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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09TEGUCIGALPA610
2009-07-17 18:18:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Tegucigalpa
Cable title:  

AMBASSADOR'S JULY 16 CONVERSATION WITH PRESIDENT

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  KDEM  HO 
pdf how-to read a cable
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DE RUEHTG #0610/01 1981818
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O 171818Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEGUCIGALPA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0154
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS IMMEDIATE 0723
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

RUMIAAA/USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL IMMEDIATE
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L TEGUCIGALPA 000610 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR A/S TOM SHANNON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/16/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM HO
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S JULY 16 CONVERSATION WITH PRESIDENT
ARIAS

REF: A. TEGUCIGALPA 596

B. TEGUCIGALPA 593

C. TEGUCIGALPA 516

Classified By: Ambassador Hugo Llorens for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (C) Summary: Arias stressed that substantive progress
needed to made during Saturday's talks in San Jose. Key
South American countries such as Argentina and Brazil were
not satisfied with progress thus far and were pressing SYG
Insulza to re-insert himself into the process. Pressure from
the OAS together with Zelaya's incendiary statements had put
Arias in a very difficult position. Arias said he was still
committed to the process, but positive progress this weekend
was critical if he were to continue to be a strong mediator.
The Ambassador reaffirmed U.S. support for the Arias process.
End Summary.



2. (U) Costa Rican President Oscar Arias called the
Ambassador July 16 to discuss preparations for the July 18
discussions to take place in San Jose between President
Zelaya and de facto regime President Micheletti on restoring
the constitutional order following the June 28 coup in
Honduras.



--------------------------


The Chavez Factor


--------------------------





3. (C) Arias noted his concern about Zelaya's recent populist
and inflammatory rhetoric, saying it was
complicating efforts to create a constructive atmosphere in
advance of the talks. However, Arias understood Zelaya's
predicament. Venezuela was not only providing Zelaya with a
plane but also paying for his expenses and likely paying
supporters in Honduras to keep up the protests. Chavez was
also playing an important role in keeping up Zelaya's morale
as the crisis wears on. (Comment: Arias evaluation is
consistent with embassy's evaluation of Chavez' continued
influence over Zelaya. End Comment.)



--------------------------


Embassy Support for Talks


--------------------------





4. (C) The Ambassador agreed that progress this weekend was
critical. He noted that despite limitations on contact with
regime officials, Embassy officials have been reaching out
to key players in the community and urging them to press the
de facto regime to be ready to engage in serious talks in San
Jose. In the past week we have reached out to key players
including National and Liberal Party leaders (including
presidential candidates Elvin Santos and Pepe Lobo). We are
also in close touch with former President Carlos Flores and
unofficial Micheletti advisor and commission member Arturo
Corrales and will continue our outreach with senior business
leaders and church officials.



5. (C) Arias reiterated his gratitude for U.S. support for
his mediation efforts and noted that our engagement was
important in order to soften Micheletti resistance to
Zelaya's return. He encouraged continued USG outreach to
regime members, noting in particular commission members
Carlos Lopez Contreras (de fact regime Foreign Minister),
Vilma Morales (former Chief Justice) and Mauricio Villeda
(Presidential candidate Santos' former stand-in). Arias
encouraged the Ambassador to note the desire of key South
American nations such as Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia to
take part in negotiating a solution. Micheletti's regime
would achieve far better terms under the Arias process than
it would if these countries enter negotiations.



6. (C) Arias noted he had followed the Ambassador's advice
to call Carlos Flores. Flores had been extremely
supportive and volunteered his good offices in helping to
bring about a settlement. Arias thought Flores and his
"criollo channel" would play a pivotal role in any solution.



--------------------------


Bottom Line for Next Round of Negotiations


--------------------------





7. (C) Arias said the goal for this weekend's negotiations

should be to convince the Micheletti regime to make the
political decision to allow Zelaya's conditional return and
reinstatement. In the absence of this political decision,
the minimum required to declare the talks successful would be
for both sides to discuss hypothetically what requirements
and conditions would be necessary for Zelaya's return. The
parties should, at a minimum, agree to discuss directly some
of the ideas that have been raised informally, such as
political amnesty, a national unity government, separation
the armed forces from presidential control and a truth
commission. Agreement on some of these issues could provide
a framework upon which to build and form a basis for
continuing discussions. Without substantive progress on
these issues, it would be difficult to sustain the mediation
effort.



8. (C) Arias and the Ambassador also discussed how to
guarantee any negotiated agreement. Many in Honduras fear
Zelaya would agree to substantial conditions to return to
power, but then not abide by them once he was back in office.
Arias said one option would be a verification mission,
perhaps created by an OAS resolution, that would comprise
eminent Hondurans and international luminaries. The mission
would be charged with monitoring compliance of the agreement
by all sides and would be empowered to take measures to
restore the constitutional order should violations occur.
The Ambassador agreed to provide Arias with some names of
respected Hondurans as potential candidates for the
verification mission.
LLORENS