Cablegate: A/S Shannon Statements On the Us-Argentina Bilateral


DE RUEHBU #2242/01 2761128
O 031128Z OCT 06





E.O. 12958: N/A



Leading international stories today include US Assistant Secretary
Thomas Shannon's statements on the US-Argentina bilateral
relationship; Venezuela's candidacy for a seat at the UN Security
Council; Argentina's vote in favor of Venezuela's candidacy; a
Watergate reporter's statements on the Bush administration; the US
Senate's approval of a wall on the US-Mexican border; the outcome of
Brazilian elections; China's prospects; US-Uruguay talks; and the
role to be played by the UN.


- "'It does not matter if there is disagreement, because we do have
common interests'"

Ana Baron, Washington-based correspondent for leading "Clarin,"
writes (09/30) "US Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere
Affairs, Thomas Shannon, believes that (President) Nestor Kirchner's
meetings with investors in New York 'have marked an important step
forward.' During an exclusive interview with 'Clarin,' Shannon
explained what the Bush administration's policy on Argentina is like

"Asked how much damage Argentina's vote in favor of Venezuela at the
UN Security Council will do, Shannon said 'we share a series of
interests and values with Argentina, regardless of disagreements
that we might have.' He added: 'We share profound interests with
Argentina beyond what the media say. My work and that of
(Ambassador) Bordon is highlighting that our interests are the same,
regardless of some strident opposed voices in this regard. During my
meetings with Ministers Fernandez and De Vido (in New York) and with
President Kirchner, we acknowledged at the end of the day that both
countries need each other. There are obviously different points of
view about the voting at the (UN Security) Council and we have to
respect that. We have talked with Argentina and we understand its
position. However, one has to also bear in mind that the UN Security
Council is not a bilateral issue, and that the voting is global.

"... On Ambassador Tony Wayne and the priority he will grant to the
investment climate and the problem posed by IPR, Shannon said that
'he has not arrived and we are already speaking about his agenda and
trying to determine whether economic issues will account for 20 or
30 per cent of his portfolio. The issue will be a top priority.
Kirchner made clear to investors in New York that Argentina is open
to business. This was an important step forward. And we do want to
ensure that US corporations will be able to explore investment
opportunities in the country. When the ambassador arrives, he will
work with the (Argentine) Government to ensure that the local
business climate will attract investment."

- "Chavez forces arm-wrestling at the UN"

Mariano Obarrio, political columnist of daily-of-record "La Nacion,"
writes (10/02) "In spite of US pressure, President Kirchner decided
that Argentina will support Venezuela in obtaining a non permanent
seat at the UNSC. However, Venezuela will not obtain enough votes to
be able to win in the first round, and therefore a third unknown
candidate could emerge.

"According to high-ranking governmental and congressional sources,
Panama, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica are among the
countries that could appear in a second round.

"Some sectors of the Chilean government promoted Uruguay, but this
candidacy may have vanished. In any event, the upcoming October 16
UN elections still seem a riddle, at least regarding the seat
corresponding to Latin America and the Caribbean, which is currently
filled by Argentina...

"It has become a highly important element of negotiation among Latin
American foreign ministries.

"... The US supports Guatemala and openly rejects Chavez due to his
alliance with Iran and his support for fundamentalist terrorist

"... What will Argentina do? According to the (Argentine) Foreign
Ministry, 'We'll see.' The truth is that the decision to support
Venezuela will have neither positive nor negative consequences on
the US-Argentine bilateral relationship, at least for now.
Washington is paving the way for the arrival of its new Ambassador,

Earl Anthony Wayne, in Buenos Aires in November.

"The US Department of State seeks to prioritize common interests and
values, thereby disregarding, at least for now, the friendship
between the Argentine and Venezuelan governments."

- "Malaise in the US due to Kirchner's support for Chavez"

Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacion," writes (10/02) "... US Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice said that Venezuela's entry into the UN
Security Council 'would mean the end of consensus at the UN Security
Council; it is a serious issue.'

