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Cablegate: Argentina: Delivery of Zimbabwe Demarche Re Bank

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1373 2811846
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 071846Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2180
INFO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN IMMEDIATE 1146
RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE IMMEDIATE 0003
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA IMMEDIATE 0041
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 1263
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW IMMEDIATE 0771
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001373

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

AF/S - BRIAN WALCH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC BEXP ECON EFIN AR ZI
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: DELIVERY OF ZIMBABWE DEMARCHE RE BANK
NOTES

REF: STATE 103129

1. (SBU) EconOff delivered reftel demarche in separate
meetings on October 1 to Marcelo Cesa, Argentine MFA desk
officer for the U.S., Adrian Cosentino, new Finance
Undersecretary at the Ministry of Economy, and also with
Argentine Central Bank Managing Director and Chief Economist
Hernan Lacunza and Lacunza's chief advisor, Guillermo
Zuccolo.

2. (SBU) These GoA and Central Bank officials agreed to
review the information provided on the situation in Zimbabwe
and the possibility that the Government of Zimbabwe may be
considering a supply contract with well-known Argentine
supplier of bank note paper, Ciccone Calcografia. They each
said they would have to discuss internally within their
institutions whether the government and/or Central Bank would
be willing to approach the printing company to discourage
their participation in any contract with Zimbabwe. However,
all emphasized that Argentina has no legal grounds for
blocking such an arrangement.

3. (SBU) The MFA's Marcelo Cesa confirmed October 3 that he
has passed the substance of the demarche up the chain of
command in the MFA, but is so far unable to provide a general
GoA position on Zimbabwe. However, Post notes that the MFA
announced June 25 that it had suspended its plan to send
Argentine election observers to Zimbabwe, following the
UNSC's June 23 unanimous statement criticizing pre-election
violence in Zimbabwe and raising concerns about the
elections. The GoA press release calls for a negotiated
solution to the situation in Zimbabwe. Post will highlight
the statement in follow-up discussions with GoA and Central
Bank officials on this topic.

4. (SBU) Post is conducting due diligence on Ciccone
Calcografia before pursuing direct contact. Ciccone
Calcografia is one of the largest Argentine suppliers of bank
notes and has contracts with the Argentine Central Bank for
printing bank notes and the Argentine Federal Police for
printing passports. However, it has a troubled history
(including allegations of corruption), may currently be
experiencing financial difficulties, and has been the subject
of several critical media exposes by local investigative
journalists. One of these articles, in left-leaning daily
"Pagina 12," criticized U.S. Embassy advocacy in 2005 on
behalf of Californian firm Cogent Systems, which was bidding
on computer security and digital fingerprint technology
contracts in partnership with Ciccone Calcografia. Given the
sensitivities involved, therefore, Post plans to move
cautiously in approaching this company.

WAYNE

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