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Viewing cable 10CANBERRA93, CORRECTED COPY -- GARRETT COOL TO WHALING DEAL,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10CANBERRA93 2010-02-05 08:08 2011-01-01 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Canberra
VZCZCXRO7235
OO RUEHPT
DE RUEHBY #0093/01 0360810
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 050810Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY CANBERRA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2630
INFO RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 3822
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0238
RUEHBN/AMCONSUL MELBOURNE 6959
RUEHPT/AMCONSUL PERTH 5226
RUEHDN/AMCONSUL SYDNEY 5238
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CANBERRA 000093

NOFORN
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR OES/OA BALTON, PHELPS, OES/ENRC LEE, OES/OMC
GIBBONS-FLY, COMMERCE PLEASE PASS NOAA MEDINA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/07/2020
TAGS: SENV EFIS AS
SUBJECT: CORRECTED COPY -- GARRETT COOL TO WHALING DEAL,
SEEKS MORE ON CORAL, RESEARCH

REF: PHELPS-ATKINSON EMAIL 2/5

Classified By: Ambassador Jeffrey L. Bleich, Reasons 1.4 (b)(d)

CORRECTED COPY -- CORRECTED SIGNATURE LINE

1. (C/NF) Summary: Environment, Heritage and Arts Minister
Peter Garrett raised enhanced coordination with the U.S. in
the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI), Antarctic conservation
and logistics, and the current whaling negotiations with
Ambassador Bleich on February 4. Garrett believes that
Australia will not be able to accept the current agreement
being considered on whaling, and feels the U.S. and
Australia, as the two most important donors in the CTI, need
to increase coordination of efforts to ensure successful
outcomes under the CTI. Garrett highlighted the opening of
an air route to Antarctica from Australia and expressed
interest in a visit that may include S or a congressional
delegation. He also expressed interest in additional
discussion of emerging initiatives from the U.S. under the
International Year of Biodiversity. End Summary.

WHALING DEAL IS NO DEAL
-----------------------

2. (C/NF) Garrett told Ambassador Bleich he appreciated the
"robust" exchange between the U.S. and Australia on whaling
and felt he could speak frankly. In Garrett's view, the
current agreement being negotiated in the International
Whaling Commission (IWC) and its associated small groups
would, in the end, be unacceptable to the Australian
government as it fell short in several areas. Garrett said
the negotiating process had largely ground to a halt, with no
"real" proposals on the table. He said legislation pending
in the Australian parliament (introduced by the Green Party
on February 4 to examine the role of "spy flights" in Japan's
planning for this year's whaling season) would strengthen
anti-whaling sentiment in Australia, making it difficult for
the government to accept the current proposals. Garrett said
the February 22 IWC Small Working Group briefings, which will
alert the NGO and global community to the state of
discussions, will be key for Australia's policy on the
negotiations.

3. (C/NF) In separate discussions on February 5, GOA
officials confirmed significant concerns with the whaling
negotiations but stopped short of Garrett's complete
rejection. PM Rudd's Foreign Policy Advisor Scott Dewar
confirmed that there had not yet been any cabinet decision on
whether to continue to work for a deal in the IWC. At the
same time, he told Pol-Econ Counselor that the current
notional deal (on which there is no agreement in the IWC) is
impossible to accept in the current political environment.
DFAT's Paula Watt said that entreaties to Garrett and his
DEWHA staff that the deal is a necessary step to reforming
the IWC have "bounced off" Garrett and other negotiators.
Watt said that the most likely chance for a cabinet meeting
is on February 15, and that strong messages before that date
may be needed to shore up support for a deal. Watt further
indicated that the current assessment is that Japanese FM
Okada's visit will be too close to the February 22 NGO
briefings to present any opportunity to get further with the
GOJ.

4. (C/NF) Garrett Chief of Staff David Williams told econoff
that the GOA could accept a compromise that delivers a much
Qthat the GOA could accept a compromise that delivers a much
lower level of whaling, but it has to be accompanied by
signals of commitment to address other key issues -
sustaining the commercial moratorium, keeping whaling out of
the southern sanctuary areas and Australian antarctic waters,
bringing all whaling under the control of the IWC, and
preventing future scientific whaling. Absent any signals on
these areas, Garrett and other political leaders will be
under consistent attack on a deal that only addresses
numbers, however low. Williams was careful to say that
Australia would not act precipitously and would signal its
intentions clearly. Pol-Econ Counselor and Econoff both
echoed Commissioner Medina's message (ref email) on the
importance of staying at the table to Dewar, Williams and
Watt.

CORAL TRIANGLE INITIATIVE

CANBERRA 00000093 002 OF 002


-------------------------

5. (SBU) Garrett said that as the two major donors in the
Coral Triangle Initiative, the U.S. and Australia should work
more closely on coordinating efforts to ensure effective
outcomes. He noted that Indonesian President Yudhoyono had
been a driving force behind the CTI, and was hosting the CTI
secretariat in Indonesia. Garrett said the challenge for
the U.S. and Australia is to ensure participating countries
understand that outcomes need to be regional, not national.
He pointed to the secretariat's use of national action plans
instead of a regional plan as a concern, and said he sought
further discussions with NOAA Administrator Lubchenco on the
CTI. Garrett felt a strong signal could be sent on these
issues during the President's planned visit to Indonesia in
March.

ANTARCTICA
----------

6. (SBU) On Antarctica, Garrett felt the success of the 2009
International Polar Year events highlighted the importance of
the region in environmental and climate terms. Garrett
pointed to the availability of air transport from Australia
in only four hours (compared to eight hours for U.S. aircraft
based in New Zealand) as a strong incentive to travel there,
and suggested senior USG officials interested in traveling in
Antarctica could use Australia as a base vice the existing
infrastructure in New Zealand. The Ambassador noted his
personal interest in Antarctic exploration and the interest
of senior officials, including the Secretary and Speaker of
the House in traveling to the polar region. Garrett thanked
the U.S. for participating in the Southern Ocean Research
Program and hoped to hear more from the U.S. on its
participation this year, including possible funding for
projects under the partnership.

7. (C/NF) Comment: Garrett seemed eager to establish a good
relationship with the Ambassador but was less relaxed in this
meeting than we have seen him in the past. While he was
consistent with his positions on whaling, CTI and other
conservation issues, he appeared less willing to push hard on
those issues than in previous discussions both here and in
Washington. End Comment.

BLEICH

EPET @ EL PAÍS