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Cablegate: Reaction in Argentina to Positive November 7

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #2191/01 3122039
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 082039Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9668
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA IMMEDIATE 6552
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS IMMEDIATE 1574
RUEHMU/AMEMBASSY MANAGUA IMMEDIATE 0155
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO IMMEDIATE 1016
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO IMMEDIATE 6880
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION IMMEDIATE 6671
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO IMMEDIATE 0898
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT IMMEDIATE 0032
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0186
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMCSUU/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 002191

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FBI FOR EAD MIKE MASON AND AD TOM FUENTES

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/09/2017
TAGS: PTER PREL AR IR BR
SUBJECT: REACTION IN ARGENTINA TO POSITIVE NOVEMBER 7
INTERPOL VOTE ON AMIA TERROR CASE


Classified By: DCM Tom Kelly for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: Argentine officials, Jewish organizations,
and private citizens lauded the Interpol
General Assembly's (GA) overwhelming vote for the issuance of
international capture notices for five current and former
Iranian government officials and one Lebanese Hizballah
member wanted in connection with the 1994 terrorist bombing
of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA). The
Foreign Ministry stated that ""the decision confirms the
overriding support shown by the international community in
helping Argentina's Justice System shed light on this
terrible crime."" Behind the scenes, the Argentine MFA went
out of its way to thank the USG. The Acting Foreign Minister
called the Ambassador to express appreciation for U.S.
assistance. Ambassador Wayne's public comments, based on
Washington-cleared guidance, received wide coverage.

2. (C) As far as we are aware, the only other governments to
issue statements in the wake of the vote are Israel and Iran.
While the country votes in the GA are secret, Brazil
informed Argentina prior to the November 7 vote that it would
abstain (reported in the press), angering the Argentines.
Venezuela did not send a delegation to Marrakech, with press
speculation here that this may have been to avoid having to
choose between Iran and Argentina. End Summary.

Argentine MFA Euphoric, Grateful to USG
---------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Argentine official comments, press reports and
statements from Jewish leaders and organizations uniformly
applauded the decisive vote November 7 in Marrakech at the
Interpol General Assembly to support the Executive
Committee's decision to issue international capture notices
for five current and former Iranian government officials and
one senior Lebanese Hizballah member wanted in connection
with the 1994 terrorist bombing of the Argentine-Israeli
Mutual Association (AMIA). The Foreign Ministry's public
statement highlighted the strong GA vote in favor of issuing
the capture notices -- 78 for, 14 against, 26 abstentions --
and noted that the decision reflected the strength of
international support for Argentina on this issue. AMIA's
president, Aldo Donzis, characterized the vote as ""one more
step towards the truth.""

4. (C) Acting Foreign Minister Roberto Garcia Moritan called
the Ambassador the day after the vote to express the deep
appreciation of Minister Taiana (who is at the Ibero-American
Summit in Chile) and himself for U.S. support. ""Without the
help and friendship of the United States, things could easily
have turned out much differently,"" he said. On the same day,
GOA Special Prosecutor Alberto Nisman called Legatt from
Marrakech to convey a similarly appreciative message
concerning the USG's support. He was elated at the outcome,
and attributed it to the support and guidance we provided
over the past two years.

GOA Fuming Over Brazil's Abstention
-----------------------------------

5. (C) Even during their celebration, the Argentines were in
high dudgeon about what they regard as Brazil's betrayal at
the General Assembly. MFA sources tell us that they received
a diplomatic note from Brazil on the day of the vote
announcing that the GOB would abstain. The MFA's draft
post-vote press release included a thinly veiled slap at
Brazil, thanking ""those countries that had understood the
true impact and consequence of this sad situation, and had
shown this by concrete action through their votes."" Foreign
Minister Taiana deleted the line, MFA sources tell us.

6. (SBU) But the MFA made sure that their displeasure became
public. They backgrounded the press about the diplomatic
note to ensure that the story was widely reported. The press
articles contained speculation (which we have heard directly
from GOA figures like Nisman) that the abstention reflected
the GOB's supposed desire not to further entangle the

triborder area (TBA) in the AMIA case. (The investigation
shows that the suicide bomber traveled through the TBA,
likely receiving material and logistical support from
individuals there.) In an email to the DCM, a well-connected
MFA source wrote that ""the position of Brazil on this issue
really bothers us, especially considering its aspirations to
represent us regionally in the UN.""

Few Statements by Other Countries, and Nothing More Expected
--------------------------------------------- ---------------

7. (SBU) Israel and Iran are the only other governments that
made statements after the vote, insofar as we are aware.
Israel's ambassador to Argentina was quoted here voicing
Israel's strong support for Argentina's cause, and noting
that the Marrakech vote clearly identifies Iran as a state
sponsor of terrorism. The Iranian charge d'affaires, Mohsen
Baharvand, stressed that the Interpol decision was a
procedural step, not a judgment on the merits of the case.
He claimed that ""Argentina had two options: accept our
cooperation to really get to the truth or resort to Interpol,
and it chose Interpol."" Press reports also include Tehran's
condemnation of the Interpol vote, claiming that Israel and
U.S. had pressured Interpol and were politicizing the
institution.

8. (SBU) An MFA source told DCM November 8 that the GOA did
not intend to elicit statements of support on the matter from
other governments, even within Latin America. He said that
the MFA was worried that such a campaign would place some
Latin American governments (e.g., Ecuador) that voted with
Argentina in an uncomfortable position. DCM asked whether
the GOA would use this week's Ibero-American Summit to
discuss the case; he replied that he did not expect so. The
Ambassador told the Acting Foreign Minister that we looked
forward to discussing next steps with the GOA.

Bolivarian Solidarity?
----------------------

9. (SBU) Some press reports also noted that Venezuela chose
not to send a delegation to Marrakech. The press attributed
this as a conscious decision by Caracas to avoid choosing
between Iran and the Kirchner government. We have heard
similar speculation from the MFA, which was relieved by the
BRV's absence from the Marrakech meeting.

U.S. Embassy Statement
----------------------

10. (SBU) Embassy released the Washington-cleared statement
of support late afternoon November 7, which included the
Ambassador's comment that ""we support the Argentine judicial
system's actions to bring the perpetrators of this attack to
justice, and applaud the efforts by Argentine authorities to
support that objective."" It received wide coverage today.

WAYNE

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