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Cablegate: Media Reaction; Possible Return of the Visa Waiver Program

VZCZCXYZ0014
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1169 1651440
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 141440Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8411
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001169

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
WHA/EPSC
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL MEDIA REACTION
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; POSSIBLE RETURN OF THE VISA WAIVER PROGRAM
TO ARGENTINA; ARGENTINA PASSING ANTI-TERRORISM LEGISLATION;
06/14/07

1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Leading international stories today include the possible return of
the Visa Waiver Program to Argentina; and Argentina passing
anti-terrorism legislation, allegedly under pressure by the U.S. and
others.

2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS

- "Argentines could again travel to the US without a visa"

Ana Baron, Washington-based correspondent for leading "Clarin,"
writes (06/14) "Argentines could once again enter the US without any
visa, beginning January 2008..., although the (Argentine) Government
should first meet a number of requisites.

"Yesterday, the US Senate passed an amendment that extends visa-free
travel privileges to allies in the Global War on Terror...
Argentina, which last night passed legislation criminalizing
terrorism, is one of the candidates.

"The amendment was passed by a vote of 60 to 38. It authorizes the
Department of Homeland Security and the State Department to extend
the Visa Waiver Program to countries supporting the US in keeping
terrorists outside of its borders.

"According to a UPI wire service cable, out of the 19 countries
designated by the US Department of State as new possible VWP
participants, only 9 (Argentina, Cyprus, the Czech Republic,
Estonia, Malta, Greece, Israel, South Korea and Thailand) honor a
basic requisite - they all have less than 10 percent-visa rejection
rate... In addition to the political factors to be taken into
account, Argentina will also have to honor a series of requisites
related to its national security, which are imposed by the
amendment. This means that, for now, its entry into the program is
not certain."

- "The (Argentine) Congress passes anti-terrorism legislation, which
was demanded by the US"

Daily-of-record "La Nacion" (06/14) "With the explicit purpose of
avoiding sanctions from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), to
which Argentina belongs, (Argentina's) Lower House yesterday passed
legislation criminalizing both terrorism and terrorist financing...

"... The initiative had to be approved before June 23, when the
FATF's plenary session meets in Paris. Last February, the FATF
warned the country that if it did not revise its legislation
according to international anti-money laundering norms, it could
well be sanctioned through a 'public statement' warning that
'financial operations in the country should be monitored because
they could be suspicious.' Some (Argentine) governmental sources
consulted by 'La Nacion' admitted that this kind of public statement
could bring about the closure of Argentine bank accounts abroad and
other penalties that could hinder and make financial transactions
more expensive."

- "Some legislation under pressure"

Alfredo Gutierrez, columnist of leading "Clarin," opines (06/14)
"Next June 27, when the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meets in
Paris to review the Argentine case based on FATF's recommendations
to the country, Argentina will be able to breathe calmly...

"The main FATF recommendation to Argentina was to pass legislation
against terrorist financing.

"During the (FATF's) February meeting in Brussels, delegates from
three countries (the US, Canada and England) proposed that, in view
of the country's non-compliance, a public statement would be
launched warning the rest of the world that Argentina failed to
honor international standards, which could complicate commercial
transactions.

"Finally, this approach did not move forward, but everyone took note
of the warning. FATF's pressure derives from a UN agreement aimed at
repressing terrorist financing, which Argentina signed in 1999.
However, it is hard to define what 'terrorism' is in a country whose
history does not help."

To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at:
http://www.state.sqov.gov/p/wha/buenosaires

MATERA

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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