"... A high-ranking Mercosur diplomat said that 'Argentina's vote in
favor of Venezuela 'will leave a mark on the US-Argentine
relationship, although its depth or reach will depend on many
variables and it will take months or years to determine it.'

"Secretary Rice is wondering whether the point is to use the high
profile of the UNSC for a confrontation with the US instead of
finding a solution for North Korea or Iran's nuclear program,
contributing to stability in the Middle East, debating on Dafur and
sending blue helmets there, or dealing with places like Burma.'"

- "Hugo Chavez is weaving powerful alliances with Iran and China"

Telma Luzzani, international columnist of leading "Clarin," writes
(09/30) "... Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is trying to get a
seat at the UN Security Council...

"The Venezuelan proposal includes radical changes that will irritate
more than one country.

"Caracas questions that only five countries have a right to veto and
asks to expand the number of permanent seats by alleging that, given
the institution's crucial role in the war and peace, it should be
'democratized in the decision-making process.'

"The US is strongly campaigning against Venezuela, and Chavez has
doubled his diplomatic activity by weaving powerful alliances with
Asia, Africa, the Arab countries, Russia, Iran and China.

"Perhaps, the most intelligent move in Chavez's foreign policy is
using oil to deepen his ties with Beijing in order to become
indispensable to the Asian giant.

"... According to Vladimir Ovchinski, a Kremlin advisor, Venezuela
believes that 'in the event China considers oil related to
Venezuelan stability, Caracas will have a gigantic protector and
Washington will think it twice before attempting to remove Chavez."

- "Bush in the loop of a Watergate reporter"

Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacion," writes (10/01) "No one tells President
Bush the truth on Iraq. However, he is not interested in knowing too
much either. He neither asks nor verifies anything. Everyone smiles
or keeps silent in complicity. It is like he and his staff were
living in a permanent 'state of denial.'

"These are the central conclusions of Bob Woodward's latest book. He
is one of the most prestigious US journalists ever since he and Carl
Bernstein led the research on the Watergate case... The title of his
new book is precisely 'State of denial'...

"The truth is that, according to what some twelve high-ranking USG
officials have unsuccessfully tried to report to the US President,
Saddam Hussein was not piling up WMD...the insurgency there is today
as strong as or even stronger than in 2003, and that at least
another 40,000 US soldiers will be necessary to attempt to stabilize
the country.

"The White House has denied what Woodward said in his book
and...lashed out at his informants. Tony Snow, the White House's
spokesperson, said 'in many ways, these books are like snowflakes -
they seem to melt on mere contact.'"

- "Mexico says the wall is an 'offense' and asks Bush not to build

Leading "Clarin" reports (10/01) "The US Congress' approval of a

1,200 km border wall, which is aimed at putting a brake on Mexican
immigration, has infuriated the government of Mexico and also raised
protests from US civil organizations. However, it pleased the
Republicans who promoted the controversial measure. The Fox
administration announced it will write a letter to US President Bush
asking him not to sign the law.

"With the support of 80 out of its 100 members, the US Senate passed
the building of a wall on the US-Mexican border...

"John Boehner, head of the governmental majority at the US House of
Representatives, said 'it is a Republican victory against the entry
of illegal immigrants to our country.'

"... According to Democratic Leader Howard Dean, the head of the
Democratic national Committee, the wall 'is a useless expenditure
that will not solve the problem posed by undocumented immigrants.'"

- "The White House passed from initial fears to confidence"

Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacion," comments (09/30) "According to the
power circles in this capital city, Lula is not the ideal candidate
to incarnate South American 'leadership.' However, he is an
acceptable candidate for the US and, perhaps, the most useful
candidate vis-`-vis conflictive figures in the region, such as
Bolivian Evo Morales or Venezuelan Hugo Chavez.

"In order to prevent possible friction, the White House and the US
Department of State will officially keep silent until the outcome of
the confrontation between Lula and his adversary, Geraldo Alckmin,
is confirmed... However, much has changed since Lula overcame a wave
of diplomatic and financial fears four years ago. And the US is
willing to work with him.

