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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08PORTOFSPAIN265
2008-06-17 17:42:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Port Of Spain
Cable title:  

T&T UPDATES USOAS AMBASSADOR ON 2009 SUMMIT OF THE

Tags:   ECIN  ECON  PREL  EAGR  KSUM  XM  TD 
pdf how-to read a cable
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RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHQU RUEHRD RUEHRG RUEHRS RUEHTM RUEHVC
DE RUEHSP #0265/01 1691742
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171742Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9226
INFO RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 PORT OF SPAIN 000265 

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR USOAS AND WHA/EPSC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECIN ECON PREL EAGR KSUM XM TD
SUBJECT: T&T UPDATES USOAS AMBASSADOR ON 2009 SUMMIT OF THE
AMERICAS PREPARATIONS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 PORT OF SPAIN 000265

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR USOAS AND WHA/EPSC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECIN ECON PREL EAGR KSUM XM TD
SUBJECT: T&T UPDATES USOAS AMBASSADOR ON 2009 SUMMIT OF THE
AMERICAS PREPARATIONS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PROTECT ACCORDINGLY


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: GOTT Ministers and the National Summit
Coordinator welcomed the visit of USOAS Ambassador Hector Morales to
consult on preparations for the Fifth Summit of the Americas, April
2009 in Port of Spain. T&T aims to unveil the initial draft Summit
declaration in mid-July, with text negotiations to start in
September. Logistical arrangements are also in train, including two
cruise ships to provide overflow accommodations. T&T will seek U.S.
assistance with Summit security, including air and sea coverage as
well as sweeps of the cruise ships. END SUMMARY.


2. (U) Hector Morales, U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of
American States (OAS), visited Trinidad May 19-20 to consult with
the GOTT on preparations for the Fifth Summit of the Americas (SOA),
which will take place April 17-19, 2009, in Port of Spain.
Ambassador Morales was accompanied by State/E Special Assistant Tom
Pierce. Ambassador Luis Alberto Rodriguez, the National Summit
Coordinator for Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), attended all substantive
meetings. Morales' meeting with Prime Minister Manning is reported
septel.

--------------
Foreign Minister sees prospects for consensus
--------------


3. (SBU) Foreign Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon opened her meeting with
Amb. Morales by noting that she had come away from the EU-Latin
American leaders' meeting in Lima feeling optimistic about the
prospects for achieving consensus on SOA themes, many of which were
also addressed in the EU meeting. She praised Peru for having "put
on a good show." On the other hand, the meeting had accomplished
less for the Caribbean than it could have, for example with respect
to bananas. While T&T had good side meetings, other Caribbean
countries were less active.


4. (SBU) Ambassador Morales said he was looking forward to the OAS
General Assembly in Medellin as an opportunity to build consensus.
Minister Gopee-Scoon turned to Ambassador Rodriguez to ask about the

status of preparations to circulate a draft SOA declaration at the
OASGA. Rodriguez explained that the draft document needed more
input from Joint Summit Working Group (JSWG) partner institutions,
and Ambassador Morales commented that it would be better to have the
data before finalizing the declaration.


5. (SBU) Ambassador Morales stressed that the US was committed to
the success of the SOA, which would undoubtedly be one of the first
trips abroad for the new U.S. President and would underscore
continuing bipartisan US commitment to the hemisphere. When the
Minister sought assurances that the new President would definitely
attend the SOA, Morales indicated that the new President would have
strong foreign policy incentives to do so.


6. (SBU) Ambassador Morales said that the themes of environment,
energy, social inclusion, security etc. were appropriate for the
entire continent and called for renewed emphasis by the 34
democratically elected leaders. Noting that food security and food
prices would undoubtedly be raised at the SOA, he cautioned against
overemphasizing the impact of corn-based ethanol on food prices. He
also stressed the need to ensure that well-intentioned environmental
initiatives do not undercut the competitiveness of the hemisphere.
Minister Gopee-Scoon replied that it would be important to balance
environmental, energy, and food security concerns, all of which were
inter-related.


