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Cablegate: Brazil's Foreign Minister Discusses Global,

VZCZCXRO2497
OO RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #2217/01 3372127
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 032127Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0569
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6426
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 4397
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5145
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 3883
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 5780
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 7119
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0022
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 7447
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 5516
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 1256
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL//SCJ2-I/J5/HSE/DIA REP//
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1544
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/USDOC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 BRASILIA 002217

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/FO FOR A/S SHANNON, WHA/BSC, NEA/FO
STATE PASS USTR FOR KATE DUCKWORTH
NSC FOR TOMASULO
TREASURY FOR JHOEK
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
USDOC FOR 4332/ITA/MAC/WH/OLAC
USDOC ALSO FOR 3134/USFCS/OIO
USAID FOR LAC/AA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/03/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV ETRD KPAL OVIP EFIN AMGT VE BL AR
BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL'S FOREIGN MINISTER DISCUSSES GLOBAL,
REGIONAL AND BILATERAL ISSUES

Classified By: AMBASSADOR CLIFFORD M. SOBEL; REASONS: 1.4 (B, D)

------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (C) In a November 30 meeting in Sao Paulo, Ambassador
Sobel and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim discussed a
range of global, regional and bilateral issues. On the
region's most pressing issues - such as political
developments in Venezuela and Bolivia, and Colombia-Venezuela
bilateral tensions - Amorim called for moderation and
dialogue, but shied away from committing Brazil to play a
role as mediator. On global issues, Amorim voiced optimism
on the Annapolis Conference and the prospects for a deal on
agriculture to push the Doha trade negotiations forward. As
for the range of bilateral issues that are on the table, the
meeting revealed considerable agreement on such matters as:
the tax treaty, recently passed legislation on the sale of
diplomatic property and aviation negotiations. In addition
to making suggestions for Secretary Rice's upcoming visit to
Brazil, Amorim indicated a willingness to meet with senior
USG officials traveling to Brazil in the coming months.

-------------------------------- --------------------
Venezuela: Amorim fears turmoil with victory of 'No'
-------------------------------- --------------------

2. (C) With two days before the December 2 referendum in
Venezuela, the Ambassador asked Amorim his view of the likely
outcome. Amorim responded that according to the GOB's
analysis, the 'yes' (pro-Chavez) was likely to win by a
slight margin. He noted that the victory of the 'yes' is
probably "the best result because I'm more fearful if the
'no' is victorious. I think there could be a lot of
turmoil." In this regard, Amorim referenced - but did not
elaborate on - Chavez' recent statements about having to
rethink his own future and that of the Bolivarian Revolution
in the event of a loss in the referendum.
The Ambassador solicited Amorim's views on the likelihood
that the vote tabulations would be transparent in the absence
of international observers. Amorim admitted that he didn't
know, and regretted that there would be no OAS presence.
Looking at his advisors, Amorim said, "this is something we
should have thought about earlier." (Note: Given the close
results of the referendum, post will continue to engage MRE
counterparts on this issue to gauge the level of concern. End
Note)

----------------------------------
Bolivia: GOB reluctant to mediate
----------------------------------

3. (C) In responding to the Ambassador's mention of the
recent violence in Bolivia surrounding the reconvening of the
Constituent Assembly, Amorim responded that the GOB is
following the developments with "interest and concern" but
that it "is not easy to see what to do." He noted that the
current violence has been perpetrated mostly by the
opposition. He regretted the opposition's decision to
boycott the Assembly. The Ambassador asked if the GOB had
any reaction to the decision to move forward in voting for
the new Constitution without the participation of the
opposition. Amorim admitted that "this was not a good
approach" but on the other hand emphasized that the Bolivian

BRASILIA 00002217 002 OF 005


government is assuring that the opposition Assembly members
have nothing to fear. In responding to the Ambassador's
question on whether the retraction of the draft Constitution
is on the table, Amorim stated that a complete retraction is
"very difficult" although he noted that as a face-saving
measure, some articles could be revisited. (Note: subsequent
media reports contradict this prediction. End Note)

