Cablegate: Paris Pact Partners Launch Next Phase of Cooperation To

Published: Fri 4 Dec 2009 12:16 PM
DE RUEHUNV #0548/01 3381216
P 041216Z DEC 09
OSD Policy for DASD Wechsler
E.O. 12958:N/A
SUBJECT: Paris Pact Partners Launch Next Phase of Cooperation to
Target Afghan Heroin
1. SUMMARY: The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) hosted from
November 26-27 a meeting of the 7th Policy Consultative Group of the
Paris Pact Initiative during which more than 50 Paris Pact partners
agreed to launch in 2010 the third phase of cooperation to target
trafficking and consumption of Afghan heroin. The U.S. delegation
(USDEL) successfully advanced reforms within the framework of the
Paris Pact Initiative to increase its focus on operational
activities, particularly in the area of precursor chemical control
and border security, rather than identify new regional areas of
focus. USDEL also found broad support for reforming the existing
roundtable meeting format to small technical working groups with
targeted agendas on the above Paris Pact operational priorities.
Paris Pact partners agreed to meet again on the margins of the March
2010 UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in order to further
refine activities for the second half of 2010. UNODC is planning to
host in early 2010 two previously-approved experts groups, one in
Kabul on Afghanistan and its neighbors, the other in Almaty focusing
on Central Asia and China. For logistical reasons, UNODC had
previously postponed these meetings from 2009. END SUMMARY
2. John Sullivan, Director of INL's Office of Policy Planning and
Coordination served as head of delegation. In addition, the
following officials comprised USDEL: INL Christine Cline, UNVIE
Adam Davis, AFRICOM Stephen Johnston, INL Michael Overby, UNVIE
Christopher Shahidi and EUCOM Howard Steers.
3. Developed in 2003, the Paris Pact Initiative serves as a vehicle
for garnering increased regional cooperation and buy-in among more
than 50 partners to counter trafficking and consumption of Afghan
opiates. To date, the Paris Pact architecture has included regional
and thematic-focused Expert Roundtables to develop recommendations
for implementation by UNODC and partner countries. UNODC used the
occasion of the Policy Consultative Group meeting to review the
Expert Roundtables and related activities conducted in 2009.
Notably, UNODC convened an Expert Roundtable on Western Europe
(October 22-23 in Paris), during which partners made recommendations
on ways and means to counter heroin trafficking through the
so-called Balkan Route and on modalities to increase dissemination
of evidence-based prevention and treatment. The Paris Pact Policy
Consultative Group endorsed the recommendations agreed to by the
Expert Roundtable
4. In addition, UNODC reviewed Paris Pact thematic activities
related to precursor chemical control and financial flows linked to
production and trafficking of Afghan Opiates. Under Operation
TARCET, Paris Pact partners have worked to identify and intercept
smuggled consignments of precursor chemicals. Its second phase is
currently underway and will focus on initiation of backtracking
investigations. USDEL praised Operation TARCET as a model for
future counternarcotics enforcement cooperation and urged the
Central Asia Regional Information and Coordination Center (CARICC)
to continue its role as the operational coordination unit for TARCET
activities. With regard to financial flows, UNODC developed a
questionnaire in order to collate information from Paris Pact
partners on money flows to and from Afghanistan. UNODC will ask
that the questionnaire be completed by April 2010 in order to inform
future expert meetings, including possibly of Financial Intelligence
Units (FIUs).
5. Due to logistical complications in fall 2009, UNODC announced
their intention to reschedule in early 2010 an Expert Roundtable on
Afghanistan and its Neighbors in Kabul and an Expert Roundtable on
Central Asia and China in Almaty.
6. Building on recommendations issued by a UNODC external evaluation
report upon the close of the 2006-2009 phase of Paris Pact
operations, USDEL advanced its focus on precursor chemical control
and cross-border security. The Paris Pact's Operation TARCET seized
20 tons of Acetic Anhydride in 2008 alone, and USDEL and others
pushed for its continuation. USDEL encouraged expert-level regional
meetings to review the implementation of previous recommendations,
instead of further spreading Paris Pact roundtables to include new
regional areas.
