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Cablegate: Toledo Maintains Hard Line On 1995 Chilean Arms

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

UNCLAS LIMA 002180

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PE CI
SUBJECT: TOLEDO MAINTAINS HARD LINE ON 1995 CHILEAN ARMS
DELIVERIES TO ECUADOR

REF: A. SANTIAGO 1011

B. SANTIAGO 1000
C. LIMA 2061
D. LIMA 2018
E. SANTIAGO 660

Sensitive but Unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (U) President Alejandro Toledo is maintaining the GOP's
hard line on Chile's 1995 arms deliveries to Ecuador. In a
declaration made on 5/10 while attending the South American
Arab Summit in Brasilia, Toledo announced that the issue will
not/not be resolved and there will be no/no 2x2 meetings of
Defense and Foreign Ministers until Chile, "offers an
explanation and issues a public apology." When asked by the
press the following day to comment on Toledo's statement,
Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero noted that, "When the President
speaks on an issue like this ministers have nothing to add."
With respect to the prospects for bilateral relations, the
Prime Minister commented, "Sincerely, I don't know what will
happen in the future. This is a situation that we would not
have wanted to occur."

2. (U) Foreign Ministry Under Secretary for Political
Affairs Oscar Maurtua defended the GOP's position in columns
published in the daily "Expreso" on 5/10-11. According to
Maurtua, the Peruvian Foreign Ministry sought to enlist its
Chilean counterpart's cooperation in investigating the arms
deliveries, but that, "Unfortunately, after undertaking all
reasonable efforts through high-level representatives of both
Foreign Ministries, it became clear that the same disposition
did not exist on the part of the Chilean Government, thereby
frustrating the possibility of a joint pronouncement that
would have overcome the difficulty." Consequently, Maurtua
continued, Peru had no/no choice but to issue its 4/29
communique (Ref C). He concluded that, "It is absolutely
legitimate that the Government of Peru and its citizens hope
for a sincere expression from Chile on these facts, not
excuses manifested in a furtive nighttime visit (NOTE: a
reference to then-Chilean Vice Foreign Minister Mariano
Fernandez' call on then-Peruvian Ambassador Rivero in
February 1995 - Refs A,C). END NOTE.) of which no more than
four people had knowledge of (NOTE: A reference to
then-President Alberto Fujimori's decision to keep this
incident close hold - Ref C). END NOTE).

3. (SBU) COMMENT: The GOP's decision to maintain its hard
line on Chile's 1995 arms deliveries to Ecuador clearly comes
from the very top. The press, which enthusiastically engaged
in Chile-bashing when the issue first surfaced, has tended to
back-track recently and urge dialogue. Flagship daily "El
Comercio," for example, published editorials on 5/5 and 5/10
welcoming former Vice Minister Fernandez' admissions (which
most papers reported were encouraged by Chilean President
Ricardo Lagos) and recommending that the GOP respond by
renewing diplomatic consultations and the 2x2 process. "El
Comercio," on 5/9, also published a full-page interview with
former Peruvian Foreign Minister (and current head of the
Diplomatic Academy) Jose de la Puente Radbill, who complained
that the crisis has been "badly handled," and placed the
blame on Prime Minister Ferrero, noting that Foreign Minister
Manuel Rodriguez has been out of the picture, hospitalized
with a serious bacteriological infection (NOTE: Rodriguez is
still in the hospital. END NOTE). The public appears to be
of two minds on the issue: a recent University of Lima poll
in Lima/Callao found that 65.3 percent of respondents
believed the GOP was mishandling the Chilean arms issue,
while an IMA Marketing Studies poll in Lima concluded that
77.6 percent of respondents approved of Peru's demanding an
apology from its southern neighbor. END COMMENT.


STRUBLE

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