|08LAPAZ1824||2008-08-27 22:17:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy La Paz|
1. (U) Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca announced August
26 that Bolivian President Evo Morales plans to visit Libya
August 30 and 31 and Iran September 1 and 2 (anticipated in
reftel a). "We have various (bilateral) projects (under
consideration with both countries) and we want make our
relations with Libya and Iran closer."
2. (U) Leading radio news network FIDES concluded that the
trip is a sign the Bolivian Government is moving away from
the United States and referred to the June 9 protest at the
Embassy by pro-government groups to underscore the point.
Bolivia entered into diplomatic relations with Iran September
11, 2007 (ref c) and with Libya August 13 (ref a). Bolivia
has not exchanged Ambassadors with either country and the
Bolivian Congress has not ratified the establishment of
relations with Libya. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
paid a short visit to La Paz in September, 2007, signing
agreements (not yet executed) worth $1.1. billion.
Alaskan Pit Stop Before UNGA
3. (U) Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca also announced
Morales would travel to Alaska in a separate trip September
22 to meet with indigenous and social groups. Choquehuanca
said indigenous leaders in Alaska "consider him as their
president," and that they wanted Morales to represent them as
their "spokesman" at the opening session of the UN General
Assembly. Choquehuanca said Morales would address UNGA
4. (C) When asked about Bolivia's UNGA delegation August 25,
Bolivian Director of Bilateral Affairs, Jean Paul Guevara,
said Bolivia still had not decided who would be on its UNGA
delegation. Guevara said Morales would likely attend, but
offered no comment beyond "we'll consider it" when asked
whether Morales, if he attends, would seek meetings on the
margins with U.S. officials, such as WHA A/S Tom Shannon.