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Viewing cable 06MADRID779, SPAIN: AMBASSADOR,S MEETING WITH FM MORATINOS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MADRID779 2006-03-31 10:10 2011-02-02 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Madrid
VZCZCXRO8502
OO RUEHAG
DE RUEHMD #0779/01 0901026
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 311026Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9286
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 3884
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0919
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ PRIORITY 1174
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 5945
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA PRIORITY 1828
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0159
C C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 000779

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR EUR A/S FRIED AND DAS VOLKER; EUR/WE; NSC FOR JUDY
AINSLEY

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/30/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV SP UN
SUBJECT: SPAIN: AMBASSADOR,S MEETING WITH FM MORATINOS

REF: STATE 40904

MADRID 00000779 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Classified by Ambassador Eduardo Aguirre
for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)

Summary: (C) Spanish FM Moratinos told Ambassador Aguirre
that he cancelled his April trip to Damascus as a sign of
good faith with the US. He conveyed to the Ambassador
President Zapatero's personal thanks to him and the USG for
the Department,s statement on the ETA ceasefire. He said he
was working to make sure that Spanish Defense Minister Bono
turned off any plans to refurbish Libyan Chinooks and said he
was seeking agreement to send Spanish Guardia Civil and
police to Haiti, possibly with a contingent of Moroccan
counterparts, following the Spanish withdrawal of its
peacekeepers. Moratinos asked the Ambassador to consider
whether it would be possible or useful for the two of them to
stop in Washington and meet with Secretary Rice en route to
or from the US-Spain Council meetings in Tampa in mid-June.
The Ambassador also raised Latin America and NATO support for
the AMIS mission in Darfur, and touched on Haiti, Afghanistan
and the MFA,s invitation to discuss Western Sahara with
senior NEA officials. END SUMMARY

2. (C) Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told
Ambassador Aguirre he had decided to cancel his planned April
trip to Damascus as a sign of Spain,s desire to work with
the US, but said that he believed it was a mistake to
continue to isolate the Asad regime. Ambassador Aguirre
reviewed in detail US concerns regarding Syria (reftel),
emphasizing our multilateral approach, insistence on
fulfillment of UN Security Council resolutions and our close
cooperation with EU, which also has a unified policy toward
Syria. The Ambassador also made clear his and the USG,s
displeasure with press leaks about his discussions with
Moratinos and the Foreign Ministry during the period of
Moratinos, unannounced &technical stop" in Damascus earlier
this month.

3. (C) Raising the recent ETA ceasefire announcement,
Moratinos carried a personal message of thanks from President
Zapatero to the Ambassador and the USG for the approach the
Department spokesman had taken in response to questions about
the US position on the ceasefire. Moratinos said the
ceasefire offer is serious, even though there is a long road
ahead. The government believes that the signs are positive
on ending ETA violence but remains cautious and its public
statements will remain cautious. The Ambassador asked about
whether Zapatero might hold early elections as part of the
strategy of confirming his position in the ETA negotiations
(a rumor rampant in the PP). Moratinos said he had heard
from Zapatero personally that there would be no call for
early elections and no reason for them. Zapatero is
confident that he will win in the regularly scheduled
national elections in spring of 2008.

4. (C) On possible Spanish defense sales to Libya, Moratinos
said he understood our concerns and had spoken to Defense
Minister Bono; Moratinos believes that there will be nothing
further on the idea of refurbishing Libyan Chinook
helicopters.

5. (C) Moratinos affirmed his desire to work closely with the
US on Latin America. He said that Evo Morales gave Spanish
Deputy FM Bernardino Leon in La Paz recently a message for
the US: that Bolivian relations with the US were better than
he expected, he was seeking to fulfill requirements on coca
eradication, and sought US help in limiting damage to
Bolivian soybean exports to Colombia and others affected by
the Free Trade Agreement. Moratinos said Spain was working
hard with the Andean Community to counter Venezuelan
President Chavez, attempts to pull Bolivia away from that
fold. Ambassador Aguirre noted that increased Spanish
efforts to support Sumate in Venezuela would be welcome, and
that ending further ideas to continue with the aircraft sale
to Venezuela would also go a long way toward building US
confidence in our cooperative efforts. Moratinos replied
that the plane sale was dead; the Ambassador pointed to
continued news reports that discussions continued on
obtaining the technology from other countries following the
US denial of the technology transfer.

