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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09MONTEVIDEO498 2009-08-27 19:14:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Montevideo
Cable title:  

URUGUAY: DAS MCMULLEN EXPLAINS U.S.-COLOMBIA

Tags:   PREL PGOV MARR MCAP MOTT UY 
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VZCZCXYZ0008
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DE RUEHMN #0498/01 2391914
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 271914Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9317
INFO RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 2689
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUMIAAA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L MONTEVIDEO 000498 

SIPDIS

FOR WHA/BSC

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR MCAP MOTT UY
SUBJECT: URUGUAY: DAS MCMULLEN EXPLAINS U.S.-COLOMBIA
DEFENSE COOPERATION AGREEMENT TO FM FERNANDEZ AND THE
URUGUAYAN MEDIA

Classified By: CDA ROBIN MATTHEWMAN, FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) & (D)

Summary
- - - -



1. (C) WHA DAS Chris McMullen visited Montevideo August 26 to
provide background and information on the U.S.-Colombia
Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) to Foreign Minister
Fernandez and to the Uruguayan public. Fernandez told him
that Uruguay would do what it could to ensure the success of
the August 28 UNASUR summit, defining success as the
avoidance of both Colombia's isolation and lasting harm to
the relationships of the heads of state attending. Fernandez
noted that most UNASUR members would be happy to lower the
profile of the DCA issue in the region. A draft declaration
(translation below) circulated to participating foreign
ministers by Argentine FM Taiana would do that by referring
discussion and analysis of the DCA and possibly other
military agreements to a working group within UNASUR's
Defense Council. McMullen's visit made a big media splash,
garnering a lot of attention for our main DCA-related points.
End Summary.

Upcoming UNASUR Meeting: Moderation Evident
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2. (C) McMullen began his meeting with FM Gonzalo Fernandez
by explaining the context and content of the U.S.-Colombia
Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA), with his explanation
making clear that the context is more important than the
content in this instance. Starting from the institutional
building blocks in the U.S.-Colombia military-to-military
relationship, such as the 1952 Mutual Defense Assistance
Agreement, McMullen walked Fernandez and Ambassador Elbio
Rosselli (Uruguay's Undersecretary for Political Affairs
equivalent) through to the present day.



3. (C) McMullen emphasized that the DCA would not lead to the
establishment of any U.S. base in Colombia, but rather grants
us formal access to several Colombian facilities; that those
facilities will remain completely under Colombian control;
and that both sides agree to respect the principle of
non-intervention in domestic affairs. He explained that, in
some respects, this agreement simply formalizes what has been
close cooperation for a number of years. He noted that the
most sensitive aspects of the DCA for Colombia were not the
issues making headlines in the region, but instead involved
matters such as the status of contractors and customs
treatment of imported items. McMullen also reminded
Fernandez that the tendency over the last decades in the
region is for a declining U.S. military presence. Finally,
McMullen asked that Uruguay help to broaden the August 28
UNASUR agenda from a sole focus on the DCA, in order to avoid
Colombia's isolation at the meeting.



4. (C) Fernandez explained that Uruguay initially had
numerous questions about the DCA, especially as the media and
others characterized the agreement as paving the way for U.S.
bases in Colombia. The August 6 visit to Montevideo by
Colombian President Uribe put those concerns to rest,
according to Fernandez, who said Uribe went into the same
sort of detail as McMullen in his meeting with President
Tabare Vazquez and Fernandez. Fernandez stressed that
Uruguay now understands that the DCA will not lead to U.S.
bases in Colombia. Still, Uruguay's longstanding policy of
opposing any foreign bases in Latin America will continue,
Fernandez cautioned, saying that Uruguay will support a
sentence in the UNASUR summit declaration specifying
opposition to foreign bases in the region. Here Fernandez
pulled McMullen aside to assure him that the proposed
declaration reference to "foreign bases" would apply equally
to all countries, and was not directed at the U.S.



5. (C) Fernandez assured McMullen that Uruguay would do its
best to make the Bariloche meeting a success, which he
defined as the avoidance of Colombia's isolation and the
avoidance of permanent damage to relations between the heads
of state present. Fernandez stated that he thinks the
meeting will go well, explaining his optimism by pointing out
that Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, and "even
Ecuador" have strong reasons of their own to want a
successful outcome. Fernandez then showed McMullen a fax
copy of an anodyne draft declaration being circulated for
comment by Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana. That
declaration has UNASUR heads of state kicking the DCA issue


to a new working group to be formed within UNASUR's Defense
Council, significantly lowering the issue's profile. Uruguay
will support the proposal, according to Fernandez, who added
that he had conversations with the foreign ministers of
Bolivia, Argentina, and Colombia, with each agreeing support.
(Note: McMullen passed a copy of the draft declaration
electronically August 26 to PDAS Kelly. An informal
translation follows in paragraph (8). End Note.)

But Concerns Remain
- - - - - - - - - -



6. (C) Rosselli warned that there still exists the
possibility that the August 28 meeting could go off the
rails, even with so many countries invested in its success.
Chavez will continue with his shrill anti-U.S. rhetoric,
Rosselli said, but that is expected. Rosselli told McMullen
that Brazil's tack is still uncertain, as that country has
legitimate concerns attendant with the DCA. For instance,
Rosselli said, the U.S. must consider how a strengthening of
Colombian military capabilities might trigger the unintended
result of directing a flood of Colombians, combatants and
non-combatants alike, into Brazil. Rosselli concluded by
saying the U.S. will have to calm Brazil in order to assure a
positive meeting result. McMullen explained that he had just
come from good meetings in Brazil, and that the U.S.
understands and respects Brazil's concerns.

Visit Draws Significant Media Attention
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7. (C) McMullen's visit became a major media event. In a
scheduled interview with leading-circulation daily El Pais
and during a press availability subsequent to his meeting
with Fernandez and attended by all major media present in
Montevideo, McMullen drove home his key messages. Those
messages were reported fairly faithfully, with particular
outlets adding whatever slant for which they are known
locally. McMullen was the story of the day, and a full
analysis of the visit's (likely considerable) public impact
is reported septel.

Informal Translation of Draft Declaration
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8. (SBU) The following is an informal translation of the
text of the draft declaration circulated to UNASUR foreign
ministers by Argentine FM Taiana. Begin text:

Bariloche Declaration on Measures of Mutual Confidence in
Military Cooperation Matters

The Chiefs of State and Government of the South American
Union of Nations (UNASUR) in the extraordinary meeting held
on August 28, 2009 in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina,

Reaffirming the principles established in the UNASUR
Constitutive Treaty signed on May 23, 2008 in Brasilia;

Reiterating the common objective of strengthening South
America as an area of peace, foundation for the integrated
development of our peoples and the preservation of our
natural resources;

Ratifying, in particular, the vocation of UNASUR to promote
dialogue and consensus in defense matters through the
promotion of measures of confidence and transparency;

Reiterating their strong determination to promote peace and
the peaceful solution of controversies, respecting the
sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of
states in an unrestrictive manner;

Decide:



1. To request the South American Defense Council of UNASUR,
in its capacity as consulting, cooperation and coordination
body in defense matters, to analyze and propose to the Chiefs
of State specific measures to promote confidence and
transparency in military cooperation and assistance matters
that should be observed by UNASUR members in the framework of
their national policies and agreements with extra-regional
countries.



2. To this end, they set up a working group in accordance


with the provisions of article 10 of the Council Regulations,
which is to make its recommendations and proposals within
sixty (60) days from the date of this declaration.

End Text.
Matthewman