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Viewing cable 06BEIRUT3603, UN OFFICIALS ON COORDINATION, TRIBUNAL,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BEIRUT3603 2006-11-12 06:59 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Beirut
VZCZCXRO5631
OO RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHLB #3603/01 3160659
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 120659Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6417
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 0495
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 BEIRUT 003603 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
NOFORN 
 
NSC FOR ABRAMS/DORAN/MARCHESE/HARDING 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/11/2026 
TAGS: PREL PGOV KCRM UNSC PTER LE SY IS
SUBJECT: UN OFFICIALS ON COORDINATION, TRIBUNAL, 
OVERFLIGHTS, HIZBALLAH 
 
 
Classified By: Jeffrey Feltman, Ambassador, per 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1. (S/NF)  Over lunch with the Ambassador on 11/10, UN 
officials Geir Pedersen, Michael Williams, and Salman Shaikh 
claimed that Israeli officials, whom they had met earlier 
that week, had hinted at stopping overflights if the USG 
could provide equivalent intelligence.  Rejecting the 
Ambassador's skepticism, Pedersen argued reports of Hizballah 
moving weapons from the south was actually good news, as it 
indicated progress toward establishing a weapons-free zone 
south of the Litani.  The UN officials acknowledged that 
UNDP-led donor coordination in Lebanon was a disaster, but 
they despaired of any quick fix unless UNDP was made 
subservient to a higher UN official (e.g., Pedersen), an 
outcome they hoped the U.S. would push.  Regarding the Hariri 
assassination, they had, on Kofi Annan's behalf, delivered 
the tribunal documents to Prime Minister Siniora earlier in 
the day.  They worried that Serge Brammertz would leave the 
UNIIIC as scheduled in December unless given guarantees (UN 
employment, return to the ICC) for his post-UNIIIC career. 
Brammertz, they thought, had more information than he would 
let on in his December report that they expected, again, 
would be largely procedural.  End summary. 
 
"EXCELLENT" MEETINGS IN ISRAEL 
------------------------------ 
 
2.  (S/NF)  UN Secretary General's Personal Representative to 
Lebanon Geir Pedersen hosted the Ambassador to a lunch on 
11/10 that also included UN DPA officials Michael Williams 
(in his temporary capacity as special advisor to Annan on the 
Middle East) and Salman Shaikh. Having returned from three 
days in Israel the previous evening, they summarized their 
meetings with Israeli officials.  In general, they said, the 
discussions were "excellent," with the Israelis eager to talk 
creatively and constructively about what to do to strengthen 
1701 implementation.  For the first time, Pedersen said, "we 
talked like partners, not adversaries."  Williams said that 
the UN and Israeli analysis about the challenges ahead and 
the options available were strikingly similar. 
 
HOPING USG WILL PROVIDE INTELLIGENCE 
TO ISRAEL TO SOLVE OVERFLIGHT ISSUE 
------------------------------------ 
 
3.  (S/NF)  The UN officials claimed to have raised the issue 
of Israeli overflights of Lebanese territory in each 
meeeting, arguing that the overflights were not in Israel's 
interest and made 1701 implementation more difficult. 
Williams expressed pleasant surprise by the willingness of 
the Israelis to talk about the issue, with some reportedly 
admitting that there were political dimensions in addition to 
intelligence benefits of the overflights.  The UN officials 
were most encouraged by their talks with Israeli military 
intelligence, where they reportedly heard that overflights 
could cease if the USG would provide needed intelligence 
through other channels.  Williams and Pedersen expressed hope 
that the U.S. and Israel would be able to develop 
arrangements through which Israeli overlights of Lebanese 
territory would cease. 
 
HIZBALLAH ARMS SMUGGLING 
------------------------ 
 
4.  (S/NF)  Pedersen and Williams expressed some frustration 
that the Israelis, while claiming that arms smuggling from 
Syria to Hizballah was continuing, were unwilling to provide 
the kind of details that they could use to confront Syria, 
Hizballah, and even the GOL.  The UN has no independent 
information one way or another regarding smuggling across the 
Syrian border.  The Ambassador suggested that, instead of 
seeking examples of specific smuggling incidents, the UN 
should, in the context of UNSCR 1701, push the GOL to 
establish the kind of border regime that would make any kind 
of smuggling more difficult.  Williams disagreed, saying that 
a high-profile UN campaign would backfire, as the pro-Syrians 
build a case that Siniora is once again trading away Lebanese 
sovereignty.  Williams said that he would be talking to the 
Germans and other EU states about quiet bilateral help to the 
GOL on border security. 
 
5.  (S/NF)  The Ambassador asked whether the UN had specific 
 
BEIRUT 00003603  002 OF 003 
 
 
reports about Hizballah moving weapons within Lebanon. 
Nodding that he had heard "quite a few stories," Pedersen 
said that he actually found such reports "encouraging" in a 
couple of aspects.  First, Hizballah seems to be taking 
seriously the implications of UNSCR 1701 that the area south 
of the Litani should be free of any weapons except those 
belonging to UNIFIL and the LAF.  Second, Hizballah is 
feeling "squeezed," or its leaders wouldn't feel the need to 
move its weapons.  Third, Hizballah is implicitly 
acknowledging the primacy of the LAF and, more broadly, the 
GOL, by being forced to coordinate the movement north of its 
weapons with Lebanese officials.  "Can you imagine Hizballah 
in June asking the Government of Lebanon for permission to 
move its rockets?" Pedersen asked. 
 
