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Cablegate: Ambassador and Interior Minister Review Security

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0726/01 1032110
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 132110Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7858
INFO RUEHGT/AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA 0180
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L BUENOS AIRES 000726

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

WHA/BSC FOR FRIEDMAN AND BLAKENEY
GUATEMALA FOR ALEX FEATHERSTONE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/13/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER SNAR PARM AR
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR AND INTERIOR MINISTER REVIEW SECURITY
AGENDA

REF: BUENOS AIRES 716

Classified By: AMBASSADOR E. ANTHONY WAYNE FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) and (D)

1. (C) SUMMARY. On April 13, Ambassador Wayne and Interior
Minister Anibal Fernandez met to review the broad range of
bilateral security cooperation. Ambassador noted success of
Operation ""Todo Inclusivo,"" a DEA-supported effort to target
cocaine trafficking out of Ezeiza airport and Fernandez
reported that the GoA will be unveiling a series of decrees
in the following week to enhance counternarcotics efforts.
The Ambassador noted the importance of showing concrete
progress in the fight against trafficking in person and the
Minister said he would work to get pending legislation passed
before he and First Lady Cristina Kirchner travel to the U.S.
in early May (reported septel). They discussed nuclear
terrorism training, airport security issues, and moving
forward with the stalled Megaports Initiative. END SUMMARY.

----------------------
Trafficking in Persons
----------------------

2. (C) On April 13, Ambassador held one of his regular
meeting with Minister of Interior Anibal Fernandez to review
our varied bilateral security agenda. The Ambassador noted
that the Department was in the process of preparing its
annual TIP report. He explained that Argentine Susana
Trimarco, recent recipient of the Secretary's International
Woman of Courage Award, had raised awareness of the TIP issue
in Argentina and that much attention was being focused on the
country. Ambassador stressed that it was important to
continue to show concrete progress and that progress would be
good before Argentine First Lady Cristina Kirchner and
Fernandez visited Washington on May 3-4. Fernandez noted
that, following last year's TIP report and Argentina's
downgrading to Tier II Watchlist, he had become personally
involved in the TIP issue, creating a special victims
attention unit in his Ministry. He said that he expected the
Lower House to complete deliberations on pending TIP
legislation soon, and said he would push to get the
legislation passed before he and the First Lady made their
planned trip to the U.S. in early May. (Additional TIP
reporting SEPTEL).

----------------
Counternarcotics
----------------

3. (C) Ambassador applauded a DEA-supported, Argentine
inter-agency effort (Operation ""Todo Inclusivo"") targeting
drug trafficking from Buenos Aires' Ezeiza international
airport to Spain. Although information is still being
compiled, the operation netted numerous arrests and cocaine
seizures and was a good example of Mission efforts to
encourage Argentine interagency cooperation, in this case
between Customs and Airport Police (PSA).

4. (SBU) Fernandez said that the government will unveil
eight counternarcotics presidential decrees (executive
orders) in the next week designed to strengthen
narcotrafficking investigations, better control the diversion
of precursor chemicals, establish and strengthen
investigative laboratories and establish a number of common
databases. Fernandez also said the government will announce
plans to establish two new drug testing labs in Misiones and
Salta Provinces and is close to completing a bilateral
counternarcotics agreement with Spain. He added that the MOI
is moving forward on a memorandum of understanding with the
Health Ministry that will draw on the latter's expertise to
study and test the quality of interdicted illegal drugs
before destroying them. The Ambassador applauded the
Minister for his continuing efforts to better coordinate
Argentina's four security forces' counternarcotics efforts.
The Minister indicated that the GoA would continue to
emphasize the importance of bilateral counterdrug
initiatives, and underscored that cooperation in these areas
has been outstanding. At the Ambassador's invitation,
Fernandez also indicated that representatives from the
Argentine Federal Police and the Gendarmeria would attend an
international drug enforcement conference in Madrid in May.

--------------------------------------------- ---
ATA Training, CT, Megaports and Airport Security
--------------------------------------------- ---

5. (C) On counterterrorism, Fernandez was again enthusiastic
about current and future bilateral cooperation. He said his
government would happily receive the Anti-Terrorism
Assistance (ATA) program team in late June or early July and
expressed gratitude for USG police training assistance. The
minister said he was also eager to meet with Tom Fuentes,
Agent In Charge, FBI Office of International Operations and
member of the Interpol Executive Committee, when Fuentes is
in town April 30th. The Ambassador encouraged the Minister
to send, along with Argentine security peronnel, members of
Argentina's national intelligence and nuclear regulatory
agencies to an FBI nuclear terrorism conference in June.
Fernandez indicated he would consider the suggestion.

6. (C) Fernandez also expressed GoA intentions to
collaborate on Megaports and aviation issues. The Ambassador
reiterated that the U.S. DOE is anxious to move forward on
Megaports cooperation. Fernandez said Argentine Customs will
take the lead on Megaports, and the MoI will play a
supporting role (see reftel for more details). He added that
the government just bought eight new mobile scanners to
improve Customs' inspection capabilities. Regarding airport
security, the Ambassador also thanked Fernandez for the GoA's
flexibility and understanding in extending PSA coverage for
inspecting baggage an extra 30 days while U.S. and other
carriers identified suitable private companies to perform
cargo and baggage screening. The Minister replied that he
was glad to help and noted that working with the Airport
Police Director Marcelo Sain, whom Fernandez characterized as
like ""an elephant on amphetamines in a bazaar,"" was very
difficult. Fernandez also said the GoA has approved USD40
million to invest in airport security this year.
WAYNE

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