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Cablegate: War in the Middle East; Secretary Rice's Visit to The

VZCZCXYZ0013
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1682/01 2091820
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 281820Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5386
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001682

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: WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST; SECRETARY RICE'S VISIT TO THE
REGION; ARGENTINE GOVERNEMNT'S POSITION VIS-@-VIS THE WAR;
VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT CHAVEZ'S TRIP TO BIELO-RUSSIA AND RUSSIA;
CASTRO AND MERCOSUR; 07/25/06


1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Today's key international stories include the situation in the
Middle East; US Secretary of State Condoleezza's rice to the region;
the Argentine Government's position vis-`-vis the war in Lebanon and
Israel; Venezuelan President Chavez's trip to Bielo-Russia and
Russia; and the failure of the Doha Round trade liberalization
talks.

2. OPINION PIECES AND KEY STORIES

- "The only truth is death"

Left-of-center "Pagina 12" carries an opinion piece by contributor
Washington Uranga, who opines (07/25) "Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait,
Colombia, Gaza, Israel, Lebanon, Africa..., so many other places.
Reasons and arguments to kill or let someone die are different.

"... Those who should be held responsible are the ones who impose
their own rules on the world in order to 'civilize' it andbrag
about their offensive and devastating power. Those are the same ones
who killed yesterday and today are asking for 'common sense' from
others or are condemning actions that are similar to the ones they
committed. Does Mr. Bush remember?

"... Terrorists are not the only fanatics. Countries and systems are
also terrorists. Both of them kill. When only war and death prevail,
the peoples' hopes to build their own fate are murdered. When life
is defeated, death is the only truth while reasons are too
abundant."

- "Terms"

Paula Lugones, international columnist for leading "Clarin,"
comments (07/25) "Condoleezza Rice landed in Beirut and today she
will negotiate with Israel, but the US' stance has not changed - it
seeks a ceasefire with guarantees that it will be a long-term
ceasefire. In diplomatic language, this means time. And time is
precisely what is benefiting Hezbollah.

"... Theoretically, the Israeli Armed forces are definitely
superior, but Hezbollah has been trained for years and resistance
means victory for it. The longer the time, the stronger Hezbollah
will feel. A definitive military solution seems remote. It is urgent
to give way to politics."

- "Condoleezza Rice negotiates a truce in Beirut and travels to
Jerusalem"

Maria Laura Avignolo, on special assignment in Beirut for leading
"Clarin," writes (07/25) "When US Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice surprisingly arrived in Beirut on Monday, the Lebanese
government was making progress on a diplomatic solution to obtain
'an immediate cease fire' with Israel and a global solution..."

"The secret of the Lebanese proposal lies on the Chebaa farms, a
small 40-km territory in dispute that is being occupied by Israel
and is near Syria's Golan Heights. This site... gives Hezbollah an
excuse to argue that its country remains occupied and to launch
attacks against Israel in a region that, according to the UN,
belongs to Syria.

"Lebanese PM Fouad Siniora has proved to be a shrewd and firm
diplomat in the crisis. In his negotiations, he wants to deploy an
international force near the Chebaa farms to remove Hezbollah's
excuse to attack Israel because in this case Lebanon would no longer
be occupied. In this way, it could withdraw and disarm Hezbollah
based on the will of most of the Lebanese people after a cease fire
that would pave the way for negotiations."

- "Kirchner, in a delicate balance"

Mariano Obarrio, political columnist of daily-of-record "La Nacion,"
writes (07/25) "Maintaining a good relationship with Israel is a
priority for President Nestor Kirchner, but this does not imply that
he will openly condemn Iran, Lebanon, and the Palestinian
authorities or the armed organizations that Israel and the US label
as 'fundamentalist terrorists.'

"According to an Argentine Government official, 'the government will
have a balanced position regarding the conflict in the Middle East.'
This is the official position.