"... According to the diplomats and government officials consulted
by 'La Nacion,' ever since 2002, Lula has gained (President) Bush's
confidence and Brazil has become a referent for Washington in the
region to help it 'control' or stabilize' democracies in Venezuela
and Bolivia, with some support from the Argentine Government.

"During an encounter in Canada this month, Tom Shannon, the current
head for Latin America at the USG, said that 'some parts of South
America really run the risk of 'becoming Pluto'...and eventually
being declared off the planet.' In order to counterbalance this
tendency, he mentioned Brazil and Chile, 'among others' as the
leading representatives of a broader hemispheric project.'"

- "Chinese foreign policy intelligent priorities"

Leading "Clarin" carries an op-ed story by Felipe A. M. de la Balze,
economist and international negotiator, who writes (10/01) "China is
experiencing a spectacular boom and a fast progress in the
international system...

"China's progress has sparked an intense debate on its consequences
for the future of the world political balance.

"The thesis of the 'Chinese threat' is based on the natural fear
raised by China's size...

"Fears prevail that the current Chinese strategy of 'peacefully'
entering the international system hides a strategy of waiting to
accumulate more economic and military power and therefore exercise
its hegemonic preferences in Asia, and why not, in the world.

"... In order to consolidate the achievements it made during the
last two decades, China needs a stable international scenario. Every
piece of evidence indicates that it has become a power favoring the
prevalence of the current 'status quo,' on which its fast progress
and international strengthen is based.

"Only an international economic crisis or an internal shock could
wreck its current strategy and tempt the Beijing leadership to carry
out a nationalistic aggressive project that could lead it to a
confrontation with Japan and/or the US."

- "The UN's 'no'"

Daily-of-record "La Nacion" carries an opinion piece by columnist
Norberto Firpo, who writes (09/30) "Sixty one years have passed
since the establishment of the UN so that it is time to suspect that

there is not any other institution more useless than the United

"The UN only occasionally managed to prevent or suffocate a war.

"Under its silly leadership, the world did not have one year of
peace and was flooded with blood in Korea, Vietnam, Ireland,
Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kosovo, the Malvinas Islands and
still in Iraq and the pathetic Middle East, only to cite some of the
hottest sites of confrontation.

"... The UN by-laws, of 111 articles, sets forth peace guarantees,
whose interpretation is confusing and can be easily infringed on...

"Delegates of fifteen countries make up said council but only five
may veto every initiative that can prove irritating or inconvenient.
This rare privilege is exhibited by the US, the UK, France, China
and Russia.

"... The UN would do a huge favor to humanity if it placed its eyes
on the villains of history not to make the same stupid mistakes."

- "Uruguay relaxes Mercosur climate"

Natasha Niebieskikwiat, columnist of leading "Clarin," writes
(09/30) "President Tabare Vazquez managed to surprise his Mercosur
partners by announcing that he had decided to negotiate an
intermediate trade deal with the US instead of an FTA.

"According to what 'Clarin' was able to learn, the news has relaxed
tension within the bloc, which had re-heated in view of the
bilateral meetings in Montevideo between Uruguayans and DUSTR
Everett Eissenstat.

"... Mercosur partners worked on the premise that they could not OK
an FTA between Uruguay and Washington, which in the end would be a
copy of those deals the US has already signed with other countries
of the hemisphere and that, in this case, it would damage Mercosur'

- "Confrontation in the US due to tariff reductions"

Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacion," comments (10/01) "The Argentine
Government resorted to the US corporations' commercial interests to
ask the Bush administration to maintain the tariff reductions for
some Argentine exports vis-`-vis the opposition of local business
chambers and holdout creditors...

"The USTR made public submissions in favor and against maintaining
Argentina within the GSP. The USTR will analyze and send its
conclusions to Congress in the upcoming weeks for a final decision.

"In a document signed by Argentine Ambassador Jose Octavio Bordon,
the Argentine Government asked the US to establish a 'reliable and
predictable market' and maintain Argentina's tariff-free access to

To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at: MATERA

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