6.  (S/NF)  The Ambassador noted that he disagreed sharply 
with Pedersen's analysis:  if, as the UN argues, Hizballah is 
moving weapons north and in coordination with the LAF and 
GOL, that is contrary to the spirit of 1701 and the letter of 
1559.  It is also contrary to Siniora's "seven points," in 
which the state should acquire the monopoly over arms. 
Pedersen should use the examples he has to raise strong 
objections to the GOL, the Ambassador urged.  Pedersen stuck 
to his more optimistic analysis, saying that it was important 
to concentrate first on stabilizing the south and encouraging 
the weapons-free zone south of the Litani. 
 
NEGATIVE PRESS ON UNIFIL 
------------------------ 
 
7.  (S/NF)  The Ambassador asked the UN officials of their 
interpretation of the recent flurry of negative press, 
particularly in pro-Syrian media, about UNIFIL:  soldiers 
shoplifting, soldiers destroying agricultural crops while on 
patrol, soldiers showing disrespect for young women of the 
south, and so forth.  The Ambassador wondered whether the 
pro-Syrian press had initiated a propaganda campaign to turn 
the Lebanese population against UNIFIL and whether there were 
security implications for the UNIFIL troops or contributors. 
While refusing to draw conclusions about any linkages between 
the flurry of press reports, Williams and Pedersen said that 
they were monitoring the situation very closely.  They asked 
that the USG keep in close touch with the UN on any threat 
information. 
 
UNSCO PROPOSAL FOR LEBANON "FROZEN" 
----------------------------------- 
 
8.  (C/NF)  The Ambassador asked about the UN's organization 
in Lebanon on the civilian side.  Exchanging glances with 
Pedersen, Williams said the idea of elevating Pedersen to UN 
Special Coordinator for Lebanon, overseeing all civilian 
aspects of the UN's work in Lebanon, was now blocked.  While 
UN officials expressed reluctance to force a change in 
structures so close to the transition in UN headquarters, 
Williams acknowledged that Lebanon needs special 
consideration, given the upcoming donor conference in early 
2007.  The UN officials agreed that UNDP head of mission Mona 
Hammam is (to quote Pedersen) "a disaster" who has alienated 
donors and has proven repeatedly to be incapable of managing 
complicated donor efforts.  But, unless "someone powerful" 
tells UN headquarters to do something to sideline Hammam, 
such as by making Pedersen senior to her, there's "no hope of 
improvement," as Williams said. 
 
HARIRI ASSASSINATION: 
UNIIIC AND TRIBUNAL 
--------------------- 
 
9.  (S/NF)  Regarding the Hariri assassination, the UN 
officials reported that they had, earlier that morning, 
delivered to Siniora the official tribunal documents from 
UN/OLA, with a cover letter from Kofi Annan.  (We have faxed 
the package to NEA/ELA for distribution.)  Siniora, they 
reported, vowed to table the documents before the cabinet on 
Monday.  They expressed satisfaction with the texts and 
gratitude that the Russians had softened their position. 
 
10.  (S/NF)  Asked by the Ambassador for their prediction of 
the next Brammertz report, they reponded that they expected 
another largely procedural report.  This, they said, is 
linked to UNIIIC Commissioner Serge Brammertz' character and 
history as a prosecutor:  he doesn't want to give away 
secrets prematurely.  And he is keen to avoid the mistakes of 
 
SIPDIS 
his predecessor, Detlev Mehlis, who wielded his reports "like 
 
BEIRUT 00003603  003 OF 003 
 
 
a political sledge hammer," as Pedersen said.  The Ambassador 
argued that, by downplaying his analysis too much, Brammertz, 
whether he admits it or not, is also making political 
contributions, but ones that help the wrong side.  Also, he 
is contributing to what could be a credibility problem once 
the details do start coming out, as people may question the 
revelations since Brammertz (who is consideredly broadly 
credible) had not included them.  While sharing the 
Ambassador's concerns, Pedersen said that he had the strong 
impression that Brammertz indeed now had some solid leads but 
would not disclose them in his report. 
REPLACING BRAMMERTZ 
------------------- 
 
11.  (S/NF)  Expressing his view that Brammertz's vow to 
leave the UNIIIC when his term expires at the end of the year 
is serious, Williams urged that the international community 
focus now on identifying a replacement for Brammertz.  The UN 
has done no work on this question, he said.  Given the 
politics, it would be impossible to invite Mehlis back, yet 
having a third commissioner also "does not look serious." 
The Ambassador asked if anything could be done to retain 
Brammertz, such as promising to make him the prosecutor once 
a tribunal is up and running.  Williams responded that 
Brammertz, meeting recently with Annan, had been clear in 
rejecting the possibility of becoming the prosecutor.  If 
there is any hope of keeping Brmmertz in 2007, Williams 
mused, it would have to be linked to a commitment to a good 
onward job for Brammertz -- either something in the UN system 
or something back at the International Criminal Court. 
Williams said that, based on preliminary consulations, he 
thought the Germans and Dutch in particular were opposed to 
extending Brammertz' leave of absence from the ICC any 
longer, and that even Brammertz' direct supervisors at the 
ICC would dismiss rather than extend him again.  While 
expressing his belief that retaining Brammertz is best for 
the investigation, Williams said that he had no idea how to 
achieve that. 
FELTMAN