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Cablegate: U.S.-Argentine Bilateral Consultations Promote S&T,

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1055/01 2131529
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 311529Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1660
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE USD FAS WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1831

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001055

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM SENV MARR TSPA SCUL ECON AR

SUBJECT: U.S.-Argentine Bilateral Consultations Promote S&T,
Cultural, Military and National Parks Cooperation

Ref: (A) Buenos Aires 0910 and previous
(B) Buenos Aires 0837
(C) Buenos Aires 0761
(D) Buenos Aires 0920
(E) Buenos Aires 0911
(F) Buenos Aires 0974
(G) Buenos Aires 0975
(H) Buenos Aires 0976

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Summary
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1. (SBU) USG-GOA bilateral consultations took place
on July 10-11 and covered a range of topics including
bilateral relations, human rights, science and
technology, education and culture, cooperation on
global issues, regional economic issues, and issues
of hemispheric interest. Four non-binding agreements
were signed on nanotechnology, national parks,
cultural cooperation and alternative energy,
illustrating the potential for tangible benefits from
increasingly positive relations between the two
countries. In advance of the next USG-GOA bilateral
meeting this fall, both sides agreed to follow up
with working groups on particular issues discussed
during this bilateral meeting. The intent of the
working groups is to identify goals and then achieve
progress on new and outstanding issues in the
bilateral relationship. The goal of the bilateral
consultation process is to establish a solid working
agenda which can provide a foundation not only for
building cooperation but also for weathering strains
in bilateral relations. Septel will cover lunch and
dinner conversations. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- -----
Review of Bilateral Relations, Latest Developments
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. (SBU) In his opening remarks, Deputy Foreign
Minister Victorio Taccetti briefly reviewed
Argentina's current political-economic situation. He
noted the ongoing agricultural crisis in Argentina
(ref a), and the recent debate in both houses of
Congress, which he pointed to as an example of a
"maturing democracy." He said that despite the
occasional "rancor," this was an overall positive
development. He indicated that the GOA had
prioritized and made progress in the areas of human
rights, economic development, and social inclusion.
He acknowledged, however, that there was still a lot
of work to be done. He hailed Argentina's economic
recovery and expansion, and said that he expected
this to continue.

3. (SBU) Taccetti stated that Argentina was in the
process of moving beyond a commodity-led export
economy toward a higher value-added and knowledge-
based economy. He observed tat the United States
was an important driver for Argentina's own
development and has played an important role in
Argentina's technology and value-added economic
growth. Taccetti noted that small and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs) often lead the way in Argentina's
economic growth, investment, and innovation. He
added that SMEs have benefited greatly from the U.S.
Generalized System of Preferences by enabling them to
enter the competitive U.S. market. He also stressed
the importance of gaining access for Argentine beef
to the U.S. market.

4. (SBU) Taccetti described the bilateral
consultations as a follow-on to A/S Shannon's April
2008 visit to Argentina. He said that it was an
excellent vehicle to promote and deepen our common
and diverse agenda, including in the areas of science
and technology, human rights, parliamentary
exchanges, energy, defense, and national parks. He
said that he hoped that the consultations would be
followed by subsequent commissions and meetings to
"maintain momentum." Finally, Taccetti expressed, on

behalf of his government, his condolences for the
recent attack on the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul,
Turkey.

5. (SBU) A/S Shannon thanked Taccetti for hosting the
bilateral consultations and stressed that the U.S.
government also looked forward to using the bilateral
consultations as a vehicle to address important
issues in the relationship. He underscored President
Bush's and Secretary Rice's commitment to Latin
America as a whole, and Argentina in particular, and
that he expected the next presidential administration
to continue prioritizing the region. In addition to
our extensive shared economic and political
interests, A/S Shannon noted the vast social and
cultural ties between the U.S. and Argentina. He
stated that the United States and Argentina share a
common interest in building more inclusive societies
and robust democracies that deliver greater social
justice and respond to the needs of its citizens. He
seconded DFM Taccetti's desire for more knowledge-
based and innovative economies.

