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06MADRID1564 2006-06-16 13:57:00 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Madrid
Cable title:  

SPAIN ON IRAN, SYRIA, HAMAS, NATO, WESTERN SAHARA,

Tags:   PREL NATO SP AF VZ IR IZ WI IS MO GG RS 
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1. (C/NF) SUMMARY: During meetings at MFA, MOD, and the
presidency on June 1, top GOS policymakers told EUR PDAS Kurt
Volker and NEA DAS Scott Carpenter that Spain strongly
supports the recent US announcement on Iran and will continue
its significant commitment to Afghanistan. They said that
the GOS supports the international consensus on Syria, but
also believes that Spain needs to keep lines of communication
open with the Syrian government and they did not rule out
future visits. The GOS supports a proposed humanitarian
measure for Palestinians, and is already directing its
bilateral aid through the Presidency, but worries that Hamas
is being isolated. On NATO, the GOS isn't sure that now is
the time for Intensified Dialogue for Georgia, but supports
building additional support for the NATO Response Force. The
GOS would consider requests from Iraq for additional training
through the NATO Training Mission-Iraq. The GOS said that it
will continue on its own course in dealing with Venezuela.
The GOS is concerned about stagnation in Western Sahara, and
again invites the US to work more closely with it to restart
negotiations. MFA officials were also grateful for Volker,s
ideas for the OSCE on dealing with aggressive Russian
proposals that whittle down the OSCE,s human rights and
elections monitoring capabilities. END SUMMARY.

2.(U) EUR PDAS Kurt Volker and NEA DAS Scott Carpenter met on
June 1 with National Security Adviser Carles Casajuana, MFA
Policy Director Rafael Dezcallar, MOD Policy Director
Francisco Torrente, MFA DG for Europe and North America Jose
Maria Pons, and MFA DG for Middle East and Africa Alvaro
Iranzo. They shared a working lunch with foreign affairs
analysts and pundits at the Royal Elcano Institute, and gave
an interview to a newspaper writer who attended the lunch.
The DCM hosted a dinner for Volker and Carpenter with a group
of current and former government officials and
parliamentarians.

-- IRAN --



3. (C/NF) Volker thanked the GOS for its public statements on
Iran and Iraq, emphasizing the importance of international
unity on these issues. Casajuana said that the GOS is
extremely happy with the new US policy on Iran, because it
forces Iran to focus on the substance of negotiations. He
was reluctant to predict the Iranian reaction, but said that
his previous experience with the Iranian government was that
it typically makes last minute decisions and is likely to
send mixed signals till the end. Casajuana said that Spain
fully supports the EU-3 and predicted that at some point the
UN Security Council would have to take action against Iran.
He also acknowledged that at times it is useful for the US
and the international community to make tough statements.
Dezcallar noted that, in addition to talking about Iran with
his EU-3 counterparts, he also talks with countries like
India, South Africa, and Brazil, which he said are an
important part of the international consensus on Iran. He
underscored that Spain is playing a helpful role in building
consensus, and that the GOS "understands its place."


-- IRAQ --



4. (C/NF) Casajuana said that the GOS wants to see a stable,
prosperous Iraq. Spain will continue to contribute to that
effort, but without sending troops. Volker noted Spain's 150
million euro contribution to Afghanistan's reconstruction and
development and encouraged consideration of a similar sign of
support for the new Iraqi government. Dezcallar detailed
Spain's current contributions to Iraq, including financial
assistance, participation in the EU mission in Baghdad, and
NATO Training Mission Iraq (NTM-I) training for Iraqi
security forces both in Spain and in cooperation with
Germany. Torrente said that the GOS would consider
possibilities for additional support for Iraq through NTM-I
(ref A). He said that demining training courses for Iraqi
security forces were successful, but that the Iraqi
government has asked Spain to consider different training
areas because several of the deminers quit after their
training. Torrente said that Iraq has requested courses that
would teach mid- and upper-level military officers how to
work with civilian leaders in MOD, MFA, and defense
industries. Torrente said that with a clear request from
Iraq on what it wants, Spain would be willing to consider any
option.

