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Cablegate: Qadhafi Retaliates Against Spanish Expulsions

O 121758Z MAY 86
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8202
EC COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
INFO AMEMBASSY ALGIERS
AMEMBASSY RABAT
AMEMBASSY TUNIS

S E C R E T MADRID 05480

E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR
TAGS: PTER PINR PREL SP LY
SUBJECT: QADHAFI RETALIATES AGAINST SPANISH EXPULSIONS

REF: A) MADRID 5426, B) MADRID 5425, C) MADRID 5418

1. (C) LIBYA MAY 12 RESPONDED TO FRIDAY'S EXPULSION OF
ITS CONSUL GENERAL, CHARGED WITH PASSING FUNDS TO
A SPANISH ARMY COLONEL ON THE ANTI-DEMOCRATIC RIGHT,
BY PNG'ING THE SPANISH COMMERCIAL AND CULTURAL
COUNSELORS IN TRIPOLI. MFA'S SUBDIRECTOR GENERAL FOR
NORTH AFRICA TELLS US THAT THE GOS WILL NOT RETALIATE
SPECIFICALLY FOR THESE EXPULSIONS; AS INVESTIGATIONS
CONTINUE INTO THE LIBYAN ACTIVITIES HERE, HOWEVER,
MORE EXPULSIONS ARE QUITE POSSIBLE.

2. (U) AFTER THIS MESSAGE WAS DRAFTED, WE RECEIVED
A WIRE SERVICE REPORT QUOTING INTERIOR MINISTER
BARRIONUEVO SAYING THAT SPAIN DID NOT PLAN ADDITIONAL
LIBYAN EXPULSIONS.

3. (C) COMMENT: IT IS NOT CLEAR WHERE THIS SERIES
OF EXPULSIONS AND REPRISALS IS GOING TO TAKE SPANISH-
LIBYAN RELATIONS. THE GOS IS DRIVEN BY TWO MUTUALLY-
EXCLUSIVE DESIRES. ON THE ONE HAND, IN THIS ELECTORAL
PERIOD IT WANTS TO DISCREDIT THE FAR RIGHT (WHICH IT
HAS DONE BY PUBLICIZING THE COLONEL'S CONNECTION TO
QADHAFI - REF C), AND SHOW IT IS
EFFECTIVE AGAINST TERRORISM (WHICH IT DID
BY BAGGING THE 10-MAN "CALL OF JESUS CHRIST" GROUP -
REF A). AT THE SAME TIME THE GOS WANTS TO AVOID
BECOMING A PRINCIPAL TARGET FOR QADHAFI BY PERSERVING
AS MUCH OF A RELATIONSHIP AS POSSIBLE. FOREIGN
MINISTER ORDONEZ PLAYED TO THE SECOND LINE THIS
WEEKEND WHEN HE REFUSED TO COMMENT ON LIBYAN ACTIVITIES
HERE, SAYING "I DON'T WANT TO MAKE ANY STATEMENT WHICH
MIGHT AGGRAVATE A STATE OF RELATIONS WHICH IS PASSING
THROUGH A DELICATE MOMENT." WE UNDERSTAND FROM OUR
MFA SOURCE THAT SENIOR MINISTRY OFFICIALS MET TODAY
TO DECIDE HOW TO REACT TO LIBYA'S RETALIATION
(WHICH LEAVES THE GOS EMBASSY IN TRIPOLI WITH ONLY
3 DIPLOMATS). THE DECISION TO DO NOTHING IS
CONSISTENT WITH THE MINISTRY'S LINE -- TAKEN PUBLICLY
THIS WEEKEND -- THAT IT DOES NOT WANT TO SEVER
RELATIONS WITH TRIPOLI. THIS STRATEGY IS ONLY POSSIBLE
IF QADHAFI PLAYS ALONG.


ENDERS

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