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Cablegate: Argentina Signs Inl Letter of Agreement

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

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002714

SIPDIS

INL FOR TOM MARTIN AND AL MATANO
L FOR PATT PRUGH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA SIGNS INL LETTER OF AGREEMENT

REF: STATE 186187

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Foreign Minister Beilsa and Ambassador
Gutierrez signed the first INL Letter of Agreement (LOA)
since 1995. Post would like to express its appreciation to
the INL and L Bureaus for their tremendous assistance in this
process. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) On September 17, Argentina's Foreign Minister Rafael
Antonio Bielsa signed the first INL Letter of Agreement
between the GOA and the United States since 1995. The
agreement marks the end of years of often highly contentious
on-again-off-again negotiations between Post and the Foreign
Ministry's Office of Legal Affairs. For LOA text see reftel.

3. (SBU) Eight months ago Post decided to revisit the LOA
issue with the GOA, and developed an integrated country team
approach to constructively engage the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs (MFA) on several levels. Both the Ambassador and the
DCM repeatedly extolled the potential benefits of an LOA with
a wide range of high-level contacts, and Post included LOA
talking points for visiting CODELS and high level visitors to
use whenever the issue of GOA assistance was broached. Pol,
Econ, DEA and LEGATT representatives also routinely discussed
the possible benefits of an LOA with their contacts, both
within the Foreign Ministry and with interested host country
entities such as the Justice Ministry, Gendarmeria, Aduanas,
Federal Police, and SEDRANAR who stood to gain from an LOA
agreement. This multi-front, multi-level country team
approach succeeded in keeping the pressure on the MFA, and
more specifically on the MFA's Legal Section, to reach an
agreement. Combined with this mission-wide effort to keep
the issue on the MFA's agenda, INL and L Bureaus both
assisted greatly in keeping the LOA ball rolling by
responding quickly to the GOA's questions and suggestions.
The proactive and rapid response from INL, L and Post
eliminated the MFA's favored method of deflecting pressure
from other GOA entities, which was to claim that "they were
awaiting a response from the Embassy."

4. (SBU) Post believes the turning point in the negotiations
was a Conference Call suggested by Post, and chaired by Tom
Martin; with the participation of Patt Prugh from L, WHA Desk
Officer Randy Fleitman, Embassy personnel and the head of the
MFA Legal Section. During this conversation many of the
traditional Argentine objections were overcome, and a road
map was established that eventually led to an agreement.

GUTIERREZ

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