US embassy cable - 98BRUSSELS2939

U.S.-EU TROIKA: TERRORISM

Identifier: 98BRUSSELS2939
Wikileaks: View 98BRUSSELS2939 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: USEU Brussels
Created: 1998-05-12 12:02:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PTER PREL EUN KPAL IS PINR
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 121202Z MAY 98
FM USEU BRUSSELS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY
INFO ALL EUROPEAN UNION POST COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 BRUSSELS 002939 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/ERA, S/CT (GRAY), NEA/NGA, NEA/IAI; PASS 
DOJ FOR MRICHARD 
LONDON FOR TUELLER, THE HAGUE FOR MULREAN, LUXEMBOURG FOR 
 
FEIFER, ROME FOR DEMPSEY 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/12/08 
TAGS:  PTER, PREL, EUN, KPAL, IS, PINR 
SUBJECT:  U.S.-EU TROIKA:  TERRORISM 
 
1.  (U)  CLASSIFIED BY WILLIAM R. REGAN, USEU.  REASON 1.5 
(B) AND (D). 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
2.  (C)  THE MAY 7 U.S.-EU TROIKA DISCUSSIONS ON TERRORISM 
COVERED THE WATERFRONT, BUT SPECIAL ATTENTION WAS PAID TO 
THE EU'S RELATIONS WITH IRAN, WHERE IT PLEDGED CONTINUED 
VIGILANCE, AND ITS COOPERATION PROGRAMS WITH THE 
PALESTINIANS (SEE PARAS 15-17 BELOW).  THERE WAS WIDE 
CONVERGENCE OF VIEWS ON TERRORIST TRENDS, THE RUSSIAN 
PROPOSAL FOR A NUCLEAR TERRORISM CONVENTION, AND THE INDIAN 
MOVE FOR A COMPREHENSIVE TREATY ON TERRORISM. 
 
3.  (U)  THE U.S. WAS REPRESENTED BY S/CT GORDON GRAY, 
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE REPRESENTATIVE DREW ARENA, AND USEU 
POLOFF BILL REGAN.  VINCENT FEAN, JOINED BY RUPERT JOY AND 
KATE COLLINS, REPRESENTED THE UK PRESIDENCY.  ROUNDING OUT 
THE TROIKA WERE ROBERT ROLLINGER OF LUXEMBOURG AND PETER 
PRAMBERGER, MARINA CHRYSTOPH, PETER BLUMAUER, AND MS. HAMIDI 
OF AUSTRIA.  HENK VAN DER ZWAN REPRESENTED THE COUNCIL 
SECRETARIAT AND MICHEL IPAS AND HANS FEDDERSEN THE EUROPEAN 
COMMISSION. 
 
----------------- 
U.S.-EU STATEMENT 
----------------- 
 
4.  (C)  THE EU AGREED TO A JOINT STATEMENT ON SHARED 
OBJECTIVES AND CLOSE COOPERATION IN THE FIELD OF 
COUNTERTERRORISM.  FEAN NOTED THAT EU VIEWED THE STATUS OF 
THE DOCUMENT AS A RESTRICTED WORKING PAPER, THUS NOT FOR 
PUBLIC RELEASE.  IN RESPONSE TO U.S. ARGUMENTS FOR MAKING 
OUR COOPERATION ON TERRORISM PUBLIC, FEAN SAID THAT THE EU 
TROIKA FAVORED A PUBLIC DOCUMENT AND PLEDGED TO WORK WITH 
THE U.S. TO ADDRESS THE ONE SENTENCE IN THE CURRENT PAPER 
WHICH THE EU WOULD NOT LIKE TO BE MADE PUBLIC.  FOLLOWING 
THE MEETING, FEAN, JOY, AND GRAY WORKED OUT BRIDGING 
LANGUAGE WHICH THE UK PROMISED TO CIRCULATE TO ITS EU 
PARTNERS. 
 