--------------------------------------------
VISITS KEY TO IMPROVING MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING
--------------------------------------------

6. (SBU) DFM Taccetti, Argentine Ambassador to the
United States Hector Timerman, A/S Shannon, and
Ambassador Wayne noted the level and frequency of
high-level visitors to each country. Both sides
noted the recent senior Congressional visits to
Argentina, including delegations led by Senator
Christopher Dodd and Representative Eliot Engel.
Ambassador Wayne also mentioned the visits of the
Governors of Alabama and South Carolina, as well as a
senior delegation from Texas. He recapped the visits
of several senior USG officials including FBI Deputy
Director Pistole, the Deputy Director of National
Intelligence, Department of Homeland
Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement A/S
Julie Meyers, State Department's Ambassador-at-Large
for Monitoring and Combating Trafficking in Persons
Mark Lagon, the State Department's Special Envoy to
Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Gregg Rickman, and
the State Department's A/S for Educational and
Cultural Affairs Ameri Goli. Timerman recounted the
recent visits of senior GOA officials to the United
States including Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana,
Energy Secretary Daniel Cameron, and Ministry of
Defense Secretary of International Affairs Alfredo
Waldo Forti, as well as the Governors of Salta and
Rio Negro.

7. (SBU) Noting his early and extensive contact with
Congressional leaders and other USG officials upon
assuming his Ambassadorship in Washington, Argentine
Ambassador to the United States Hector Timerman
expressed strong interest in greater government to
government, parliamentary, state-to-state, and people
to people exchanges, particularly in the areas of
energy, security, and culture. A/S Shannon strongly
endorsed this idea, noting that exchanges need to
take place not only between governments but between
societies to enhance mutual understanding.

-------------------------------------------
IRS issue for Argentine Embassy Employees in the U.S.
-------------------------------------------

8. (SBU) Turning to administrative matters, Taccetti
raised the issue of the ongoing Embassy of Argentina
dispute with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), over
the latter's requirement that Embassy employees pay
back taxes. A/S Shannon noted that the IRS had been
in regular contact with the Argentine Embassy on this
matter and indicated that he would relay the GOA's
concerns with colleagues at the IRS.

--------------------
Military Cooperation
--------------------


9. (SBU) On military issues, James G. Alverson III,
Office of the Secretary of Defense, and Mr. Alfredo
Waldo Forti, Secretary of International Affairs, GOA
Ministry of Defense, reviewed the current status of
military-military relations. Alverson underscored
that the Pentagon views U.S.-Argentine military ties
as "excellent both in terms of quality and quantity
at the Ministerial and Armed Forces levels". He
characterized the mil-mil relationship as a "true
partnership" where "we learn from each other." He
noted that the successful April 2008 Pol-Mil meeting
in Washington brought about new initiatives and
agreements, including an MOU to promote more
professional military education for students,
professors, civilians and armed forces personnel.
The April 2008 meeting also forged important new
peacekeeping (PKO) agreements, for which a key
component is further collaboration in Argentina's
"world-class" joint PKO training center (CAECOPAZ).
Alverson hailed Argentina's peacekeeping reputation,
and noted that it will soon celebrate 60 years of
participation in UN PKO efforts. Alverson also
praised US-Argentine collaboration in the Central
American PKO center as well as our S&T cooperation.
Alverson noted that the upcoming Defense Ministers of
the Americas meeting in Canada in September, and the
planned October 2008 visit to Argentina of DoD Deputy
Assistant Secretary Steve Johnson represent further
opportunities to strengthen and reaffirm the
relationship.

10. (SBU) In response, Forti stated that he looked
forward to Johnson's visit, as well as future
military exercises in 2009. He characterized the
U.S.-Argentine military relationship as "productive,"
noting our collaboration in military exercises and
cooperation in the area of science and technology.
He expressed interest in expanding S&T cooperation,
particularly in the area of information security.

11. (SBU) On Haiti, Forti highlighted Argentina's as
well as other Latin American nations' commitment to
MINUSTAH, while at the same time acknowledging that
the situation is "very tough." At the moment,
MINUSTAH's priority is to minimize bloodshed; other
basic needs such as institution-building and ensuring
an adequate food supply were still challenges to be
met, he said. Forti underscored Argentina's regional
peacekeeping role and its CAECOPAZ work, which
includes several U.S. participants, and welcomed
continued U.S. involvement in CAECOPAZ. (Note:
CAECOPAZ is the GOA facility which trains up to 3,000
regional peacekeepers annually. The USG helped
finance construction of CAECOPAZ and has provided
instructors. A/S Shannon made a well-publicized
visit to CAECOPAZ on July 12. Forti accompanied
Shannon as did the commander, Col. Alcedo.)

12. (SBU) Turning to the recent return of the U.S.
Navy's Fourth Fleet, Forti pointed out that the GOA
was not notified in advance of the USG's public
announcement, despite high-level exchanges
immediately prior to the roll-out. Forti also
expressed concern that the Fourth Fleet had possibly
added entirely new assets (i.e. ships, carriers,
etc.). He asked that there be "improved
communication" in the future for initiatives of "this
magnitude."

