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Cablegate: Ambassador and Fm Discuss March 17 Oas Ministerial

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RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL IMMEDIATE 4339

id: 145766
date: 3/13/2008 23:53
refid: 08BOGOTA998
origin: Embassy Bogota
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination: 08STATE25971
header:
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DE RUEHBO #0998/01 0732353
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 132353Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1926
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA IMMEDIATE 8097
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS IMMEDIATE 0111
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAR 9321
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA IMMEDIATE 6012
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA IMMEDIATE 1397
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO IMMEDIATE 6668
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL IMMEDIATE 4339


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

C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 000998

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR WHA/AND AND WHA/USOAS - RICARDO ZUNIGA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/13/2018
TAGS: PREL PTER PGOV OAS EC CO
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR AND FM DISCUSS MARCH 17 OAS MINISTERIAL

REF: STATE 25971

Classified By: Ambassador William R. Brownfield.
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).


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

1. (C) The Ambassador shared the USG position regarding the
March 17 Organization of American States (OAS) Ministerial
with FM Araujo on March 13. Araujo said the GOC hopes the
upcoming meeting will end tensions between Ecuador and
Colombia, and produce agreement on an OAS regional mechanism
to assess and warn of terrorist groups' cross-border
activities. The GOC opposes the notion of a United Nations
(UN) peacekeeping mission along the Colombian-Ecuadorian
border. Araujo welcomed President Bush's call for Congress
to move forward on the Colombian Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
after the Easter recess. END SUMMARY.

------------------------
UPCOMING OAS MINISTERIAL
------------------------

2. (C) The Ambassador explained the USG approach to the
March 17 OAS Consultation of Ministers to FM Fernando Araujo
on March 13, noting we must address the threat to peace and
stability in the region from terrorists' use of third
countries as safe havens. The Ambassador emphasizing that
the USG supports the GOC in the OAS process, but we have some
concerns, such as international legal interpretations, that
go beyond the context of the current dispute. FM Araujo said
he will represent the GOC at the March 17 OAS Ministerial and
hopes to consult with Deputy Secretary Negroponte prior to
the meeting. He understood the USG had global interests that
went beyond the narrow context of this OAS issue. Araujo
explained the GOC's fundamental objective for the Ministerial
is to solidify cooperation among OAS member states against
terrorists, narcotraffickers, and other security threats in
the hemisphere. The GOC hopes the session will end bilateral
tension with Ecuador. He also sought an agreement on the
creation of an OAS regional verification mechanism that would
assess and warn of illegal groups' cross-border activities.
Araujo said the GOC believes the politics of the regional
dispute were resolved at the Santo Domingo Rio Group summit
and hopes the OAS ministerial will look to the future. He
would offer further apologies if necessary to achieve the
GOC's goals.

----------
OAS VISIT
----------

3. (C) The Ambassador asked Araujo for his assessment of the
March 10-12 OAS mission to Colombia led by OAS SYG Jose
Miguel Insulza. Araujo said it was a productive visit,
noting that the mission clearly wants to lay the groundwork
for a positive Ministerial. Insulza asked President Uribe
for ideas on how to make the Ministerial a success. Uribe
outlined his thinking on an OAS verification mechanism.
Araujo said the Argentine Ambassador was the only member of
the OAS delegation to ask difficult or pointed questions. He
criticized the U.S. and other drug consumer nations, arguing
they needed to do more to combat narcotics. Araujo noted
that Uribe responded that consumption in the U.S. was going
down. Uribe said the GOC considers USG support for Plan
Colombia to be a major contribution to efforts against
narcotics, but added that the Europeans should do more.
Septel provides additional information on the OAS visit.

---------------------------------
NO TO BORDER PEACEKEEPING MISSION
---------------------------------

4. (C) Araujo said the GOC considered the idea of some sort
of international peacekeeping mission along the
Colombian-Ecuadorian border counterproductive. The GOC does
not want to turn this issue over to the UN, believing the UN
should not take up an issue that is already in the hands of a
regional organization, the OAS. Araujo reiterated the GOC's
desire for an OAS-managed verification mechanism, but not a
peacekeeping operation.

--------------------
FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
--------------------

5. (C) Araujo asked if President Bush's March 12 speech to
the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce meant the USG intends
to send the U.S.-Colombia FTA to Congress soon. The
Ambassador noted that the President's words spoke for
themselves. He had signaled his intent to move ahead after
the Easter recess. Araujo said GOC welcomes that, even in
light of the Speaker's cautionary announcement following the
President's speech. Araujo said in a perfect world, the GOC
wished the FTA would be considered and approved solely on
economic and commercial grounds. Still, he understood the
political utility in the United States of including the
national security context when arguing in support of the FTA.
Brownfield

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

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