------------------------ 
TERRORISM TRENDS/THREATS 
------------------------ 
 
5.  (C)  THE UK PRESENTATION NOTED A DECREASE IN TERRORIST 
INCIDENTS IN THE EU SINCE LAST FALL'S TROIKA, PRIMARILY DUE 
TO A REDUCTION IN TENSIONS IN NORTHERN IRELAND.  HOWEVER, 
THE THREAT OF INDIGENOUS VIOLENCE THERE AND IN SPAIN (ETA 
ATTACKS) AND FRANCE (MOSTLY CORSICA) REMAINS SIGNIFICANT. 
THERE HAD BEEN NO TERRORIST ATTACKS BY NON-EU GROUPS ON EU 
SOIL SINCE THE LAST TROIKA, BUT FUND-RAISING, PROPAGANDA, 
AND RECRUITMENT ACTIVITIES BY EXTERNAL TERRORIST GROUPS 
CONTINUE.  LUXEMBOURG MENTIONED AN INCREASE IN COOPERATION 
BETWEEN TERRORISTS AND ORGANIZED CRIMINAL GROUPS. 
 
6.  (C)  THE UK PRESIDENCY MADE A SPECIAL PLEA ON BEHALF OF 
FRANCE FOR CLOSE COOPERATION, INCLUDING INFORMATION SHAING, 
IN LIGHT OF THE WORLD CUP SOCCER GAMES TO BE HELD IN FRANCE 
THIS JUNE.  FRANCE IS PARTICULARLY CONCERNED BY THREATS FROM 
EXTREME LEFTIST/ANARCHIC GROUPS PROTESTING THE GAMES' 
COMMERCIAL DIMENSION, ISLAMIC GROUPS, AND THOSE TARGETING 
PARTICULAR NATIONAL TEAMS OR INDIVIDUALS (PLAYERS OR HIGH- 
PROFILE FANS).  THE UK MADE A SIMILAR PLEA, ON BEHALF OF 
PORTUGAL, FOR INFORMATION ON THREATS TO THE EXPO 98 IN 
LISBON.  THE U.S., NOTING ON-GOING COOPERATION ON THESE 
EVENTS, UNDERTOOK TO REMAIN VIGILANT AND SHARE INFORMATION 
ON POTENTIAL THREATS WITH THE GOVERNMENTS OF FRANCE AND 
PORTUGAL. 
 
7.  (C)  GRAY REVIEWED U.S. PERCEPTIONS OF TERRORIST TRENDS, 
NOTING AN OVERALL DECLINE IN ATTACKS BUT INCREASES IN THE 
LETHALITY OF ATTACKS AND DOMESTIC TERRORISM.  THE U.S. 
REMAINS TROUBLED BY INCREASED ATTACKS AGAINST CIVILIANS, THE 
RISE OF RELIGIOUSLY-MOTIVATED VIOLENCE, AND THE 
FRAGMENTATION OF TERRORIST GROUPS. 
 
----------------- 
IRAN, IRAQ, LIBYA 
----------------- 
 
8.  (C)  GRAY SURVEYED DEVELOPMENTS IN IRAN SINCE KHATAMI'S 
ELECTION, EMPHASIZING THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS DEMONSTRATED 
HIS INCLINATION TO CHANGE IRAN'S FOREIGN POLICY BUT DOES NOT 
YET HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO SO COMPLETELY.  CONSEQUENTLY, THE 
U.S. OBSERVES CONTINUED IRANIAN SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM, 
INCLUDING THE KAZAKSTAN INCIDENT IN FEBRUARY, THE 
ASSASSINATIONS OF DISSIDENTS ABROAD, THE FATWHA AGAINST 
RUSHDIE, AND SUPPORT FOR GROUPS VIOLENTLY OPPOSED TO THE 
MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS. 
 
