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Cablegate: Argentina at the May 16-17 Eu-Latin America and Caribbean

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0642/01 1352143
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 142143Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1031
INFO RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 2296
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 2068
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 0114
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 0188
RUEHLJ/AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA 0002
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 1573
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1414
RUEHDL/AMEMBASSY DUBLIN 0020
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1103
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 1084
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1250

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000642

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV ENRG ETRD AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA AT THE MAY 16-17 EU-LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN
SUMMIT

REF: (A) MADRID 0518 (B) LIMA 0844

1. (SBU) Summary: President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK) and
Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana are scheduled to visit Lima May 16-17
to attend the Summit Meeting of European Union - Latin American and
the Caribbean (EU - LAC). CFK appears to have a full but
still-unconfirmed schedule, with GOA requests for bilaterals with
Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, current EU President Slovenia, and
possibly Mexico, Ireland, and France. Press reports indicate she
will also meet with Germany, Ecuador, and Bolivia. An EU-Mercosur
meeting is on the agenda, but contacts report that neither the
Mercosur countries nor the EU are expecting concrete results. For
CFK, the trip to Lima offers a respite from her domestic woes
(particularly her administration's confrontation with the striking
agricultural sector), but also offers the prospect of some
uncomfortable discussions at the summit regarding the pressure on
Spanish group Marsans to cede control of Aerolineas Argentinas, and
regarding Hugo Chavez's nationalization this week of SIDOR, a
subsidiary of Argentine multinational TECHINT (ref A). We are told
that it is possible that CFK could cancel her trip because of the
domestic conflict with agricultural groups. End Summary.

2. (SBU) According to GOA officials, President Cristina Fernandez de
Kirchner (CFK) and Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana will visit Lima May
16-17 to attend the Summit Meeting of Leaders of the European Union
- Latin American and the Caribbean (EU - LAC). Aside from the two
principal themes of "Poverty, Inequality, Inclusion" and
"Sustainable Development," MFA contacts believe the summit will
touch on a number of sensitive issues such as the situation in
Bolivia, ongoing Colombia/Ecuador tensions, and progress in the Doha
Round. A number of "Dialogue Groups" will cover immigration issues
(an issue the LAC is pushing), drug trafficking, energy/renewable
energy, and climate change/environment (ref B).

MERCOSUR-EU
-----------

3. (SBU) The EU Mission in Buenos Aires notes that EU Trade
Commissioner Mandelson will meet with Mercosur heads of state and EU
External Relations Minister Waldner will meet with his Mercosur
counterparts to review the overall state of affairs and EU-Mercosur
FTA trade negotiations. The trade talks have long been stalled,
over issues such as Mercosur pressing for reduced EU agricultural
protection and the EU insisting on better intellectual property
protection by Mercosur countries. However, neither side is
expecting anything more concrete from the summit meeting than a
positive political message indicating the intention to finalize
negotiations as soon as possible, with no dates or deadlines. The
EU Mission also reported that Venezuela will participate fully in
the EU-Mercosur meetings, as opposed to the actual FTA negotiating
sessions where Venezuela can only observe.

4. (SBU) A related LAC-Europe Business Summit will take place May 15
on the margins of the Lima summit, but the EU Mission and private
sector contacts were expecting limited Argentine private sector
participation. The theme will be "Investment to Achieve Well-Being,
Sustainable Development, and Inclusion." The agenda includes a
series of keynote speakers and panel discussions on key issues in
the overarching theme. Scheduled speakers include Alan Garcia,
President of Peru, Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany and Luis
Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank.

Argentine Bilaterals
--------------------

5. (SBU) CFK's Lima schedule is being closely held in the Casa
Rosada, but MFA contacts report a number of tentative bilaterals are
in the works. These include meetings with Spain, the Netherlands,
Belgium, and current EU President Slovenia. Mexico, Ireland, and a
meeting with France's Summit Delegation head are also possible. The
press is reporting likely CFK meetings with Merkel of Germany,
Correa of Ecuador, and Morales of Bolivia, but MFA contacts were
unaware of these meetings. A CFK meeting with Spain's Rodriguez
Zapatero could be tense given the media's portrayal of alleged GOA
pressure on Spanish business group Marsans to cede majority control
of Aerolineas Argentinas to Argentine investors. The press is also
speculating whether CFK will meet with Hugo Chavez in the wake of
the latter's nationalization this week of Argentine multinational

TECHINT's Venezuela subsidiary SIDOR.

6. (SBU) Comment: The EU-LAC Summit provides CFK a chance to escape
briefly a tense domestic scene in Argentina, where the two-month
farm crisis remains unresolved and a growing number of allied
governors and mayors are complaining about the GOA's intransigence
on export taxes and calling for more determined negotiations and
compromise. However, the Summit may not provide much respite for
the beleaguered CFK as she faces a number of thorny bilateral issues
with various partners. And in the end, she may not go at all. We
are told by sources that CFK may cancel the trip at the last minute
if the situation with striking agricultural sector groups worsens.


WAYNE

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