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Cablegate: Ambassador Brownfield's 26 September Meeting With

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RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #7325/01 2841649
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 111649Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9433
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 9398
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JAN LIMA 5490
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 6092
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0539
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 007325

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/09/2107
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER MARR CO
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR BROWNFIELD'S 26 SEPTEMBER MEETING WITH
MOD SANTOS

Classified By: Ambassador William R. Brownfield
Reason: 1.4 (b,d)

-------
Summary
-------

1. (C) Ambassador Brownfield met with Minister of Defense
(MOD) Juan Manuel Santos and Vice MoD Juan Carlos Pinzon on
September 26. Santos raised the need for agreement on GOC
sharing of intelligence with Israeli defense contractors, as
well as Colombia's request that its priority military
purchases be fast-tracked through the Foreign Military Sales
(FMS) process. Santos noted current GOC assistance to the
war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan but emphasized competing
domestic priorities. The MoD conveyed the GOC's concern for
Venezuelan arms build-up and agreed to dialogue with the USG
before reacting. The Ambassador raised the USG-GOC joint
imperative to draft a nationalization plan to transfer U.S.
assets and funding to Colombia. End Summary.

-------------------
Intel with Israelis
-------------------

2. (C) MOD Santos opened with the subject of Israeli
contractors now advising Colombia on counterterrorism
operations and asked what the Colombian military needed to do
in order to share intelligence with them. The Ambassador
promised to discuss this subject with the new Israeli
Ambassador. The Ambassador said the challenge of sharing
intelligence classified "US-COL ONLY" with the Israelis
required a formal solution between our Embassy in Tel Aviv
and the GOI. Santos said he would press the Israeli
government to resolve this issue.

---------------------------------
Trainers for Iraq and Afghanistan
---------------------------------

3. (C) Turning to the October 2 - 3 visit of Secretary of
Defense Gates to Colombia, the Ambassador asked the GOC
position on providing trainers to assist in the war and
counternarcotics efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The MOD
noted Colombia was already providing counterdrug officers to
Afghanistan, and he stressed the GOC must "keep its eye on
the ball," i.e. on Colombia's own internal conflict.

-----------------------
Concern about Venezuela
-----------------------

4. (C) The Ambassador requested that the MoD consult with
the USG if at any point Colombia felt obliged to react to
Venezuelan activities, including conventional weapons
purchases. "Of course," replied Santos, noting he had
resisted efforts by his Armed Forces to buy single-purpose
conventional weapons with 'wealth tax' funds for defense
spending. Still, Colombia was "very worried" about events in
Venezuela, including weapons acquisitions. Santos
specifically cited Russian SU-30 fighter jets and Venezuelan
manufacture of AK-103 assault rifles as most problematic.

----------------------
Fast-tracking FMS Buys
----------------------

5. (C) ViceMoD Pinzon expressed his appreciation for
Embassy MILGP advice on allocation of wealth tax proceeds,
saying the assistance was "very helpful and helped shape the
end package." MOD Santos explained the GOC strongly wished
to spend the bulk of the funds (about USD 3.5 billion over
four years 2007-10) through the FMS system, but to do so the
GOC wanted a commitment to fast-track the processing of such
purchases. Santos indicated he would bring up this point
personally with Secretary Gates.

--------------------------------
Nationalization and Funding Cuts
--------------------------------

6. (C) The Ambassador explained his task to draft a mutually
acceptable plan to transfer U.S. assets and funding to the
GOC. At this juncture, he said, the Embassy and GOC could

plan the transition themselves or wait for the U.S. Congress
to do it for them. In the former case they would be in a
better position to limit the damage from reduced funding.
While acknowledging these points, Santos pointedly
underscored the GOC's view that the USG had moved the
goalposts on Colombia with premature cuts. The GOC had
believed funding was committed to 2010.

-----------------------------
Resolving 'Bumps in the Road'
-----------------------------

7. (C) MOD Santos acknowledged we must deal with political
realities, noting that current bumps in the bilateral
military relationship consisted more of style than of
substantive issues. In conclusion, the Ambassador asked that
when the two governments disagree the MOD flag big issues and
offer alternative ways forward. Santos agreed and said he
looked forward to this way of doing business.


Brownfield

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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