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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07HAVANA904 2007-09-12 15:17:00 CONFIDENTIAL US Interests Section Havana
Cable title:  

PORTUGUESE AMBASSADOR ON UNGA TALKS WITH CUBANS

Tags:   PREL PGOV EU PO CU 
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1. (C) PORTUGUESE AMBASSADOR TO CUBA MARIO GODINHO DE MATOS
BRIEFED COM ON 11 SEPTEMBER ON WHAT HE KNOWS OF THE UPCOMING
PORTUGUESE/EU TALKS WITH THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT. THE EXACT
DATES FOR THE TALKS IN NEW YORK, ON THE MARGINS OF UNGA, HAVE
NOT YET BEEN SET, BUT THE TARGET IS FOR ONE DAY BETWEEN 24
AND 26 SEPTEMBER. GODINHO DE MATOS SAID CUBAN FM PEREZ ROQUE
WOULD LEAD THE CUBAN SIDE. THE EU DELEGATION, FUNCTIONING IN
THE "RESTRICTED TROIKA" FORMULA, WOULD BE LED BY THE
PORTUGUESE FOREIGN MINISTER AND WOULD INCLUDE (PROBABLY)
JAVIER SOLANA AND SOMEONE FROM THE COMMISSION STAFF OF
COMMISSIONER LOUIS MICHEL, POSSIBLY MICHEL HIMSELF.



2. (C) GODINHO DE MATOS TRACED HOW THE MEETING CAME TO BE
ARRANGED. HE SAID THAT IN THE WAKE OF THE JUNE POSITION
ANNOUNCED BY THE EUROPEAN UNION, INTER ALIA, INVITING THE
CUBANS TO COME TO BRUSSELS, THE CUBANS HAD COME BACK WITH
AMBIGUOUS SIGNALS, NEITHER ACCEPTING THE EU INVITE NOR
FORMALLY REJECTING IT. SO WHEN PORTUGAL TOOK OVER THE
PRESIDENCY IN JULY, GODINHO DE MATOS SAID HE HAD ASKED CUBAN
VICE FOREIGN MINISTER CABALLERO WHAT THE CUBAN INTENTIONS
WERE WITH REGARDS TO THE EU INVITE. GODINHO DE MATOS SAID HE
HAD TOLD CABALLERO THAT THE EU WAS IN NO HURRY; THE BALL WAS
IN THE CUBAN COURT. HE GOT A NON-ANSWER AT THE TIME.
HOWEVER, IN AUGUST, GODINHO DE MATOS SAID CABALLERO CAME BACK
TO HIM AND FLOATED THE IDEA OF MEETING IN NEW YORK ON THE
MARGINS OF THE UNGA, AND INDICATED AGREEMENT WITH THE
"RESTRICTED TROIKA" FORMULA.



3. (C) GODINHO DE MATOS SAID HE HAS AN APPOINTMENT TO SEE
CUBAN MINREX (MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS) EUROPE DIRECTOR
TERESITA VINCENTE ON 13 SEPTEMBER TO REVIEW THE ISSUE OF THE
AGENDA. THE EU HAS ALWAYS SAID THERE CAN BE NO PRECONDITIONS
ON ANY TALKS, AND HAVE INSISTED THAT THE FULL RANGE OF ISSUES
HAS TO BE ON THE TABLE. GODINHO DE MATOS SPECIFIED TO US
THAT MEANS HUMAN RIGHTS. HE NOTED, HOWEVER, THAT THE SPANISH
COOPERATION DIRECTOR'S UPCOMING VISIT TO CUBA HAS BEEN
ANNOUNCED PUBLICLY, WITH THE SPANISH STIPULATING IN THE PRESS
AT LEAST THAT THE COOPERATION TALKS WOULD NOT/NOT TOUCH ON
HUMAN RIGHTS. THE OTHER LIKELY ISSUE WITH THE EU WOULD BE
COOPERATION, BUT GODINHO DE MATOS DOUBTED THAT THERE WOULD BE
MORE THAN VERY LIMITED EXPLORATION OF FUTURE PROSPECTS IN
THAT REGARD.



4. (C) THE PORTUGUESE AMBASSADOR SPECULATED THAT THE NEW YORK
VENUE MAY BE THE CUBANS' WAY OF GETTING PAST THEIR DILEMMA OF
HOW TO RESPOND TO THE EU POSITION OF JUNE, INVITING THE
CUBANS TO BRUSSELS. TO HAVE GONE TO BRUSSELS COULD BE SEEN
BY THE CUBANS AS LOSING FACE, ESPECIALLY AFTER FIDEL'S
CONTEMPTUOUS PUBLIC COMMENTS ON THE EUROPEAN STANCE. GODINHO
DE MATOS SAID HE AND HIS EU COLLEAGUES IN BRUSSELS ARE
CONVINCED PEREZ ROQUE FEELS A NEED, FOR DOMESTIC POLITICAL
REASONS, TO DELIVER SOMETHING WITH THE EUROPEANS, BUT THE
CUBAN FM DOES NOT WANT TO DO IT ON EU TERMS. NEW YORK, FROM
THAT PERSPECTIVE, MIGHT BE SEEN AS NEUTRAL TURF.

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