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Cablegate: Chilean Reaction to Peru's Submission to the Hague

VZCZCXYZ0011
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #0077/01 0251703
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 251703Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2693
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 3305
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 1928
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 0152
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 0765
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1649
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JAN 5651
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5425
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 1207
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 3904
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SANTIAGO 000077

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/BSC

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/23/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV CI PE
SUBJECT: CHILEAN REACTION TO PERU'S SUBMISSION TO THE HAGUE
ON MARITIME ISSUE

REF: A. SANTIAGO 00054
...
id: 138753
date: 1/25/2008 17:03
refid: 08SANTIAGO77
origin: Embassy Santiago
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination: 08LIMA72|08SANTIAGO36|08SANTIAGO54
header:
VZCZCXYZ0011
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #0077/01 0251703
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 251703Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2693
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 3305
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 1928
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 0152
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 0765
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1649
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JAN 5651
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5425
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 1207
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 3904
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY


----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SANTIAGO 000077

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/BSC

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/23/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV CI PE
SUBJECT: CHILEAN REACTION TO PERU'S SUBMISSION TO THE HAGUE
ON MARITIME ISSUE

REF: A. SANTIAGO 00054
B. SANTIAGO 00036
C. LIMA 00072

Classified By: EPOL Counselor Juan A. Alsace. Reasons: 1.4 (B and D).

1. (C) Summary: The Chilean government categorically rejects
Peru's maritime claim and has vowed to use all available
legal resources to defeat it. In public, the GOC is taking
the moral high ground: it has expressed its "profound regret"
at Peru's decision and pledged continued cooperation with
Peru. Privately, Chileans are livid that Peru has escalated
the issue politically and argue that future cooperation will
be difficult. The Chilean government is confident in its
legal case, but believes "anything can happen" at The Hague.
Chileans have expressed their support for the Bachelet
government's position and thus far the issue has not become a
domestic political one. End summary.

2. (U) The Chilean government officially responded
immediately to Peru's announcement that it had submitted its
maritime dispute to The Hague along familiar lines:

--The Chilean government profoundly regrets Peru's submission
to The Hague, since such submission disregards existing valid
agreements between the two countries and practice observed by
both countries for years;

--Peru's demands refer to areas that without question are
under Chilean sovereignty and jurisdiction. Chile will
utilize all of the available legal resources to respond to
this demand; and,

--The Chilean government will try to ensure that relations
with Peru continue along the lines of mutual cooperation and
understanding.

(Note: This official position, as reported in a statement
issued by the Foreign Ministry on January 16, tracks closely
with the private position outlined in a non-paper that MFA
Director General for External Relations Carlos Portales
delivered to U/S Burns in March 2007 during their meeting in
Washington, D.C. Portales gave the Ambassador a similar
paper on January 14 - ref. A)

3. (C) Publicly, Chileans across the political spectrum have
denounced Peru's action and rallied behind the government.
In anticipation of Peru's move, the Bachelet administration
took several steps to build such support. For example, it
established a Chilean legal and diplomatic team led by
Foreign Minister Foxley that includes Deputy FM Alberto van
Klaveren (agent before The Hague) and several senior Chilean
diplomats. It also contracted several foreign legal experts.
To further shore up domestic support, the GOC assembled a
group of former Chilean foreign ministers (including those
who served during the Pinochet era) to advise the Foreign
Ministry on the issue. In the days leading up to Peru's
submission, Foreign Minister Foxley met with the ex-foreign
ministers, members of Congress, political figures, and
leading business groups to brief on Chile's position, and to
solicit their support. In each meeting, Foxley specifically
stressed the importance of maintaining a single, unified
Chilean position and of keeping the issue in legal channels,
according to his chief of staff, Roberto Matus. Given that
Chileans have been united on the issue for some time,
obtaining consensus thus far has not been difficult. He also
encouraged the Chileans to make public statements supporting
the Chilean government's position and to pledge not to use
the issue for "political gain" in Chile as the country moves
further into campaign season. So far, Foxley's efforts have
been successful. Concertacion coalition, opposition and
business figures have publicly backed the government and
endorsed a single Chilean foreign policy under the leadership
of the Foreign Ministry. And the issue has not become a
political one here. But while Foreign Ministry officials are
breathing a sigh of relief, they caution that there is a lot
of time between now and the 2009 elections for the
center-right opposition to use the issue for its political

gain.

4. (C) Privately, Chilean government officials are livid that
Peru decided to "escalate the matter politically." Senior
officials including Chile's Ambassador to the U.S. Fernandez
and MFA DG for External Relations Portales contend that Peru
remains trapped in the past and unable to look to the future.
They argue that the Bachelet administration has gone out of
its way to support the Garcia administration on several
fronts, including the economic (U.S.-Peru FTA, APEC and the
P4) and defense (resumption of two-plus-two meetings,
confidence-building measures between militaries). And this
is what Chile gets in return?

5. (C) For the GOC, there is no maritime border issue, since
past agreements signed by Chile and Peru resolved the issue.
The Chileans say their legal case is strong, but as former
Army Chief of Staff Cheyre recently cautioned, victory is far
from certain and "anything can happen" at The Hague.

6. (C) Senior GOC officials stop short of saying that Peru's
submission to The Hague has prompted the Chileans to cease
cooperation. However, they are clear that Chileans "need to
be realistic in light of Peru's latest actions," according to
the MFA's Portales, who noted to the Ambassador recently, "It
is going to be very difficult for us to help Peru under these
circumstances." Under Secretary of War Gonzalo Garcia told
the Ambassador on January 23 that he doubted Chile and Peru
would hold "two-plus-two" (foreign and defense ministers)
meetings any time soon.

7. (C) Not all Chileans, however, have been supportive of
Chile's overtures to Peru. Prominent Chilean businessman
Andronico Luksic, whose family businesses lost nearly 200
million dollars in business disputes in Peru during the Lagos
administration, questioned the Chilean government's support
for Garcia during a recent dinner hosted by the Ambassador in
honor of visiting USSOUTHCOM CDR Stavridis. Luksic's main
point -- one that is shared by many Chileans including
Foreign Ministry careerists who have served in Lima -- is
that Peru is unreliable and Chile should remain firm against
it.

8. (C) Comment: Peru's decision to take its dispute to The
Hague did not surprise the Chilean government, which had
prepared the Chilean public for such an eventuality for
months. FM Foxley's around-the-clock meetings, the
appointment of a bipartisan advisory committee of ex-foreign
ministers, and the assembly of outside legal counsel all
point to a government that had resigned itself that Peru
would go forward. So far, the GOC's groundwork appears to
have paid off domestically: Chileans across the political
spectrum are publicly backing the government and thus far
have refrained from using the issue for domestic political
gain.

9. (C) Strong Chilean nationalist sentiment about attempts to
redraw borders and frustration at what it sees as Peru's
insistence on living in the past will not go away any time
soon. The Chileans will not "bend over backwards" to
cooperate with the Garcia administration. However, once the
dust settles, Chile's interest in a stable and economically
sound, outward-looking Peru will prevail. While the GOC may
not actively seek out opportunities for cooperation, it
likely will continue to pursue policies that can contribute
to a positive agenda that looks to the future. Meanwhile,
and despite the views of some Chilean businesspeople such as
Luksic, Chile's growing private sector linkages with Peru are
not likely to be affected by these developments.
SIMONS

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

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