MADRID 00000779 002.2 OF 002



6. (C) Noting Moratinos,s own comments on the subject, the
Ambassador asked about plans to send Spanish Guardia Civil
and/or police to Haiti following the withdrawal of Spanish
troops. Moratinos said that he was working to get some 50-60
Guardia Civil and Spanish National Police officers to Haiti,
in addition to 40-50 Moroccan counterparts (not further
identified), but that neither contingent was yet confirmed.

7. (C) The Ambassador broached rumors that Spain might
augment its troop presence in Afghanistan. Moratinos said
that, again, there was nothing definite yet, but he was
seeking to convince DefMin Bono on the need to send some 100
more troops to assist the Spanish PRT in Western Afghanistan
and to provide the PRT with additional support capabilities.

8. (C) The Ambassador raised NATO,s efforts to support the
AMIS operation in Darfur, in response to reports that the
Spanish PermRep had posed difficulties as the NAC approved
its tasking to the Military Committee on this issue.
Moratinos was not briefed on the issue and said he would
investigate right away. Ambassador Aguirre emphasized that
he would prefer to see Spain as a catalyst for positive
support on this and other NATO issues, not as a source of
obstacles.

9. (C) In a related discussion, Ambassador Aguirre noted that
Spain,s new emphasis on development aid and other support to
Africa might provide opportunities for US-Spain cooperation;
Moratinos expressed interest in exploring ways the US and
Spain could work together. He said in addition to
development support, Spain was sending 150 peacekeepers to
support peacekeeping in Congo.

10. (C) Ambassador Aguirre told Moratinos that he thought it
unlikely that NEA A/S Welch would visit Madrid soon to
discuss Western Sahara, as Madrid had requested, because the
timing did not seem right. Expressing his disappointment,
Moratinos said that while the Moroccans likely would not
develop their autonomy plan for another 6-9 months, it made
sense for the US, Spain and others to strategize in advance.
There would be no need for publicity on the discussions,
Moratinos added.

11. (C) At the close of the meeting, Moratinos noted that he
likely would run into Secretary Rice at the NAC Foreign
Minister,s meeting in Sofia, and wondered whether there was
any news on his invitation for her to visit Madrid sometime
in the future. The Ambassador replied that he had nothing
new on the subject but added that actions such as Moratinos,
stop on Damascus and other such distractions were not helpful
in making the case. Moratinos asked whether every
distraction would bring Spain, an ally, back to the starting
point of two years ago. The Ambassador said that Spain and
the US were good allies, but given the difficult times we
have gone through over the past two years, which we and Spain
were trying to overcome, irritantsQe and small become
very important as the relationshiQs to mend iQ.
Moratinos said frankly that a visit by the Secretary would
help his credibility as he worked against steps taken by
DefMin Bono such as the Venezuela arms sales.

12. (C) Moratinos asked whether he and the Ambassador should
stop in Washington en route to or during their return from
US-Spain Council meetings in Florida in mid-June and possibly
meet with the Secretary. Ambassador Aguirre undertook to
pass this suggestion back to Washington, saying he did not
know where the Secretary would be at this time (the time
frame in question is June 15-19). Moratinos said that he
would like to visit the US more often to meet with key
interlocutors in Congress, including the Hispanic Caucus, as
well as think tanks and the US administration, but could not
do so without having a meeting at some point there with
Secretary Rice. (Note: Moratinos last met with Secretary

SIPDIS
Rice in Washington on May 3, 2005).
AGUIRRE