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Cablegate: Secretary Rice's Visit to the Middle East; Tri-Border;

VZCZCXYZ0010
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1681/01 2091820
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 281820Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5383
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001681

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
WHA/EPSC
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL MEDIA REACTION
SUBJECT: SECRETARY RICE'S VISIT TO THE MIDDLE EAST; TRI-BORDER;
RUSSIAN-VENEZUELAN TIES; ARGENTINE LEGISLATION ON TERRORIST
FINANCING; PANAMAX ANTITERRORIST MILITARY EXERCISES; ARGENTINA AND
BRAZIL'S OFFENSIVE AGAINST THE IMF; CUBA; 07/26/06


1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Local papers lead with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's trip
to the Middle East; the US proposal to deepen its monitoring of the
Tri-Border; the US urging Russia not to sell military equipment to
Venezuela; the need for an update in Argentine legislation on
terrorist financing; the Panamax antiterrorist military exercises;
Argentina and Brazil's offensive against the IMF; and Argentine
President Kirchner's dealings in favor of Cuban dissident Hilda
Molina.

2. OPINION PIECES AND KEY STORIES

- "The US proposes an ambitious pacification plan"

Daily-of-record "La Nacion" reports (07/26) "US Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice proposed an ambitious plan that could help the
Lebanese government stabilize the situation in South Lebanon, where
Hezbollah has its bastion.

"The new plan was received with skepticism by the Lebanese
government because, among other reasons, it does not imply a review
of US policy, which is against an immediate cease fire in the Middle
East...

"On the contrary, it implies support for Israel's goal of entering
Lebanon in order to put an end to the threat posed by Hezbollah's
missiles... This could take weeks and could be, according to
Washington, a previous step for a ceasefire statement."

- "Israel will not stop its offensive and prepares a 'security
strip'"

Marcelo Cantelmi, international editor of leading "Clarin," writes
(07/26) "US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's short visit to the
region added some uncertainty now that clashes continue on the
border and bombings continue in Lebanon.

"While Israel was toughening its discourse in order to convey that
it will not stop its offensive, the USG official avoided talking
about deadlines for a cease fire while she was in Jerusalem.

"... In a deliberately ambiguous message, Rice said that 'a
ceasefire is badly needed but it cannot be achieved at any price.'"

- "Rice asks for a new Middle East"

Conservative "La Prensa" reports (07/26) "After having held separate
meetings with Israeli PM Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abas, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asserted that
the time has come for a 'new Middle East without violence,' which
leaves Hezbollah and Hamas aside...

"In the framework of a trip aimed at putting an end to the war
escalation in the region, the US Secretary of State pointed out 'It
is time to tell those who do not want a different Middle East, that
we will prevail, not them.'

"In her meeting with the PM, Secretary Rice reiterated that her
country is against an immediate cease fire and promotes, instead, a
'broader and lasting' peace accord."

- "Complaints over a US plan to deepen its monitoring of the
Tri-Border"

Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacion," writes (07/26) "The US Senate is
analyzing a draft resolution that is aimed at promoting an
antiterrorist 'task force' at the OAS, which could be deployed in
the entire hemisphere but particularly focused on the Tri-Border...

"The draft resolution has been passed by the US Lower House, and
senators could now review its sections, which have formally been
objected to by the Brazilian Foreign Ministry and by Argentine
diplomats during confidential meetings.

"However, the initiative has already made a first move. The head of
the decisive Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar,
received the draft resolution, and notified Brazilian Ambassador
Roberto Abdenur that he understood his objections... but that
(Abdenur) also had to understand the US position in the aftermath of
the September 11 attacks.

"... The US Senate has not set a date yet to deal with the draft
resolution and two sources told 'La Nacion' that it could well be

filed in the Senate's offices because a seemingly dominant sector
believes it is redundant based on the existence of the OAS' Inter
American Committee against Terrorism."

- "The US urges Russia not to sell weapons to Venezuela"

Daily-of-record "La Nacion" reports (07/26) "The USG urged the
Russian government to refrain from selling military airplanes and
helicopters to Venezuela and it submitted a formal protest against
Russia for its military cooperation with Caracas. The USG believes
this could affect the balance of power in Latin America.

"However, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez expects to come to terms
on the sale during his three-day visit to Russia. He plans to sign a
series of agreements for the purchase of weapons, including one for
one billion dollars for the purchase of fighting airplanes and 30
helicopters."

- "An update in (Argentine) legislation against terrorist
financing"

Business-financial "El Cronista" carries an opinion piece by Deputy
Jorge Arguello, who writes (07/26) "The IMF believes that the yield
of money laundering accounts for 3-5% of the GDP (600 billion
dollars) and that it provides enough energy to allow transnational
criminal companies to perform and expand their operations in
detriment to world security.

"... In this way, terrorism, organized crime and illegal finances
are the new forms of a security problem that should be combated.
Assets legitimization is crucial for funding terrorist
organizations.

"... We hope to have the necessary consensus to pass a more
ambitious future law on the issue that implies the commitment of all
political sectors in the fight against this scourge, which makes our
economy vulnerable and undermines our institutions and values."

- "Decree hinders anti-terrorism exercises"

Edgardo Aguilera, columnist of business-financial "Ambito
Financiero," writes (07/26) "The implementation of the Defense Act
that Nestor Kirchner resonantly announced... could well put an end
to some pending multilateral military exercises. Those are the Navy
exercises called Panamax, which were approved by the Argentine
Congress in September 2005. According to the new defense policy,
those exercises are not part of the Army's duties.

"Panamax 2006 multinational exercises, to be carried out August
21-September 5 in the Pacific and the Caribbean and the Panama
Canal, are carried out to prevent eventual terrorist attacks and
multiple threats that are posed to the inter-ocean way and its
resources. They are intended to ensure freedom of navigation and
preserve the maritime via of communication."

3. EDITORIALS

- "Offensive against the IMF"

Conservative "La Prensa" editorializes (07/26) The bilateral
agreement reached in the recent (Mercosur) summit, which was held in
Cordoba, has started to become action. Argentina and Brazil began
work on a new commercial system in local currencies to replace the
dollar in exchange plans. Basically, they are trying to trigger a
change in the regime that has been used up to now...

"... Argentina and Brazil are determined to reach one common
position in order to confront IMF policies... They want to put an
end to the pressure that the IMF has wielded during the last five
years. Today, after having paid off their debts, they seek
independence...

"Both Brazil and Argentina are promoting contingent loans not
calling for monitoring or for a letter of intention... Obviously
enough, this firm political change will raise concern about the
IMF's traditional programs, which unleashed financial havoc in the
two countries."

- "Request for a Cuban dissident"

An editorial in leading "Clarin" reads (07/26) "In a praise-worth
decision, the Argentine Government took the Latin American summit,
which was held last week in Cordoba, to send a letter to Cuban
President Fidel Castro asking him to allow the visit of dissident
physician Hilda Molina to the country to visit her Argentine

relatives.

"... Cuba has sought and obtained a particular relationship with
Mercosur from which it expects to obtain some economic and strategic
benefits. One of the basic clauses of the bloc is that only
democracies can belong to it. While Cuba is not expected to enter
Mercosur, we hope that its member countries will wield influence to
improve the situation of opponents in Cuba and promote respect for
political rights."

To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our classified website
at:
http://www.state.sqov.gov/p/wha/buenosaires

MATERA

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