4. (C) Amorim said that the challenge is to convince people
that dialogue is better than confrontation. He emphasized
that the GOB "is on the side of moderation and dialogue." He
warned against the opposition acting "in a putschist way or
threatening to secede." Amorim noted that the GOB has been
approached by Bolivia's opposition, "but we have to be
careful. Mediation is not something you go around loosely
offering." (Note: Amorim inserted a passing reference to the
bilateral tensions between Colombia and Venezuela, and
indicated that Brazil is not keen to play a mediator role in
this situation either, as has been speculated in the press.
End Note) Amorim expressed his hope that Lula's upcoming
visit to Bolivia "and what it symbolized" will help alleviate
the crisis. On the other hand, Amorim also mentioned that
Lula is reluctant to meet with the opposition during that
trip. Amorim warned that comparisons with the circumstances
surrounding the downfall of former Bolivian president Gonzalo
Sanchez de Lozada are not well-founded, as Morales - unlike
Sanchez de Lozada - still enjoys the support of the majority
of the Bolivian population. (Note: Sanchez de Lozada
resigned mid-term in October 2003 following weeks of civil
unrest and protests, involving now-President Evo Morales. End
Note)

5. (C) The Ambassador asked Amorim for his views on the
extent of Venezuela's involvement in Bolivia. Amorim
responded that there is an "obvious relationship, but it is
hard to say how much influence." He also noted that while
Chavez may have "hopes or illusions that he can operate
independently because of oil" Evo's situation is different
and he would never, for example, attack the King of Spain (as
Chavez did during the recent Ibero-American Summit in
Santiago).

------------------------------------
Doha: a new roadmap on agriculture?
------------------------------------

6. (C) The Ambassador noted with appreciation Amorim's
comments following his November 26 meeting with USTR
Ambassador Susan Schwab. Amorim recognized that he was
making an effort in his remarks to highlight the "positive
climate" despite negotiating hard issues. He referenced a
new phase in the Doha talks that will come soon, which
coincides with press interviews he gave earlier in the day
predicting ministerial level talks on agriculture in
February. In discussing an eventual new text on agriculture
that he expected for late January, Amorim admitted that he
"doesn,t know what it will look like" but emphasized that
the U.S. and Brazil have several "coincidental interests."
Amorim listed market access, quota calculations and tariff
caps, and said there was partial convergence on export
competition.

7. (C) Amorim stated his belief that "If we have a
reasonable result in agriculture, there could be a good
outcome." In referring to the position Brazil took during

BRASILIA 00002217 003 OF 005


the October talks in Geneva regarding the percentage of
special products that can be exempt from tariff lines, Amorim
called for a "non-governmental approach on flexibilities."
In defining what he meant by that, Amorim reiterated the
position that "Mercosur -as a customs union made up of
developing countries - still has asymmetries. We don't all
have the same 10 percent. Everyone will have to put his or
her touch on the documents, and there is no reason to be
dogmatic on some issues and flexible on others."

8. (C) The Ambassador inquired on Brazil's outlook on
Argentina vis--vis president-elect Cristina Fernandez de
Kirchner. Amorim shied away from the question, but noted
that president-elect Kirchner "is a female president, and all
countries like to have their value and worth." He mentioned
recent press reports coming out of Argentina that "are less
than encouraging" in that they argue that an agriculture
trade deal is not urgent "as the price of commodities will be
high for some time." He then suggested that Ambassador Schwab
make a trip to Argentina as soon as possible. (Comment:
Amorim's comments about "value and worth" were unclear but
perhaps he was pointing to a potentially stronger stance
concerning agriculture. In suggesting that Ambassador Schwab
visit soon, Amorim may believe that she can moderate the
president-elect's negotiating line on agriculture and at the
same time make Argentina less dependant on Brazil advocating
Argentine interests. End Comment)

---------------------------------- ------------------------
Annapolis: A new opportunity for Brazil's global leadership
ambitions?
--------------------------------- -------------------------

9. (C) Amorim characterized the outcome of the Annapolis
Conference as "very positive" and was thankful for the
invitation to participate. He appreciated the opportunity to
reiterate Brazil's position on the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, and emphasized the importance of the broad
participation of the international community as a way to
increase the stakes. Amorim praised Secretary Rice for the
way that she "intelligently" utilized her own childhood to
empathize with both the Palestinians and the Israelis.

