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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05BOGOTA12023 2005-12-30 16:17:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bogota
Cable title:  

SPANISH CHARGE SAYS SPAIN OPPOSED TO MOVING ELN

Tags:   PTER PREL PGOV CO 
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DE RUEHBO #2023/01 3641617
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 301617Z DEC 05
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0895
INFO RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN PRIORITY 0926
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 6426
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 6964
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ DEC 7554
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 3042
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1191
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 8724
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 0271
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0724
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 3640
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 0049
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 012023 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/29/2105
TAGS: PTER PREL PGOV CO
SUBJECT: SPANISH CHARGE SAYS SPAIN OPPOSED TO MOVING ELN
TALKS TO EUROPE; NO FARC CONTACT ON SECURITY ZONE PROPOSAL

REF: A. BOGOTA 11926


B. BOGOTA 11611

Classified By: Ambassador William B. Wood
Reason: 1.4 (b,d)

-------
Summary
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1. (C) On December 29, Spain's Charge d'affaires in Bogota
said it was not prepared to support moving GOC-ELN talks from
Cuba to Europe and predicted the talks would have little
substantive result before the May 2006 presidential
elections. He said Norway and Switzerland, who are
"accompanying countries," like Spain, are more interested in
pushing for a European venue. Spain promised to consult
closely with the GOC before any such decision is made and is
prepared to "break consensus" and oppose its partners'
efforts if the GOC remains opposed to moving the venue. On
the FARC front, the Charge characterized as "false rumors"
press reports that the FARC has communicated with
representatives of Spain, France and Switzerland regarding a
meeting to "clarify" the international commission's proposal
of a "security zone" to conduct GOC-FARC humanitarian hostage
exchange talks; no such communications, formal or informal,
have been received. The Charge aid the international
commission would insist on FARC acceptance of the security
zone in principle before scheduling a meeting. Any such
meeting would be "technical" only and would not be a
renegotiation of the terms of the proposal. End summary.



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Spain Supports GOC's Venue for ELN Talks


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





2. (C) Spanish Charge Pablo Gomez de Olea told D/Polcouns
December 29 Spain would follow the GOC's lead with regard to
the venue of the GOC-ELN talks and would oppose efforts of
fellow "accompanying countries" Norway and Switzerland to
move the talks to Europe. Gomez de Olea said the ELN is
interested in European talks to boost its image, because it
believes the EU would likely have to alter in some fashion
the ELN's "terrorist" designation for the talks to take
place. Even if they took place in Norway or Switzerland,
which are not EU members, it is likely the ELN would have to
pass through an EU member state en route, hence the
importance of EU security guarantees. For its part, Spain
would not petition the EU for such guarantees. Gomez de Olea
said Spain could not stop Switzerland, for example, from
offering to host talks in Bern and flying the ELN direct to
Switzerland, but would oppose any such decision.



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



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


Talks Off to Good Start, Must Define Agenda, Roles


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



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





3. (C) Gomez de Olea, who attended the talks in Havana, said
they got off to a good start but (not too surprisingly) did
not develop into concrete negotiations (ref A). He said when
they resume in Havana in January the negotiators must define
an agenda and determine the role they wish the civil society
guarantors and the "accompanying countries" to play. Spain
considers the guarantors to have worked hard and successfully
to get the talks started, but the discussions are now between
the GOC and the ELN (especially at the negotiating table
itself), with limited outside involvement. Spain would
oppose one country assuming "more serious" responsibilities
than the others, or an effort to parcel out different
responsibilities to each country. In Spain's view,
"accompanying countries" and guarantors should be careful not
to get too involved without the explicit consent of the
parties. (He noted that at least two of the guarantors seem
poised to enter electoral politics in 2006 on the side of
leftist candidates, which could complicate their role as
guarantors.) Gomez de Olea said he doubts the talks would
have serious substantive results before the May 2006
presidential elections.



4. (C) Gomez de Olea said Cuba's role in the talks is
minimal but could increase. In his view, Cuba considers its
hosting as a "necessary evil" and is likely waiting to see
how the process unfolds before defining its future
participation. According to the Charge, the GOC is pleased
with the Havana venue because there are no civil society or
media groups to worry about, its Ambassador to Cuba is
excellent (Fernando Londono), and it strongly opposes a
European venue because it would require an EU decision to
soften the ELN's designation as a terrorist group.



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


No FARC Communication


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





5. (C) Gomez de Olea said neither Spain, France, nor
Switzerland have received a communication from the FARC
regarding the international commission proposal of a
"security zone" to conduct humanitarian exchange talks (ref
B). Press reports to the contrary are "false rumors." (The
latest such report says ambassadors from the respective
countries have agreed to meet the FARC in Colombia January
9-11.) Gomez de Olea said Spain, France, and Switzerland
would insist the FARC accept the international commission
proposal, at least in principle, before agreeing to any such
meeting with the FARC. If a meeting is scheduled, it would
be with the commission's technical committee only and would
not be devoted to renegotiating the security zone proposal.



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


Comment


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





6. (C) We are not confident that the Spanish Charge's
excellent approach would survive a French-Swiss push to the
Zapatero government to move the talks. The Colombians see
transfer to Europe as a key concession and want to get
something substantive for it. In a conversation with Peace
Commissioner Restrepo (septel), the Ambassador said that the
U.S. could only accept transfer of the talks to Europe if the
GOC explicitly called for it as part of a peace process, as
opposed to transfer reflecting a weakening of the European
designation of the ELN as a terror group.




WOOD