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Cablegate: Spain Not Supportive On Who International Health

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

291505Z Apr 05





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) ESTHOFF passed reftel points April 21 to appropriate
MFA and Health Ministry contacts. POLMILOFF passed reftel
points that same day to the Defense Ministry. The MFA
contacted ESTHOFF to inform the Embassy that it would deliver
the combined GOS response to our demarche. This response was
conveyed to ESTHOFF during an April 29 meeting with MFA
Deputy Director General for International Technical
Organizations Enrique Yturriaga Saldanha.

2. (SBU) Yturriaga began his points by underscoring that the
Spanish inter-ministerial coordination process in the run-up
to the May 12-13 WHO Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG)
meeting was still underway and that his comments should not
be interpreted as representing Spain's "final" position.
However, he made it quite clear from the start that there was
serious divergence between Spanish and U.S. views regarding
what would constitute ideal International Health Regulations

3. (SBU) Yturriaga, who noted that he had spent many years
in Geneva as a GOS arms control and disarmament negotiator,
said that the U.S. positions, as outlined in reftel points,
threatened to "contaminate" the WHO with issues that have
traditionally been addressed in arms control and disarmament
fora. He said he understood the impetus for U.S. policy,
(e.g., 9/11), but that Spain simply does not agree that the
WHO is an appropriate forum for such issues. Yturriaga noted
that Spain found it somewhat ironic that the U.S. would be
trying to expand the WHO's mandates, while simultaneously
arguing in other WHO negotiations to cut the organization's
overall budget.

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4. (SBU) Yturriaga said that the "intentional/accidental"
release debate had already taken place in other Geneva
disarmament negotiations (presumably the CWC and BWC) and
that the consensus that emerged from these earlier debates
could be applied to the WHO's IHRs.

5. (SBU) Regarding the issue of "reservations," Spain
strongly disagrees with the U.S. proposal to require at least
a two-thirds threshold for rejection and believes it should
be much lower. He said Spain believes countries should not
sign international legal instruments if they plan to issue
significant reservations.

6. (SBU) Regarding "Federal-State" concerns, Yturriaga said
that this was a domestic U.S. concern and that Washington
should not bring this up during the negotiation of
international legal instruments. He stressed that other
states, including Spain, also face similar concerns, but
address them via domestic implementation law/regulation.

7. (SBU) Finally, regarding applicability to the armed
forces, Spain believes that such international legal
instruments automatically apply to all, including the armed
forces. Any additional language, such as that suggested in
the U.S. points, would only serve to weaken IHR reporting

8. (SBU) COMMENT: It was immediately clear that Yturriaga's
views have been colored by his years as a Geneva arms
control/disarmament negotiator. His mantra during the entire
conversation was that virtually every point raised by ESTHOFF
had already been thrashed over in several Geneva fora. It
was also clear that Yturriaga is quite critical of what he
perceives to be U.S. efforts to address its justified
terrorism-related concerns in a variety of inappropriate
multilateral fora. Finally, Yturriaga made it clear that the
MFA was in the inter-agency driver's seat and that what he
was telling ESTHOFF would guide Spain's hand on May 12-3.
Our bottom line. Don't look for much help from Spain. What
was missing was the new (since Prime Minister Zapatero's
March 2004 election victory) "EU consensus" line we now
generally hear from our GOS interlocutors. However, the
stronger impetus to follow the EU consensus position may
indeed be what is driving the GOS position on the WHO IHRs.

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