9.  (C)  ALTHOUGH IRAN MAY NOT ALWAYS BE SUSCEPTIBLE TO 
EXTERNAL INFLUENCE ON THIS QUESTION, THE U.S. AND EU SHOULD 
CONTINUE TO WORK CLOSELY TOGETHER TO PUSH TEHRAN IN THE 
RIGHT DIRECTION, SAID GRAY.  HE THEN URGED THE EU TO 
CONTINUE, IF NOT STRENGTHEN, ITS SYPHORE SYSTEM TO REVIEW 
VISA APPLICATIONS OF IRANIAN OFFICIALS; REVIEW THE SIZE OF 
MOIS STATIONS IN EU CAPITALS; INCLUDE TERRORISM IN THE EU'S 
RENEWED DIALOGUE WITH IRAN; AND NOT BE SHY ABOUT CRITICIZING 
IRAN IF IT IS TIED TO NEW TERRORIST INCIDENTS. 
 
10.  (C)  FEAN RESPONDED THAT EU FOREIGN MINISTERS IN 
FEBRUARY HAD PLEDGED TO KEEP UP POST-MYKONOS VIGILANCE ON 
IRANIAN TERRORISM.  EU COUNTERTERRORISM EXPERTS PERFORMED AN 
ASSESSMENT OF THE TERRORIST THREAT UNDER THE NEW IRANIAN 
REGIME, AND HAD COME TO THE SAME CONCLUSION AS THE U.S.  THE 
SYPHORE SYSTEM WILL UNDERGO A TECHNICAL (NOT POLICY) REVIEW 
TO SEE HOW IT IS WORKING AND TO LOOK FOR AREAS OF 
IMPROVEMENT; THE REVIEW MAY BE COMPLETE BY THE END OF JUNE. 
FEAN EMPHASIZED THAT THE CONTROL OF MOIS STATIONS IS 
STRICTLY A MEMBER STATE MATTER, AND URGED US TO APPROACH 
CAPITALS ON THIS QUESTION.  TERRORISM WILL BE ON THE EU'S 
AGENDA WITH IRAN WHEN TALKS BEGIN IN BRUSSELS ON MAY 19. 
FEAN STRESSED THAT OUR POINT ABOUT NOT BEING SHY DEPENDS IN 
LARGE PART ON U.S. WILLINGNESS TO SHARE, EVEN BILATERALLY, 
INFORMATION LINKING IRAN TO TERRORIST ATTACKS.  IN REPLY, 
GRAY NOTED THAT THE U.S. HA RECENTLY SHARED INFORMATION ON 
MOIS ACTIVITIES IN KAZAKHSTAN, AND UNDERSCORED THAT THE U.S. 
WOULD CONTINUE TO SHARE SUCH INFORMATION WITH EU MEMBER 
STATES IN THE FUTURE. 
 
11.  (C)  THERE WAS GENERAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE U.S. AND 
EU THAT IRAQ AND LIBYA HAD NOT SPONSORED TERRORIST ATTACKS 
IN RECENT TIMES, BUT RETAINED THE CAPABILITY TO DO SO.  THE 
UK NOTED THAT THE EU HAS LONG HAD AN EFFECTIVE SYSTEM FOR 
SCREENING IRAQI VISA APPLICANTS. 
 
-------------------------------------- 
DESIGNATION OF TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS 
-------------------------------------- 
 
12.  (C)  GRAY REVIEWED THE U.S. DESIGNATIONS OF FOREIGN 
TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS AND UPDATED THE EU ON THE RESULTS TO 
DATE AND THE LEGAL CHALLENGES TO THE LEGISLATION AND THE 
DESIGNATIONS.  ARENA EDUCATED THE EU ABOUT THE HOW THE 
CHALLENGES WOULD WORK THEIR WAY THROUGH THE U.S. COURTS. 
THIS TOPIC DOMINATED THE SUBSEQUENT LUNCH DISCUSSION, 
PARTICULARLY AS THE UK IS CONTEMPLATING LEGISLATION TO 
CRIMINALIZE TERRORIST FUNDRAISING. 
 