13. (SBU) Alverson apologized for the lack of
coordination and said that DoD should and could have
communicated this event better to its friends. He
added that DoD had learned from this mistake, with
SouthCom Commander Admiral James Stavridis expressing
his regret about this miscommunication and publicly
clarifying that the Fourth Fleet does not represent
any increase in size of military assets, but rather a
reorganization of existing assets. The Fleet's
mission, explained A/S Shannon, is primarily
humanitarian and disaster relief and drug
interdiction. The Fleet does not have an offensive

purpose, nor will it sail into territorial waters
uninvited, he said, further explaining that its
largest vessel is a hospital ship. The Fourth
Fleet's new mission is to support, promote and
strengthen coalition building, develop partner nation
capabilities, and deter aggression.

----------------------
Science and Technology
----------------------

14. (SBU) On S&T, Dr. Lino Baranao, Minister of
Science, Technology and Productive Innovation,
reviewed his recent trip to Washington. He said that
he is interested in expanding our S&T cooperation in
concrete, specific, and productive areas. He cited
Argentina's work in nanotechnology, as well as his
government's desire to harness its S&T capabilities
to increase competitiveness and promote knowledge-
based companies. He said the USG-GOA joint
declaration on nanotechnology is "emblematic" of the
positive S&T cooperation between the U.S. and
Argentina, and he noted that the joint declaration
highlights several important goals of the S&T
Ministry, such as greater protection for intellectual
property rights (IPR).

15. (SBU) Jeff Miotke, Deputy Assistant Secretary of
State for Science, Space and Health, said that he was
excited about strengthening U.S.-Argentine
nanotechnology cooperation. He noted that although
the United States is one of the top three nations in
the world in nanotechnology development, it can no
longer excel alone. He indicated that the U.S. can
learn from others in areas "we cannot even imagine."
He hailed the many areas of U.S.-Argentine S&T
collaboration, such as nuclear energy, environment,
and health, and noted how each side benefits from
each other's experience. Ambassador Wayne noted our
cooperation in the area of alternative energy, and
expressed his pleasure with the Memorandum of
Understanding that was signed. The Ambassador also
noted his appreciation for GOA Energy Secretary
Daniel Cameron's attendance at the recent Washington
International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC) in
Washington, and the GOA's pledges/plans for more
involvement in this area.

------
Energy
------

16. (SBU) Secretary of Energy Daniel Cameron
highlighted the "large and important role" the energy
sector has played in Argentina's strong economic
growth in recent years. The GOA, he said, has been
working for the past five years on a number of energy
sector-specific development plans, including
initiatives in the areas of hydrogen, biofuels, and
alternative/renewable energy. Cameron also cited the
GOA's peaceful development of nuclear energy, and
noted that it is developing its third heavy water
reactor, Atucha 2. He cited President Cristina
Fernandez de Kirchner's (CFK) energy-saving
initiative unveiled in January 2008, and the GOA's
overall initiative to "rationalize" its energy
consumption. He also cited his government's
initiatives in the area of conservation, clean
energy, efficiency, and noting that in all these
areas we have common interests. He said he enjoyed
participating in the "excellent" Washington-hosted
WIREC conference, at which he led the GOA delegation,
and said that the GOA had followed up on this
conference with a formal renewable energy pledge.

--------------------------
National Parks Cooperation
--------------------------

17. (U) DFM Taccetti remarked on the importance of
U.S. tourism to Argentina, but noted that most U.S.
visitors did not go beyond Buenos Aires. The GOA

would like to encourage greater numbers of U.S.
tourists to visit Argentina's national parks.
National Parks Administration (APN) Director Hector
Espina opened with a brief history of Argentina's
parks and spoke about their beauty and diversity.
The effects of tourism have a ripple effect,
benefiting surrounding towns and cities economically
and thereby creating employment, he added. Espina
noted that the APN considers the U.S. National Park
Service to be a model in its attention to visitors.
Agreements such as the Memorandum of Understanding
between the National Park Services and the APN are
crucial for maintaining the integrity of parks for
future generations. Espina expressed enthusiasm for
signing the agreement and invited the U.S. delegation
to visit Argentina's parks.

-----------------------------
Human Rights Past and Present
-----------------------------

18. (SBU) DFM Taccetti emphasized the "central role"
human rights plays in Argentine state policy,
especially after the "errors" committed during the
military dictatorship. Although the GOA has reopened
trials against those believed to be responsible for
human rights abuses during this era, he lamented that
it was still largely "impossible," with a few
exceptions, to bring to justice most of the
perpetrators of the worst crimes of this period.
Argentine Ambassador Timerman expressed appreciation
for the State Department's cooperation with the
National Security Archives' Argentina
Declassification Project, which declassified
thousands of documents related to human rights abuses
and political violence in Argentina during the 1976-
83 military dictatorship.