10. (C) Amorim reiterated the GOB's desire to play a more
significant role than in the past, specifically offering to
host a conference for Israeli and Palestinian civil society
leaders. (Note: This offer was mentioned in Amorim's
November 27 intervention at the Annapolis Conference. End
Note) The Ambassador suggested that this be a topic of
conversation during the Secretary's visit to Brazil in
January. (Comment: While discussing Annapolis, Amorim
mentioned that he is "sick of trade" and intimated that he is
looking to branch out and take on new issues that would put
Brazil in the spotlight as a global leader among developing
countries. From Brazil's perspective, the Annapolis
Conference offers a new outlet for Brazil's global leadership
ambitions. End Comment)

----------------------------------------
No major obstacles for bilateral issues
----------------------------------------

11. (C) The Ambassador and Amorim discussed a series of
issues on the bilateral agenda:


BRASILIA 00002217 004 OF 005


- Tax Treaty: In reference to follow-up to the October CEO
Forum, the Ambassador noted his hope that there would be
forward movement soon on negotiating a tax treaty. Amorim
voiced his support for the treaty ("this is a good thing"),
but noted that the Brazilian IRS (Receita Federal) is "the
most difficult (institution) to work with."

- Property bill: The Ambassador highlighted the recent
unanimous vote in Brazil,s Senate in favor of the agreement
on buying and selling diplomatic properties, a contentious
issue for many years that has resulted in reciprocity
measures. Amorim indicated that he was not surprised at all
by this development, as &the U.S. is in the hearts of
everyone right now8. The Ambassador assured Amorim that the
bill,s passage will open the way for an expeditious opening
of the Brazilian Consulate General in Atlanta. The
Ambassador also noted that he will be meeting with the
appointed Consul General in the coming days.

- Visas for law enforcement: The Ambassador referenced the
recent delays in USG law enforcement officials obtaining
their visas. He emphasized that while the U.S. makes every
effort to process such visas for Brazilian authorities within
a day or two, the Brazilians are taking weeks. Amorim
promised to look into the situation.

- Civil aviation negotiations: While this issue was not
discussed at length, Amorim noted that the Foreign Ministry
is very supportive of opening direct routes between the U.S.
and Brazil's Northeast, a topic expected to be agreed upon
during the upcoming bilateral aviation negotiations. The
Ambassador suggested that Secretary Rice and Foreign Minister
Amorim could jointly announce these new routes from Salvador
on January 10.

- Cultural exchanges: Amorim suggested that the Mission bring
to Brazil an art exhibit of a prominent American artist, even
if only comprised of a dozen works of art. Amorim promised
to preside over an eventual inauguration. The Ambassador
made reference to the recently opened photographic exhibit
commemorating 50 years of the Fulbright program in Brazil and
the Missions intent to bring the exhibit to every state in
Brazil.

- Codel wrap-up: The Ambassador made reference to the recent
large Codels that visited Brazil, and in particular to the
synergies that emerged during the Codel Engel visit to the
Brazilian Congress. The Ambassador noted that Congressman
Meeks was particularly enthused about possible future
cooperation between the Congressional Black Caucus and
Brazilian legislators.

--------------------
Upcoming USG Visits
--------------------

12. (C) The Ambassador provided a status report on the
planning for Secretary Rice's trip to Brazil in January,
which he noted has not yet been 100% confirmed. He mentioned
that she would likely arrive in Salvador on January 10,
following stops in two or three other countries in the
region. Amorim suggested that while in Salvador, the
Secretary should visit the old city, a social project and

SIPDIS
possibly a site representative of Salvador's African origins.


BRASILIA 00002217 005 OF 005


13. (C) The Ambassador referenced A/S Tom Shannon's visit to
Brazil during the second week of December. Amorim indicated
that he would be happy to meet with A/S Shannon if in town.
In discussing a possible future trip for U/S Nick Burns,
Amorim suggested that he try to schedule a visit to coincide
with Carnival (first week of February).

-------
COMMENT
-------

14. (C) Brazil,s intent to seize on global leadership
issues ) such as the Annapolis Conference and the Doha
negotiations ) contrasts with their stated preference to
maintain distance from South America,s most contentious
issues: Venezuela and Bolivia. As for bilateral relations,
Amorim signaled continued goodwill, which can be further
harnessed during upcoming visits by senior USG officials.

15. (U) Cable drafted by AmConsul Sao Paulo.

SOBEL

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