US embassy cable - 03BRUSSELS5525

U.S.-EU COTER CONSULTATIONS ON COUNTERTERRORISM DECEMBER 3

Identifier: 03BRUSSELS5525
Wikileaks: View 03BRUSSELS5525 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Brussels
Created: 2003-12-08 10:25:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: PREL PTER TS AG MO SR BK AL MK EUN USEU BRUSSELS
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BRUSSELS 005525 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL, PTER, TS, AG, MO, SR, BK, AL, MK, EUN, USEU BRUSSELS 
SUBJECT: U.S.-EU COTER CONSULTATIONS ON COUNTERTERRORISM 
DECEMBER 3 
 
Sensitive But Unclassified, entire text, please protect 
accordingly. 
 
Summary: Revising the COTER Guidelines 
-------------------------------------- 
 
1.  The U.S. and EU COTER held their quarterly 
counterterrorism coordination meeting on December 3.  The 
U.S. was represented by S/CT,s Senior Advisor for 
Multilateral Affairs, Chris Ensley, DOJ senior counsel Mark 
Richards, Econoff Kim Gagne and NAS Frank Kerber.  The EU 
COTER delegation was chaired by Giampaolo Cantini of the 
Italian presidency and included delegates from the incoming 
Irish presidency, the European Commission, and the European 
Council.  The December 3 meeting was the first U.S.-EU COTER 
exchange to be held under revised guidelines that focus work 
on identifying areas of possible cooperative diplomacy 
including encouraging countries to implement their 
international obligations under UNSCR 1373 and the 12 
international counterterrorism conventions.  The U.S. and EU 
established these guidelines after the September U.S.-EU 
COTER exchange in an effort to make the dialogue more action 
oriented and agreed to discuss two regions ) North Africa 
and the western Balkans ) at this meeting.  End Summary. 
 
Terrorism Trends Overview 
------------------------- 
 
2.  Italy opened the session by presenting an overview of 
trends in global terrorism with special focus on al-Qaida and 
associated networks.  Cantini pointed to recent attacks as an 
indication of the terrorist network,s apparent shift to 
softer targets and expressed concern over the movement of 
al-Qaida-related terrorists to Iraq to undercut coalition 
activities there.  The U.S. concurred with the thrust of 
Italy,s assessment. 
 
Implementing UNSCR 1373 in the Western Balkans: 
A U.S. Assessment 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
3.  Moving to the core of the revised dialogue, the U.S. 
delegation presented a detailed picture of implementation of 
UNSCR 1373 and the 12 international counterterrorism 
conventions in the western Balkans (i.e., Albania, Bosnia, 
Croatia, FYROM, and Serbia-Montenegro and Kosovo) based on 
the much appreciated assessments from U.S. embassies in the 
region.  Overall, the U.S. delegation said that the Balkans 
nations are strong supporters of the war against terrorism, 
but lack the institutions, training, and resources necessary 
to fight and prevent terrorism as effectively as possible. 
The EU delegation agreed and pointed out that U.S. and EU 
assistance programs have room for both more assistance and 
better coordination of our mutual assistance activities.  In 
discussions of specific areas for cooperative diplomacy in 
the Balkans, the U.S. and EU agreed to consider two specific 
measures: 
 
--A coordinated approach to Serbia and Montenegro encouraging 
it to adopt the four international counterterrorism 
conventions it has not so far, as well as a request that the 
republican governments ensure that republican laws and 
regulations harmonize with the international commitments 
adopted under the international conventions. 
 
--A similar coordinated approach to FYROM urging it to speed 
up the ongoing (but very slow) adoption process for 
un-ratified international conventions, especially those 
related to terrorist financing and terrorist bombings. 
 
If the EU and the U.S. agree to these recommendations, the 
Department and the EU presidency will coordinate the details 
of the approaches. 
 
Implementing UNSCR 1373 in North Africa: An EU Assessment 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
4.  The EU followed up on the U.S. presentation by making its 
own on the Northern African nations of Algeria, Morocco, and 
Tunisia.  Italian and Irish delegates agreed that all three 
countries fully recognize the threat that terrorism 
represents to them and aggressively pursue counterterrorism 
measures internally.  Nonetheless, they suffer from capacity 
shortfalls similar to those faced by the Balkan nations.  The 
Italian presidency also expressed concern that the three 
sometimes confront terrorism in a heavy-handed manner, 
agitating population bases that terrorists are already 
seeking to exploit.  The U.S. delegation shared concern over 
the need for all governments to fight terrorism with full 
respect for the rule of law and human rights.  The United 
States was working generally with these three countries to 
bolster democracy and good governance, and incorporated human 
rights components into its counterterrorism training for law 
enforcement services. 
 