7. (SBU) Given the challenge of getting 34 leaders to agree on
anything, Ambassador Luis Alberto Rodriguez said that a series of
SIRG meetings prior to the SOA would doubtless be required. The
Minister, by contrast, cited her experience at the EU meeting in
Lima as a basis for optimism that the SOA would achieve consensus on
these issues. Ambassador Rodriguez explained that many
unaccomplished mandates remained from previous SOAs. While T&T's
proposal to have a declaration of commitment was intended to break
the trend of proliferating mandates, it would be more challenging to
negotiate. Minister Gopee-Scoon countered that these were different
times and that OAS members should understand the need to work
together.


8. (SBU) Ambassador Morales, citing the numerous challenges
encountered at the Mar del Plata Summit, echoed the Minister's hope
that after that experience, SOA leaders will be more prepared than
in the past to work constructively toward consensus. It would be
important to have a practical approach to solving the various issues
raised at the next SOA, he said. Citing the recent food crisis in
Haiti, he said that the US and the OAS were acting collectively to
address the problem, and that he hoped this approach would prevail
during the next SOA. The Minister advised that T&T was about to
release US$7 million for Haiti from the CARICOM Petroleum Fund.
Ambassador Rodriguez said he had been very pleased with the

PORT OF SP 00000265 002 OF 003


cooperation he had received from the Department of State, and noted
that, although he was probably not as optimistic as the Foreign
Minister, he was confident that Trinidad and Tobago would rise to
the occasion and host a successful SOA.

-------------- --------------
National Security Minister praises US-TT cooperation
-------------- --------------


9. (SBU) Ambassador Austin accompanied Ambassador Morales to a
meeting with Minister of National Security Martin Joseph. Minister
Joseph expressed gratitude for the recent visits by USG energy
infrastructure security assessment teams and recalled strong U.S.
support for T&T's recent chairmanship of the Inter American
Committee Against Terrorism (OAS/CICTE), during which critical
infrastructure protection was first raised on that body's agenda.
Minister Joseph also praised T&T's partnership with the State of
Delaware for exceeded expectations, resulting in a number of
valuable military and law enforcement exchanges.


10. (SBU) Ambassador Morales commended T&T for including safety and
security as elements of the SOA theme. He also underscored the US
commitment to a successful SOA, noting that one administration was
laying the groundwork for the next during a time of political
transition. Stressing the importance of the social aspects of
security, such as health and education, Morales emphasized that the
security issue would require a hemispheric approach, including the
promotion of social alternatives to crime. The Minister noted that
the GOTT was offering such alternatives while also attempting to
stem the flow of drugs and firearms from the South American
mainland. He added that T&T would convene a meeting in mid-June of
regional military chiefs to discuss coordination of military assets
in the region, and he asked for U.S. support for that effort.


11. (SBU) Ambassador Luis Alberto Rodriguez said that he was in
constant contact with the U.S., especially due to the large size and
logistical footprint of the U.S. delegation. Minister Joseph asked,
half plaintively and half jokingly, if the new U.S. President might
consider adjusting the size of his contingent to fit the size of a
"small Caribbean island." Ambassador Rodriguez intervened to
explain that arrangements for a POTUS delegation included a fix
number of personnel, adding that T&T was good at finding creative
solutions to hosting international conferences and would bring off
the SOA with typical Trinidadian panache and flair. Ambassador
Austin asked that it be noted for the record that Trinidad had been
referred to as a "small Caribbean island," since he was frequently
joshed about the small size of his native St. Vincent.

--------------
Status of Summit Process
--------------


12. (SBU) In separate meetings at his own office, Ambassador
Rodriguez elaborated on substantive and logistical plans for the
Summit. In the interest of limiting the number of new mandates and
tying new mandates more closely to Summit themes, T&T is proposing
that Summit leaders issue a single "declaration of commitment"
document rather than a declaration plus a separate "plan of action"
document.


