Cablegate: Emboffs Discuss Counter-Terrorism Cooperation,

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L PANAMA 001046



E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/03/2009

REF: A. STATE 71826
B. PANAMA 0274

Classified By: DCM Christopher J. McMullen for reason 1.4 (b)

Building Bridges

1. (C) On April 22, PolOffs met with Russian Embassy
Counselor (DCM) Oleg Ostrovskiy and First Secretary Evgeny
Lebedev for our first tete-a-tete. Both GOR diplomats are
Americas specialists and have already served in Panama for a
year or more. Noting the good relationship between our
countries' heads of state and foreign ministries (Ref A) and
our mutual interest in the war against global terrorism, he
thanked PolOffs for reaching out to them regarding Ref A. He
offered to assist Embassy with the GOP in any
counter-terrorism (CT) component that we may identify. He
commented on the bilateral information-sharing agreement
between the GOR's Finance and Monetary Commission and the
GOP's Financial Analysis Unit (UAF) to fight money
laundering. (Comment: We believe that agreement may be
Russia's principal bilateral link with the GOP. End
Comment.) At a February 2 mini-CT Action Group (CTAG)
meeting, Ostrovskiy requested that the Embassy ask the GOP to
brief the group on terrorist threats to Panamanian
infrastructure. (See Ref B.)

Making(-up) missions

2. (C) Ostrovskiy admitted that the Russian Embassy has weak
ties with the GOP, saying that Russia-Panama relations still
were "under development". The embassy is relatively small
with only 15 personnel, all Russian nationals, including
eight diplomats. In the region, the GOR has embassies in
Costa Rica and Nicaragua and is establishing an embassy in
Guatemala, supposedly because of economic interests.
Ostrovskiy claimed no regional representational
responsibilities, though Lebedev stated that he and
Ostrovskiy travel to Mexico and Cuba on a regular basis.
When pressed, Ostrovskiy named growing export and investment
opportunities and natural-disaster response assistance as
Russian-Panamanian agenda items. However, their Embassy's
Economic Counselor position was just eliminated, and
Ostrovskiy could not elaborate on any recent aid projects.

New Embassy Site

3. Ostrovskiy confirmed Russia's plans to build a new
embassy on a parcel at former Fort Albrook. (Comment:
Contrary to local newspaper reports, it would not be adjacent
to our own new embassy compound in Clayton.) Also, he stated
that the GOR has yet to allocate funds for construction,
though a lease agreement on the land has been finalized.
Groundbreaking for the new embassy compound was held November
1, 2003, according to press reports, and would comprise 1.5
hectares (3.6 acres).


4. (C) We pursued this meeting with the Russians because of
comments made earlier to Ambassador Watt by former Russian
ambassador Nikolay Vladimir, to the effect that Russia has
plans to establish a Panama hub for its regional operations
to replace Mexico, and would scale down its commercial and
other activities in Mexico as it moves officers to Panama.
After speaking with Ostrovskiy, it does not appear that
changes in Russia's regional focus are imminent.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Climate Change: Record Northern Heat, Fuels Concerns Over US Wildfire Destruction

More than 78,000 acres of forest in the Sierra mountains in California has been lost due to wildfires. Photo: San Francisco Fire Department The northern hemisphere experienced its warmest August ever, the World Meteorological Organization ( WMO ... More>>

UN: Guterres Condemns Killing Of Journalists, Following Beheading Of Mexican Crime Reporter

© UNESCO | International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. Following the gruesome death of a Mexican journalist specializing in crime reporting, who was found beheaded on Wednesday, UN chief António Guterres has issued a statement condemning ... More>>

UN: WHO Warns Against Potential Ebola Spread In DR Congo And Beyond

Ebola is spreading in a western province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), raising fears that the disease could reach neighbouring Republic of Congo and even the capital, Kinshasa, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. ... More>>

WWF: Living Planet Report Reveals Average Two-Thirds Decline In Wildlife Populations Since 1970

According to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020 released today, global populations* of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish have suffered an average two-thirds decline in less than half a century. The decline is due in large part to the very ... More>>