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Viewing cable 09TRIPOLI579, EU FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT HANGS ON ICC, TRADE, MIGRATION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TRIPOLI579 2009-07-19 15:03 2011-01-31 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tripoli
VZCZCXRO1051
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHTRO #0579/01 2001543
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P R 191543Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5046
INFO RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS 0187
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 5584
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 000579 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR NEA/MAG 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  7/16/2019 
TAGS: PREL PHUM ETRD EFIS EUN LY
SUBJECT: EU FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT HANGS ON ICC, TRADE, MIGRATION 
 
REF: 08 TRIPOLI 567 TRIPOLI 00000579 001.2 OF 002 CLASSIFIED BY: Joan Polaschik, Charge d'Affaires, a.i., US Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.(C/NF) Summary: The latest round of EU-Libya Framework Agreement negotiations hit snags over sensitive political issues and were slowed by Libya's inefficient technical bureaucracy. The Libyans denounced the International Criminal Court and decreed that any language similar to the Rome Statute was off limits. Trade talks stalled when the Libyans announced that they had not examined the draft paper (presented in early 2009) and were unable to produce trade statistics from 2007/2008 or provide data on the Libyan tariff system. Talks on migration went more smoothly than expected, but significant issues remain before the agreement could be given to member states for approval. EU diplomats in Tripoli are skeptical that the EC will be able to get an agreement that can be implemented by both sides within the remaining two rounds of talks. Learning from Libya's negotiating tactics with the EC will be key to ensuring US-Libya agreements are both signed and implemented. End Summary.

POLITICAL DIALOGUE: THE EC DANCES ON LIBYA'S "RED LINE"

2.(C/NF) Representatives of the European Commission (EC) based in Brussels conducted the latest round of Framework Agreement negotiations July 13-14 in Tripoli with sessions focused on political dialogue, trade and commerce, and migration. Diplomats from EU member states -- participating as observers to the EC-Libya negotiations -- said that discussions on the political framework were particularly heated. Libyan negotiator Mohammed Siala railed against language stating that the two parties agreed to discuss crimes against humanity in an international context, angrily stating that any mention of the International Criminal Court (ICC) or text similar to that of the Rome Statute would cause a total breakdown of the framework negotiations. According to the UK embassy, nothing in the political dialogue paper is binding on either party and is merely agenda-setting for future discussions. EC negotiators were not/not pushing for Libya to accede to the ICC.

ΒΆ3. (C) In contrast to the ICC discussions, the Libyan delegation readily agreed to the EC's proposed language regarding civil society, leading one EC negotiator to speculate that the Libyan delegation did not fully understand the text. However, the same negotiator also noted that the EC civil society text did not include any mention of non-governmental organizations.

TRADE AND MIGRATION: HITS AND MISSES

4.(C) A planned session on trade and commerce was largely postponed after Libyan lead negotiator Abdulati al-Obeidi informed the EC that Libya had not fully examined the draft paper presented to them in early 2009. Obeidi said information requested by EC negotiators on trade statistics for 2007 and 2008 were unavailable and that Libya was unable to provide technical details of its tariff schedule as it was "in flux" due to a restructuring movement. Technical-level discussions on trade and commerce are slated for September in Brussels -- one month ahead of the next negotiating round. Italian and British diplomats reported that the main policy disagreement on trade and commerce was over Mediterranean fisheries, with Libyan negotiators stating strong opposition to the Law of the Sea. On migration, the chief EC negotiator told EU diplomats that the negotiations were a "step forward" and that more progress was made than expected with no major objections from either side on the draft as presented.

5.(C) The sides have two more regular rounds of negotiation in October and December. Libyan officials had previously seemed keen on signing the agreement in advance of the 40th anniversary of the coup that brought Muammar al-Qadhafi to power on September 1. With that milestone out of reach and with several member states holding out the possibility of vetoing the agreement based on bilateral calculus, some local diplomats expect the negotiations to run several more rounds.

COMMENT

6.(C/NF): It is worth studying the outcomes of negotiations between the technically minded EC negotiators and their symbolically driven Libyan counterparts as we examine our own, more limited agreements. Smaller EU countries seem eager to take a hard-line on political and technical approach that could drive the Libyans away from the table. Diplomats from the UK, France, Italy, and Germany see two possible end states: the Libyans will either rush to sign an agreement that they don't intend to implement in order to "close the file" with Europe or will extend indefinitely negotiations on what is essentially a non-binding agenda for future engagement. According to diplomats here, the EC team seems more concerned about the TRIPOLI 00000579 002.2 OF 002 latter. This tack may encourage Libya to succumb to the former in a continuation of previous failures to fully implement agreements. As we pursue our own agreements such as a TIFA with Libya, maintaining negotiating flexibility and strategic patience will be key to ensuring a signed -- and implement-able -- document. End comment. POLASCHIK