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07SANTIAGO576 2007-04-09 19:12:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Santiago
Cable title:  

CHILEAN AMBASSADOR PREVIEWS FM FOXLEY'S CALL ON SECRETARY

Tags:   PGOV PREL CI 
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1.(U) Chilean Ambassador to the U.S., Mariano Fernandez, called on Ambassador Kelly April 5 to discuss Foreign Minister Foxley's visit next week to Washington, including his scheduled April 13 meeting with the Secretary. DCM, PAO and E/POL Counselor also sat in.



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Education, S&T a Priority for Foxley


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2. (C) Fernandez said Foxley wants the meeting with the Secretary to ""go beyond"" an exchange of views. The FonMin would likely propose an enhanced level of educational exchanges. He wanted to see more Chileans studying in the U.S., particularly at the graduate level, and with a focus on science and technology. Ambassador Kelly replied that the U.S. would welcome the opportunity to increase people-to-people exchanges. He noted that the Fulbright Program provided an excellent vehicle for such cooperation. (Note: Foxley will be accompanied to Washington by Ambassador Carlos Appelgren, Director of the MFA's North American Division. Post has arranged for Appelgren to meet with ECA DAS Tom Farrell, likely before Foxley's meeting with the
Secretary, to flesh out potential areas for cooperation.) Fernandez also observed that Chile was now preparing a study on the viability of nuclear energy generation in Chile and would welcome USG assistance in preparing its report.



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That 'Ol Bugaboo - IPR


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3. (C) Ambassador Kelly observed that science and technology were key to Chile's future. Monsanto, for example, was prepared to invest USD 5 million in transgenic soybean research. But, as Monsanto executives had told the Ambassador, they had to overcome their concerns about Chile's poor record on IPR protection, putting their investment at risk, despite GOC assurances. Fernandez replied that he believed the pharmaceutical patent issue was tied up with Plan Auge, Chile's national health plan. He was doing his best to convince the GOC to sit down with the pharmaceutical firms and find solutions. (Note: Fernandez was clearly favoring an industry-specific settlement based on Plan Auge vs. comprehensive IPR protection.) He said he was less concerned about piracy, which he said could be addressed through ""better policing."" Ambassador Kelly said the USG would continue to work this issue ""discreetly, but firmly.""



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Secretary's Visit with LatAm Ambassadors


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4. (C) Fernandez said Foxley was ""very pleased"" to be meeting with the Secretary on April 13, a visit that would build on the Secretary's ""very successful"" meeting at his embassy with the Latin American ambassadors. The Secretary's remarks to the ambassadors on the ongoing process of perfecting democracy, including in the U.S., had been very well-received. Fernandez also lauded A/S Shannon's role in developing an ongoing dialogue between the region and Washington. He remarked that the session with the Secretary had been carefully organized to address real issues - such as Haiti - and to ensure there were ""no polemics."" In that vein, the Venezuelan ambassador had been silent.



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Closure of VZ Opposition Station


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5. (C) Ambassador Kelly mentioned Washington's concerns over the imminent closure in Caracas of opposition television station RCTV. He would be discussing this freedom of the press matter - quietly - with key GOC officials, in the hope that President Bachelet might be convinced to raise it with Chavez, when she is in Caracas, April 16-17. (Note: The Ambassador will see Foxley the evening of April 6.) Fernandez agreed the issue was an important one and said he would discuss it with Deputy FonMin Van Kaveren later in the day.



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U.S. HDTV System Bid


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6. (SBU) The Ambassador told Fernandez of his advocacy efforts on behalf of ATSC, the U.S. version of HDTV. The Ambassador explained that the Chilean television industry favored the U.S. system, for its ease of function and adaptability. It would also be easier for Chilean consumers to access, giving ATSC a ""social justice value"" as well. Some within the GOC favored the European system, but newly appointed Transportation and Telecommunications Minister Cortazar has postponed a decision.



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U.S. FTAs with Peru and Colombia


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7. (C) Fernandez told the Ambassador that the MFA was almost done with the drafting of a letter from President Bachelet to key members of the U.S. Congress (including Senator Clinton and Speaker Pelosi) supporting congressional ratification of the FTAs with Peru and Colombia.



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Counter-Terrorism


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8. (C) The Ambassador advised Fernandez that FM Foxley had recently told him that Chile wanted to increase its level of cooperation with the U.S. on counter-terrorism. The Embassy, in coordination with Washington, had prepared a list of possible avenues for exploration. The Ambassador would provide the list to Foxley before he travels to Washington



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SOFA and PKO


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9. (C) Fernandez said he was worried about the possibility of entering into a SOFA with the U.S. The GOC's draft SOFA text, sent to the Chilean parliament in March, has ""no chance."" (Note: Two weeks ago, in an advisory opinion, the Chilean Supreme Court came to much the same conclusion - see reftel.) The Ambassador replied that the U.S. has SOFA agreements with many countries and would continue to work ""discreetly"" with the GOC on this issue.



10. (C) Fernandez concluded by stressing that Chile wants to be more actively involved in peace-keeping operations, so long as it is not asked to participate in PKOs in the Middle Jewish communities - though some date back multiple generations - are in a delicate socio-political balance. Ambassador Kelly asked if Afghanistan was included in that category. Fernandez said he thought so but repeated that Chile will be happy to contribute to operations in Latin America or Africa.

KELLY