 1.4 (d). ¶1. (C) Summary: In separate conversations recently, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Metropolitan Kirill criticized the decision to recognize Kosovo’s independence and sharply condemned plans for Ukraine to move closer to NATO. Solzhenitsyn, who is partially paralyzed by a stroke, but remains alert and very engaged in current events, as his April 2 Izvestiya article on the Holodomor demonstrated, joined Kirill in voicing his concerns about poverty and the widening gap between rich and poor in Russia. Kirill again expressed optimism about prospects for better relations with Roman Catholic Pope Benedict and described his intention to attempt to jump-start an ecumenical dialogue under the auspices of the UN and, in the United States, via the National Council of Churches. Both Solzhenitsyn and Kirill were optimistic about prospects for Russia under Medvedev. End summary. Solzhenitsyn on Town Hall Democracy, Medvedev, Kosovo, Ukraine and NATO ------------------------------------ ¶2. (C) In a recent meeting, writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn received the Ambassador at his home outside Moscow. Solzhenitsyn, who will turn 90 this December has been in declining health for some time. A stroke has left his left arm paralyzed and his hand gnarled, but Solzhenitsyn’s legendary energy was undiminished, and he was alert, spoke clearly, and, as the conversation showed, actively engaged with the events of the day. With Solzhenitsyn was his wife Natalya, who followed the conversation carefully, and did not hesitate to contradict her husband when she thought it necessary. ¶3. (C) As he had in a 2007 Der Spiegel interview, Solzhenitsyn positively contrasted the eight-year reign of Putin with those of Gorbachev and Yeltsin, which he said had “added to the damage done to the Russian state by seventy years of Communist rule.” Under Putin, the nation was re-discovering what it was to be Russian, Solzhenitsyn thought, although he acknowledged that many problems remained; among them poverty and the widening gap between rich and poor. ¶4. (C) Solzhenitsyn enthusiastically told the Ambassador of the need to develop grassroots democracy through instruments of local self-government. Recalling his time in the United States, Solzhenitsyn called the Vermont town hall meetings he had witnessed the “essence of democracy.” Putin’s decision, following Beslan, to have governors appointed instead of elected had been a “mistake,” Solzhenitsyn thought. He also dismissed the on-again, off-again conversations in Russia about the need to construct a genuine party system as “irrelevant.” Solzhenitsyn thought it was necessary to elect officials directly, so that they could be held accountable for their actions. ¶5. (C) President-elect Medvedev struck Solzhenitsyn as a “nice, young man.” Solzhenitsyn had not met him, but he guessed he was up to the “enormous challenge of repairing the damage done to Russian citizens during the Soviet period.” His reference to the Soviet period caused Solzhenitsyn to worry that young Russians did not sufficiently appreciate the dangers of Soviet communism. It was essential, as well, that Russia re-assure the former Soviet states that it fully appreciated how “deformed” the Soviet system was, and was aware of the crimes, like the Holodomor, it had committed against Soviet citizens. (Note: on April 2, Solzhenitsyn joined the debate here about the famine in Ukraine in a brief article published in Izvestiya. In it, he recalls the 1921 famine that stalked the Urals and rejects the notion that the 1932 - 1933 famine was a an act of “genocide” against the Ukrainian people. Solzhenitsyn’s article sparked a mini-controversy here, with Father Gleb Yakunin taking Solzhenitsyn to task for “attacking the first CIS state that condemned the communist genocide.”) ¶6. (C) Solzhenitsyn repeated to the Ambassador his objection to independence for Kosovo. Why, he asked rhetorically, should the Serbs be held responsible for the sins of Milosevic? He was critical of plans to move Ukraine closer to NATO, although he didn’t belabor the point. The more significant moment, he thought, was the reaction of the United States after 9/11, when Putin attempted to extend a helping hand. He cooperated in paving the way for U.S. bases in Central Asia and joined other foreign leaders in extending Russia’s condolences to the American people. Solzhenitsyn hoped for a time when that spontaneous gesture by Putin would be fully reciprocated. ¶7. (C) Solzhenitsyn told the Ambassador that he continues to work actively in the archives, and it was clear from the topical references sprinkled throughout his conversation that he followed current events actively.
