Friday, 15 January 2010, 12:43
C O N F I D E N T I A L SOFIA 000031
ISN/CATR FOR MARGARET MITCHELL
EO 12958 DECL: 01/11/2020
TAGS ETTC, MCAP, MOPS, PARM, PINR, PREL, PTER, MASS, YM
SUBJECT: BULGARIA ENHANCES END-USE MONITORING MECHANISMS
FOR YEMEN ARMS DEAL
Classified By: CDA Susan Sutton for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) SUMMARY: Bulgaria has decided to approve the sale of arms from a private Bulgarian firm to the Government of Yemen. The deal, funded by the UAE and worth approximately USD 55 million, will send small arms, explosives, ammunition, and other weaponry to Yemen in the first half of 2010. In light of the increasingly unstable situation in Yemen, and in response to our proposal for greater end-use monitoring, the Bulgarian Export Commission agreed to take extra steps to ensure proper delivery, storage, and accountability for the shipments, which began on January 5. The Export Commission passed on identification numbers for all items and stated that Bulgaria will comply with a USG proposal for additional monitoring, as well as coordinated efforts with their embassy in Yemen to heighten safeguards for proper delivery. Although not mandatory, Bulgaria continues to consult with us on an informal basis on arms deals involving potentially controversial destinations. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) Bulgaria’s Export Commission notified us on November 7 that it was considering approval of a deal, financed by the UAE that would send over 30,000 assault rifles, 100,000 high-explosive charges, RPGs, and ammunition to Yemen from the Bulgarian consignee XXXXXXXXXXXX in the first part of 2010. At that time, we expressed our reservations about the deal, given the unstable situation in Yemen and the potential for proliferation of small arms. Although it accepted our concerns, the Export Commission decided to go ahead with the deal, noting that the difficult economic situation made the offer extremely attractive to domestic arms producers. Anticipating this, we proposed a set of measures to enhance end-use monitoring. The MOEE agreed to reduce the quantity of assualt rifles by 25 per cent and provide serial numbers, lot numbers, and production years for nearly all of the items. The Ministry of Energy and Economy also received a statement of compliance from the GoY regarding delivery, description of goods, and storage requirements. XXXXXXXXXXXX provided us with delivery schedule documents, including flight information for the XXXXXXXXXXXX scheduled air shipments between XXXXXXXXXXXX . This information was passed through intel channels. XXXXXXXXXXXX also gave us a CD containing lot numbers and serial numbers. Noting their good contacts on the ground in Yemen, XXXXXXXXXXXX informed us that Bulgaria’s Commercial Attache is expected to be present for all deliveries.
3. (C) COMMENT: The Bulgarian government continues to work closely with us to prevent arms proliferation. As a rule, they seek our advice on potentially controversial cases, even when our consultation is not mandatory. In the past, the GoB has denied arms deals to countries of concern, such as Eritrea, based on our objections. In this instance, the financial incentive was too great for them to refuse. But, they are committed to working with us on all possible end-use monitoring steps. Copies of the E.U.C. and the lot and serial numbers have been sent by SIPRnet to ISN/CATR Margaret Mitchell. SUTTON