"There are different positions at the Government House. Foreign
Minister Jorge Taiana and other government officials, like Oscar

Parrilli and Carlos Zannini, tend to be...with the Arabs. For his
part, Cabinet head Alberto Fernandez has a more conservative
position, which is in line with that of the US and Israel. Kirchner
will have to balance his position.

"... Kirchner's closeness to Chavez and the cooling in the
US-Argentine relationship have had its first unpredictable
consequence. It almost passed unnoticed that US Assistant Secretary
for Latin American Affairs Tom Shannon suspended his trip to
Argentina, which was scheduled August 10. He had planned to attend a
Council of the Americas' meeting, but he thought it was inopportune
to do it."

- "Chavez multiplies his gestures against the US"

Business-financial "Ambito Financiero" reports (07/25) "Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez, a declared enemy of the USG, offered
Bielo-Russian President Alexander Lukashenko to make up a 'fighting
team' during his first meeting with the man the US termed as 'the
last European dictator.'

"... Both presidents are expected to analyze the bilateral ties
between the two countries on economic issues, as well as the mutual
diplomatic support at the UN.

"After arriving in Minsk, Chavez pointed out that he wishes to
increase the bilateral economic cooperation, particularly in the
energy sector, petrochemicals, machinery, education and science."

- "Venezuela, key Russian partner in Latin America"

Business-financial, center-right "InfoBae" reports (07/25) "In the
framework of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's trip to Russia,
Mijail Kaminin, spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry,
asserted that the development of economic and trade relations
between the two countries have 'considerable potential,' and no full
advantage has been taken of it.

"He also asserted that Russia sees in Venezuela an influential Latin
American country and that, for the Kremlin, 'it is one of its key
partners in the region.'"

- "Doha trade talks officially a bust"

Liberal, English-language "Buenos Aires Herald" front-pages (07/25)
"More than five years of 'Doha Round' trade liberalization talks
collapsed yesterday as differences over farm aid proved
unbridgeable.

"Pascal Lamy, director-general of the WTO, said a deal billed as a
recipe for lifting millions of people worldwide out of poverty would
not be reached by the end of the year and there was no new timetable
for completing the round.

"... The 25-nation EU and Brazil criticized US intransigence over
agricultural subsidies for the breakdown, while the US blamed Brazil
and India for being inflexible on cutting barriers to industrial
imports and the EU for refusing to make deeper cuts in its farm
import tariffs.

"... Now the whole process of agreeing to a binding treaty may have
to be put on ice until after US presidential elections in 2008."

3. EDITORIALS

- "Sending a White Helmets delegation"

Conservative "La Prensa" editorializes (07/25) "We should praise the
Government's purpose in sending a White Helmets delegation to
provide help in the Middle East war, which is focused on Lebanon.

"... In this framework, the Argentine participation should be
careful and contribute to the largest possible degree of
integration...

"In this aspect, the (Argentine) Foreign Ministry should take into
account the positions assumed by the different countries of the
region regarding the situation in the Middle East, and particularly
the accords reached during the latest presidential summit in
Cordoba, which expressly repudiated the confrontation while
fostering alternative roads through international institutions."

- "Astonishing homage to a dictator"

Daily-of-record "La Nacion" editorializes (07/25) "It is hard to

understand why Mercosur, which has a clause preventing tyrannical
regimes from participating in it, has welcomed with honors the
leader of a dictatorial government that has violated basic human
rights for more than forty years.

"... Dr. Hilda Molina thanked President Kirchner's gesture to
deliver a letter to Fidel Castro asking him to let the Cuban
physician visit her relatives in Argentina for humanitarian
reasons...

"Castro's visit to Argentina only left unanswered questions and deep
doubts on the truthful democratic purposes of those who paid
undeserved homage to him. We can only hope that the Mercosur
democracies will not repeat the mistake they made when they decided
to allow Venezuela's incorporation as a full member of the bloc in
spite of the authoritarian features of its government."

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

MATERA

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