VZCZCXRO3212 PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR DE RUEHBM #0576 0951604 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 051604Z APR 06 FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4119 INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 2190
C O N F I D E N T I A L BUCHAREST 000576 SIPDIS SIPDIS DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/NCE BILL SILKWORTH; AND CA/OCS/CI CHRIS LAMORA AND SCOTT BOSWELL E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/05/2026 TAGS: CASC PREL PGOV PHUM RO SUBJECT: ADOPTIONS: ROMANIA OFFICIALLY REJECTS ALL PENDING INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION CASES REF: A) BUCHAREST 0536 B) 2005 BUCHAREST 2550 Classified By: DCM Mark Taplin, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) ¶1. (U) On April 5, Embassy received by mail a letter from Theodora Bertzi, Secretary of State for the Government of Romania,s (GOR) Romanian Office for Adoptions (ROA), dated March 29 and including the final report of the GOR Working Group established in June 2005 to audit pending petitions by foreign families to adopt Romanian orphans and abandoned children. Post has faxed the letter to EUR/NCE and CA/OCS/CI. ¶2. (U) The report shows that none of the 1,092 children identified in the pending petitions will be available for inter-country adoption, ostensibly for the following reasons: -- 41 reintegrated into biological family -- 12 integrated within extended family -- 227 adopted by Romanian families -- 17 adopted by other foreign families by the rules of the adoption moratorium (2001-04) -- 8 under legal guardianship in Romania -- 12 reached or will soon reach age 18 -- 47 petitioned after a February 6, 2004 emergency ordinance suspended even exceptional approval of intercountry adoptions during the moratorium -- 2 died -- 6 not found in GOR,s database of orphans or abandoned children -- 90 had petitions withdrawn by the foreign families (1 from the U.S.) -- 132 in process of final domestic adoption -- 415 not adoptable, protected within substitutive (sic) families -- 83 not adoptable, placed in the protection system (their biological family did not consent to adoption before Court or the Court did not approve the opening of the domestic adoption procedure). ¶3. (C) Comment: The Working Group had been expected to issue its report by the end of March, and Bertzi had announced publicly in December 2005 that none of the cases would be approved for inter-country adoption. However, the utterly non-transparent process of the Working Group and the opaque quality of the report suggest some of the children may in fact remain in non-permanent situations in which their welfare is not being adequately protected. Post believes we should continue to press the GOR to open up the Working Group,s "conclusions" for a transparent, objective international review and to establish a legal framework that would allow inter-country adoption for appropriate pending cases. We will provide Department with our updated recommendations soon. End comment. TAUBMAN
Thursday, 13 August 2009, 08:54 S E C R E T ULAANBAATAR 000234 STATE FOR EAP/CM AND EAP/K; NSC FOR JEFF BADER EO 12958 DECL: 08/13/2034 TAGS PREL, PGOV, MOPS, KNNP, MG SUBJECT: MONGOLIA’S CONSULTATIONS WITH DPRK VICE FOREIGN MINISTER KIM Classified By: Political Counselor Andrew K. Covington, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) ¶1. (S) Summary: On August 12, Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) Deputy Director for Asian Affairs J. Sukhee briefed poloff on the annual Mongolia-DPRK consultations that concluded on August 11. MFAT State Secretary Tsogtbaatar led the Mongolian side, and the North Koreans met with President Elbegdorj on the sidelines of the consultation. Sukhee noted DPRK delegation head Vice Foreign Minister Kim Yong Il spent much time on the nuclear issue and little on the bilateral relationship with Mongolia. Key themes on the part of the DPRK were the lack of criticism of the United States, indications that the DPRK is seeking bilateral talks with the USG on normalization of relations, that the recent travel of former President Clinton to Pyongyang has greatly improved the prospects for such talks, that Mongolia would be an appropriate venue for these talks, and that the Six Party Talks are no longer an option. End Summary. ¶2. (S) Poloff met with MFAT Deputy Director for Asian Affairs J. Sukhee on August 12 to discuss Mongolia’s annual bilateral consultations with the DPRK. Sukhee was present at the consultations and has been involved with Korean affairs as a diplomat since 1985. Sukhee was candid in his meetings with poloff, referring repeatedly and openly to his handwritten notes from the DPRK consultations. ------------------------------------------- DPRK DELEGATION OFFERS NO CRITICISM OF U.S. ------------------------------------------- ¶3. (S) Sukhee indicated that VFM Kim met with MFAT State Secretary Tsogtbaatar for the consultations and also