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Cablegate: Argentina: Foreign Minister Taiana On

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0864/01 1231155
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 031155Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8037
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION IMMEDIATE 6142
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA IMMEDIATE 6005
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS IMMEDIATE 1226
RUEHGT/AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA IMMEDIATE 0221
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAY 4624
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO IMMEDIATE 1364
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO IMMEDIATE 6415
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO IMMEDIATE 0392
RUEHVL/AMEMBASSY VILNIUS IMMEDIATE 0056
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L BUENOS AIRES 000864

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

EMBASSY VILNIUS FOR THOMAS P. KELLY
EMBASSY GUATEMALA FOR ALEX FEATHERSTONE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/03/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL AR MX BR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: FOREIGN MINISTER TAIANA ON
ARGENTINA-MEXICO RELATIONS, KIRCHNER-LULA MEETING

REF: BUENOS AIRES 00855

Classified By: Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne for Reasons 1.4
(b) and (d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: On April 30, Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana
briefed Ambassador Wayne on his recent trip to, and Argentine
relations with, Mexico, as well as President Kirchner's
meeting with Brazilian President Lula Ignacio da Silva.
Taiana, who accompanied First Lady Cristina Kirchner to
Mexico City, said that relations with Mexico are better than
ever, with trade increasing 400 percent in the last six
years. He also said that the meeting between Kirchner and
Lula was positive, with both leaders spending several hours
alone talking. Taiana expressed concerns over the
polarization of debate over biofuels and fossil fuels. END
SUMMARY.

2. (C) On April 30, Ambassador Wayne and poloffs called on
Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana to discuss some key points that
might be raised during First Lady Senator Cristina Fernandez
de Kirchner's May 3-4 trip to Washington. The Ambassador
highlighted the importance of supporting press freedom in
Venezuela and raised the RCTV case; underscored USG concern
over growing Venezuelan-Iranian ties; noted FBI's Interpol
representative Tom Fuentes' visit to Buenos Aires and asked
about next steps in the AMIA case; urged passage of
counterterrorism finance legislation as the next step in
Argentina's efforts to combat terrorism; urge passage of
anti-trafficking in persons (TIP) legislation; encouraged
eventual Congressional approval of this week's UNITAS
exercise; and asked about the status of MFA translation of
the Civair accord (REFTEL). Also in attendance from the
Foreign Ministry was U/S for Political Affairs Vicente
Espeche Gil.

---------------------------
First Lady's Trip to Mexico
---------------------------

3. (C) Taiana offered little comment on most points, but
offered his impressions of his trip with First Lady Cristina
Fernandez de Kirchner to Mexico. Taiana said that President
Kirchner has a good relationship with Mexican President
Felipe Calderon, which is an improvement on relations with
his predecessor Vicente Fox. He indicated that Calderon
"does not want NAFTA to separate Mexico from the rest of
Latin America." Taiana also added that the value of the
Argentine-Mexican commercial relationship has increased 400
percent between 2000 and 2006, mostly due to Argentina's
increased exports of auto parts and cars to Mexico. He said
that Mexican investment in Argentina is very important,
citing CTI telephone, FEMSA (a coca-coal distribution
company), and Bimbo bread companies as major investors.
Taiana explained that when CTI owner Carlos Slim invested in
Argentina, he had one million subscribers; he now has over
ten million customers. Taiana said that Argentine firm
Techint, an oil production equipment producer, is also an
important investor in Mexico. Taiana said that he thought
Argentina ad Mexico could fruitfully develop the "strategic
partnership" that their officials have been exploring.

-------------
Energy Summit
-------------

4. (C) Turning to a discussion of the April energy summit
in Venezuela, Taiana expressed concern over what he called
the polarization of debate over biofuels and fossil fuels.
He said that Argentina is mostly interested in its own
market, where gas production has increased while other energy
sectors have not. He said that Argentine reliance on natural
gas is greater as a percentage than others in South America.
He said that Argentina is looking at how to diversify its
energy matrix, including nuclear, hydroelectric, and wind
power, as well as biofuels. Argentina is not planning to
develop sugar-based biofuels, but is looking seriously at

soy-based biofuels. He noted that Argentine law already
promotes the production of biodeisel and that a large amount
of soy is cultivated in the area of Rio Parana that will be
used to produce soy biodeisel. In addition, colsa (canola)
shows a lot of promise because one can obtain a greater among
of oil from colsa than from soybeans. Furthermore, colsa
grows well in the winter, so it would not be necessary to
displace the cultivation of wheat and other grains in favor
of colsa. Taiana said Argentina would remain focused on
assuring its energy security through a mix of supply sources
and types of energy.

------------------------------
Lula-Kirchner Meeting Positive
------------------------------

5. (C) On Kirchner's April meeting with visiting President
Lula, Taiana said both met in private for five hours and the
visit was very positive. He stressed that the two had never
spoken for so long in private. Taiana said that he had
personally worked on setting up the meeting with his
Brazilian counterpart Celso Amorim for a month. He said that
both he and Amorim had hoped the two leaders together could
meet in private to strengthen their relationship. (COMMENT:
Relations between the two presidents have been strained since
Lula has taken an apparent step back from close ties with
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. END COMMENT.) Taiana said
he had spoken with Kirchner, Lula, and First Lady Cristina
Kirchner after the meeting, and all agreed it had gone well.
He concluded by saying that the GOA should not let so much
time pass before the two Presidents meet again to keep the
positive momentum going.

6. (C) COMMENT: According to MFA contacts, Taiana is
increasingly preoccupied with managing the Casa Rosada, which
may help explain why he was more talkative about his trip to
Mexico and President Kirchner's meeting with Brazilian
President Ignacio Lula da Silva than most of the points
raised in this meeting. Taiana was energetic an upbeat in
his description of improving Argentine relations with both
Mexico and Brazil, but acknowledged that the GOA still needs
to build on these relationships. The positive outcome of
both the Mexico trip and the Lula meeting may be good points
to raise with Fernandez de Kirchner during her May 3 visit to
Washington to attend a dinner hosted by the American Jewish
Council. We have been told that the MFA is increasingly
interested in how Argentina can participate in the
President's biofuels initiative, and the FM's observations on
Argentina's biofuels potential may have been an effort to
highlight its potential as a partner. SEPTEL will report
Ambassador's energy discussion with Planning Minister de
Vido. END COMMENT.
WAYNE

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