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Cablegate: Scenesetter for Jan 8-9 Visit of Assistant

VZCZCXYZ0020
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMD #1366/01 3661306
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 311306Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5831
INFO RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON PRIORITY 1728
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MADRID 001366

SIPDIS

FOR STACIE ZERDECKI AND ELAINE SAMSON, EUR/WE
WHA FOR STACY WILLIAMS, KAREN RAM
USEU FOR BOB BLACKSTONE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/09/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV SP
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR JAN 8-9 VISIT OF ASSISTANT
SECRETARY SHANNON

Classified By: Acting Deputy Chief of Mission William H. Duncan, for re
asons 1.4(b) and (d).

1. (SBU) Embassy Madrid warmly welcomes your visit to Spain.
U.S.-Spanish relations are strong and based on shared global
interests, including the fight against terrorism, the
bilateral military relationship, our association in NATO, and
rapidly expanding economic ties. Your Spanish interlocutors
will be eager to share their assessment of financial
developments and bilateral relations, and they will be eager
to hear your perspective on the incoming U.S. Administration
and prospects for cooperation. Most of all, they will seek
your prognosis for Latin America and for Spanish-U.S. and
U.S.-EU cooperation to ensure democracy and prosperity in the
Western Hemisphere. The GOS is sensitive to the importance
of U.S. involvement and investment in the region, but
sometimes GOS officials suggest the USG has "abandoned" Latin
America. Your visit presents a timely opportunity to counter
these assertions while inviting Spain to take more concrete
steps to promote democracy and good governance.

//YOUR SCHEDULE IN MADRID//

2. (C) The Ambassador looks forward to meeting with you upon
your arrival and is pleased to invite you to stay at the
Residence while you are here. Your program includes what we
hope will be quality interaction with your Spanish
counterparts, extensive media outreach to the top Spanish
news outlets, a gathering of thinktankers and Latin
Americanists, and a public roundtable forum on U.S. and
Spanish approaches to Latin America. Secretary of State for
Latin American Affairs Trinidad Jimenez will join you at the
roundtable January 9 and will host a lunch in your honor
January 8. Spain's Secretary of State for International
Cooperation, Soraya Rodriguez, will participate in the lunch,
providing an opportunity to discuss improved coordination of
our foreign assistance programs. The DCM will host a
representational dinner January 8 to include our key Latin
American contacts at the leading Spanish thinktanks. Carlos
Malamud (Instituto Real Elcano) and Jose Herrera (FAES) among
others look forward to welcoming you back to Madrid.
One-on-one interviews with Spain's leading print and
broadcast media -- and through Cadena SER and Television
Espanola to their Western Hemisphere affiliates -- will
complete your visit and magnify your messages not just to
Spanish publics but throughout Latin America.

//BILATERAL RELATIONS//

3. (SBU) Spain is an important friend and ally of the U.S.
We especially value Spanish cooperation in the fights against
terrorism, narcotics, and human trafficking. Spanish troops
are carrying out important missions in countries such as
Afghanistan and Lebanon. Spain has long fought a domestic
terrorist threat from the Basque terrorist group ETA and
suffered tragically from Islamic extremist terrorism in the
March 2004 Madrid train bombings. We need to be innovative
in finding new and improved avenues for bilateral and
multilateral cooperation against the threats we both face.
It would be worth discussing increased cooperation against
Latin American narcotics traffickers. Spain is the principal
point of entry for South American cocaine coming to Europe
and has a serious domestic drug consumption problem. Since
winning a second term in March 2008, President Zapatero has
publicly and privately stressed his desire to further improve
bilateral relations. The relationship will be of increasing
importance when Spain takes over the EU presidency in January
2010. After 15 years of rapid economic growth, Spain is now
in recession as the result of the end in 2007 of its long
housing boom and the international financial crisis. The
unaccustomed hard times have hurt support for Zapatero, who
has at times tried to place the blame for Spain's
difficulties on the United States.

XXXXXXXXXXXX
11. (SBU) Possible VP Biden Visit - The Spanish press have
reported obsessively on the fact that Presidents Bush and
Zapatero have not met (Zapatero finally visited the White
House during the November 15 G-20 financial summit). They
followed closely statements during the presidential campaign
by Senators Obama and McCain and their spokesmen about the
possibility of meeting with Zapatero. GOS officials made no

secret of their satisfaction with the results of our
elections, and they may have unrealistic expectations about
how soon the new President will visit Spain, or Zapatero
Washington. Spanish officials informed reporters recently
that Vice President-elect Biden had told Zapatero in a
November 17 phone conversation that he would visit Spain
shortly after taking office to discuss the global financial
crisis. The Vice President-elect also was said to have
mentioned the importance the President-elect places on
bilateral relations and highlighted the possibility for
cooperation on Latin America. We have not heard any
confirmation of this from U.S. sources.

XXXXXXXXXXXX
AGUIRRE

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