VZCZCXRO1130 PP RUEHAG RUEHROV DE RUEHMD #2624/01 2900722 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 170722Z OCT 06 FM AMEMBASSY MADRID TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1051 INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 0267 RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST PRIORITY 1386 RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 0769 RUEHSF/AMEMBASSY SOFIA PRIORITY 0718 RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI PRIORITY 0044 RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA PRIORITY 2153 RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0225
1. (C) SUMMARY: Poloff met with MFA European Correspondent
Carlos Fernandez-Arias on October 13 to discuss Spain's
position in advance of the October 16 GAERC meeting.
Fernandez-Arias indicated that Spain was in complete
agreement on most topics with the United States, but he
singled out Kosovo as an area of disagreement both with the
U.S. and within the EU. On the Middle East, Spain differs by
degrees on the U.S. position and remains fixated on the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the main area of concern.
Fernandez-Arias also reported that the GAERC would be
discussing the Caucasus and in particular the relationship
between Georgia and Russia, which has prompted concerns in
Brussels and other European capitals. Lastly,
Fernandez-Arias told Emboff that Spain would support Turkey's
entry into the EU, provided that Turkey can meet the
conditions laid out for it. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) Fernandez-Arias stated that the EU is in full
agreement with the U.S. on Sudan. He said that more could be
done to approach the moderate Arab League states, which have
done nothing to date, and that Spain and the EU would be
approaching them. He said that more needed to be done with
China as well. The EU's position does not include a call for
an "experts" meeting although Javier Solana has asked for
that and it will probably happen.
3. (C) Fernandez-Arias stated that the U.S. request for
unity between the EU and the U.S. was impossible, since the
EU does not itself agree on its position. Spain does not
understand the need for urgency in Kosovo, and
Fernandez-Arias feels that UNSE Ahtisaari's insistence on
rapid resolution puts at risk the chances for a lasting
solution. He said, "Darfur is an emergency. Lebanon is an
emergency. Iran is an emergency. North Korea is an
emergency. Kosovo is not an emergency." He characterized
Ahtisaari as if he wished to be done with Kosovo and not be
around if it were to blow up a year later. In order to meet
the end of year deadline, Fernandez-Arias said it would be
necessary to "impose a solution" on Kosovo and its neighbors.
Such an imposition would, he warned, create a problem
between Serbia and Kosovo and possibly create yet another set
of eternal enemies in the region. Spain wants the solution
to be stable, lasting and achieved through consensus of all
parties, and the GOS feels that this will take additional
time. The GOS is also wary of what it sees as an impulse to
create micro-states of varying ethnicity in the region.
Lastly, he stated that is not just the position of Spain, but
that the French share these concerns, though they do not say
so publicly. (NOTE: Though Fernandez-Arias did not say so,
the Kosovo issue has particular saliency for Spain because of
the political sensitivities associated with national
minorities questions in the Basque and Catalan regions. END
4. (C) Spain agrees with the U.S. position on Serbia, but
Fernandez-Arias cautioned that the GOS favors keeping an door
open for Serbia and would seek to avoid Serbia's isolation
and possible further radicalization.
5. (SBU) Spain shares the U.S. view on Bosnia and sees it
as a positive example of how conflicts in the region can and
ought to be resolved.
6. (C) Spain agrees with most of the U.S. position.
Fernandez-Arias said that the international community must
support Israel, especially since the GOI is in turmoil after
the Lebanon war. The EU continues to call for the release of
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captured Israeli soldiers. He noted, however, that the EU
would recognize Israel's obligation to pay out customs and
tax moneys that it has been withholding. He said this could
be done through the Temporary International Mechanism to
avoid making those payments to a Hamas government. Spain's
position is that the financial ruin of the Palestinian
Authority will be bad for both Israel and the Palestinians in
the long run. He said that it was important also to work
with Abbas, who is in a difficult position.
7. (C) Fernandez-Arias said Spain agrees 100 percent with
the U.S. on Lebanon. He noted that Syria is in a difficult
position and that sooner or later it will be necessary to
engage with Syria. He said that Syria and Lebanon were not
the real problem; the real problem is between Israel and
Palestine, and working to solve that crisis is the most
important goal. He also noted that the EU invited PM Siniora
to attend the GAERC, but that he was unable to accept. The
EU will invite him to the November GAERC.
8. (C) On Iran, Fernandez-Arias agreed that the time has
come for the UNSC to act. However, he adhered to the "double
track" position of keeping a window open for negotiation,
although he acknowledge that this had yielded "nothing so
far." The situation calls for a "certain firmness."
9. (SBU) Fernandez-Arias said that work is underway in
Brussels on a consensus statement condemning the DPRK that
would incorporate the UNSC resolution.
10. (C) Fernandez-Arias offered the Georgia-Russia
relationship as an additional topic not covered by reftel.
He said that the EU would be preparing a consensus paper on
this calling on both sides to exercise restraint. The EU has
noted with alarm that Georgian citizens inside Russia have
been experiencing prejudicial treatment and xenophobic acts,
including difficulty in sending remittances out of the
11. (C) The EU heads of state have invited Putin to dine
with them in Helsinki in late October to discuss energy
security, but Fernandez-Arias said that this would be a good
chance to pass serious messages on this and other topics. He
expressed confidence that the Finns had experience with
Russia and could make them understand EU concerns.
12. (C) Conversely, Fernandez-Arias said it was important
for Georgian President Saakashvili to refrain from
antagonizing Russia, as if Russia were not a friend of the
U.S. and the EU. He said that the EU wants friendly
relations with both Georgia and Russia and intends to make
13. (C) Lastly, Poloff asked Fernandez-Arias about a
Turkish media report quoting Alberto Navarro, Spanish
Secretary of State for the European Union, as saying
"Turkey's accession into the European Union is a strategic
obligation." Fernandez-Arias said that Spain does support
Turkey's entry into the EU, provided that they meet the
conditions set out for membership, which they have not yet
done. He said the GOS feels that the Cyprus disagreement
will resolve itself in time and that Turkey will be able to
join, though there will likely be tension throughout the
process. Emboff asked if Spain was acting on Turkey's behalf
due to their special relationship as leaders of the Alliance
of Civilizations, and Fernandez-Arias replied that the
relationship goes back well before this. He also said that
Spain is generally in favor of EU expansion for the benefits
it provides to the joining states and the union as a whole.
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