Cablegate: Portugal's Role in the Community of Democracies


DE RUEHC #9737 0471836
P 161829Z FEB 07




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: 07 LISBON 217

1. (SBU) In response to reftel request, the following is
guidance on the Community of Democracies (CD), the role the
U.S. can play in shaping both the work of the GOP-led CD
Working Group "Regional and Interregional Cooperation for
Democratic Governance," and priorities for Portugal's
upcoming CD Presidency to begin at the end of the Bamako
Ministerial in November.

2. (SBU) U.S. Goals for Portugal's CD Chairmanship:
Although in the run-up to its fourth ministerial, the
Community of Democracies remains in the early stages of its
development and potential. Some international
organizations have stepped up interaction with the CD and
even begun concrete projects with considerable promise for
success, such as the Organization of American States-
African Union Democracy Bridge project. However, the U.S.
would like to see more such projects and the active support
of governments and organizations for such efforts. To that
end four CD working groups in various areas have been
created to promote and develop concrete initiatives in
between ministerial meetings. The U.S. expectation is that
Portugal's Presidency from November 2007 to November 2009
of the CD will strengthen and augment those efforts.

3. (SBU) The U.S. is also actively pressing for the UN
Democracy Caucus (UNDC - an outcome of the Warsaw CD
ministerial) to develop and pursue a common agenda across
all UN organizations. The UNDC should focus initially on
pressing for continued focus by the UN Democracy Fund
(UNDEF) on civil society, improvements in the grant making
process, and most importantly additional contributions by
member states to UNDEF. The UNDC could also strive to
promote democracy education initiatives through UNESCO,
while at the same time working to make the UN Human Rights
Council more effective and credible. As part of its
upcoming CD Presidency, the U.S. would urge Portugal as an
initial priority to concentrate on turning the UNDC into an
effective policy bloc of committed democracies, mirroring
the efforts and will of the Community of Democracies.

4. (SBU) Portugal as WG Leader: We urge Portugal to drive
the Working Group to develop and implement one or two
projects promoting regional or interregional cooperation.
Time is beginning to run short and this WG is already
behind the work of other CD WGs. Portugal's support of the
OAS-AU proposed Democracy Bridge, a concept first
recommended by the Americas regional group at the Santiago
CD Ministerial, is an example of how the CD can promote
concrete projects. We urge Portugal, as WG Chair, to
develop input into the OAS-AU Democracy Bridge project,
which is now expected to take place in July. We also urge
Portugal to include NGO participants in future WG meetings,
as the synergy resulting from governmental and civil
society policy and program development cooperation is a key
tenet of the Community of Democracies.

5. (SBU) Response to Ukraine's WG Proposals: Ukraine's
general work plan seems very general and lacks concrete,
"implementable" projects. Department would be curious to
learn what the 10 year work plan would involve and what the
deliverables would be. The suggestion to meet three times
this year to implement the work of the WG strikes us as too
few meetings to accomplish hard deliverables by Bamako in
early November. However, Kyiv's idea to support nascent
democratic habits seems like a concrete, achievable and
useful project. The suggestion on supporting nascent
democratic habits is a good idea, but the question in
return is: how? In particular, a conference targeted at
emerging democracies, perhaps held on the sidelines of the
CD ministerial in Bamako might be a useful event and
removes the possibility of Ukraine linking this event to
its attempts to host the next International Conference of
New or Restored Democracies (ICNRD). (Note: The
Government of Ukraine has announced its intention to host
the next ICNRD. The Department opposes any linkage between
the Community of Democracies and ICNRD, as the ICNRD has
universal membership, thus undermining pro-democracy
actions by including the efforts of those with no obvious
interest in advancing democracy. End Note.)

6. (SBU) Portugal as future CD and future EU President: As
President of the EU in the second half of this year,
Portugal could make increased European Commission
interaction and a public diplomacy effort to increase EU-
wide interest in the CD one of its Presidency goals. This
could jumpstart a potential focus in the upcoming
Portuguese CD Presidency to increase regional and
interregional cooperation and drum up greater interest in

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