19. (SBU) MFA Director for the Human Rights Office
Silvia Fernandez underscored Argentina's continued
commitment to human rights in its foreign policy, as
evidenced by its recent election to the UN Human
Rights Council. She indicated that the GOA hopes to
be a constructive member of the Council. She
expressed disappointment with the USG's decision to
disengage from the UNHRC, noting that although
Argentina shares many of the USG's concerns with the
Council, Argentina remains "optimistic" that it can
still be a useful forum to discuss human rights
issues. She stated that Argentina found the UNHRC's
Universal Periodic Review to be a useful instrument,
for example.

20. (SBU) Fernandez praised the excellent cooperation
the GOA enjoys with the U.S. Embassy and USG,
particularly in international, multilateral, and
regional fora such as the UN and the OAS. To
facilitate USG and GOA discussions on human rights
issues in multilateral fora, Fernandez proposed
holding informal, periodic consultations once a year,
in either capital or on the margins of multilateral
meetings (e.g. Organization of American States,
United Nations). A/S Shannon endorsed the idea of
such a USG-GOA regular human rights dialogue. He
also cited Argentina's "vigorous presence" in
international fora and indicated that Argentina could
offer insights to the United States into the "special
dynamics" of these multilateral organizations.

-----------------------
HR Case: Victor Saldano
-----------------------

21. (SBU) Ms. Fernandez also raised the case of
Argentine citizen Victor Saldano, currently sitting
on death row in Texas. As GOA interlocutors have
previously noted, she reviewed the fact that
testimony introduced at the sentencing phase of his
trial was racially discriminatory and argued that
this testimony may have influenced the court's
decision to sentence him with the death penalty. She
noted that when this issue emerged during the appeals

process, the Texas Attorney General -- representing
the state in the federal court system - "confessed
error," admitting that the introduction of race as a
factor for determining future dangerousness violated
Saldano's right to equal treatment before the law.
Accordingly, in 2000, the Supreme Court vacated
Saldano's sentence and sent the case back to the
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA) for "further
consideration in light of the confession of error."
In 2002 the TCCA upheld the death sentence, holding
that the TCCA followed criminal procedures when
sentencing Saldano. In the wake of these decisions,
the Texas state government passed "the Saldano law"
banning the state from introducing testimony at trial
that contends that race is a factor in determining
future criminal conduct, Fernandez claimed. She said
that the GOA was preparing to submit an amicus brief
on this case and asked that the USG support Argentina
in this effort.

22. (SBU) In response, A/S Shannon said that the USG
"looks forward to speaking with the GOA about this
issue at greater length" and that he would share this
request with State's Legal Advisor. He indicated,
however, that the TCCA had determined that it
followed criminal procedures correctly when
sentencing Saldano. Continuing, he observed that the
Saldano case was very similar to a case that went to
the International Court of Justice regarding Mexicans
on death row in Texas who had not been informed of
their right to consular notification. He said that
President Bush had asked the Texas Supreme Court to
review the matter, but that the Court maintained that
its criminal procedures were correct. A/S Shannon
stated that the USG is working with the Texas
government to meet its obligations under the Vienna
convention. He also indicated that the USG had in
recent years re-doubled its efforts to ensure that
foreign national prisoners were afforded consular
notification and access.

------------------------
Human Rights Cooperation
------------------------

23. (SBU) Ambassador Wayne then noted that both Human
Rights Secretary Duhalde and INADI President Maria
Jose Lubertino had raised the possibility of
increased USG-GOA cooperation in the area of human
rights (ref B). He indicated U.S. interest in
pursuing greater cooperation in human rights and
suggested the MFA could consult with the Human Rights
Secretariat and the INADI to explore areas of future
cooperation. The MFA agreed to do so.

---------------------------------
Education and Culture Cooperation
---------------------------------

24. (U) Ambassador Wayne recognized the efforts on
the part of both governments in promoting the many
exchanges - students, researchers, professors and
specialists - taking place between the two countries.
He proposed the establishment of a coordinating group
to gather better information on educational exchanges
and facilitate them. He also called for the need to
eliminate any impediments and specifically urged the
GOA to develop a visa similar to the United States'
"J" visa category for U.S. exchange participants who
are not enrolled in a full-time program but are
participating in a legitimate exchange, such as
teacher trainers. Overall, the establishment of a
working group with Fulbright as an important partner,
though not the only agent in the process, would be
very good for the long-term basis of the
relationship. DFM Victor Taccetti agreed fully with
this presentation and said student exchange
exemplified the principle A/S Shannon made the
previous day about the closeness of the two
societies. He emphasized that the working group
should resolve issues that arise to ensure smooth
travel.


