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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07BEIRUT1165 2007-08-02 12:11:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Beirut
Cable title:  

LEBANON: RELIEF FOLLOWED BY DISMAY OVER MORATINOS'

Tags:   PREL PGOV KDEM LE SY SP 
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OO RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHLB #1165 2141211
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 021211Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8958
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 1407
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L BEIRUT 001165 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

NSC FOR ABRAMS/SINGH/MARCHESE/HARDING

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/02/2027
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM LE SY SP
SUBJECT: LEBANON: RELIEF FOLLOWED BY DISMAY OVER MORATINOS'
VISIT


Classified By: Jeffrey Feltman, Ambassador, per 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) During a meeting with the Ambassador on 7/31, PM
Siniora expressed relief that, in his view, Spanish Foreign
Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, who had visited Lebanon
earlier in the week, was finally waking up to the mischief
and havoc Syria was foisting onto Lebanon. He expressed
satisfaction at the tough message that Moratinos told him he
would deliver to the Syrians, which Siniora interpreted as
indication that the Spanish believe Syria to be somehow
complicit in the 6/24 attack on the Spanish UNIFIL
contingent. Separately, March 14 leaders Walid Jumblatt and
Samir Geagea, both of whom met Moratinos, expressed similar
delight in what they saw as surprising, stiffened Spanish
spine regarding Syrian misbehavior.



2. (C) On the margins of an 8/1 dinner, however, Mohamad
Chatah (Senior Advisor to PM Siniora) told the Ambassador
that Siniora's relief had turned to alarm after Moratinos,
back in Madrid, called Siniora to brief him on his Damascus
meetings. Moratinos had returned to his Syrian-apologist
usual form. Chatah had monitored the phone call and
described Moratinos as "thrilled, gushing" with his 45-minute
tete-a-tete with Syrian President Bashar al-Asad. Moratinos
told Siniora of "five promises," which Moratinos was
convinced Bashar would keep: support of an unspecified
initiative from Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to solve
Lebanon's political crisis, facilitation for Lebanon's
presidential elections, support for a National Unity
Government after elections, support for a new National Unity
cabinet program, and the establishment of normal diplomatic
relations after the presidential elections.



3. (C) As described by Chatah, Siniora found Moratinos'
embrace of the Syrian promises to be naive. Moratinos did
not seem to recognize that, in accepting Bashar's promises as
fact, he was inviting Syrian interference back into Lebanon.
He seemed to have extracted no promises about the Special
Tribunal for Lebanon, which did not seem to have even come
up. Moratinos did not have the details of what Syrian
support or facilitation would mean, and he could not explain
to Siniora what the so-called Berri initiative was. In
short, Syria once again fooled Moratinos, Siniora (according
to Chatah) concluded, with Syria able to claim victory
through Moratinos' engagement.



4. (C) Chatah described Siniora as particularly concerned
by Moratinos' references to what he called the
"Moratinos-Kouchner initiative," which Siniora believed to be
an attempt by Moratinos to attach himself to the French
Foreign Minister's ongoing diplomatic efforts. Chatah said
that this risked moving the French in counterproductive
directions, as Moratinos would be nudging them toward greater
interaction with Syria. Siniora did not want the French
efforts to be diluted with Spanish meddling, as (in Siniora's
view) Moratinos will be far more willing to compromise with
Damascus than will Paris. Responding to our question, Chatah
said that Siniora would be raising this concern with the
French when he meets with outgoing French Ambassador Bernard
Emie later on 8/2.
FELTMAN