WikiLeaks: NZ remains cool to Israeli JUSCANZ participation

Published: Mon 20 Dec 2010 12:12 PM
WikiLeaks cable: NZ remains cool to Israeli JUSCANZ participation
This is one of the diplomatic cables about New Zealand held by Wikileaks.
Classified By: Charge D'Affaires David R. Burnett, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. (C) As noted Ref A, Ambassador McCormick and his Australian and Canadian counterparts met with Minister Peters in late May to urge that New Zealand support Israeli membership in the Geneva JUSCANZ group. This followed representations by other Embassy officers at lower levels. Minister Peters promised GNZ would consider the Ambassador's request, but because the Minister was on official travel for much of the past two months, it took a while for GNZ to give us their formal response.
2. (C) On May 9, Minister Peters sent the Ambassador a letter noting that New Zealand would not oppose any consensus to admit Israel into the group. He then adds that as of now, New Zealand does not believe that consensus exists.
In other words, GNZ's position has not changed.
3. (C) We understand that our request was reviewed at very senior levels, including by the Prime Minister. While the result is disappointing, the silver lining (if there is one) is that Minister Peters also says that he has instructed the NZ Permrep in Geneva to handle this issue personally. That might help, as we understand through oblique references from our counterparts here (and from Ref B) that the working level representative in JUSCANZ is the NZ official who has insisted that NZ is not isolated on this issue. Presumably the Permrep will be more honest in his appraisal, and he has been given a direct line on the issue to Minister Peters.
3. The full text of the letter is as follows:
Begin text:
Dear Ambassador
You called on me with your Australian and Canadian colleagues to ask that New Zealand withdraw its opposition to Israel's membership of the JUSCANZ human rights group in Geneva.
The government has considered very carefully the points you made at that meeting and in your talking points.
New Zealand has sympathy with the view that every UN member has the right to participate in UN activities on the same basis as other member states and to do that has to be part of an electoral group. For that reason, as you know, New Zealand has supported Israel's temporary membership of WEOG in New York, on the basis that it does not constitute a precedent for automatic membership of WEOG groups in other locations.
It is important to be absolutely clear about the government's position concerning the JUSCANZ human rights group in Geneva. New Zealand would not oppose any genuine consensus that might emerge for Israel to be admitted to that group. My understanding is however that such a consensus does not at this point exist.
In view of the significance of this matter to your countries, I am instructing the new New Zealand Permanent Representative to United Nations in Geneva to follow this issue closely himself and to report to me on any developments. At the same time your senior diplomatic representatives in Geneva should feel free at any time to raise with Mr. MacKay any issues they might have on this or any other policy positions of New Zealand as they relate to the Geneva environment.
It is essential especially as the new Human Rights Council gets up and running that there is the closest cooperation between New Zealand and countries like yours with which we share so many interests in common.
Yours sincerely
Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs
End text.

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