25. (U) Pablo Urquiza, of the Ministry of Education,
agreed that exchanges strengthen the bilateral
relationship and praised the long and fruitful
relationship with the Fulbright program. Many
provinces are benefiting from English teaching, for
example, and many young Argentines are teaching
Spanish in the U.S. Others are enrolled in post-
graduate programs throughout the U.S. He called to
reinforce and broaden the program, which, he noted,
operates under a co-financing arrangement and he
requested that specific personnel be identified to
work on Fulbright issues. Urquiza raised the new
educational law designed to meet new challenges by
identifying priority themes, including:
1) significantly increased emphasis on the science
and technology curriculum; and 2) professional
development for educators through expanded teacher
training. On the issue of visas, he acknowledged the
gap and explained that the Ministry of Education had
just about resolved a legal/logistical matter that
would allow the establishment of the needed visa
category. He also made mention of the Young
Ambassador's Program, stressing the importance of the
program and the need to maintain it. Ambassador
Wayne reconfirmed that the USG shared these
priorities and gave the example of our ongoing
English teacher training program and said he looked
forward to finding more resources for the Fulbright
program which has been an excellent mechanism for
exchange. DFM Taccetti asserted that progress should
be made on these education issues no later than the
next session.

26. (U) The MFA intervened next with regard to the
Culture Agreement, which was ready to sign. Esther
Malamud, of the Cultural Affairs office, noted that
the principles for working together more fluidly had
been laid. She presented some possible ideas for a
GOA-USG program to develop seminars on film and
comparative immigration histories. A/S Shannon said
that this was an "important step forward." He gave
an example from a cultural exhibit of photographs by
underprivileged youth he had seen when he last
visited Buenos Aires as how culture transforms people
in positive ways and that deepening cultural
cooperation between our two countries would give us a
better understanding of each other's societies.
"Promoting cultural exchange is something we seek,"
he said. The Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural
Exchange and Cooperation was signed at the morning
session on 11 July 2008.

-----------------------------
Counter-terrorism Cooperation
-----------------------------

27. (U) A/S Shannon commended the GOA delegation for
being a strong global partner in counter-terrorism
efforts, as well as for its leadership and
participation in the 3+1 Security Mechanism for the
Tri-Border Area (TBA). He also praised 2007
legislation formally criminalizing terrorism and
terrorist financing. The GOA, in his view, realizes
the need to combat the structures of terrorism and
wants to further develop training programs and
technical assistance for this endeavor. The ongoing
cooperation and contact between numerous agencies
demonstrates the depth and breadth of the
relationship, he highlighted. The Megaports
Initiative is also important, he stated, and hopes
that the agreement will be signed soon so as to
facilitate the transfer of relevant equipment.

28. (U) Minister Jose Ignacio Tobella, Special
Representative on Terrorism, agreed that
international terrorism is a threat to civilization,
the global economy, human rights, and democracy. The
entire world needs to be involved: global
institutions, including the U.N., are necessary for
eradicating terrorism, he said. He summarized the
GOA's contribution to the signing of 12 accords at

the U.N. as well as an accord on nuclear terrorism.
Tobella highlighted the positive nature of the
relationship between both countries and the role that
technical assistance and training plays in
maintaining strong ties. Contact with USEMB Buenos
Aires and the Office of the Coordinator for Counter-
terrorism at the Department of State is ongoing and
fruitful, he stated, and agreed with A/S Shannon on
the importance of recent legislation clearly
outlawing terrorist financing. Tobella spoke on the
GOA participation in crisis simulation exercises. In
Argentina, he noted, domestic agencies are developing
expertise in the crisis management area thru
simulations. He regards this as another important
facet of the overall relationship, one that needs to
be maintained. He also spoke of a joint exercise
with Canada.

29. (U) Taccetti reminded the delegations that
Argentina, too, has been a victim of terrorism, a
fact often forgotten, he said. The terrorist acts
(1992 and 1994) hurt Argentina significantly, even
from a commercial standpoint, citing the loss of
$600-700 million USD in trade with Iran as a result.
He also spoke about the lack of actual terrorist
movement/operations in the tri-border area (TBA) and
was critical about negative U.S. public press (2005)
regarding the TBA and stated it does not reflect an
accurate account of the current situation in the TBA.
These are actually great tourist areas, he noted, and
would appreciate if the U.S. could help transmit a
more accurate account of the TBA.

