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Cablegate: Italy: Invitation to Burmese Fm an Eu Experiment

VZCZCXRO0670
OO RUEHAG RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHRO #2195 2161214
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 041214Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5544
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHFL/AMCONSUL FLORENCE PRIORITY 1622
RUEHMIL/AMCONSUL MILAN PRIORITY 7459
RUEHNP/AMCONSUL NAPLES PRIORITY 1718

C O N F I D E N T I A L ROME 002195

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/03/2016
TAGS: PGOV PHUM FI BU EUN IT
SUBJECT: ITALY: INVITATION TO BURMESE FM AN EU EXPERIMENT

REF: A. STATE 124139

B. BARRASSO-DERETIC 1/20/06 E-MAIL

Classified By: Acting Political Minister-Counselor E. Candace Putnam fo
r reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Poloff delivered Ref A demarche to Giuseppe Mistretta,
MFA Office Director for Southeast Asia, August 2, stressing
U.S. disappointment with the Finnish Government's decision to
invite the Burmese Foreign Minister to the September ASEM
meeting in Helsinki. Mistretta responded that the invitation
was a bit of an experiment within the EU, giving member
states an opportunity to voice their concerns about human
rights and the need for democracy building to a
representative of the Burmese government, rather than just
talking to themselves. He noted that the EU did not want a
repetition of the Rotterdam meeting and the potential
negative impact on overall EU-ASEAN relations (Ref B).
Poloff pointed out that recently ASEAN itself had been more
critical of the Burmese regime, and that the Foreign Minister
was not in a position to usefully convey back EU concerns.
Mistretta asked if the U.S. had a particular official in mind
as an alternative to the Foreign Minister.

2. (C) Noting that Finland was on the pro-dialogue side of
the internal EU debate, as was Italy, Mistretta said the EU
countries who were opposed to contact with the Burmese regime
(UK, Denmark, Netherlands) had compromised instead of making
the difference of opinion public. For Italy, according to
Mistretta, Helsinki would provide an opportunity to create a
"very" critical dialogue, rather than allowing Burma's
leadership to become ever more isolated. However, Mistretta
reiterated that this decision was based on a compromise among
EU states and he expected countries that had been critical of
the current position to push for a reevaluation of EU policy
before too long.
SPOGLI

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