held a separate meeting with President Elbegdorj on the margins Monday. The Mongolian Deputy Foreign Minister was to lead this latter meeting but was unable due to an obligation. Sukhee said the meetings were notable for several reasons: the DPRK delegation did not read from a prepared script, they were not aggressive and made no criticism of the United States, and they criticized China and Russia “three or four times” for supporting recent UN Resolutions aimed at the DPRK. What follows in paras 4 through 12 is Sukhee’s description to poloff of the DPRK’s statements during the course of the consultations: ---------------------------- DPRK VFM ON DENUCLEARIZATION ---------------------------- ¶4. (S) VFM Kim said the DPRK is spending too much on weapons rather than on its children, but that the current reality dictates that they cannot get away from weapons for now. Kim said the DPRK is not a threat and was only interested in self-protection. The Mongolian side expressed concern that a nuclear DPRK could lead to a nuclear ROK, Japan, Syria, and Iran, and urged that the Mongolian nuclear-free model could serve as an example. Kim stated the United States would not allow Japan or the ROK to go nuclear and that the DPRK is committed to peace and denuclearization. ¶5. (S) The Mongolians offered the example of the Soviet Union and the United States during the Reagan-Gorbachev era, when the two allowed for nuclear inspections, leading to improved trust and a reduction in the number of warheads. The Mongolians stated that if they were in the DPRK’s place now, they would allow inspections, which would lead to mutual confidence and improved relations. The DPRK side offered no reaction to the suggestion. ¶6. (S) The DPRK side said what is most important is for the United States and the DPRK to come up with a “common language,” a “non-aggression agreement,” and establishment of diplomatic relations. Kim stated if the sides can take such measures, then denuclearization will be possible and easy, and that relations with Japan and the ROK will normalize thereafter. ¶7. (S) The Mongolian side counseled that recent “provocations” (this is Sukhee’s word to poloff; another word may have been used in the consultations) such as the missile test meant that the present situation was very fragile, and that the DPRK should be careful not to present the wrong signal. Kim agreed that the DPRK must be careful and must build confidence. The Mongolians stated that even if one has peaceful intentions, one can be seen as provocative. -------------------------------- ON BILATERAL TALKS WITH THE U.S. -------------------------------- ¶8. (S) Regarding former President Clinton’s recent travel to the DPRK to secure of the release of the two journalists, Kim said this action had been prepared for a long time, meaning the groundwork for such a visit was already in place because of the progress the United States and the DPRK made during the Clinton presidency. Kim said forward motion stopped during the Bush Administration but was now able to proceed because of President Clinton’s recent involvement in a personal capacity, because President Obama is of the same party, and because former First Lady Clinton is now the Secretary of State. The North Koreans were expecting a dialogue with the United States to start soon as an extension of President Clinton’s visit. ¶9. (S) Kim asked the Mongolians to support a U.S.-DPRK dialogue (Sukhee described Kim as “enthusiastic” at this point), and he stated “there are no eternal enemies in this world.” ---------------------- ON THE SIX PARTY TALKS ---------------------- ¶10. (S) Kim took a “very hard line” on the Six Party Talks according to Sukhee, stating that the DPRK will never return to the talks, that the talks were dead, but that the door has not closed on an opportunity for negotiations. During discussion of the Six Party Talks, Kim criticized Russia and China for their support of recent UN resolutions aimed at the DPRK. Kim said Japan and the ROK were natural allies of the United States during the talks, and that Russia and China ended up supporting the other three, so that the DPRK felt it was five against one. Kim stated the real intention of the Six Party Talks was to destroy the DPRK regime, and that at present the DPRK wants to talk only to the United States. ------------------------------------------ VFM KIM’S MEETING WITH PRESIDENT ELBEGDORJ ------------------------------------------ ¶11. (S) Sukhee also provided insight into Kim’s meeting with Elbegdorj on August 10: Kim refrained from criticizing the United States and stated the DPRK would be happy if the GOM could support a U.S.-DPRK dialogue “in the international arena ” Kim said to Elbegdorj, “We are telling you all this because Mongolia understand us.” Kim reiterated the notion that there is a “good personal understanding” between former President Clinton and DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il. --------------------------------------