Cablegate: Meeting Between Assistant Secretary Shannon and Argentine
DE RUEHBU #2165/01 2651205
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 221205Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5995
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002165
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL MEDIA REACTION
SUBJECT: MEETING BETWEEN ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHANNON AND ARGENTINE
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS; ARGENTINE PRESIDENT KIRCHNER'S SPEECH AT THE
UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY; NON ALIGNED MOVEMENT MEETING; 09/21/06; BUENOS
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Today's major papers report on the meeting between Assistant
Secretary Shannon and Argentine Government officials. Leading
"Clarin" highlights that "the US Department of State is following
with much interest the Argentine Government's initiative aimed at
convincing US investors that investing in the country is worth it."
Also, major papers cover Argentine President Kirchner's speech at
the UN General Assembly in which he said that human rights should be
honored in the global war on terrorism, pleaded for multilateralism,
questioned IMF prescriptions and made a new claim about the Malvinas
issue and the First World's environmental policy. Leading "Clarin"
carries an editorial on the Non Aligned Movement Meeting
underscoring that "it could promote dialogue between Southern
countries and developed countries."
2. OPINION PIECES
- "'We follow negotiations with investors with a lot of interest'"
Ana Baron, Washington-based correspondent for leading "Clarin,"
comments (09/21) "The US Department of State is following with much
interest the Argentine Government's initiative, which has just been
launched in New York and is aimed at convincing US investors that
investing in the country is worth it.
"Yesterday, US Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs
Tom Shannon unexpectedly asked for a meeting with Minister Julio de
Vido and Cabinet Chief Alberto Fernandez.
"At the end of the meeting, Shannon told 'Clarin' 'we are very
interested in Argentina's talks with US investors.' 'We follow those
talks with much interest.'
"The USG official explained that the private meeting he held with
two ministers of Kirchner is part of a 'continuous and fluent'
dialogue between the US and Argentina. They talked about Venezuela's
entry into Mercosur, the negotiations between Argentina and Bolivia
to reach a deal for gas purchase, Argentina's deal with Paraguay for
energy supply, and they also spoke about investment.
"Shannon told 'Clarin' 'with the arrival of new US Ambassador Tony
Wayne in Buenos Aires, we will further talks and the bilateral
relationship for the mutual interest of the two countries.' Based on
his words, speculation that Wayne could become a new Braden... seems
to be wrong. Shannon denied the rumor that he had a meeting with
Lavagna in Washington, which had been arranged by Ambassador Octavio
"Asked why the US opposed two IDB loans for Argentina if the
relationship between the two countries is good, Shannon replied 'it
is a huge mistake to see voting as a way of rewarding countries or
not.' He added 'our Treasury Department has its own way of seeing
things and sometimes they believe that development banks should not
grant certain kinds of loans; it has nothing to do with the
"The two loans were granted in spite of US opposition. One of them,
for 580 million dollars, is for the energy sector. The US abstained
from voting due to the fact that the Argentine Government had not
raised public service rates. The other loan, for 50 million dollars,
is for a satellite system, a project that the US never supports due
to security reasons. Shannon added that 'in the future, we must
find the opportunity to explain ourselves so that what we do is
better understood,' but he did not deny that public service rates
and security were the reasons for (US) opposition."
- "Bush makes a gesture aimed at softening the (bilateral)
Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacion" on special assignment in New York,
writes (09/21) "A half hour before President Kirchner spoke at the
UN General Assembly, the White House official for Latin America and
the Argentine Government's two highest-ranking officials met in
private with a sensitive agenda - assessing the Argentine interest
in attracting investment and discussing the possibility that
Venezuela could enter the UN Security Council.
"(Secretary) Tom Shannon, Alberto Fernandez and Julio De Vido met
outside of the UN headquarters, just hours after Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez called George W. Bush 'devil' and before
Kirchner tacitly criticized the White House's strategies in the
global war on terrorism, which shocked the country.
"According to Fernandez, 'Shannon conveyed to us the USG's
willingness to have the best relationship with Argentina.'
"... Shannon asked about the plan to attract investment so as to
improve its ratio on GDP. According to a source, 'they spoke about
US investment in the country.'
