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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05SANJOSE2106 2005-09-09 23:40:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy San Jose
Cable title:  

ARTICLE 98 WORRIES REKINDLED IN COSTA RICA

Tags:   PREL EAID MASS CS KICC 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SAN JOSE 002106 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/09/2015
TAGS: PREL EAID MASS CS KICC
SUBJECT: ARTICLE 98 WORRIES REKINDLED IN COSTA RICA

REF: A. SAN JOSE 234


B. 04 SAN JOSE 2233

C. O4 SAN JOSE 443

Classified By: Charge Russell Frisbie for reasons 1.4 (a) and (d)

Summary
-------


1. (C) Foreign Minister Tovar told Charge that an Article 98
agreement would not be approved in Costa Rica. He was
concerned, however, about the impact of the American
Servicemembers' Protection Act (ASPA) and the Nethercutt
Amendment on important U.S. assistance that Costa Rica had
been receiving and had hoped to continue to receive. End
summary.

Sudden flurry of press reports


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




2. (U) More than two years after the GOCR stated
unequivocally that it would not sign an Article 98 agreement
(03 San Jose 1773), there has been a flurry of press
attention to the issue and to the impact of the GOCR's
position on U.S. assistance to Costa Rica. Press interest
was sparked by an August 27 reprinting of a New York Times
article, "Cuts in economic aid anger neighbors," combined
with the August 30-31 visit to Costa Rica of U.S. Southern
Command General Craddock.



3. (U) Costa Rican press reports on Article 98, the American
Servicemembers' Protection Act (ASPA), and the Nethercutt
Amendment have contained a number of errors, which post has
been trying to correct. A September 8 editorial in the
business daily, "La Republica," for example, stated that "the
giant of the north" was pressuring Costa Rica to renounce its
membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC) and also
reported falsely that the USG had cut a program benefiting
disabled persons because the GOCR refused to sign an Article
98 agreement. The editorial concludes that the GOCR was
correct "not to accept a laceration of our sovereignty."

MFA views


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




4. (U) Foreign Minister Tovar, responding to press inquiries
about ASPA and the Nethercutt Amendment, said: "For the love
of God, this is not the way to treat a country that is your
friend." He complained that the U.S. laws affecting aid to
Costa Rica were "offensive" and asked why they make
exceptions for Argentina, Australia, Japan, and European
countries, but not for Costa Rica.



5. (C) Charge paid a call on Tovar September 9 to discuss,
among other things, Article 98 and to correct inaccuracies in
the press. Tovar said that Costa Rica would never be party
to a politicized prosecution of a U.S. person, but it also
could not take any action that would "undermine" its
commitment to the ICC. He pointed out that even if the GOCR
were to sign an Article 98 agreement, the Legislative
Assembly would not ratify it and Costa Rica's Supreme Court
would find an Article 98 agreement to be unconstitutional.
Charge stressed the importance of finding a formula to ensure
that Costa Rica does not surrender a U.S. person to the ICC.

Comment


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




6. (C) The effects of ASPA and the Nethercutt Amendment are
beginning to be felt in Costa Rica. The Costa Rican Coast
Guard and police are not getting the training they have been
accustomed to receiving under our Bilateral Maritime
Agreement for Counternarcotics Cooperation, and it will
become increasingly difficult for the Coast Guard to repair
its ships without U.S. assistance. Costa Rica
counternarcotics capability undoubtedly will diminish over
time. Further, trade-capacity assistance for implementation
of the U.S.-Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade
Agreement (CAFTA-DR), to the extent it is funded with
Economic Support Funds (ESF), will also suffer. Nonetheless,
the loss of assistance and consequent increase in the flow of
illegal drugs through Costa Rican territory and waters is
unlikely to change any minds in the GOCR regarding Article 98.
FRISBIE