13. (SBU) Rodriguez, his deputy Beverly Khan, and T&T Secretariat
officer Tara-Lisa Persaud explained their effort to obtain
information and data from Joint Summit Working Group (JSWG) partner
institutions in areas relevant to SOA themes, using a reporting
template developed by CABEI. Morales voiced concern that countries
may not agree on which data and what baseline to use, particularly
in reference to Summit mandates, and he also sought clarification on
how the CABEI template would be used. Khan acknowledged that choice
of data and baselines would in fact be a point of discussion.
Rodriguez added that the exercise was not a comprehensive survey of
past Summit mandates; rather, the T&T National Secretariat was using
the CABEI template to collect information on what, if anything, the
JSWG partners were doing in areas relevant to SOA-5 themes and how
these efforts relate to past Summit mandates, if at all.


14. (SBU) Rodriguez emphasized that any new mandates would be
contained in the text of the declaration; there would be no matrix
attached to the declaration and no attempt to evaluate what
countries have and have not done to implement past mandates. With
respect to past Summit mandates, Khan noted that not many had
quantitative targets, but it would be necessary to consider whether
to retain or revisit any existing quantitative targets that relate
to SOA-5 themes. Persaud cited a past mandate linked to the first
Millennium Development Goal on poverty reduction, by way of
explaining the T&T National Secretariat's approach. While the
hemisphere was well on its way to meeting that goal based on
available data, Summit participants would need to consider how
rising food prices would affect that progress and what could be done
in response. Morales welcomed the explanation but also flagged

PORT OF SP 00000265 003 OF 003


Millennium Development Goals as a sensitive area for the U.S.


15. (SBU) On next steps, Rodriguez indicated that T&T aims to unveil
the initial draft Summit declaration at a brief Summit
Implementation Review Group (SIRG) meeting in Washington DC on/about
July 18. While he had hoped to do this at the OAS General Assembly
meeting in Medellin, JSWG partner institutions had missed target
dates to provide the information requested by T&T. Rodriguez
promised to share the draft declaration with the U.S. and a few
others in advance of the July SIRG, commenting that he would prefer
to get a considered reaction from the U.S. ahead of time rather than
hearing U.S. views for the first time in plenary. He also signaled
that he would look to the U.S. and Canada to help bring others
along, adding that he was also coordinating closely with Brasilia
and Santiago.


16. (SBU) Negotiations on text would begin at a SIRG meeting in
September, with subsequent SIRG meetings in late October and early
December. Barbados and Jamaica have each agreed to host a SIRG
meeting, with dates under discussion. T&T is also talking to
Bahamas about hosting one of these SIRG meetings.

--------------
Where to put all the people and planes?
--------------


17. (SBU) Rodriguez confirmed that the Summit will take place April
17-19. He had postponed announcing the dates pending conclusion of
contract negotiations for two cruise ships to house SOA delegations,
and those contracts had now been signed. While some U.S. aircraft
would have to be parked on nearby islands, Rodriguez promised that
rooms would be available for the entire U.S. delegation. The Summit
Secretariat is developing a formula for the President plus certain
number at the Hyatt Regency, with overflow at another hotel and on
board the cruise ships. Rodriguez offered assurances that
renovations at the Hilton would be completed by March, and he asked
that the U.S. work through T&T's National Secretariat for access to
all properties.


18. (SBU) On security preparations, Major Francis of the TT Defense
Force (seconded to the National Summit Secretariat) said that T&T
will be able to cover land, with some regional assistance, but will
need help with air capability and gaps in coverage of seas. Khan
conveyed that T&T will seek U.S. help with security sweeps of the
cruise ships, ideally to be started while vessels are en route from
their home ports in Miami and Puerto Rico.

--------------
Other Activities
--------------


19. (U) In a breakfast meeting with selected leaders of the American
Chamber of T&T, Ambassador Rodriguez discussed Summit themes, and
Ambassador Morales invited AmCham's input. AmCham president Raymond
Gatcliffe encouraged the two Ambassadors to use the AmCham's
upcoming Business Future of the Americas conference and regional
AmCham annual meeting as a sounding board for Summit issues.


20. (U) Ambassador Morales also paid a call on Chief of the Defense
Staff Brigadier General Edmund Dillon at Defense Force Headquarters
in Chaguaramas and took an aerial tour of Trinidad's energy sector,
courtesy of the Ministry of National Security and Ministry of
Energy.

AUSTIN