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Cablegate: Demarche Delivered: Nicaragua Persists On

VZCZCXYZ0023
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #0720/01 1581732
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 061732Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2718
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAGUA 000720

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/05/2018
TAGS: PGOV NU
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE DELIVERED: NICARAGUA PERSISTS ON
COUNTER-MERIDA

REF: STATE 57540

Classified By: Ambassador Paul Trivelli for reasons 1.4 (b and d)

1. (C) Summary: On June 5, Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry
officials offered rebuttals to points contained in the USG
rejection of the Nicaraguan Counter-Merida proposal.
Regarding the USG position that Nicaragua could not receive a
credit or loan guarantee as a member of the Heavily Indebted
Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, the officials pointed out
that since the Nicaraguan proposal is a regional proposal
covering all of Central America, other Central American
countries that are not HIPC members should be able to receive
the credit or loan guarantee. The officials also continued
to press for a "small group" meeting between the U.S.,
Honduras, and Nicaragua to discuss further security
cooperation. The officials concluded the meeting by pressing
for more resources for Central American security and law
enforcement initiatives, claiming that without such resources
Nicaragua and other Central American countries would be
forced to focus their resources on other priorities such as
food security. End Summary.

Proposal Is Regional, HIPC Not A Problem
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2. (C) On June 5, PolChief delivered reftel demarche points
to the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry International Legal
Advisory Division's Director of Democratic Security Carlos
Vicente Ibarra, Director of North American Affairs Renee
Morales, and North American Political Specialist Gregorio
Torrez. When presented with the demarche points, Ibarra asked
for more time to prepare a formal, official response but
offered some "informal reactions" to the USG rejection of the
Nicaraguan security (Counter-Merida) proposal. Ibarra first
pointed out that although the USG characterized the
Counter-Merida proposal as Nicaraguan, in fact the proposal
is regional and has support from other Central American
countries such as Honduras. In response to the USG position
that Nicaragua is unable to receive credit as a member of the
Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, Ibarra
said that other Central American countries who are not HIPC
members would theoretically be able to receive the credit or
loan guarantee.

Small Groups Work Better
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

3. (C) Ibarra then asked whether the demarche represented the
USG's final response to Nicaragua's previous request to have
a "small group meeting" between the U.S., Nicaragua, and
Honduras to discuss the security proposal. PolChief replied
that although the demarche clearly addressed the USG response
to Nicaragua's security proposal, continued security
cooperation with Honduras and other Central American
countries can be conducted through SICA meetings. In
response, Ibarra argued that a small group would be able to
find more opportunities for cooperation and stressed the
importance of holding such a meeting soon, lest the "door be
closed" on this window of communication.

Central America Needs More
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

4. (C) North American Affairs Director Renee Morales added
that the Government of Nicaragua (GON) is concerned that
Nicaragua would only be receiving a small portion of the
security funding proposed under the Merida Initiative. She
asserted that the GON is closely following the progress of
the Merida Proposal through Congress and noted that Nicaragua
will only receive less than $10 million USD. Ibarra
contrasted this to Nicaragua's security proposal, in which
the GON calculated that Central America needs $953 million in
resources to fully implement and fund the initiatives
contained in the proposal. "Financing is crucial," he
continued, "for without sufficient financing Nicaragua and
other Cental American countries may have to focus on other
priorities, such as food security." Morales assured
PolChief, however, that the GON would ready for the SICA
coordination meeting in Washington on Monday June 9 and hoped
that it will be a productive session. Ibarra pointedly
remarked that the USG response to the Nicaraguan proposal is
a "new element" in the situation that must be analyzed and
factored into GON participation in the meeting.

Comment
- - - -


5. (C) Comment: The GON clearly will not back down from their
Counter-Merida proposal without a fight. We can imply from
the GON's inability to mention any other strong supporters of
their proposal besides Honduras, though, that the GON has not
found widespread support for their concept. We believe,
however, that the GON's view may be indicative of an overall
perception by Central American countries that the Central
American portion of the Merida Initiative is inadequate for
the region's actual security needs. In order to prevent the
GON's Counter-Merida proposal from gaining any more traction
amongst Nicaragua's neighboring countries, we strongly
recommend that the Department share the points arguing
against the GON proposal with other Central American posts.
TRIVELLI

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