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04MADRID2659 2004-07-14 13:16:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Madrid
Cable title:  

SPAIN: NEW "APPROACH" ON WESTERN SAHARA; VIEWS ON

Tags:   PREL PGOV MO WI SU SP USUN 
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1. (C) The GOS is pursuing a new "approach" to resolve
the crisis in the Western Sahara but its elements remain
unclear, according to the newly appointed MFA Director
General for the Mediterranean, Near East, and Africa,
Alvaro Iranzo. The Spanish Deputy Foreign Minister is
in the process of discussing the new approach with parties
in the region, and with France, and would like to share
his view with senior NEA officials. Iranzo was non-
committal on the UNGA resolution on the ICJ. Subsequent
discussions with the MFA indicate that FM Moratinos,
who has been in Brussels, has not yet decided on the
issue. On Sudan, the GOS is likely to support a
strong UNSC resolution and an EU statement on the
Darfur crisis. End Summary.




2. (C) PolCouns met July 12 with newly appointed Director
General of Foreign Policy for the Mediterranean, Near East,
and Africa Alvaro Iranzo Gutierrez to exchange views on the
Western Sahara, the ICJ ruling, and Spain's Africa policy.
Iranzo has considerable experience in Africa and the Middle
East. He served in Gabon (1981), Mozambique (1983), and
Algeria (1989). In 1992, he was a deputy director of
Bureau of North African affairs under current Foreign
Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, who was director general
of the bureau then. Iranzo was an assistant to Moratinos
when Moratinos was the EU's Special Representative to the
Middle East Process in 1996. Later, Iranzo was Spain's
ambassador to Angola (1997) and Malaysia (2001) before
assuming his current position.



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Spain's Middle East Posture


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





3. (C) Iranzo told us that Spain will taken an active
approach on the Middle East given FM Moratinos experience
in the region as an EU envoy. Spain maintains close
relations to the Arab world, especially Morocco, and has
good relations with Israel. On Morocco, Iranzo noted that
despite press reports, the GOS is not threatened by
Morocco's Major non-NATO Ally Status and the free trade
agreement with the U.S. Both Spain and the U.S. are
interested in regional stability, and "what's good for
Morocco is good for Spain," Iranzo remarked. He affirmed
that despite previously tumultuous relations with Algeria,
Spain now has good relations with Algeria (Note: President
Zapatero will make a one-day State visit to Algeria July


14. End Note.) Overall, the Arab world sees Spain, and
especially Foreign Minister Moratinos, as a credible
interlocutor in the Middle East Process and the Western
Sahara, Iranzo said.



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


Western Sahara


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





4. (C) Noting recent press statement by Moratinos,
PolCouns asked whether the new Spanish government had
adopted a new policy on the Western Sahara. Iranzo
responded by expressing support for the broad outline of
the Baker Plan but said Spain is seeking a new "approach"
to overcome the impasse over the issue of the Polisario
referendum. When PolCouns pressed for specific details,
Iranzo admitted that there were no specific plans. He said
Spain's initiative would deal with "methodology" rather
than final outcomes. Iranzo also said that the new UN
envoy for the Western Sahara, De Soto, did not have the
stature to move the process forward. However, according to
Iranzo, Spain wants to be more involved in pressing for a
solution in the Western Sahara acceptable to all parties.
Spain wants to convince the Polisario to be more flexible,
to persuade France and the U.S. to be more consensual, and
to avoid a UN-imposed solution.



5. (C) Iranzo acknowledged that Spain's new approach
carries international and domestic risks. President
Zapatero, Minister Moratinos, and State Secretary for
Foreign Policy Bernardino Leon have been consulting with
France, Morocco, Algeria, and the Polisario on the Western
Sahara issue. Iranzo said that the GOS is concerned that
failure in the Western Sahara would jeopardize the MINURSO
mandate, radicalize Moroccans, and possibly increase
illegal immigration and terrorism in Spain. He said that
State Secretary Leon wants to meet with senior NEA
officials to discuss Spain's approach in the Western Sahara
in the near future.


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


Spain and the ICJ Court Ruling


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





6. (C) PolCouns reviewed ref (a) points on the
International Court of Justice's (ICJ) ruling on the
Israeli security barrier with Iranzo (meeting took place
before the draft resolution had been put forth, and before
the receipt of ref (b) demarche). Iranzo said that although
Israel had the right to defend itself against terrorism, it
also has to consider how its policies affect Palestinians
and must listen to the international community. The
security barrier is being constructed in Palestinian
territory, and the recent Israeli Supreme Court ruling may
only change on a small portion of the barrier, Iranzo
argued. Nevertheless, Palestinian leadership must be held
responsible for actions that are contrary to the Road Map.
The ICJ ruling shows, however, that Israel has few friends
in the world, Iranzo said.



7. (C) Iranzo did not commit to a position on the new UNGA
resolution on the ICJ decision. (FYI: Spain under the
Aznar government abstained on the December 2003 UNGA
resolution remanding the case to the ICJ.) Iranzo indicated,
however, that Spain would not want to be seen objecting to
a near-unanimous decision by the ICJ. Iranzo said Spain
respects the ICJ decision and wants to be constructive and
seek common ground on the issue at the UN. The MFA is
discussing the issue with the Israel's ambassador in Spain
and with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv. Iranzo promised to
communicate our message directly to Minister Moratinos.
Subsequent discussions with the MFA indicate Moratinos, who
has been traveling, has not yet decided on the issue
(septel).



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


Spain and Sudan


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





8. (C) PolCouns thanked Iranzo for Spain's support for USG
efforts in Sudan, and delivered the importance of Secretary
Powell's visit there. Iranzo told us that Spain wants to
help define the terms of the Darfur resolution in the UN in
the interest of securing peace in Sudan. He was concerned
that applying sanctions on the Jinjaweit militias would be
difficult because the leaders are not easily identifiable.
However, Spain would support a UNSC resolution on Darfur
that puts pressure on the Government of Sudan to disarm the
militias and allow humanitarian aid workers access to
refugees. Iranzo said that Spain has also been involved in
helping draft a strong EU statement on Sudan.



9. (C) Noting the USG's broad, multilateral approach to
the resolution of conflicts in Africa and dealing with
global challenges such as combating HIV/AIDS, PolCouns
shared a copy of Secretary Powell's July 8, 2004 speech
outlining the USG's approach on key Africa issues. Iranzo
said that he had not seen the speech and was grateful to
receive it.



10. (C) Iranzo said that Spain also supports a multi-
lateral approach to African issues given the small size of
its missions on the continent. Having served as ambassador
to Angola, Iranzo told us that Spain has maintained
comprehensive relations with southern Africa and Spanish
and Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa. He said that
Spain's major issue in Africa is illegal immigration.
Bilateral agreements to control illegal immigration between
African countries and Spain have had little success, Iranzo
said. Nevertheless, the GOS will continue to engage
African countries on issues such as immigration, democracy
building, and human rights. Iranzo stated that on these
issues the U.S. and Spain share a strong common interest.
MANZANARES