DE RUEHSG #0238/01 0711855
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 121855Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SANTIAGO 000238
DEPARTMENT FOR ISN/MNSA
GENEVA FOR CD DELEGATION
USUN FOR POL
USNATO FOR POL
USEU FOR POL
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/02/2019
TAGS: AORC, ENRG, IAEA, KNNP, MNUC, PARM, PGOV, PREL, UNGA, CDG, NPT, EG, IN, IS, PK, BR, CI
SUBJECT: NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION: CHILE PROMISES CONTINUED SUPPORT, SUBSTANTIVE SUGGESTIONS FOR PREPCOM
REF: STATE 6970
Classified By: E/Pol Chief Tim Stater for reasons 1.4(b) and (d)
1. (C) SUMMARY: According to MFA Special Policy Director Alfredo Labbe, Chile will continue to cooperate with the U.S. and EU partners on nuclear nonproliferation issues. Labbe insisted that the U.S. and western partners need to take concrete actions, such as “”de-alerting”” nuclear arsenals and reducing numbers of tactical weapons, to show the non-aligned movement that they are serious about eventual disarmament by nuclear states as well as nonproliferation in states of concern. He expressed concern about possible Brazilian movement towards becoming a nuclear power, while arguing that Chile, among other countries, needs guarantees about access to nuclear fuel and technical assistance. END SUMMARY.
Chile Wants a Successful Review Conference
2. (C) Emboff delivered reftel demarche to MFA’s Director of Special Policy, Ambassador Alfredo Labbe, Sub-Director of Special Policy Eduardo Tapia, and Special Policy staff member Juan Pablo Jara. Labbe represented Chile during the last Review Conference (RevCon) in 2005, and he shared with emboff his strong views as to what went wrong in 2005 and what the U.S. can do to ensure success in both the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meeting in May and the 2010 RevCon. Labbe intends to represent the GOC at the PrepCom. The GOC goal is a successful RevCon with a substantive final document. Labbe stated that the non-proliferation regime is under threat, not only because of presumed proliferators, but also because a significant segment of the international community does not perceive movement on behalf of the nuclear states to comply with Article 6 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (“”NPT””). While full compliance with Article 6 is a distant objective, Labbe indicated that “”the international community is in dire need of a signal”” that there is pragmatic, incremental movement towards compliance.
U.S. Should De-alert Nuclear Arsenal
3. (C) The U.S. should provide manifestations of good will, both at the procedural and substantive levels. Labbe expressed frustration about the outcome of the 2005 RevCon, largely blaming Ambassador Bolton-led U.S. involvement in procedural battles, and expressing hope that the new administration will engage in a more constructive dialogue. He believes the U.S. approach, in 2005, of omitting a review of the documents agreed to in past RevCons created a lack of political confidence and the appearance of reneging on the prior agreements. This approach, he opined, caused Egypt and other Arab nations to harden their position, though the rumor was that Egypt was doing the U.S.’s bidding in preventing a substantive RevCon. He believes this approach played into the hands of Iran. He urges a more constructive approach, saying that the “”NPT regime is too important to be dealt with via petty diplomacy.””
4. (C) Labbe stated that the U.S. can add value through leadership and courage, suggesting that the U.S. agree to a prior resolution introduced by Chile, Malaysia, Nigeria, New Zealand, Sweden, and Switzerland regarding “”de-alerting”” its arsenal. Constructive steps made on this resolution would positively contribute to the “”body language”” being espoused by the Obama administration. U.S. statements about non-targeted U.S. missiles were initially well-received, but now member states understand targeting is a computer-based operation that takes a very short amount of time. Labbe urged the U.S. to engage civil society, particularly vocal NGOs, and reiterated that the final document must provide hints”” towards nuclear disarmament, as did the 2000 document.
Recognizes Issues with Selection of Chairs
5. (C) While Labbe did not specifically indicate that Chile would support the U.S. objective of changing the selection mechanism of conference chairs, he expressed dismay at the selection of Zimbabwe as the chair of the PrepCom. A strong chair will likely be needed to reach consensus. He would have preferred Malaysia rather than the Philippines as chair of the Review Conference, noting however, that it is important to strongly support the chair.
Deliver Strong Message to Non-compliant Members
6. (C) Noncompliance needs to be addressed, but Labbe argued the problem is the rule of consensus that allows one party to block movement. Nonetheless, he believes a strong declaration can be delivered to the conference by a significant group of member states. He added that if the U.S. develops a well designed plan to address Egypt’s concerns about the 1995 resolution, Egypt will likely support resolutions involving Iran and North Korea.
Members Should Not Benefit from Non-compliance
7. (C) Member states have a right to withdraw from the NPThowever, those states should not benefit from such violation. Labbe supports creating a mechanism to reverse gains made by member states who violate the NPT and then subsequently withdraw. He suggested that members who reap benefits from the NPT, while simultaneously pursuing illegitimate nuclear weapons, should not be allowed to keep such benefits. He did not, however, clearly outline how to implement his idea.
India: A Poor Role Model
8. (C) The official Chilean position is that the only possibility for Israel, Pakistan, and India to become NPT members is as non-nuclear states. Labbe added that the U.S. opened a big hole in the credibility of the entire NPT regime through its deal with India. In spite of India “”flouting”” the NPT regime, it appears to have been rewarded. Labbe believes that this sends a powerful political message to other countries, even those in South America, and creates a world where “”proliferation is an option,”” pointing to French assistance to Brazil to build four nuclear submarines involving highly enriched uranium.
Chile Supports the Additional Protocol
9. (C) Labbe believes the final document should vigorously support the additional protocol, pointing to Iraq’s blatant non-compliance at the end of the first Gulf War. “”Please preach that gospel loudly in Brasilia,”” he added.
Chile Wants Guarantee of Access to Nuclear Fuel
10. (C) The GOC position is that Article 4 of the Treaty recognizes the inalienable right to benefit from nuclear energy and its applications. Therefore, enrichment and reprocessing are perfectly legal and legitimate pursuits for member states. Any solution must be multilateral, for example, the Russian suggestion to create a nuclear fuel facility open to all member states. Chile wants a guarantee of access to nuclear fuel.
More Resources Needed for Technical Assistance
11. (C) Labbe stated that too many resources are being allocated to safeguards, and cooperation and technical assistance is being neglected. An initiative from the U.S., UK, or Japan ensuring technical assistance for the “”good guys”” would be appreciated.
U.S. and Russia Should Reduce Arsenals
12. (C) In addition to his prior comments, Labbe reiterated that the U.S. and Russia need to take significant steps to reduce their arsenals and extend the SALT II Treaty. He also suggested they agree to a complete elimination of tactical nuclear weapons.
Transparency of Nuclear Weapon Policies
13. (C) Labbe regards transparency of nuclear weapon states, with regard to their nuclear weapon forces and policies, as very important politically. If countries have a doctrine that nuclear weapons must be retained, then that is a legitimization of nuclear weapons. The GOC does not believe nuclear weapons are legitimate. He stated that France and the UK have been proactive on this issue, and Russia less so.
14. (C) COMMENT: The GOC is strongly committed to the success of the PrepCom and the RevCom, as it believes continuation of the NPT regime is essential. Chile understands it has an important role to play in the upcoming meetings as part of a small but vociferous minority of the non-aligned movement. Chile appears ready and willing to support U.S. efforts on all the reftel priorities, but clearly believes it needs some substantive efforts from the U.S. and other nuclear states to comply with NPT Article 6. END COMMENT.