-------------------------------- 
INTRA-EU COOPERATION AND EUROPOL 
-------------------------------- 
 
13.  (C)  ACCORDING TO THE UK, EU JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS 
MINISTERS LATER THIS MONTH WILL CONSIDER A STEPPED-UP 
PROGRAM OF INTRA-EU COOPERATION ON TERRORISM.  ONE ITEM WILL 
ENCOURAGE JOINT MEMBER STATE ACTION AGAINST IDENTIFIED 
TERRORIST GROUPS.  THE UK WOULD LIKE TO WORK WITH OTHER 
MEMBER STATES AGAINST CREDIT-CARD FRAUD BY ISLAMIC GROUPS. 
THE AUSTRIANS NOTED THAT, AS A FOLLOW-ON TO THE NOVEMBER 
1997 SEMINAR IN LUXEMBOURG ON TERRORIST FINANCING, THEY 
INTEND TO HOST A SEMINAR IN VIENNA DURING 21-22 OCTOBER. 
GRAY THANKED THEM FOR THE INVITATION AND INDICATED THAT THE 
U.S. LIKELY WOULD ATTEND. 
 
14.  (C)  DURING ITS PRESIDENCY THE UK HAS HOSTED THREE 
EVENTS DESIGNED TO FOSTER CLOSER COOPERATION AMONG EU 
PARTNERS:  A TWO-WEEK SEMINAR ON BOMB-SCENE MANAGEMENT, A 
SEMINAR ON ARMS TRAFFICKING, AND THE FIRST-EVER SEMINAR ON 
CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL TERRORISM.  ARENA SEIZED ON THE 
SECOND ITEM TO EXPLAIN THAT THE BROADER DISPUTE SURROUNDING 
U.S. ARMS EXPORTS TO THE EU HAD A TERRORISM DIMENSION. 
 
15.  (C)  AS FOR EUROPOL, THE UK EXPLAINED THAT ALL BUT TWO 
MEMBER STATES HAD RATIFIED THE TREATY, AND IT IS HOPED THAT 
THOSE FINAL RATIFICATIONS WILL TAKE PLACE BY THE FALL.  THE 
TREATY STIPULATES THAT EUROPOL IS TO TAKE ON TERRORISM NO 
LATER THAN TWO YEARS AFTER IT BEGINS OPERATIONS, BUT SPAIN 
IS PROPOSING THAT IT BEGIN WORK IN THIS FIELD IN JANUARY 
1999.  THE EU JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS MINISTERS WILL 
CONSIDER THIS PROPOSAL AT THEIR MAY MEETING.  AT ANY RATE, 
THE UK CONTINUED, EUROPOL WILL TAKE AN INCREMENTAL APPROACH 
TO THE PROBLEM FIRST WORKING TO SUPPORT MEMBER STATES, 
PERFRM DATA ANALYSIS, AND FACILITATE INFORMATION EXHANGES; 
SUBSEQUENTLY, IT WOULD DEVELOP RELATINS WITH THIRD- 
COUNTRIES. 
 
--------------------------------- 
COOPERATION WITH THE PALESTINIANS 
--------------------------------- 
 
16.  (C)  THE UK REVIEWED ITS THREE-YEAR PROGRAM OF 
COUNTERTERRORISM COOPERATION WITH THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY 
(PA).  HAVING JUST COMPLETED A REVIEW OF THE FIRST YEAR, THE 
UK SAID THE PROJECT IS OFF TO A "DECENT START" AND THAT 
COOPERATION WITH THE PA IS GOOD.  THE EU HAS SENT SIX FACT- 
FINDING MISSIONS FROM MEMBER-STATE SECURITY SERVICES TO THE 
REGION, INCLUDING ON MANAGEMENT, EXPLOSIVE DISPOSAL, SEARCH, 
INTERVIEW TECHNIQUES, AND SURVEILLANCE.  IN THE FUTURE THE 
EU HOPES TO IMPLEMENT PROJECTS ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND 
SECURE COMMUNICATIONS. 
 