30. (U) A/S Shannon acknowledged the helpful exchange
of information among the 3+1 partners in the TBA and
regretted the negative press accounts of terrorism in
the TBA. He referred to the Megaports Initiative,
designed to detect the transit of nuclear or
radioactive materials through ports around the world.
Worldwide application will make it successful, he
said. He hoped that the GOA could identify an
appropriate agency to take the lead in this endeavor.

31. (U) Ricardo Bocalandro, of the International
Security Directorship on Nuclear and Space Issues,
said that the GOA is firmly committed to counter-
proliferation. He referred to one example of such
commitment as the ongoing seminars and courses on
inspection that are provided by the U.S. As such,
the Megaports Initiative is under consideration and
the GOA is favorably disposed, he said. However,
upon analyzing the Megaports Memorandum of
Understanding, GOA officials are concerned about the
confidentiality of the information obtained from
container inspection at Argentine ports. GOA
officials need assurance of confidentiality and
privacy. Nevertheless, in principle, the GOA favors
the idea, he said.

32. (U) A/S Shannon stated the U.S. is willing to
address, and respects, the GOA's confidentiality
concerns regarding the Megaports Initiative. He
wants to work with the GOA to overcome any
impediments that block approval of the initiative.
He also spoke of the different U.S. offices involved
in crisis management issues and hopes to be able to
have agencies from both countries share experiences.

-----------------------------------------
Cooperation Against Narcotics Tafficking
-----------------------------------------

33. (U) A/S Shannon voiced appreciation for GOA
support in the fight against drug trafficking. He
expressed U.S. openness to strengthening and
furthering the relationship. He was gratified by
draft GOA legislation criminalizing precursor
chemicals. Synthetic drugs are related to precursor
chemicals and thus important to fight, he said. A/S
Shannon also stated his appreciation for GOA
legislation and stated that trafficking networks are
evolving and we need to be sure we can respond

quickly to their mutations. Argentina's passage of
legislation to combat financial crimes was also an
important step in the overall process against
narcotics trafficking.

34. (U) Ricardo Roselli, of the General Directorship
for International Drug Affairs, stressed the positive
nature of cooperation in all areas of combating
narcotics, including in bilateral and international
fora. Many common positions exist with the U.S. in
the U.N. and the OAS, where we have ample
cooperation, he said. He noted that Paraguay and
Bolivia are big producers and that working there is
important. Precursor legislation, he said, is
necessary due to certain usage of precursor chemicals
in synthetic drugs. Lastly, he asked for the annual
renewal of the Face Sheet Amendment to the 1994 MOU
"for Reducing Demand, Preventing Abuse, and Combating
Illicit Production and Traffic of Drugs and
Psychotropic Substances."

35. (SBU) A/S Shannon agreed on the need to renew the
agreement. He also recognized that the U.S. is part
of the problem, citing U.S. demand for illicit drugs.
Even though U.S. demand for cocaine is down, he said,
demand for it is up in Europe and Brazil while
synthetic drug demand is rising in the U.S. A/S
Shannon elaborated on U.S. concerns over Bolivia, he
said there was still cooperation with the GOB on
eradication and interdiction, but that President
Morales was resisting on alternative development
which was key to thwarting narcotics production in
the long term. He addressed the need to work with
Bolivia to confront these issues.

36. (U) Taccetti expressed gratitude for the
information and hopes that the U.S. can come to an
agreement with Bolivia. He recognized that
increasing drug use is an international problem and
cited reasons for the spike in all Argentine social
strata over the past several years. Analysts, he
said, associate rising drug use with the economic
crisis of 2001, high levels of unemployment, and the
deterioration of the family as a unit of social
structure. As such, he acknowledged that Argentina,
too, is part of the global problem. One of the GOA
approaches to decreasing consumption of illicit drugs
is to strengthen the family unit so that there can be
more oversight and intervention by the family, he
said.

------------------------------------------
Cooperation against Trafficking in Persons
------------------------------------------

37. (U) On trafficking in persons (TIP) issues,
Ambassador Wayne began by noting that TIP is a
serious challenge for all countries and an
opportunity to deepen our cooperation. He said that
the recent visits by Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) A/S Julie Meyers (ref c), two DHS Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE) experts, and G/TIP
Ambassador-at-Large Mark Lagon (refs d and e)
established a good basis for enhanced TIP cooperation
between the U.S. and Argentina. He praised Argentina
for organizing the MERCOSUR TIP Congress in June,
adding that this was a good example of international
and multilateral cooperation. Ambassador Wayne also
indicated that Lagon had excellent conversations with
the GOA and NGO community, and that Lagon left
Argentina "confident in our working relationship."
He underscored the USG's commitment to assist GOA
efforts to end this terrible practice.

