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Cablegate: Secretary Rice's 09/16/2008 Meeting With

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O 190329Z SEP 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID IMMEDIATE 9653
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA IMMEDIATE 2513
RUEHPS/AMEMBASSY PRISTINA IMMEDIATE 4653
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS IMMEDIATE 8901
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ IMMEDIATE 1092
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA IMMEDIATE 5909
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV IMMEDIATE 5670
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM IMMEDIATE 3379

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 100219

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/17/2018
TAGS: OVIP RICE CONDOLEEZZA PREL PHSA SP KV CU
BL, IS
SUBJECT: Secretary Rice's 09/16/2008 Meeting with
Spanish Ambassador Dezcallar

1. (U) Classified by EUR A/S Daniel Fried. Reason
1.4(b) and (d).

2. (U) September 16, 2008; 11 a.m.; Secretary's Office.

3. (U) Participants:

U.S.
The Secretary
EUR A/DAS Nerissa Cook
EUR/WE Stacie Zerdecki (Notetaker)

Spain
Ambassador Jorge Dezcallar
DCM Jose Pascual Marco

4. (C) SUMMARY. Recently arrived Spanish Ambassador
Jorge Dezcallar made a courtesy call on Secretary Rice
to discuss the bilateral relationship. Dezcallar opened
by saying he was asked to personally deliver a message
from the King of Spain of his desire to improve
relations. They discussed their shared concern over
recent developments in Bolivia and Venezuela, the need
for real change in Cuba under Raul Castro, Moratinos'
positive role in the Middle East, and differences over
Kosovo. Dezcallar closed by requesting the Secretary's
support for Spain's 2010 candidacy in the Human Rights
Council. The Secretary wished Spain luck and commented
on Spain's strong human rights record, but admitted that
the U.S. is not active in the Council and doesn't view
it as a functioning organization. END SUMMARY.

----------------------
Bilateral Relationship
----------------------

5. (SBU) Ambassador Dezcallar expressed his intention
"to work very hard to improve relations during his
tenure" as ambassador to the United States. He relayed
to the Secretary that he had spoken to both the King of
Spain and Foreign Minister Moratinos in the past two
days and both expressed their wish to strengthen the
bilateral relationship. Both the Secretary and
Dezcallar agreed that relations are good between the two
countries, but there is room for improvement.

----------------------
Bolivia and Venezuela
----------------------

6. (C) Almost immediately, the conversation turned to
recent events in Venezuela and Bolivia. Dezcallar and
the Secretary agreed that while both situations are
domestic problems, they are developing into crises of
international concern. The Secretary noted that while
she sympathizes with the Bolivian people, the Bolivian
regime is making it very difficult for the United States
to help them. Dezcallar agreed that the Bolivian people
are suffering, and that resolution is "through
consultation, not violence." Both agreed that Bolivian
President Morales is "out of his league" in his attempts
to govern the country.

7. (C) On Venezuela, Ambassador Dezcallar recounted how
he was forced to wait three hours for a meeting with
Chavez several years ago, then heard mindless chatter
from Chavez for a few hours before being allowed to make
his official request for Venezuela to turn over 6 ETA
members wanted for killing 36 Spaniards. When Dezcallar
was finally able to make his appeal, Chavez readily
agreed. Only when Dezcallar got out of the meeting did
he learn that Chavez stalled for enough time to let the
ETA members escape from detention. The Secretary
responded that the United States has found that ignoring
Chavez is the best policy, and the lack of attention
frustrates him more than admonition.

-----
Cuba
-----

STATE 00100219 002 OF 002

8. (C) The Secretary stated she remains unconvinced of
the sincerity of minor post-Fidel changes in Cuba. She
emphasized the need to make real change, as opposed to
cosmetic ones. For example, Cubans should have access
to cell phones and the Internet. The Ambassador
countered that GoS doesn't think that changes in Cuba
since Raul's ascent to power have been cosmetic. He
denied that Raul is another Fidel, but warned against
being too heavy-handed and "scaring him off, or he will
be even more difficult."

9. (U) Dezcallar commented that Cuba is going through
hard times this hurricane season, and the Secretary
confirmed that the United States has already offered
humanitarian aid.

------
Kosovo
------

10. (C) Turning to Europe, the Secretary asked if there
was any chance Spain would recognize Kosovo. Dezcallar
demurred "not any time soon." The Secretary replied
that she hoped Spain would not recognize the breakaway
Georgian provinces of South Ossetia or Abkhazia, and
Dezcallar assured her they would not.

-----------------
Middle East Peace
-----------------

11. (C) The Secretary and Ambassador Dezcallar briefly
discussed the Israeli/Palestinian peace process and
Foreign Minister Moratinos' whirlwind trip through the
region September 12-17. Secretary Rice said that
Moratinos has been helpful in the Middle East, and made
reference to her trilateral meeting with Israeli Foreign
Minister Livni and the head of the Palestinian
negotiating team, Abu Alaa, on August 26, 2008. The
Secretary and Dezcallar agreed that the situation was
not all bad and noted that Palestinian forces are taking
on more responsibility.

---------------------
Human Rights Council
---------------------

12. (C) Mirroring FM Moratinos' request to the
Secretary during their May 19 meeting, Ambassador
Dezcallar again asked for the United States' support of
Spanish candidacy to the Human Rights Council in the
next election (2010). Similar to her response then, the
Secretary said the U.S. may not vote at all, as she
considers the council a "disaster." However, she noted
that the council needed countries with good human rights
records, like Spain, to hold seats.
RICE

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