5. The European Commission then raised one area in which it 
might seek U.S. diplomatic assistance.  The EU has been 
trying to encourage judicial reform in Tunisia and has 
offered to provide relevant assistance.  Tunis, per the 
European Commission delegate, has rebuffed EU offers by 
trying to narrow down the possible reforms to be considered. 
Although the EU is considering whether to drop its efforts 
(rather than proceed with a &flawed8 program), if it 
decides to make another go at Tunis, it may ask for the U.S. 
diplomatic assistance in persuading the GOT to accept the 
idea of broader judicial reform. 
 
Anticipatory Crime Laws, Terrorist Finance, 
and Enhanced intra-EU Coordination 
------------------------------------------- 
 
6. After a brief review of wider counterterrorism assistance 
efforts, including the November 17 Counterterrorism Action 
Group (CTAG) meeting in Paris, both sides raised issues of 
mutual interest.  The U.S. DOJ representative gave an 
overview of an analysis of G-8 member states, anticipatory 
crime laws (e.g., laws that inter alia outlaw material 
support for terrorist groups or payment to individuals to 
conduct terrorist operations) that identified a key gap in 
G-8 members, ability to cooperate when one country,s 
national security information would be useful to another,s 
ability to prosecute potential terrorists.  He then asked if 
the EU would consider conducting a similar survey of its 
member states.  The EU side took the idea on board. 
 
7. The U.S. side also encouraged the EU to be more assertive 
in its efforts to block the assets of terrorists and their 
supporters.  We applauded the EU,s designation of Hamas but 
asked it to strongly consider designating the Hamas charities 
and individuals that the U.S. has already designated. 
Stopping the flow of money to Hamas and other Palestinian 
terrorist groups will be a crucial part of U.S. and EU 
efforts to get peace efforts between Israel and the 
Palestinian Authority moving forward.  Similarly, as the EU 
has already designated the Kurdistan Workers, Party (PKK) as 
a terrorist group, it should move quickly to designate the 
same organization now operating under a different name.  The 
PKK has not changed its views on the use of terrorism and 
should not &get off the hook8 by simply changing its name. 
 
8.  Finally, upon hearing that the EU COTER had conducted a 
joint assessment of North African terrorist networks with the 
EU,s Justice and Home Affairs, Terrorism Working Group 
(which addresses internal EU police cooperation against 
terrorists in the EU), the S/CT representative asked whether 
there were plans for the various EU organizations involved in 
counterterrorism activities to cooperate more closely. 
Although the COTER delegation agreed that more expansive 
intra-EU cooperation would be helpful, organizational issues 
made moving in that direction a very slow process.  The U.S. 
delegation acknowledged the unique characteristics of the EU 
but urged COTER to continue with the effort.  In the long 
run, EU security would benefit from better coordination of 
the many elements involved in fighting terrorism just as the 
United States is benefiting from cooperation between the 
State Department and the Departments of Justice, Homeland 
Security, and Treasury. (Comment: S/CT,s Senior Advisor, who 
was invited to participate as an observer at the JHA,s 
Terrorist Working Group meeting on December 2, made a similar 
pitch for greater intra-EU counterterrorism cooperation 
there, as well. End Comment.) 
 
Toward Joint or Parallel Diplomatic Action 
------------------------------------------ 
 
9.  In closing, the U.S. and EU agreed that the new 
guidelines for the dialogue were effective in focusing the 
discussions on concrete counterterrorism issues and provided 
an avenue for identifying areas for joint or parallel 
diplomatic activity to encourage full implementation of 
international counterterrorism requirements.  The incoming 
Irish presidency asked to continue operating under these 
guidelines and suggested that we focus on the Gulf states 
(GCC members plus Yemen) at the next meeting.   Ireland also 
proposed holding the next meeting on February 13.  The U.S. 
side agreed to get back to the Irish quickly on both 
suggestions. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
10.  Although the U.S.-EU COTER dialogue will remain somewhat 
limited in its scope of action by EU internal structures, the 
new guidelines that focus work on areas of agreed-upon 
international counterterrorism standards affords some room to 
produce useful outcomes on the diplomatic front.  USEU and 
the Department would welcome comments from posts discussed in 
the sections on the Balkans and North Africa, especially on 
the cooperative diplomatic proposals mentioned in paras 4-5. 
 The U.S. should continue to encourage the EU to break down 
bureaucratic walls barring effective EU counterterrorism 
coordination.  Not only would more intra-EU cooperation on 
counterterrorism measures improve its counterterrorism 
abilities, it could present the United States with a more 
effective overall counterterrorism interlocutor and partner. 
 
Sammis 

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