MADRID 00001564 002 OF 005



-- AFGHANISTAN --



5. (C/NF) All the GOS leaders emphasized to Volker and
Carpenter that the GOS is committed to Afghanistan, both
militarily and financially. Casajuana noted the difficult
security situation and said that as it continues to worsen,
it would become increasingly difficult for Spain to do
anything new, although the Spanish parliament had just
approved an increase in the troop level from 550 to 700
soldiers. He explained that all these troops were needed in
the field, and therefore Spain would not be able to
contribute to the headquarters force. Casajuana also said
that while the GOS supports increased efficiency and
cooperation between ISAF and OEF, it carefully avoids talk
about merging the two operations because this causes public
support for Spanish participation to drop. Torrente told
Volker that the Spanish military will be in Afghanistan until
the job is done, adding that the job should be done as
quickly as possible. He noted that, in addition to adding
troops, Spain is sending another plane to support
intratheater movements, and may move its plane out of Manas
airfield, which he said is logistically inconvenient.

-- PALESTINE/HAMAS --



6. (C/NF) Carpenter explained that he was just in Brussels
discussing the proposed Temporary International Mechanism
(TIM) with Christian Leffler, the European Commission
pointman on Palestine issues (ref B). He said that Leffler
is moving quickly on a plan that is consistent with the USG
position to help as many Palestinians as possible as quickly
as possible. He stressed, per ref C demarche, that it will
be important to manage expectations for the TIM so that
everyone understands that the TIM is not a comprehensive
solution and that the Palestinian Authority government - not
the international community - has created the current crisis
and can solve it by accepting the Quartet principles.
Casajuana said that he is uncomfortable with the idea that
Hamas, which won the election, has no partner to talk to, but
called the TIM a good possibility. He said that while it is
important to keep pressure on Hamas, it is also important to
send the message of need for change in a way that does not
play into the terrorists' hands. The TIM could address this
issue by showing that the international community is not
abandoning the Palestinian people. Iranzo said that Spain
already directs its bilateral assistance to President Abbas
rather than the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority
government. Iranzo noted that the salary issue would have to
be addressed at some point, because "you can't have doctors
unless someone pays their salaries." Dezcallar said that it
would be important to build broad support, including Israel,
for the TIM. Dezcallar also emphasized the need for dialogue
between Israel and President Abbas.



7. (C/NF) Carpenter and Dezcallar also discussed President
Abbas's recent announcement of a referendum and its potential
to change the political dynamic in the territories.
Dezcallar called Abbas's referendum plan "the first
imaginative move of his political life." Iranzo said that
the plan shows that Abbas is regaining some authority and
that the international community, including Israel, should do
all it can to support him because he is the best partner for
the future. He also mentioned that Israel has encouraged
Foreign Minister Moratinos to stay involved in Palestine
related discussions.

-- SYRIA --



8. (C/NF) Carpenter and Volker both stressed USG concern
regarding Spain's official contacts with Syria. They
reminded GOS officials that the international community has
agreed to isolate the Syrian government until it takes
certain steps, and thus there should be no ministerial
contact. They pointed out Syria's interference in Lebanon,
support for Hamas, and failure to control the Iraqi border,
among other current problems. Carpenter said that Syria is
always looking for signs that it can break out of its
isolation without changing, and therefore cannot be permitted
any meeting that it could exploit as daylight between the
members of the international community. Casajuana said that
he understood the message, that Spain would not stray from
the consensus, and that there should be no daylight in
positions on Syria. He said, however, that FM Moratinos has
special links to Syria and the GOS continues to see utility
in keeping open a line of communication, which has been
useful, he claimed, "even to the French."



9. (C/NF) Dezcallar said that the EU has made no decision on
the appropriate level of contact with Syria, and said that

MADRID 00001564 003 OF 005


Syria needs incentives as well as pressure. He worried that
there are no good alternatives to Bashar Assad and that Iran
is reaching out to Syria, so the international community
shouldn't push too hard without giving Syria some breathing
space. Iranzo called for "constructive engagement without
affecting the overall international pressure." Carpenter said
that Syrian moves toward Iran would be Syria's own choice,
rather than the result of external pressure. He reminded
Dezcallar that Syria is quick to publicize international
contacts and is always trying to open new channels of
diplomacy and communication. Dezcallar replied that while he
doesn't expect many high level visits, he can't understand
why the US overreacts to such things. He said that Spain is
helpful to the US on issues like the CIA planes, and deserves
respect in return. PolCouns reminded Dezcallar that it was
not the US that had put into the press the US-Spain
disagreement on Moratinos' recent stopover in Damascus.
Dezcallar said that while he doesn't expect another such
visit for a long time, Spain thought that the previous visit
was well-timed.