38. (U) Special Envoy for Women's Affairs Magdalena
Faillace indicated that the GOA has a "permanent
relationship" with the U.S. Embassy. She stated that
the GOA recognizes that TIP is a problem in Argentina
and cited the International Organization of
Migration's (IOM) study that estimated 80% of all TIP
victims in Argentina are Argentine women and children
for the purposes of sexual exploitation. TIP is not

only a problem in Argentina, however, but also in the
region, and it is for this reason that the GOA has
taken the lead on placing this issue on the MERCOSUR
agenda, she said.

39. (U) Faillace noted Ambassador Lagon's meetings
with FM Taiana, Justice Minister Anibal Fernandez,
and Prosecutor General Esteban Righi. She stressed,
however, that the GOA continues to disagree with its
Tier 2 Watchlist classification in the USG's
rankings, arguing that the ranking does not seem to
take into account many of the GOA's recent
accomplishments: the creation of a National Plan to
Assist Trafficking Victims established by Executive
Decree in 2007; the passage of federal legislation
criminalizing TIP; and the support the MFA and other
government agencies gave to IOM's public awareness
campaign. She explained that many GOA agencies are
involved in the fight against human trafficking, and
that she had recently attended a meeting with
agencies from the Ministry of Justice, the Prosecutor
General (including the Office of Victim's Assistance-
OFAVI), and the Ministry of Social Development,
including the Secretariat for Children, Adolescents,
and the Family to discuss next steps regarding the
development of implementing regulations for the new
anti-trafficking law.

40. (U) A/S Shannon expressed appreciation for
Argentina's passage of anti-TIP legislation and for
its diplomatic efforts to place the fight against TIP
on the Mercosur agenda. He also praised Argentine
civil society for their efforts to raise public
awareness of the problem. TIP is a huge problem for
the U.S., he stressed. The U.S. and Argentina have
similar challenges in fighting TIP, including the
need to implement new legal structures to prosecute
traffickers through the federal court system. He
said he was grateful that FM Taiana met with
Ambassador Lagon to see how the U.S. and Argentina
can move forward on this issue. He stated that he
looked forward to working with the GOA in this area,
adding that "we have a lot to learn from each other."

41. (U) Silvina Zabala, a representative of the
Ministry of Justice's Victims Against Violence
Brigade (VAVB), announced that the MOJ has decided to
open a new Office of Juridical Assistance for TIP
Victims. The MOJ has not yet staffed the office, but
it will consist of 30 professionals, the majority of
whom will be lawyers, she said. A/S Shannon stated
that this was "positive news."

42. (U) DFM Taccetti replied that the GOA benefits
from and needs cooperation from other countries to
fight transnational crime, as the arm of the law is
shorter than the reach of criminals. He acknowledged
that TIP is a serious problem, not only in the area
of sexual exploitation but also forced labor. He
emphasized that it is important to cultivate and
strengthen international cooperation, otherwise
"we'll always lag behind the criminals."

------------------------
Regional Economic Issues
------------------------

43. (U) U.S. Treasury DAS O'Neill provided an
assessment of the current U.S. economy, highlighting
the measures the U.S. is taking to mitigate an
economic downturn. He sought to assuage the fears
expressed by some in the GOA delegation that current
economic conditions will have a detrimental effect on
the countries of the region. He noted that because
we are not seeing a reduction in FDI in the region; a
credit crunch of great proportions; or a decreased
demand in U.S. export markets, the overall outlook is
positive and thus emerging markets should fare well.
O'Neill recognized the resilience of the Latin
American economies, noting that they have absorbed
the shock well and rebounded with little disruption.
O'Neill also spoke about U.S. Treasury initiatives,


highlighting the successful regional finance
minister's meetings in Cancun (June 2008) and the
Office of Technical Assistance's help in regional
financial systems, such as successfully augmenting
Paraguay's tax collection system.

44. (U) Ambassador Stancanelli, of the Foreign
Ministry's National Directorship for Bilateral
Economic Negotiations, expressed gratitude for DAS
O'Neill's visit and spoke about the 20 economic
experts the GOA employs to follow global and national
economic issues. He is worried, he said, about
America's twin deficits though he expressed relief to
hear that rising U.S. exports have stabilized the
current U.S. trade deficit. Stancanelli expressed
concern that U.S. investments abroad will suffer as a
result of current economic conditions, specifically
the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and that U.S.
businesses may decide to reassess their investments
abroad and possibly curtail the important investments
already outstanding in Argentina. He further noted
that although the GOA must consider all the
possibilities of a crisis in the U.S., their analysis
from last year concluded that the U.S. would not fall
into recession.

