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Cablegate: Arias-Bush Thank You Letter for Cafta Extension

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0226 0792051
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 192051Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9543
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000226

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CEN, S/ES-CR, AND S/ES-O
PLEASE PASS TO USTR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD PREL PGOV OPDC CS
SUBJECT: ARIAS-BUSH THANK YOU LETTER FOR CAFTA EXTENSION

1. On February 26, 2008, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias
transmitted letters (in English) to President Bush and USTR Susan
Schwab thanking them for the decision to grant a CAFTA-DR
entry-into-force extension for Costa Rica. The texts of the two
letters are virtually identical. Post previously emailed scanned
copies of the originals to the Department (WHA/CEN). The original
letters will be pouched to WHA/CEN to forward to the White House.

2. The text of the letter to President Bush follows:

His Excellency George W. Bush
President of the United States

Please accept my warmest greetings.

I believe that no one understands the labors and worries of one
President, better than another. The exercise of power is a solitary
business; however, that solitude allows for profound empathy among
those who occupy similar positions, even hundreds or thousands of
miles apart. Although I am familiar with that empathy, because I
too feel it for all of my colleagues, I am nonetheless amazed at the
generosity of your government in granting Costa Rica an extension
for the entry into force of the Dominican Republic - Central
American - United States Free Trade agreement (CAFTA-DR).

Costa Rica has always followed its own path, at its own pace. It
did so when our nation abolished the death penalty, and when it
declared public education to be free and obligatory for both
genders. It did so when it abolished its army, and when it dared to
declare its neutrality in the face of any armed conflict. It did so
two decades ago by becoming the voice of peace on this isthmus, and
today by serving as the voice of Peace with Nature. The Free Trade
Agreement has not escaped this singularity. As you know, the
Agreement was approved in the first referendum in our history. That
process was a milestone in the development of our democracy, and has
been a source of pride for our citizens. However, the process caused
considerable delays in the approval of the Implementation Agenda
that CAFTA-DR requires. Although significant advances have taken
place in the heart of our Legislative Assembly, it's clear that we
will need a few months more. For that reason, I sincerely thank you
for your willingness to allow us these months of extension.

The friendship between our nations has always been steady and
lasting. I trust that this experience will strengthen it still
further. After all, friendship seeks not uniformity, but harmony;
it seeks not the extinction of diversity, but the tolerance of it.
Many thanks for understanding the differences that distinguish us,
and for lending a hand to the millions of producers and consumers
for whom the borders that divide us are beginning to disappear.

Allow me to reiterate the assurances of my highest consideration.

Oscar Arias Sanchez
President of the Republic of Costa Rica


BRENNAN

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