-- OSCE/RUSSIA --



10. (C/NF) Volker explained the USG concept that the OSCE
needs to focus on Russia. He said that Russia has been
advocating certain "reforms" to reframe the debate, and that
democratic countries need to push back with their own
reforms. Volker explained that with all of the problems in
Russia at the moment, it is time to be more frank. The
overall message would be that while Russia is working well
with the international community on some issues (e.g., Iran)
it needs to address some of the international community's
growing concerns about its internal problems and the problems
that it is creating for its neighbors. Volker shared these
views in detail with MFA DG for North America and Europe,
Jose Pons, who also covers OSCE issues, and Jose Lopez
Jorrin, who will serve as primary coordinator for Spain's
OSCE Chairmanship-in-office and will represent Spain on these
issues on behalf of FM Moratinos. Pons expressed
appreciation for Volker's ideas and looks forward to our more
detailed strategy when it is available. Pons said the GOS
was concerned about approaches that would put Spain in a
difficult position as Chairman-in-Office in any
confrontational efforts toward Russia, but said that the US
ideas as Volker presented them could be very helpful in
because they represented a positive agenda rather than a
confrontational one.

-- NATO --



11. (C/NF) On NATO issues, Volker told all interlocutors that
major issues to consider in the run up to the defense
ministerial and the Riga Summit would be partnership,
training, the NATO Reaction Force (NRF), and the need for
strategic airlift capacity. Volker emphasized the importance
of supporting the NRF, explaining that the US had just made a
substantial contribution and hoped the allies would make
significant pledges as well. Torrente talked about the need
for broader and deeper support of the NRF by countries other
than Spain, which he said is the biggest troop contributor
(ref D). Dezcallar said that Spain is anxious to talk about
common funding of NATO operations, particularly given costs
it has born in association with NRF activities. He said that
the GOS supports US ideas on Global Partnership, but that the
regional partnerships need to retain their individuality.
Dezcallar said that it may be time to consider Serbia for
Partnership for Peace, as a way to bolster the worsening
political situation there. On caveats, Torrente said that
Spain has only one, but then pointed out that Spain would be
have to study the possibility that the ISAF commander would
be able to move Spain's Quick Reaction Force (QRF). Torrente
said that the entire QRF are needed to protect the four PRTs
in their zone. Torrente said that Spain would support a
slow, careful transition from Phase 3 ops to Phase 4 in
Afghanistan. On the question of strategic airlift, Torrente
noted Spain's past airlift problems, including the crash of a
leased plane that killed Spanish troops returning from
Afghanistan and the huge cost of airlift to take Spanish
troops into Pakistan for the recent NRF relief mission.
However, he said that with USD 30 billion in current
infrastructure programs, it would be hard for Spain to find
funds to buy into such a program. He also noted that the
A400-M program would complicate the issue for all the
Europeans.



12. (C/NF) Volker also told them that it is time for Georgia
to begin an Intensified Dialog with NATO. He said that this
step would be reassuring to Georgian democrats, and pointed
out that because the EU can't do anything for Georgia, this
NATO step would be particularly important. Dezcallar said

MADRID 00001564 004 OF 005


that Spain agrees that Georgia should begin Intensified
Dialogue, but worried that Georgia may not yet be advanced
enough so it is a question of timing. Nonetheless, if the
determination is made that Georgia is ready, the GOS wouldn't
let Russia stand in the way of granting ID.

