US embassy cable - 05PARIS1517 (original version)

PSI: FORMAL FRENCH RESPONSE TO U.S. DEMARCHES ON PSI CASE INVOLVING SUSPICIOUS CARGO BOUND FOR SYRIA; POSSIBILITY THAT GOODS WILL BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE ON TO SYRIA (original version)

Identifier: 05PARIS1517
Wikileaks: View 05PARIS1517 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Paris
Created: 2005-03-08 15:19:00
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 SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 001517 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR NP/CBM 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 15 YEARS 
TAGS: PARM, PREL, ETTC, HK, PK, CM, GM, FR, MTCR 
SUBJECT: PSI: FORMAL FRENCH RESPONSE TO U.S. DEMARCHES ON 
PSI CASE INVOLVING SUSPICIOUS CARGO BOUND FOR SYRIA; 
POSSIBILITY THAT GOODS WILL BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE ON TO 
SYRIA 
 
REF: A. PARIS 01311 
 
     B. STATE 34422 
     C. STATE 30198 
     D. PARIS 1087 
     E. ATHENS 517 
     F. ATHENS 553 
 
Classified By: EST COUNSELOR ROBERT W. DRY FOR REASONS 1.5 (B), (D), AN 
D (H). 
 
1.  (S)  On 04 March 2005, EST officer met with David 
Bertolotti, MFA Deputy Director of Disarmament and Nuclear 
Nonproliferation, who provided a non-paper representing the 
Government of France's (GOF) formal response to the Embassy 
demarches presented on 19 February and 01 March.  The French 
non-paper outlined the GOF actions to date regarding the 
Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) case involving a 
shipment of dual-use aluminum laminates to the Syrian company 
Syronics, and included information previously reported Reftel 
A.  The French non-paper included the results of a 03 March 
meeting among several GOF agencies actively involved in the 
PSI case.  Bertolotti also presented EST officer with a 
verbal briefing on the current legal considerations in this 
case and likely GOF actions from this point onward.  The full 
text of the French response was submitted to the Department 
via secure fax. 
 
2.  (S)  In the written response and subsequent verbal 
briefing from Bertolotti, EST officer learned that as of 02 
March, the GOF had agreed to apply 'catch-all' provisions to 
all future shipments by the French company Francare to Syria, 
and have begun a formal investigation of the shipment 
currently in port at Piraeus, Greece.  Bertolotti stressed, 
however, that the consideration of whether 'catch-all' can 
apply to the current shipment is an open question, and French 
customs and security officials are consulting with Greek 
counterparts to determine under what authority they have held 
the cargo beyond the 10 day limit allowed by European Union 
(EU) law ce 1334/2000.  Bertolotti added that the GOF hoped 
that there was a provision in Greek national law that would 
allow the impounding of the cargo beyond the 10 day limit, 
but that he was currently not aware that such a provision 
existed.  Bertolotti also informed EST officer that French 
authorities were trying to ascertain whether or not the 
shipment was re-exported into Greece, in which case there 
would a legal justification under EU law for holding the 
shipment beyond the 10 days allowed. 
 
3.  (S)  Bertolotti further advised (and as reflected in the 
French non-paper) that the French have concluded that the 
shipment cannot be held on the basis of a false documentation 
claim to customs authorities given that the material is not 
regulated by EU dual use law ce 1334/2000, and that Francare 
provided both an accurate description of the goods (13 
containers of aluminum sheets) as well as their destination 
(Syronics) on the shipping documents. 
 
4.   (S)  Following examinations of the aluminum laminates by 
the relevant French laboratories, the French findings were 
analogous to the general conclusions reached by the U.S. 
regarding the materials in the shipment and their likely 
application in electronic circuitry boards.  The results of 
the laboratory analysis are that the laminates correspond to 
the A-M1 type of aluminum laminates, and that they correspond 
to the products TSA-12 and TSA-93 from the U.S. company 
Tristar Laminates Inc.  Bertolotti added that these laminates 
were not necessarily specific to those used in circuitry 
boards for ballistic missile systems, and could be used in 
civilian electronic systems also. 
 
5.  (S)  Bertolotti highlighted the request contained in the 
non-paper for the U.S. government to provide more concrete 
information regarding our conclusion that the goods are 
destined for use by Syria's Scientific Studies and Research 
Center (SSRC) as part of Syria's ballistic missile program. 
He further remarked that, while not explicitly stated in the 
non-paper, if in the continued consultations with Greek 
authorities the French determine that the Greeks have no 
legal basis for holding the goods, and if the U.S. government 
is unable to provide additional, concrete information 
confirming that the material is intended for use in Syria's 
ballistic missile program, the French position will be that 
the goods be released for shipment to Syria without further 
delay. 
 
6.  (S)  At the close of the meeting, Bertolotti told EST 
officer that he hoped to be able to provide another update 
during the week of 07 March. 
Leach 

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