US embassy cable - 05PARIS1087 (original version)

PSI/MTCR: SUSPICIOUS CARGO BOUND FOR SYRIA (original version)

Identifier: 05PARIS1087
Wikileaks: View 05PARIS1087 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Paris
Created: 2005-02-22 10:13:00
Classification: SECRET
Tags: PARM PREL ETTC HK PK CM GM FR MTCR
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


 
S E C R E T PARIS 001087 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR NP/CBM 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10 YEARS 
TAGS: PARM, PREL, ETTC, HK, PK, CM, GM, FR, MTCR 
SUBJECT: PSI/MTCR: SUSPICIOUS CARGO BOUND FOR SYRIA 
 
REF: A. STATE 030198 
 
     B. STATE 5766 
     C. (04) STATE 189403 
 
Classified By: EST Counselor Robert W. Dry for Reasons 1.5 (b), (d), 
and (h). 
 
1.  (S)  Based on the request in Ref (A) cable for immediate 
action, morning of 19 February 2005, EST officer delivered 
demarche and non-paper regarding a shipment of French-origin 
equipment to Syria to French Missile Technology Control 
Regime (MTCR) Point of Contact (POC) David Bertolotti, MFA 
Deputy Director of Disarmament and Nuclear Non-proliferation. 
 This demarche triggered a Proliferation Security Initiative 
(PSI) action by the French Government, and French security 
and customs officials were apprised of the situation and -- 
we were informed -- immediately began investigating the 
shipment and the French firm involved.  Later the afternoon 
of 19 February, Bertolotti called EST officer and asked for 
more specific information regarding the name of vessel 
carrying the cargo in question as well as information such as 
the date when the vessel was scheduled to depart port in 
Athens.  In response to Bertolotti's request, EST officer 
contacted NP Bureau Officer at the Department of State, who 
provided the date of the vessel's departure, and agreed to 
initiate a clearance request on 22 February for specifics on 
the shipment in question.  EST officer then called 
Bertolotti, passed on the additional information provided by 
the Department, and informed him that he had requested more 
information, and that the EST office would notify him if/when 
this was obtained. 
 
2.   (S)  On morning of 20 February, EST officer received a 
call from Bertolotti, who informed that he had been in 
contact with French customs and security services in Athens, 
and that arrangements between the French and Greek security 
services had been made for joint action against the 
suspicious cargo.  He thanked EST officer for bringing this 
case to French government's attention. 
 
3.   (S)  On morning of 22 February, EST Counselor 
re-contacted MFA MTCR POC Bertolotti for update of the 
weekend's investigation.  Bertolotti confirmed that the 
French police attache in Athens had been involved over the 
weekend in the investigation.  A sample of the goods in 
question were being forwarded to France forthwith for further 
analysis.  However, the seized goods - without the benefit of 
additional analysis - would appear to be "sheets of aluminum 
on cardboard," not sensitive items or otherwise controlled by 
the MTCR regime. 
 
4.   (S)  Bertolotti said that while he understands the Greek 
authorities plan to hold the cargo in question, he is unaware 
under what legal basis or for how long unless more can be 
determined as to the sensitive nature of the cargo. 
Meanwhile, the French will conduct an inter-agency meeting 
during the afternoon of February 22 to discuss possible next 
steps.  Bertolotti requested the U.S. share whatever 
information available regarding this shipment which might 
help the French government, as well as the Greek authorities 
make a clear determination how to proceed.  Bertolotti 
mentioned the French government is indifferent whether the 
information is shared via diplomatic or intelligence channels. 
Leach 

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