17.  (C)  THE UK SAID LOCAL LIAISON BETWEEN NEILS ERICSON 
AND THE U.S. HAS IMPROVED SINCE LAST FALL, AND THE EU ASKED 
THAT THE U.S. TAKE BACK TO WASHINGTON THE UNION'S STRONG 
DESIRE TO KEEP UP THIS LIAISON. 
 
18.  (C)  DURING UK PRIME MINISTER BLAIR'S RECENT VISIT TO 
THE MIDDLE EAST, THE EU AND PA SIGNED AN AGREEMENT 
ESTABLISHING A SECURITY COMMITTEE.  THE COMMITTEE, WHICH 
MEETS FORTNIGHTLY AND IN TIMES OF CRISIS, DOES NOT DUPLICATE 
ERICSON'S WORK, BUT DISCUSSES JOINT SECURITY EFFORTS, 
OBSTACLES TO BETTER COOPERATION, INFORMATION EXCHANGES, AND 
HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION.  ALTHOUGH NOT ADMITTED PUBLICLY, 
THE PA ACCEPTS PERIODIC EVALUATIONS OF ITS PERFORMANCE. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
DRAFT UN CONVENTION ON NUCLEAR TERRORISM 
---------------------------------------- 
 
19.  (C)  THE EU PRESIDENCY AND U.S. SHARED SIMILAR 
ASSESSMENT OF THIS RUSSIAN INITIATIVE (THE EU TROIKA MET 
LATER IN THE DAY WITH A RUSSIAN DELEGATION AND RAISED THIS 
ISSUE).  DESPITE EARLY SKEPTICISM, IT APPEARED THAT RUSSIA 
WAS WILLING TO WORK ON A VIABLE TREATY.  THE U.S. IS LOOKING 
FORWARD TO THE JUNE 4-5 MOSCOW MEETING OF LEGAL EXPERTS OF 
THE EIGHT TO DISCUSS THE TEXT.  THE U.S. AND EU MEMBER 
STATES COORDINATED WELL DURING THE NEGOTIATIONS ON THE 
INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE SUPPRESSION OF TERRORIST 
BOMBINGS, AND THE U.S. WOULD LIKE THAT COORDINATION TO 
CONTINUE. 
 
-------------------------------------- 
INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS ON TERRORISM 
-------------------------------------- 
 
20.  (C)  AFTER DISTRIBUTING A SPREADSHEET SHOWING WHAT 
MEMBER-STATES HAD SIGNED AND RATIFIED WHAT CONVENTIONS, THE 
UK CONCLUDED THAT THERE WERE FEWER GAPS IN THE SHEET THAN 
BEFORE.  THE EU'S TERRORISM WORKING GROUP, WHICH MET ON MAY 
6, MADE A MORAL (NOT LEGALLY BINDING) COMMITMENT TO HAVE 
MEMBER STATES IMPLEMENT LEGISLATION FOR THE TERRORIST 
BOMBING CONVENTION BY 2000.  GRAY NOTED THAT THE EIGHT HAS 
CALLED ON ALL STATES TO BECOME PARTY TO ALL ELEVEN 
CONVENTIONS BY THE YEAR 2000, AND THE U.S. HOPES THE EU CAN 
ADOPT THE SAME POLICY.  THE UK STRESSED THAT THESE ARE 
NATIONAL DECISIONS -- I.E., NOT MADE IN BRUSSELS.  MOREOVER, 
THE EU HAS BEEN ADVOCATING TO THE ACCESSION STATES OF 
CENTRAL EUROPE AND CYPRUS TO SIGN AND RATIFY ALL THE 
CONVENTIONS.  THE EU PROMISED TO PROVIDE A SIMILAR 
SPREADSHEET ON THESE COUNTRIES. 
 