"De Vido participated in the meeting due to his role in capturing
new investment, but also for his ties with two of the Latin American
countries raising most concern the US - Venezuela and Bolivia.
"... "The Bush administration is pleading for Venezuela not to enter
the UN Security Council. Its candidate, Guatemala, could lose the
candidacy... The US, along with Chile, could encourage a third
candidate so that both Venezuela and Guatemala decline their
candidacies and Latin America seeks a third candidate.
"Nevertheless, the Argentine Government disagrees with Washington.
One Argentine diplomat told 'La Nacion' that 'the more isolated
Chavez is, the more radical he will become. In order to put a brake
on him, he needs some room. He should enter the UN Security Council
and say what he wishes if he wants to...'
"A few minutes after the Fernandez, De Vido and Shannon meeting,
Kirchner criticized Bush and some of his strategies in his 'global
war on terrorism.' Kirchner criticized him without naming him, but
it was made clear that he referred to the CIA clandestine prisons,
wire tapping without prior judicial order and Guantanamo centers of
"Kirchner's speech sparked diverse reaction. Republican 'hawks'
repudiated his speech. Moderate Republicans downplayed the impact of
his speech on the bilateral relationship, and Democrats opted for
"Otto Reich, the first Assistant Secretary of State for Latin
America appointed by Bush, said 'the relationship between the two
presidents does not exist. It is restricted to what diplomacy
requires;' 'this kind of speech does not pass unnoticed in
"Considered a 'hawk', Reich said that there will not be any official
response to Kirchner's speech, but 'if he happens to be in trouble
again, his speech will be taken into account...'
"Roger Noriega, Reich's successor, agreed with him in defining
Kirchner's speech as that of a 'no-friend of the US,' of someone who
seeks a unilateral road, who wants to take benefits, but does not
make any effort to create a relationship or confidence.'
"Michael Shifter, a well-known analyst on the region and VP of Inter
American Dialogue, recalled the framework: 'Compared with Chavez's
discourse, Kirchner's was a model of moderation and self-control.'
'The relationship between the Bush and Kirchner administrations is
neither warm nor antagonistic.'"
- "Kirchner criticized the US at the UN"
Martin Rodriguez Yebra, on special assignment in New York for
daily-of-record "La Nacion," comments (09/21) "President Nestor
Kirchner warned yesterday in his speech the UN General Assembly that
if human rights are violated in fighting terrorism, then 'the only
victor in said fight will be terrorism.'
"Without mentioning the US, he referred to the Bush administration's
foreign policy. He also bluntly condemned any terrorist act and
urged multilateral institutions to seek peace in the Middle East.
"... Kirchner defended his administration's human rights policy, and
devoted only one paragraph to raising questions about IMF
prescriptions... However, the focus of his message was the lack of
proportion in the use of force in the Middle East war and his
criticism of the White House's antiterrorist policy. He added that
'steady progress in the struggle against terrorism will only be made
by honoring local and international legislation.'"
- "Kirchner defends multilateralism in veiled criticism of Bush"
Business-financial "El Cronista" reports (09/21) "President Nestor
Kirchner gave an address to the 61st UN General Assembly in New
York. His speech was far from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's
exhibition of rudeness...
"Nonetheless, the Argentine president did not miss the opportunity
to question US unilateral action in the global war on terrorism and
criticize the IMF, which he accused of not supporting the
achievements of the Argentine economy during recent years. He also
made a claim about (Argentine) sovereignty over the Malvinas
"Kirchner asked for a multilateral action against terrorism based on
- "The Non Aligned Movement's role"
An editorial in leading "Clarin" reads (09/21) "The re-launching of
the Non Aligned Movement... may be understood in two ways. It may be
seen as a confrontation with the US, but it can also be considered a
search for greater international balance based on a new dialogue
between the North and the South and cooperation among developing
"... The Non Aligned Movement brought together leaders who posed an
open confrontation to the US policy and others who have a closer
relationship with Washington. Some challenging statements were made,
such as those by the presidents of Iran and Venezuela, but there
were also deals just like that between India and Pakistan to resume
peace negotiations and act together against terrorism.
"This means that the group may contribute to deactivating and
peacefully solving conflicts and promoting dialogue among Southern
countries and between Southern countries and developed countries."
To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at: