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Viewing cable 09BERLIN1548, GERMANY RENEWS CONSIDERATION OF GUANTANAMO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09BERLIN1548 2009-12-07 07:07 2010-11-28 18:06 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Berlin
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRL #1548/01 3410728
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 070728Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5983
C O N F I D E N T I A L BERLIN 001548 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT PLEASE PASS TO S/GC MICHAEL WILLIAMS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/07/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PTER GM
SUBJECT: GERMANY RENEWS CONSIDERATION OF GUANTANAMO 
DETAINEES FOR RESETTLEMENT 
 
REF: A. STATE 50242 
     B. BERLIN 600 
     C. BERLIN 625 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Philip D. Murphy for reasons 1.4 (b,d). 
 
1.  (C/NF) Summary: In separate December 1 meetings with 
Ambassador Dan Fried, Special Envoy for Closure of the 
Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility (S/GC), the Ministry of the 
Interior, Foreign Ministry and Chancellery expressed a 
willingness to consider seven new cases of Guantanamo 
detainees for resettlement as well as three cases that had 
already been provided to the former government last spring. 
All interlocutors stressed that the MOI is the competent 
ministry handling this issue.  They also expressed the desire 
to be helpful in the spirit of the strong U.S.-German 
bilateral relationship.  Interior Ministry State Secretary 
Beus said that any decision on the cases would likely take up 
to two months and agreed with S/E Fried on the following way 
forward: 
 
-- the Interior Ministry would be the only ministry 
addressing this issue, especially in regard to sharing 
information on the detainees; 
-- the U.S. and Germany will uphold strict confidentiality 
during this review phase and coordinate timing and content of 
any public messages; 
-- while Germany prefers non-Uighur cases because of expected 
tension with China, it will consider the cases of two Uighurs 
based on humanitarian grounds; 
-- Germany prefers to accept detainees with a connection to 
Germany, which S/E Fried explained to be the case with only 
one detainee, a Tunisian whose file was previously provided; 
-- the German MOI will maintain direct communication with 
S/GC at this stage in the process; 
-- Germany will decide on the need to interview any 
candidates at the end of its review process. 
 
In a later meeting, Chancellery Security Advisor Christoph 
Heusgen stressed his confidence in Interior Minister Thomas 
de Maiziere to handle this issue, noting de Maiziere's close 
relationship with Chancellor Merkel.  End summary. 
 
Interior Ministry is Key 
------------------------ 
 
2.  (C/NF) Based on a schedule recommended by the 
Chancellery, S/E Fried and Ambassador Murphy met first with 
Interior Ministry State Secretary Beus and expressed 
appreciation for the new government's willingness to consider 
resettling detainees.  S/E Fried reviewed the numerous 
European countries which had accepted or pledged to resettle 
detainees at this point, noting that progress has been made 
but more is needed.  He noted he would only be passing along 
detainee dossiers to the MOI and discussing case specifics 
with the MOI, and not with other Government ministries, per 
earlier requests from the government.  S/E Fried handed over 
the dossiers of seven detainees: two Egyptians, two Syrians, 
a Libyan, and two Palestinians.  He explained that if the MOI 
has questions or requires additional information, it can do 
so through established liaison channels and additionally 
offered for a German team to visit Guantanamo to conduct 
interviews with detainees under consideration.  While 
recognizing Germany's preference for non-Uighur detainees, 
S/E Fried raised two Uighur cases for consideration based on 
humanitarian grounds, one who has psychological problems and 
the other, his brother, who serves as a caregiver.  He also 
acknowledged the German interest in detainees who have some 
connection to Germany, noting the one Tunisian case whose 
file had been conveyed last spring as the single detainee 
with those ties to Germany.  In total, S/E Fried requested 
that Germany consider 10 detainee cases for resettlement, 
three cases already conveyed and seven new cases. 
 
3.  (C/NF) State Secretary Beus expressed his ministry's 
willingness to consider all the cases, including the Uighurs, 
and said that his experts would review the files as soon as 
possible.  Shortly after he began, Interior Minister Thomas 
de Maiziere dropped in to stress his desire to be of help. 
Continuing, Beus underlined the importance of keeping the 
current discussions and review of the detainees confidential, 
to which S/E Fried strongly agreed.  Beus underlined 
Germany's preference for detainees who have some ties to 
Germany, noting that this connection would provide the 
government with a "plausible" explanation for accepting 
certain detainees when faced with the argument that the U.S. 
should be resettling them.  Beus said that he would be 
willing to consider the two Uighur cases on humanitarian 
grounds, but noted that they would present special 
difficulties because of the diplomatic row which would likely 
 
ensue.  Beus also highlighted that even if the federal 
government agrees to accept any detainees, it must then find 
a German state willing to accept them.  He also said that 
German services would naturally keep an eye on any resettle 
detainees within reasonable resource means. 
 
4.  (C/NF) Beus also expressed strong interest in 
coordinating the timing and content of any public message on 
Germany's consideration of and decision on resettling 
detainees to prevent political pressure from those who oppose 
the move, but regardless the government will advocate in 
public in favor of taking detainees if they come to a 
positive decision.  He added that being able to say to the 
public that the U.S. has also accepted detainees or otherwise 
explain why the U.S. is not doing so would also be helpful. 
S/E Fried expressed his readiness to coordinate and noted 
that the U.S. has admitted and plans to admit the more 
dangerous detainees for legal proceedings. 
 
Process and Timeframe 
--------------------- 
 
5.  (C/NF) Beus said that he and his experts would review the 
files and determine if additional information is needed.  He 
agreed that additional information would go through 
intelligence channels and expressed his preference to 
communicate directly with S/E Fried on any matters at this 
stage of the process.  He said that they would decide whether 
interviews are necessary when the experts have completed 
their review of the information.  He estimated that a 
decision on taking detainees would take one-to-two months. 
 
MFA Plays Peripheral Role 
------------------------- 
 
6.  (C/NF) It was clear from the later meeting with MFA State 
Secretary Wolf Born that the Foreign Office would not be a 
major decision-maker as on this issue.  S/E Fried reviewed in 
general terms the cases of detainees that we are asking the 
MOI to consider and also highlighted the humanitarian nature 
of the two Uighur cases, which Born noted.  Born said that 
Foreign Minister Westerwelle wants to be "positive," but 
added that it is the MOI which is the "competent" ministry on 
this issue.  Born mainly asked questions about the numbers of 
detainees still at Guantanamo, U.S. plans for addressing the 
various groups, and the possible closing date, all of which 
S/E Fried discussed with him. 
 
Chancellery Confirms Reticence about Uighurs 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
7.  (C/NF) In the last meeting, Chancellery Security and 
Foreign Policy Advisor Christoph Heusgen expressed 
appreciation that S/E Fried had proceeded along the lines 
that the MOI and Chancellery had requested through Ambassador 
Murphy.  Heusgen appeared to be already fully briefed on S/E 
Fried's earlier meeting that day with Beus.  He told S/E 
Fried that if Germany were to take any Uighurs, it would be 
best to do so in combination with other European countries to 
prevent China from focusing its opposition on any one 
country.  Heusgen was not optimistic that China would 
demonstrate any understanding for the two humanitarian cases. 
 Heusgen inquired as to whether any alternatives for the 
Uighurs exists.  S/E Fried explained possible options, while 
highlighting the difficulty of resettling the two individuals 
he is asking Germany to consider. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
8.  (C/NF) The new government, now in place since October 29, 
appears willing to renew consideration of resettling GTMO 
detainees and has expressed a clear desire to be of help.  In 
contrast to former Interior Minister Schaeuble, current MOI 
de Maiziere has not (and is unlikely to) flouted security 
concerns about cases in the press, nor indicated that Germany 
would be hardpressed to accept any detainees put forth for 
security reasons.  Nor has de Maiziere indicated that the 
fact that the U.S. itself has not resettled detainees 
presents an insurmountable roadblock, although Beus indicated 
that U.S. resettlement would help Germany's PR efforts to 
resettle.  All interlocutors expressed a strong interest in 
keeping the matter confidential and coordinating the timing 
and content of any public message.  Beus projected sincerity 
and realism, noting that even if the federal government 
agrees, it must still identify a state that is willing to 
resettle the detainees.  While all interlocutors did not 
outright reject the two Uighur cases, Heusgen made clear that 
the prospect of being the only European country to irritate 
China by accepting Uighurs would make it difficult, although 
 
it is unclear whether Germany would take part in any broader 
European decision to resettle Uighurs. 
 
9. (SBU) There has to date been no mention in the press of 
S/E Fried's visit. 
 
10.  (U) This cable has been cleared by S/E Dan Fried. 
MURPHY