------------------------------------- 
COMPREHENSIVE CONVENTION ON TERRORISM 
------------------------------------- 
 
21.  (C)  THE UK NOTED THAT IT WILL RAISE THIS INDIAN 
PROPOSAL WITH THE RUSSIANS LATTER THAT DAY.  THE EU HAS NO 
FORMAL POSITION ON THIS QUESTION, BUT IN 1996 THE TERRORISM 
WORKING GROUP DISCUSSED A SIMILAR IDEA AND CONCLUDED THAT IT 
WOULD BE UNHELPFUL AND DIVISIVE.  GRAY AGREED COMPLETELY, 
AND NOW THE TRICK IS TO DETERMINE HOW TO STAVE OFF OR SLOW 
DOWN THE INDIAN EFFORT. 
 
-------- 
OUTREACH 
-------- 
 
22.  (C)  THE UK EXPLAINED ITS OUTREACH PROGRAMS TO RUSSIA, 
THE CENTRAL EUROPEAN STATES, AND CYPRUS, DESCRIBING THEM AS 
FRUITFUL AND SUBSTANTIVE.  THERE IS SOME CONFUSION IN THESE 
COUNTRIES BETWEEN TERRORISM AND ORGANIZED CRIME SINCE THE 
LATTER OFTEN USES VIOLENCE ASSOCIATED WITH THE FORMER.  THE 
EU ALSO OUTLINED THE DISCUSSION OF TERRORISM IN ITS DIALOGUE 
WITH THE GCC AND IN THE EURO-MEDITERRANEAN PARTNERSHIP.  THE 
U.S. DESCRIBED ITS OUTREACH PROGRAM WITH THE OAS, 
EMPHASIZING THE USEFULNESS OF SUCH REGIONAL DIALOGUE BUT 
NOTING THAT THE BEST COOPERATION OFTEN OCCURS BILATERALLY. 
 
----------------------------------------- 
TALEBAN, AUSTRIAN PRIORITIES, NEXT TROIKA 
----------------------------------------- 
 
23.  (C)  GRAY PRESSED THE EU FOR A RESPONSE TO A DEMARCHE 
IN MARCH ASKING THE EU TO RAISE TALEBAN SUPPORT FOR USAMA 
BIN LADEN IN ITS DISCUSSIONS WITH THE TALEBAN.  THE EU DID 
NOT KNOW THE STATUS OF THE REQUEST, AND PLEDGED TO GET BACK 
TO US.  (COMMENT:  USEU IS STILL WAITING FOR A PROMISED 
REPLY TO REPEATED REQUESTS TO THIS DEMARCHE.  END COMMENT.) 
 
24.  (C)  THE AUSTRIANS SAID THEIR PRIORITIES WOULD BE THE 
SEMINAR ON TERRORIST FINANCING NOTED ABOVE, THE CONTINUATION 
OF WORKING GROUP BUSINESS, CONTINUATION OF PRACTICAL WORK 
WITH THE PALESTINIANS, AND WORKING ON THE NUCLEAR TERRORISM 
CONVENTION.  TRANSATLANTIC COOPERATION IS OF GREAT 
IMPORTANCE TO AUSTRIA'S PRESIDENCY, THEY CONCLUDED.  GRAY 
REQUESTED THAT WE BOTH REMAIN FOCUSED ON IRAN.  HE ALSO 
SUGGESTED THAT WE COULD DISCUSS THE ISSUE OF TERRORISM AND 
HUMAN RIGHTS. 
 
25.  (C)  AUSTRIA SET THE NEXT TERRORISM TROIKA FOR NOVEMBER 
25, THE DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING.  GRAY AGREED, AND EXPRESSED 
HIS APPRECIATION FOR AUSTRIA'S WILLINGNESS TO HOST A WORKING 
DINNER THE NIGHT BEFORE AND TO BEGIN THE NOVEMBER 25 MEETING 
EARLY ENOUGH TO ALLOW WASHINGTON REPRESENTATIVES TO RETURN 
TO THE U.S. IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAY. 
 
(DRAFTED:  POL:  WREGAN) 
 
 
KURSCH 

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