45. (U) Stancanelli also stated that the Argentine
economy, along with most Latin American economies,
has been growing. This despite a contraction of the
Argentine economy this year from 9% to 7%; though
Argentina will have grown (cumulative since the
crisis) over 60% by year's end. He realizes that
growth depends on investment, hence his concern.
Although many important investments have taken place,
some sectors need continuing investment, specifically
the energy sector, he said. Developing road and
transport infrastructure, he added, is necessary at
the current time. He also stressed the importance of
properly backing the Argentine currency as well as
consistent payment on foreign debt so as to maintain
the GOA's credibility. He closed by noting that
economic stability is crucial for Argentina, and for
the region, and that his team of experts investigates
these topics as exhaustively as possible.

----------------
Closing Comments
----------------

46. (U) In reviewing the joint communique, the U.S.
and GoA delegations agreed to meet again in
Washington in the fall. DFM Taccetti asked for the
near term establishment of informal working groups to
follow up on relevant topics discussed during the
bilateral meetings. These meetings, he said, will
provide an opportunity for discernible gains in the
bilateral relationship.

47. (U) The Joint Press Communique reads as follows:

Third Meeting of the Special Process of High-Level
Regular Bilateral Consultations Between Argentina and
the United States Buenos Aires, July 10-11, 2008

As previously agreed by Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana
and Assistant Secretary Thomas Shannon, the third
Argentine-United States meeting of political
consultations was held in Buenos Aires on July 10 and
11, 2008.

The delegations were headed by Deputy Foreign
Minister Victorio Taccetti and Assistant Secretary
Thomas Shannon, who stressed the values and interests
shared by their countries with respect to democracy,
the peaceful settlement of disputes, the defense of
human rights, respect for the territorial integrity
of States, and addressed a broad range of topics and
initiatives that reflect the excellent cooperation on
a mutually beneficial agenda.

The Parties highlighted the importance of contacts
between lawmakers, and deepening the ties between

provinces and states in expanding the bilateral
political dialogue. As part of the effort to enhance
the bond between the two countries, new initiatives
and programs of common interest were agreed.

Both delegations agreed that scientific and
technological research constitutes a priority
interest. With that in mind, the Minister of
Science, Technology and Productive Innovation, Dr.
JosQ Lino Baranao and Assistant Secretary Thomas
Shannon signed a statement on cooperation in the area
of nanotechnology. Likewise, Assistant Secretary
Shannon signed a memorandum of intention on clean and
renewable energies with Energy Secretary Daniel
Cameron, and an Understanding on National Parks with
the President of the National Park Administration,
HQctor Mario Espina.

Argentina and the United States, who have a long
bilateral tradition of cooperation in education,
agreed that education is essential for achieving
social and economic progress and plays an important
role in promoting mutual understanding. It was
agreed to look for ways to facilitate new and more
frequent exchange programs by establishing a joint
working group. With this in mind, both governments
signed a memorandum of understanding on cultural
exchanges and cooperation in the field of the arts.

Cooperation on topics of global interest is a key
item on the bilateral agenda, and for that reason the
two countries agreed to continue and to enhance
efforts to fight international terrorism, drug
trafficking and trafficking in persons, acting on the
basis of international agreements and the rule of
law.

On the topic of human rights, which is a priority
item for both countries, it was agreed to expand the
dialogue by holding periodic bilateral consultations
and to explore other ways to deepen cooperation.

The meeting continued with a working luncheon offered
by Deputy Foreign Minister Taccetti to Secretary
Shannon and his delegation, during which issues of
shared interest on the agenda were discussed in
greater detail.

Foreign Minister Taiana later hosted a dinner in
honor of the visiting delegation. Both delegations
highlighted their willingness to take advantage of
further opportunities to enhance the bilateral
relationship.

As part of the mechanism established for regular
consultations between Argentina and the United
States, it was agreed to hold a follow-up meeting on
the various initiatives in the fall in Washington,
D.C. In the meanwhile, separate working groups will
meet to address the tasks identified.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner received
Assistant Secretary Shannon, Ambassador E. Anthony
Wayne, and Deputy Assistant Secretary Brian O'Neill
of the U.S. Treasury. Also present were Cabinet
Chief Minister Alberto Fernandez, Ambassador of
Argentina in Washington Hector Timerman, and Deputy
Foreign Minister Victorio Taccetti. They exchanged
views on bilateral, regional and global issues, and
they welcomed the progress made in strengthening ties
between Argentina and the United States.

48. (U) This cable was cleared by WHA A/S Shannon.

WAYNE
WAYNE

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