RUSSIA BLOCKING NEW REP ON MEDIA FREEDOM AT OSCE

ID 10USOSCE54

SUBJECT RUSSIA BLOCKING NEW REP ON MEDIA FREEDOM AT OSCE

DATE 2010-02-19 00:00:00

CLASSIFICATION CONFIDENTIAL

ORIGIN Mission USOSCE

TEXT C O N F I D E N T I A L USOSCE 000054

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/17/2030

TAGS: PGOV, OSCE, KPAO, PHUM, PREL

SUBJECT: RUSSIA BLOCKING NEW REP ON MEDIA FREEDOM AT OSCE

 

REF: USOSCE 35

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Carol Fuller for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

 

1. (C) The process to replace the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media (RFoM) has reached a deadlock with the overwhelming preponderance of the OSCE participating States (pS) on one side and Russia on the other. (Ref A).

Kazakhstani Permanent Representative Ambassador Kairat Abdrakhmanov told USOSCE CDA several weeks ago he was confident Russia would ultimately withdraw its candidate – in time for the consensus candidate to take up the position before the current RFoM leaves office on March 10. However as the date draws closer, signs of Russian intransigence are growing stronger. Representatives of SWITZERLAND, Greece, and Spain (in her capacity as representative of the EU Presidency) told USOSCE that EU and other countries had been demarched by the Russians in an effort to get agreement on a new round of balloting for the RFoM. In their weekly meeting on February 16, USOSCE CDA told Abdrakhmanov there was no need for a new round of voting and the U.S. would not agree to one. Abdrakhmanov confirmed his opposition to another round of voting and stated that FM Saudabayev would raise this with Russian FM Lavrov on February 22. This is a test of Kazakhstani leadership in protecting and nurturing the OSCE’s Human Dimension, and we will continually remind the CiO of this.

Background

2. (C) Miklos Haraszti is the current OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. After six years in office, he will reach the end of his second term on March 10, 2010. The process to replace him began in September 2009. By mid-December 2009, the overwhelming preponderance of OSCE pS – with the only voiced exception being the Russian Federation – agreed that the next RFoM should be Dunja Mijatovic of Bosnia-Herzegovina (and an ethnic Serb). Russia has refused to withdraw its candidate Mikhael A. Fedotov. The Russian delegation in Vienna claims that because Fedotov met with Russian President Medvedev, they are now unable to withdraw his candidacy.

3. (C) At the weekly meeting February 16 between the U.S. and the OSCE Chair in Office (CiO), the Kazakh representative told USOSCE CDA Carol Fuller the Russians were pushing for a new round of voting on the RFoM candidacy. Kazakh Ambassador Abdrakhmanov previously said he was confident the Russians would back down before Haraszti left office. CDA made clear that it was “totally unacceptable” for a single country to block consensus in this manner and we saw no need for a new round of voting and would not agree to one. CDA said the CiO either had to extend Haraszti’s term (which would require consensus from all pS) or get the Russian Federation (RF) to withdraw their candidate. CDA noted that the RF did precisely the same thing in 2004 when Haraszti was selected – resulting in a three month gap with no RFoM. Abdrakhmanov assured CDA that Kazakhstan also opposed holding a new vote.

4. (C) Also on February 16, Deputy Chief of Mission from the Swiss delegation told A/DCM the Swiss had been demarched by the Russian Federation seeking Swiss agreement to call for a new round of voting for the next RFoM. Similarly, the Spanish Ambassador (in her capacity as representative of the EU Presidency) said the Russians were demarching various EU countries on the topic. Canadian Permanent Representative told CDA the Russian behavior may be designed to enable the Russian MFA to prove it has done everything to bring about consensus on the Russian candidate, to no avail.

5. (C) COMMENT: Media freedom is one of the highest profile issues in the human dimension, particularly under the Kazakh CiO, given how many Central Asian countries have restrictions on media activities. A prolonged gap in the RFoM office would suit the Russians and Central Asian states, removing an important source of information and material for critical statements in the PC overwhelmingly directed at those countries. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov will be meeting with Kazakhstani Foreign Minister Saudabayev in Astana on February 22 and the Kazakhstanis have promised that this issue will be high on the agenda. (Note: Convincing Russia to allow the OSCE to work inside Afghanistan is also on the agenda.) It is essential we continue to make clear to the Kazakhstanis in Vienna, Washington and Astana that a successful management of this transition, in accordance with the wishes of most participating States, is what we had in mind when indicated to FM Saudabayev in Washington in early February that Kazakhstan needed to protect and nurture the OSCE’s Human Dimension.

FULLER

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6910

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XTAGS: XTAGPGOV, XTAGOSCE, XTAGKPAO, XTAGPHUM, XTAGPREL,  XDEST_10USOSCE35

TAGS

ADDED 2011-09-04 04:02:53

STAMP 2011-09-04 04:02:53

VOTE_POINTS 0

VOTE_COUNT 0

VOTE_RATING 0

PRIORITY PP

TWEETS 0

MANUAL N

SITELINK

ISNEW Y

FINGERPRINT1

 

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