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Cablegate: Unasur Structure and Cartagena Meetings Uncertain

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHQT #0070 0221704
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 221704Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8332
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 7274
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 2311
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JAN BRASILIA 3835
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 2845
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3230
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

C O N F I D E N T I A L QUITO 000070

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/06/2014
TAGS: PREL PGOV ECON AORC EC CO BR XM XR
SUBJECT: UNASUR STRUCTURE AND CARTAGENA MEETINGS UNCERTAIN

REF: A. 07 QUITO 1047
B. 07 CARACAS 781

Classified By: DCM Jefferson Brown for Reasons 1.4 (b&d)

1. (C) Summary. Members of the Union of South American
Nations (UNASUR) are planning meetings of their delegates,
foreign ministers and heads of state in Cartegena on January
26-28, but as of January 14 no countries had confirmed
attendance. The purpose of these meetings is to approve a
draft statute of the Union, which will be difficult due to a
lack of consensus among member states. The Ecuadorian
government urged that the Secretariat General be given a more
responsible role. It also proposed that UNASUR take over
Mercosur and CAN responsibilities. If differences are not
soon resolved, the Cartegena meetings could be postponed.
End Summary.

2. (C) Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Maria Isabel Salvador
sent a letter on December 26, 2007, requesting that the
members of UNASUR revise the draft of the founding statute of
the Union, scheduled to be approved January 28 in Cartagena,
Colombia. The Foreign Minister stated in a January 11
interview that the Ecuadorians "believe the statute is not
completely ready and hope (their) proposals will be
considered." During the last UNASUR summit in April 2007 in
Margarita, Venezuela, the heads of state tasked the council
of delegates to draft the statute (Ref B). The council of
delegates is planning to meet on January 26 in Cartagena,
followed by a meeting of the UNASUR foreign ministers on
January 27 and a summit of heads of state on January 28 to
approve the draft statute. However, Colombian DCM Hector
Arenas Neira told PolChief on January 14 that to date there
had been no confirmations of attendance for the ministerial
or the summit.

3. (C) The draft statute clearly has no consensus behind it.
According to Brazilian Political Counselor Luis Claudio
Villafane, the Ecuadorian letter requested two changes to the
statute. The first of the proposals is that the Executive
Secretariat be given a more important role, reporting

SIPDIS
directly to the heads of state rather than the council of
delegates, which would give it greater responsibility for
presenting initiatives. Secondly, the GOE would like to see
UNASUR gradually assume the functions of Mercosur and the
Community of Andean Nations (CAN). The Colombian DCM and
Brazilian Political Counselor both warned that the
ministerial and summit may be canceled if no prior consensus
is reached on the statute.

4. (C) MFA Under Secretary of Multilateral Affairs Emilio
Izquierdo confirmed to PolChief that the GOE wants a more
important level of responsibility, specifically "an executive
function," for Rodrigo Borja. A former president of Ecuador,
Borja was designated in April 2007 as the Executive Secretary
of UNASUR. President Correa apparently feels a political
debt to Borja because Borja supported an unsuccessful attempt
to unify his Democratic Left party with the President's Proud
and Sovereign Fatherland movement (PAIS). Borja has
reiterated that he stands ready to leave the position if
these differences in the statute of UNASUR are not
reconciled. On January 9, Borja stated publicly that his
continued participation as Executive Secretary of UNASUR
"depends on what UNASUR finally ends up being," if it
"remains as a new institution of integration," and will make
this decision "once its objectives and scope have been
determined."

5. (SBU) The current draft statute establishes Quito as the
location for UNASUR headquarters. The Brazilian DCM
described the provisional structure of UNASUR as modeled
after Mercosur, with three tiers. The presidents of member
nations will have an annual meeting; the foreign ministers
will meet every six months to formulate concrete proposals of
action; and the council of delegates, composed of Under
Secretary or Ambassador rank delegates, will meet on a more

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regular basis to draft proposals for consideration at the
ministerial level.

JEWELL

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