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Cablegate: Colombia Retools Its Iattc Policy, but Goc

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DE RUEHBO #3892 2982143
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P 242143Z OCT 08
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RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS BOGOTA 003892

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EFIS PHSA SENV CO
SUBJECT: COLOMBIA RETOOLS ITS IATTC POLICY, BUT GOC
PARTICIPATION IN NOVEMBER MEETING UNCERTAIN

REF: A. BOGOTA 3146
B. BOGOTA 3055
C. STATE 77701

1. (SBU) Summary. On October 23 MFA Director of Economic,
Social and Environmental Affairs, Maria Andrea Alban, told
EconCouns that the GOC has been meeting to revise its posture
before the Inter-American
Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) in an effort to avoid the
embarrassment caused in Panama (reftels). The new policy
committee -- comprised of representatives of the ministries
of foreign affairs, environment, agriculture and trade --
will design a position more in line with the conservation and
resource objectives of the IATTC. However, Alban expressed
concern that a recent government-wide travel prohibition
mandated by President Uribe would prevent the GOC from
participating in the November meeting in La Jolla and would
leave the industry as the only Colombian voice present. End
Summary.

2. (SBU) Alban noted that by decree the responsibility for
setting GOC IATTC policy lies with a committee consisting
only of governmental representatives, one each from the
foreign affairs, environment, agriculture and trade
ministries. The industry has a voice through the agriculture
ministry. The group has met twice since the Panama encounter
and will meet at least once more prior to La Jolla. Alban
reiterated the GOC regret over the performance in Panama and
assured us that their policy approach will now be more in
tune with the conservation and resource preservation goals of
the IATTC.

3. (SBU) Alban noted, however, that industry continues to
exert considerable pressure on GOC policymakers. She
indicated that the inclusion of a Colombian vessel on the
IATTC "black list" and the need for a greater quota were the
two major bones of contention. Industry is preaching the
impact of IATTC restrictions on fishery employment in
vulnerable coastal communities, an argument that has some
resonance within the GOC.

4. (SBU) Alban is extremely concerned that a government-wide
travel prohibition instituted recently by President Uribe,
which includes travel to multilateral meetings, would prevent
GOC representation in La Jolla. The industry, Alban
emphasized, will be present as they are not subject to the
travel restriction. EconCouns suggested that in the event a
GOC delegation could not travel to the meeting, the
Colombians may wish to submit a policy statement to the
Commission to make the official position clear and to prevent
the industry from misrepresenting government policy.
BROWNFIELD

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