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7. While the Paris Pact holds annual meetings of the Policy
Consultative Group - such as this one - to review current-year
activities and discuss upcoming programs, most dialogue occurs
through multiple expert-level discussions each year among the
partner countries, which in turn issue formal recommendations for
consideration by policymakers. As described in the UNODC external
evaluation of the Paris Pact, prior-year expert meetings have
covered an ever-expanding range of geographical and operational
themes, with little opportunity to review progress on implementing
previous recommendations. While this has encouraged Paris Pact
members to study and understand the Afghan opiate trade in a
comprehensive manner, the wide array of topics covered during expert
meetings has weakened opportunities for a proper exchange of
technical best practices by participants.
8. After UNODC announced its intention to hold at least one
geographic Expert Roundtable in 2010, USDEL encouraged deepening our
focus on geographic areas previously reviewed by Paris Pact, in
order to follow up on earlier expert recommendations, instead of
expanding the Pact's focus to new and uncharted areas of discussion.
UNODC also announced plans to host at least two thematic Technical
Working Groups (TWG) during 2010, each focusing on a specific
operational priority and reviewing implementation of prior expert
recommendations on that specific theme.
9. USDEL emphasized that TWG sessions in 2010 could most contribute
to enhancing operational cooperation on counternarcotics efforts by
focusing on precursor chemical control and border security
enforcement. While Russia emphasized its preference that at least
one TWG study of financial flows and alternative remittance systems,
it also voiced support for U.S. proposals on precursors and border
security within the TWG framework. Iran and India each expressed
interest in holding expert-level dialogue on precursor chemical
control, while the French and Canadian delegations both reinforced
U.S. preferences for discussing precursor chemicals and border
security as priority areas of TWG focus in 2010. The UNODC chair
(Deputy Director for the Division of Operations, Bernard Frahi)
summarized the meeting as though he were reading from the USG
talking points - two TWGs, one on precursors, one on border
security/LE cooperation and no new regional roundtables. That said,
final decisions by the Paris Pact on both regional and thematic
expert areas of focus will be formally approved during a reconvened
session of the Policy Consultative Group on the margins of the UN
Commission on Narcotic Drugs in March 2010. We expect that some
within the secretariat may try to add a regional roundtable on the
Balkans, similarly, Russia may push for continuing the working group
on financial flows.
10. UNODC developed a project document that details resource
requirements of $2.9 million for Phase Three of the Paris Pact
Initiative. UNODC requires at least $700,000 in order to begin
activities in June 2010. Russia announced a pledge of $200,000 at
the Policy Consultative Group meeting, and UNODC anticipates that
France will provide an additional $200,000, although no formal
announcement has been made. On the margins, UNODC lobbied for U.S.
funding support. USDEL did not provide a commitment to do so but
noted that it would give due consideration to the proposal. (Note:
INL has provided a small, annual contribution of approximately
$100,000 to support the Paris Pact Initiative. For a copy of the
Paris Pact project document, please contact INL's Christine Cline
( or Mike Overby ( End Note.)
11. Russia also expressed support for a Ministerial meeting to be
held in 2010 in order to continue high-level attention to the Paris
Pact Initiative. This Ministerial would follow those hosted by
France in 2003 to launch the first phase and by Russia in 2006 to
launch the second phase. No country came forward with an offer to
host such an event. However, UNODC informed USDEL that Russia had
been encouraging France to host such an event with a view to
allowing Russia to host a fourth Ministerial meeting in 2012.
12. Partner countries demonstrated a commitment to continue the
Paris Pact into a Third Phase, while recognizing the need to make
reforms to the format and focus of its meetings. It will be
important to continue outreach with UNODC in advance of the
reconvened Policy Consultative Group meeting tentatively scheduled
for March 2010 in order to ensure the agreements to streamline the
Paris Pact architecture are reflected in the future work plan. Our
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challenge is to move Paris Pact away from being just a debating
society and to leverage its proven potential as a forum for
mobilizing attention to Afghan counter drug issues and identifying
programmatic synergies. END COMMENT.
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