-- VENEZUELA --



13. (C/NF) Dezcallar said that the US overreacted to Spanish
sale of ships and planes to Venezuela, saying that Spain has
balanced the deal with pro-democracy activities like meetings
with opposition. He said that the Venezuelan opposition has
not complained to Spain about the defense sale. He said that
Spain continues to coordinate with Venezuela's neighbors,
like Brazil and Colombia, on how to deal with Chavez.
Dezcallar said that Chavez is his own worst enemy, as the
local reaction to his interference in elections in Peru and
Mexico showed. He said that no one pays attention to
Chavez's rhetoric, and claimed that Chavez "has no stomach
for dictatorship" which isn't "the Venezuelan way." He said
that we need to focus on building democratic alternatives to
Chavez, but this is difficult as long as oil is above USD
50/barrel. Dezcallar said that Spain's redlines in Venezuela
are (1) intervention in foreign countries and (2) protection
of political and economic freedom. Volker noted that Chavez
has been both intimidating the little opposition that exists
in Venezuela and interfering in neighboring countries.
Dezcallar said that while Chavez clearly controls the levers
of powers, he has not yet taken steps to actually disband
other sources of power. He admitted that the GOS doesn't
have a clear idea about how to address Venezuela, but
disagreed with Volker's suggestion to coordinate more closely
on Venezuela, saying that a division of labor is better.

-- BMENA and ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS --



14. (C/NF) Carpenter thanked the GOS for participating in
BMENA and explained the status of the Forum and Foundation.
Iranzo said that Spain likes the fact that BMENA is broad
enough to include all of the Arab world. He said that Spain
can contribute substance as well as financial assistance via
its clout and knowledge of the Arab world's "hidden forces."
Iranzo asked whether a Spaniard had been included in the
proposed board slate for the Foundation. He said that Spain
would be glad to be invited to upcoming meetings in Sanaa and
the Dead Sea. On the question of locating the Foundation
headquarters in Qatar, Iranzo called Qatar too rich and too
close to Hamas, and suggested that Qatar would be a difficult
physical location. Carpenter noted that the Italians had
tried to insert an Alliance of Civilizations like concept
into BMENA, but that the US had resisted, wanting to wait to
see how the Alliance develops, so that BMENA doesn't
duplicate work that the Alliance will do. Dezcallar
suggested dialogue between the US and EU on a possible
religious freedom resolution at the UN. He said that EU
members had all voted against last year's version, but
agreement might be possible at this year's UNGA.




15. (C/NF) Dezcallar expressed his thanks for USG support of
the Alliance of Civilizations. He talked about his recent
discussions with countries like Indonesia, Philippines, and
Australia that are also supportive, and noted that the recent
GAERC had endorsed the Alliance's call for dialogue.
Dezcallar's deputy Felix Costales said that he had just
returned from a positive Alliance meeting in Dakar and said
that the Alliance of Civilizations isn't a crisis management
forum, it is showing usefulness in addressing crisis-related
issues. He said that the Alliance is addressing many of the
issues that the Secretary had identified in her letter to FM
Moratinos. Volker asked about possible references to Iraq
and Afghanistan in a Alliance of Civilizations' High Level
Group draft paper. Costales said that the initial draft
might include some historical references, but that there
wouldn't be anything on those issues in the final statement.
Dezcallar and Volker agreed that the Alliance of
Civilizations should not get pulled off track into immediate
political concerns.

-- WESTERN SAHARA --



16. (C/NF) Iranzo told Carpenter that Spain is concerned
about stagnation in Western Sahara. The last UNSC resolution
was useless, because the parties vetoed all the substance.
He said that UN special envoy Peter van Walsum was a positive
force, but that his frankness has alienated the Polisario.
Iranzo said that Walsum plans to tour the region starting on
June 6. The GOS will provide logistical support and see how
he is received. Iranzo acknowledged that any mediator is
better than none, and it would be better for Walsum to

MADRID 00001564 005 OF 005


continue, if possible, than to have to wait while the UNSYG
selected a replacement. Iranzo said that UN involvement is
important both because it contains the present situation by
preventing either side from taking serious action, and also
keeps focus on the ultimate resolution of the issue.
Nonetheless, the parties have to understand that the UN can
only create the conditions for a solution rather than the
solution itself, and they must negotiate. Furthermore,
Morocco needs to produce a convincing alternative, not just
reject the Baker plan. Iranzo said that both parties need to
be convinced that stagnation is not acceptable, and should
understand that Spain is pushing dialogue, not blaming or
taking sides. He suggested that the US, UK, and Spain
convene a meeting (at a higher level than the current
meetings in NY) to review the results of the Walsum trip and
plan strategy for the next few months. Iranzo said that the
French should not be included because they are too biased
towards Morocco. Carpenter explained that Washington is not
necessarily ready to get involved, but agrees that we need to
keep pressure on Morocco to produce an alternative.



17. (U) NEA DAS Scott Carpenter cleared this cable.
AGUIRRE