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Cablegate: Scenesetter for Visit of Ondcp Director Walters To

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLI #0811/01 0940857
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 030857Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY LISBON
TO RHEHOND/DIR ONDCP WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6739
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0074
RUEHDL/AMEMBASSY DUBLIN PRIORITY 0098
RUEHFN/AMEMBASSY FREETOWN PRIORITY 0007
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0341
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 2599
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0407
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 0396
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY 0347

UNCLAS LISBON 000811

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR PGOV PREL ASEC PO
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR VISIT OF ONDCP DIRECTOR WALTERS TO
LISBON

1. (SBU) Mr. Director:

Your visit to Portugal will be the first high-level ONDCP
visit since 1998 and underscores both our interest and
concern about increasing cocaine flows through Portugal into
Europe. As you may know, Portugal saw a marked increase in
cocaine seizures in 2005 and 2006, followed by a sharp drop
in 2007. The Embassy Mission Strategic Plan includes as a
goal establishing a DEA office in Lisbon to engage more fully
with the Portuguese on this critical issues.

Portugal - Steadfast Ally
-------------------------

2. (SBU) Portugal, a founding member of NATO, is a steadfast
ally that has consistently stood by our side over the years
despite various changes in government. The President and
Prime Minister -- from opposing political parties -- each
regularly stress that trans-Atlantic relations are a pillar
of Portuguese foreign policy and that NATO is the primary
guarantor of European security.

3. (SBU) Portugal has provided excellent access to Portuguese
air and seaports for military support operations in Iraq and
Afghanistan, with over three thousand flights a year
transiting Lajes Air Base in the Azores. Despite severe
budgetary constraints, it is engaged internationally on
numerous fronts with military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan
(where it lost two soldiers), East Timor, Kosovo, Bosnia, and
Lebanon, and it is a member of the Proliferation Security
Initiative, the Container Security Initiative, and the Global
Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

Political-Economic Environment
------------------------------

4. (SBU) Prime Minister Jose Socrates, 50, heads Portugal's
moderate Socialist government, which assumed power in March
2005. The Socialists won an absolute majority of seats,
which has allowed Socrates to govern from the center without
coalitions and helped him implement an economic reform agenda
that has required significant belt-tightening by most
Portuguese. By the end of 2007, the government had succeeded
in reducing the budget deficit below the EU-mandated limit of
three percent, a year ahead of schedule.

5. (SBU) The Portuguese government was consumed by foreign
policy issues and internal EU matters during its six-month
stint as EU president during the latter half of 2007. Two of
Portugal's biggest accomplishments during that busy period
were finalizing the EU's reform treaty (the Treaty of
Lisbon), and hosting a summit of European and African leaders
that agreed on a structure intended to ensure regular and
vigorous interactions between the two continents.

National Counternarcotics Priorities
-------------------------------------

6. (SBU) In contrast to the United States, Portugal tends to
view the narcotics issue primarily as a health threat and,
secondarily, as a law enforcement challenge. In 2002 the
Portuguese government designated the Ministry of Health as
the responsible agency in charge of coordinating Portugal's
drug programs. Portugal's counternarcotics action plan for
2004-2008 aims to ensure Portugal's active involvement in
multilateral fora dealing with the problems of drugs and drug
addiction and to develop bilateral cooperation based on the
principle of shared responsibility. Specifically, the
national action plan calls for Portugal to designate a
framework to ensure prevention through demand reduction,
dissuasion (primarily aimed at repeat drug users), and
risk/harm reduction programs. It further outlines Portugal's
efforts on treatment, supply reduction, and reintegration
programs.

7. (U) Like several other European nations, Portugal has
decriminalized possession of small doses of narcotics (up to
2 grams of cocaine, 1 of heroin, and 5 of hashish) for
personal consumption, making it a minor "administrative
offense." Administrative processes attempt to dissuade the
casual drug user and establish an individual record which can
negatively affect gun permit and hunting license

applications, as well as criminal background checks.

8. (U) Since 2005, cocaine transshipments from South America
to Europe through Portugal have increased significantly. In
2005, Portugal overtook the Netherlands as the second largest
interdicting nation of cocaine after Spain. According to
estimates from the Lisbon-based European Drug Monitoring and
Drug Addiction Center (EMCDDA), more than 12 million
Europeans have used cocaine at least once in their lifetime.
However, despite Portugal's increased role in the cocaine
transshipment routes, Portugal's national estimates of
cocaine consumption remain relatively low -- 1.6% of the
population aged 15-65, according to a 2006 report from the
Portuguese Institute of Drugs and Drug Addiction (IDT).

Recent Cooperation Activities
-----------------------------

9. (SBU) MAOC-N: In late 2006, Maritime Analysis and
Operation Center- Narcotics (MAOC-N) member states selected
Portugal to host an international counternarcotics
information sharing initiative, which officially opened for
business in Lisbon on September 30, 2007. The MAOC, which is
modeled on the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force in Key West
(JIATF), coordinates law enforcement information and
resources among the participant nations (Portugal, United
Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, and Ireland) by
sharing intelligence on narcotics shipments and by deploying
the appropriate national assets to stop traffickers. Since
its first group operation on April 1, 2007, the MAOC has been
responsible for the seizure of 26.74 metric tons of cocaine
and has prosecuted traffickers in six different member
nations.

10. (SBU) Guinea Bissau: On December 19, Portugal hosted a
conference focused on obtaining necessary financing to
implement Guinea Bissau's and the UN Office on Drugs and
Crime's Operation Plan in the fight against drugs. Portugal
committed to support Guinea Bissau in reforming its security
sector and in protecting the country against drug
trafficking, organized crime, and crime more generally over
the next three years. Since Portugal has historical ties
with its former colony Guinea Bissau, it has contributed to
international assistance efforts by providing
Portuguese-speaking police liaison officers and
counternarcotics training classes. In recent meetings with
Embassy officers, Ministry of Justice officials stressed that
U.S. engagement was urgently required to establish basic
legal infrastructure in Bissau.

11. (SBU) Venezuela: Portuguese policy towards Venezuela is
driven primarily by concerns over the welfare of the
500,000-strong Portuguese community there. To strengthen
ties, Portugal and Venezuela in 2007 signed a Memorandum of
Understanding providing for increased counternarcotics
collaboration between law enforcement and the establishment
of a Bilateral Commission in 2008 to oversee that
collaboration. Foreign Ministry contacts told us that they
anticipate moving forward with the law enforcement
cooperation perhaps as soon as mid-April. On the commercial
side, negotiations of a new commercial agreement between
Portugal and Venezuela made significant progress in late
February, during the visit of the Portuguese State Secretary
for Trade to Caracas. Nonetheless, the document remains
unsigned and, according to press reports in Lisbon, Prime
Minister Socrates will only travel to Venezuela later this
month if the agreement has been finalized. Portugal expects
to sell Venezuela several food products -- including milk --
worth 200 million euros, in exchange for Venezuelan oil.


Stephenson

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