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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05MADRID3201
2005-09-08 16:27:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Madrid
Cable title:  

AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH DEPUTY FM LEON:

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  SP  XF  XM  XL  XG 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 003201 

SIPDIS

FOR EUR/FO; EUR/WE; WHA; NEA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/15/2015
TAGS: PGOV PREL SP XF XM XL XG
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH DEPUTY FM LEON:
KATRINA ASSISTANCE, BMENA AND LATIN AMERICA

Classified By: POLCOUNS Kathleen Fitzpatrick for reasons
1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (C) Summary: Ambassador Aguirre met with Spanish Deputy
Foreign Minister Bernardino Leon Sept. 7 to review key issues
in the US-Spain agenda in the coming months, including BMENA
and Latin American issues. He thanked the GOS for its
sincere and concrete support for the victims of Hurricane
Katrina, noting that he planned to go to Torrejon airport
later that day for the departure of two Spanish Hercules
aircraft bearing assistance to the US. He also thanked Spain
for assisting in the aftermath of the bridge collapse in Iraq
by sending a Hercules aircraft to remove victims. The
Ambassador noted that though NEA PDAS Cheney had to postpone
her visit to Spain, she and the Secretary remained keenly
interested in Spanish participation in and contribution to
BMENA, including the Foundation for the Future. Leon said he
would make sure the Minister was aware. On Latin America,
Leon agreed with the Ambassador on the utility of holding a
high level "working group" style meeting between the US and
Spain on Latin America issues, including Cuba and Venezuela.
Leon put forward the possibility of a meeting on the margins
of UNGA in either NY or Washington rather than in late
September in Madrid, noting that all of the key Spanish
players would be in the US next week. The meeting also
touched on Turkey-EU and Western Sahara. End Summary



2. (SBU) The Ambassador stressed to Leon USG's desire for
Spanish contribution to the BMENA Foundation for the Future,
noting Secretary Rice's personal interest and our desire to
make the Bahrain conference a success with European
involvement. Leon said he would convey this to Moratinos but
acknowledged that he, Leon, did not have full details on
where Spain stood on the subject. He stressed Spain's
interest in ensuring the complementary of the Barcelona
Process, the Spanish President Zapatero's Alliance of
Civilizations proposal and BMENA, underscoring his
government's strong desire to for the Secretary's
participation in the 10th anniversary meeting of the
Barcelona process in November.



3. (C) While pointing to progress in the Barcelona process,
Leon lamented the impact of these and related efforts
remained at the "micro" rather than the "macro" level. The
impact needs to be made as profound at is widespread, Leon
noted. He said the Alliance of Civilizations project, now
adopted by the UN, remained a key focus of the Spanish
government as it sought to bridge gaps between the
Arab/Islamic worlds and the "West" and to dispel perceptions
that Islamic extremist terrorism was an attack by the entire
Islamic world rather than an extremist component. Leon
thought that a division of labor within several concentric

circles (BMENA, Barcelona Process and Alliance of
Civilizations) would be useful. He noted that Moratinos, now
in the Middle East (and meeting with the Palestinian
Authority as well as Israeli government officials) was
focusing on the security sector and that Spain had
contributed some 20 million Euros in this and related
efforts. In underscoring Spain,s strong national interest in
the Middle East, Leon likened the current situation to the
Cold War, when states on the border with the Warsaw pact had
to develop and "Ostpolitik." Spain, with its proximity to
North Africa, now stands on the border of today's challenge
of Islamic extremist terrorism, and for this reason was
taking a leading role in efforts, like the Alliance of
Civilization, to deal with the Arab/Islamic world.



4. (C) On Latin America, Ambassador Aguirre expressed his
desire for a high-level working group session with
appropriate GOS counterparts on Latin America, where the US
and Spain share interests but where we also have differences.
Leon agreed that such a meeting would be useful,
particularly to review our policies on Venezuela and Cuba and
our cooperative efforts and concerns in Bolivia, and other
states. Leon said Chavez is particularly worrisome to Spain,
given his capacity for mischief in a variety of areas,
including the oil sector and regional security. Spain sought
to create a group of moderate concerned governments to
influence Chavez, balancing outreach efforts with clear
statements of expectations on Chavez' behavior.



5. (C) Ambassador Aguirre told Leon that he saw the
upcoming Ibero-American summit in Salamanca, Spain, as a
possible accident waiting to happen. Leon acknowledged that
the presence of Castro and Chavez would need to be managed,
and said the government was working on how it would deal with
public events with these two leaders. He pointed to Spanish
President Zapatero's strong statements on Cuba at last year's
summit in Costa Rica. Leon said Salamanca would be a "closed
city" during this time, intimating that this could serve to
limit opportunities for grandstanding by Castro and Chavez.


6. (SBU) Leon and the Ambassador undertook to find an
appropriate time frame for a working level meeting. The
Ambassador said he was exploring scheduling options for the
US side in late September. Leon said that time frame would
be difficult for the Spanish, given the demands of planning
the Ibero-American summit in mid-October. Leon suggested
that the working-group meeting take place on the margins of
UNGA, either in New York or Washington, when all of the key
Spanish players would be in the US. The Ambassador undertook
to look into this possibility as well.



7. (C) At the close of the meeting, the Ambassador raised
Turkey-EU negotiations. Leon said that the GOS was concerned
that the recent Turkish declaration on Cyprus non-recognition
had complicated the process. Leon told the Ambassador that
Moratinos might travel to Ankara and Nicosia to try to help
ameliorate the situation. Leon noted that Spain had
excellent relations with both Turkey (a member co-sponsor of
the Alliance of Civilizations group initiative) and with
Cyprus. Thus, Spain felt it could play a positive role.



8. (C) Leon also noted Spain's concern about resolving the
Western Sahara issue. He said at the moment the issue was
not a front page problem, not connected with terrorism, and
benefited from a fairly reasonable Saharwi leadership. In
the medium term, as Saharwis remained in tent cities, these
three positive factors could disintegrate and the Western
Sahara could quickly become a front burner issue. With its
good relations with Morocco and Algeria, as well as
significant Spanish parliamentary interest in the human
rights aspects, Spain sought to play a role in resolving the
situation and hoped the USG would also. Leon suggested the
US and Spain could work together similar to US-French
cooperation on Lebanon, and in this way develop a solution
that would be palatable to Morocco and Algiers.
AGUIRRE