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Cablegate: Foreign Minister Claims Charges That Chile

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 SECTION 01 OF 02 LIMA 002018

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/02/2015
TAGS: PREL PGOV PE
SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTER CLAIMS CHARGES THAT CHILE
SUPPLIED ARMS TO ECUADOR DURING 1995 BORDER WAR BEHIND
PERU'S DECISION NOT TO...

id: 31889
date: 5/3/2005 11:45
refid: 05LIMA2018
origin: Embassy Lima
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination: 05LIMA1987
header:
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LIMA 002018

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/02/2015
TAGS: PREL PGOV PE
SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTER CLAIMS CHARGES THAT CHILE
SUPPLIED ARMS TO ECUADOR DURING 1995 BORDER WAR BEHIND
PERU'S DECISION NOT TO JOIN CONSENSUS ON OAS SECGEN
ELECTION

REF: A. LIMA 1987

B. LIMA 1480

Classified By: D/Polcouns Art Muirhead for Reason 1.4 (B, D)

1. (C) SUMMARY: Foreign Minister Manuel Rodriguez told the
Ambassador that the resusitation of charges that Chile
supplied Ecuador with arms during the latter's 1995 border
conflict with Peru would make it difficult for Peru to join
consensus on the election of Chilean Jose Miguel Insulza as
OAS SecGen (Peru joined Bolivia in demanding a vote, and then
reportedly cast a blank ballot). The allegations of Chilean
malfeasance were given new life by congressional Foreign
Relations Committee Chairman Gustavo Pacheco, who publicly
released secret Foreign Ministry communications from that
time, while the ongoing controversy over LAN Peru/LAN Chile
showing an in-flight video with negative coverage of Peru
added fuel to the fire. Rodriguez jumped into the fray after
Chilean Foreign Minister Ignacio Walker sought to minimize
the LAN video incident, and Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero, on
4/29, announced Peru was sending a diplomatic note to Chile
to protest the 1995 arms deliveries, although the note was
not delivered until the next day. END SUMMARY.

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2. (U) Chile's provision of armaments to Ecuador during the
1995 border conflict with Peru has been front-page news in
Lima since former Ecuadoran military commander Gen. Victor
Bayas raised this issue on 3/21 (Ref B). Congressional
Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Gustavo Pacheco breathed
new life into the allegations in early April, when he
released copies of cables, written in February 1995 by Peru's
then-Ambassador to Chile Alfonso Rivero, reporting on the
delivery of arms to Ecuador, and held Committee hearings at
which Rivero and other officials testified that Chile's
then-President Eduardo Frei and then-Vice Minister of Foreign
Relations Mariano Fernandez had apologized for the arms
shipment, explaining that it had been arranged before the war
broke out. In his subsequent comments to the media, Pacheco
suggested that additional arms shipments existed, and, noting
that Insulza was Foreign Minister at the time the arms were
sent, called on Peru to oppose his election as OAS Secretary
General.

3. (U) The Foreign Ministry's initial tactic was to
downplay Pacheco's allegations, while expressing surprise
that he would release secret documents to the public. The
public clamor over the video broadcast on LAN Peru/LAN Chile
flights, however, made continued forebearance untenable,
particularly after Chilean Foreign Minister Walker weighed in
dismissing the matter as a "tempest in a teapot," and
Rodriguez publicly criticized Walker's comments as
interference in Peru's internal politics (Ref A).

4. (U) On 4/29, Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero announced
that Peru would be sending a diplomatic note to Chile
registering its "protest and surprise" over the incident.
Concurrently, a joint communique issued by the Foreign and
Defense Ministries provided a summary of all the information
that has been released publicly about the 1995 arms
shipments, and ended by expressing regret that Chile, as one
of the Guarantors of the 1942 Rio Protocol, had not
maintained a stance of absolute neutrality during the 1995
Cenepa conflict. The communique noted that the Chilean
Defense Ministry had informed its Peruvian counterpart that
only one arms shipment had been made to Ecuador pursuant to a
sale of munitions on 9/12/94, and that this shipment was
not/not sent while the border war was underway. The GOP, the
communique continued, found these explanations
"insufficient," given that its sources at the time reported
that there were at least two, and as many as five planeloads
of munitions were supplied by Chile to Ecuador during the
conflict. The full text of the communique can be viewed at
www.rree.gob.pe under "Ultimas Noticias."

5. (C) Chilean Political Officer Fernando Velasco told
D/Polcoun on 5/1 that Peruvian Foreign Ministry Political
Undersecretary Oscar Maurtua had contacted Chilean Ambassador
Juan Pablo Lira late on 4/29 to advise on the content of the
communique. Since the document referred to a note of protest
and surprise, Lira insisted on receiving the note forthwith
so that his government could formulate a response, but was
not provided with a copy until late the next evening.

6. (C) Foreign Minister Rodriguez told the Ambassador on
4/29, that Peru was prepared to try to find a way not to
block consensus on Insulza's election as OAS SecGen. He
subsequently contacted the Ambassador that he had made this
recommendation before the latest round of controversy over
Chile, and that it now could be problematical for Peru to
support Insulza. (NOTE: Peru joined Bolivia in demanding a
vote at the OAS, and the local media is reporting that Peru
voted in blank. END NOTE.)

7. (C) COMMENT: There do not/not appear to be any new
allegations in the Peruvian communique regarding the Chilean
arms shipments to Ecuador in 1995. The GOP's decision to
make an official protest at this time may well have been
aimed at providing domestic political cover in response to
Insulza's pending election as OAS SecGen, as well as
justifying to fellow OAS members its decision not/not to join
consensus on that vote. END COMMENT.
STRUBLE

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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