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Cablegate: Garcia Seeks Solutions with "Agitated" Correa

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RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 5579
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7789
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 3304
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id: 144460
date: 3/5/2008 21:11
refid: 08LIMA397
origin: Embassy Lima
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination: 08LIMA385
header:
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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #0397/01 0652111
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 052111Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8108
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 1935
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 5579
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7789
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 3304
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1084
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAR 4783
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 9466
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 1803
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 1795
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL PRIORITY


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C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 000397

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/05/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR CO EC PE
SUBJECT: GARCIA SEEKS SOLUTIONS WITH "AGITATED" CORREA

REF: LIMA 385

Classified By: CDA James Nealon for reasons 1.4 (B)

1. (C) Summary: Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa flew to
Lima on March 4th to meet President Alan Garcia on the first
stop of a regional tour to drum up support for his country in
the aftermath of Colombia's raid on the FARC inside Ecuador.
According to a readout from Peru's Foreign Minister, Correa
was very agitated in the meeting, focused on the principle of
national sovereignty and on President Uribe's alleged
duplicity rather than on finding solutions. Garcia, by
contrast, said Peru was working closely with Brazil on a
proposal that called for a Colombian apology and commitment
to improved bilateral counterinsurgency coordination as well
as OAS rebuke of Colombia and a fact-finding mission. The
Presidents' public comments echoed the private meeting, with
President Garcia emphasizing Peru's sympathy with both
Ecuador's concern over national sovereignty and Colombia's
FARC challenge. Garcia added a blunt rebuke of Venezuela's
effort to exacerbate the bilateral conflict, and highlighted
Peru's concerns with Bolivarian ideological and political
meddling in Peru. Our Peruvian contacts underscore that
Peru's own experience with terrorism grounds its reaction in
reality as well as high principle. End Summary.

Correa Focused on Principles, Garcia on Solutions
--------------------------------------------- ----
2. (C) Ambassador McKinley called Foreign Minister Jose
Antonio Garcia Belaunde March 4 for a readout of the meeting
earlier in the day between Ecuadorian President Correa and
President Garcia to discuss the crisis resulting from
Colombia's recent attack on a FARC camp inside Ecuador.
Belaunde described Correa as extremely agitated throughout
most of the meeting and not focused on finding a diplomatic
solution to the crisis. Instead, Correa criticized
Colombia's violation of Ecuadorian national sovereignty,
arguing that the Colombians knew where FARC commander Raul
Reyes was located several days before the attack but did
nothing until he had entered Ecuadorian territory. Correa
also vented his anger at the GOC for "misrepresenting" as
collusion his Interior Minister's contacts with FARC. Correa
argued that Uribe had express knowledge of these contacts,
which were solely intended to negotiate hostage releases. He
also sought to justify his own efforts to remove the FARC in
Ecuador, claiming to have liquidated 47 FARC encampments
since his election.

3. (C) President Garcia in turn promoted a diplomatic
solution, which Peru had coordinated closely with Brazil,
involving another Colombian apology combined with a
commitment to handle future FARC border operations
differently. He also proposed a parallel resolution in the
OAS that would combine a rebuke of Colombia's actions (but
short of a full condemnation), with an agreement to allow a
fact-finding mission, and a Foreign Ministers meeting to
bless the accord. (Note: Belaunde believed such a compromise
would satisfy Correa. End Note.) Garcia emphasized that for
a deal to be reached it was important to focus on a bilateral
Ecuador-Colombia solution and not allow Venezuelan President
Chavez to insinuate himself and exacerbate tensions. It was
important to "de-Chavezify" the situation, he said. Garcia
added that President Uribe deeply distrusted Correa, and it
was important for Correa to address that concern. Correa did
not seem convinced by that argument.

Public Statements Reflect Private Meeting
-----------------------------------------
4. (C) The statements of Presidents Correa and Garcia to the
press afterwards broadly mirrored their private discussion.
An impassioned Correa concentrated on the principle of
national sovereignty and the offenses of "the aggressor"
against his country. At one point he asked rhetorically how
the GOP would have reacted if their territory had been
bombed, and lamented that his government had no choice but to
distance itself from the GOC. He also accused Uribe of
seeking a "war trophy" to ensure reelection to a third term,
and sought to shield himself from incriminating revelations
by referring to "computers that miraculously survived
bombardment." (Comment: Correa clearly insinuated that the
Colombians had planted the computers. End Comment.)
5. (U) President Garcia, in his comments, played the role of
statesman seeking common ground for a rapid solution. Garcia
began with a call for respect for the international legal
principle of inviolable sovereign territory, criticized
Colombia for going beyond what is permitted by international
law, and encouraged President Uribe to apologize to the
Ecuadorian government and people. Garcia added that he
recognized the dangers and challenges that Colombia faced
with its internal conflict, and emphasized that Peru has
dealt with and continues to deal with an insurrection of its
own. He said that, once the current impasse is resolved, the
countries involved should hold broad discussions on the
dangers of insurgency and ideological penetration. In this
connection, he launched into a passionate criticism of
Venezuela and its persistent meddling in the internal affairs
of other countries in the region, including Peru. Garcia
closed by emphasizing that Venezuela should not seek to
involve itself and exacerbate the conflict.

Comment: Peru Sympathetic to Colombia
-------------------------------------
6. (C) While the GOP and many analysts almost always cite the
principle of national sovereignty first in framing the
discussion, most observers emphasize that Peru's own
traumatizing experience with terrorism provides ballast and
real world grounding to its reaction. If national
sovereignty is indeed a critical principle, so is the need
for a concerted regional effort to ensure terrorists or
provocateurs are not using neighboring territory to stage
attacks or plan actions. GOP allegations regarding
Venezuelan efforts to undermine Peru's democracy or sow
instability during Peru's year of international summits via
"ideological penetration" -- the Bolivarian Continental
Coordinator, ALBA houses, etc. -- only redoubles its emphasis
on the second principle. Both points suggest President
Garcia will continue to press a balanced solution to the
current impasse that underscores the principle of sovereignty
but offers no respite to the FARC or President Chavez. End
Comment.
NEALON

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

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