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Cablegate: Scenesetter for November 13-14 Visit of President

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DE RUEHBO #0462/01 3132013
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O 092013Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0710
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7269
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 8422
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV 8357
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 4474
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 5142

C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 010462

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/09/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER PHUM SNAR EAID ETRD ECON CO
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR NOVEMBER 13-14 VISIT OF PRESIDENT
URIBE TO WASHINGTON, D.C.


Classified By: Ambassador William B. Wood
Reason: 1.4 (b,d)

-------
Summary
-------

1. (C) President Uribe arrives in Washington for November
13-14 meetings with executive and legislative branch
officials in the wake of a highly successful visit to
Colombia by U/S for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns.
Uribe will emphasize the importance to Colombia of
ratification of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, and
of ATPDEA extension, pending ratification of the FTA. Uribe
is also likely to advocate ATPDEA extension for other Andean
beneficiaries.

2. (C) Uribe remains the country's dominant political
figure, with approval ratings close to 70 percent. His
congressional coalition controls both houses of Congress, but
is increasingly difficult to manage. Tensions between the
military and police have heated up. Progress on paramilitary
demobilization has slowed; Uribe's success in removing over
32,000 paramilitaries from the battlefield has not been
matched by effective reintegration programs for former
combatants, and some demobilized are returning to crime. The
GOC and ELN are conducting peace talks; it is unclear whether
the ELN is willing to agree to implement a cease-fire. Uribe
suspended outreach to the FARC on humanitarian exchange of
some FARC hostages for jailed FARC terrorists following an
October 19 car bomb attack in Bogota; there is no sign the
FARC is serious about the talks. End summary.

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--------------------------------------------- ---------
Strategic Relationship and Plan Colombia Consolidation
--------------------------------------------- ---------

3. (C) U/S Burns and Uribe agreed to strengthen the
strategic relationship across the board during the Under
Secretary's October 24-26 visit to Colombia. Burns

SIPDIS
encouraged Colombia to seek stronger partnerships with
Mexico, Peru, Chile and Brazil. Burns and Uribe discussed
the importance of Colombia's efforts to help promote regional
economic integration, intensify security relationships, and
deepen democratic cooperation. Burns and Uribe agreed to
prepare a Plan Colombia Consolidation Plan by January for
submission to the U.S. Congress. The Plan would chart
assistance levels through 2013 and define the GOC's
increasing assumption of responsibility for Plan Colombia
costs.

----------------
Counternarcotics
----------------

4. (C) Aerial eradication is at a new record of 145,716
hectares, with 1.5 months left in the year. Interdictions
and lab destructions continue at a rapid pace, and seizures
of money and other assets are increasing. Nationalizing
programs is our priority. This is complicated since missions
and goals have increased in the last few years, as have the
number of air assets that require support. The Colombians
set up a pilot Colombian government spray package (with a lot
of USG support). It has sprayed over 2,600 hectares.

----------------
Bilateral Issues
----------------

5. (C)

-- Economic: Colombia's economy is expanding by nearly 6
percent annually. We expect the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade
Agreement (FTA) to be signed on November 22, although
necessary review by the Constitutional Court will only occur
in 2007. We expect Colombia's Congress to approve it this
year. There is no date yet for submission to our Congress.
Colombia's Andean Trade Preference and Drug Eradication Act
(ATPDEA) preferences are set to expire at the end of this
year. Extension of ATPDEA until entry into force of the FTA
for Colombia is a matter of urgent priority for the GOC,
whose senior officials have also emphasized the importance of
ATPDEA extension for Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador.

-- Paramilitary Demobilization/Justice: The GOC has removed
over 32,000 former paramilitaries from the battlefield, in
addition to 11,000 individual deserters from all terrorist
groups, in the last four years. The GOC's appointment of a
High Commissioner for Demobilization (Frank Pearl) is
welcome, and reintegration of ex-paramilitaries is slowly
getting off the ground. Reintegration programs have not
materialized, and ex-paramilitaries are returning to crime.
Implementation of the Justice and Peace law is also lagging.

-- Extradition: Uribe has extradited over 380 Colombians to
the U.S., including FARC terrorists "Simon Trinidad,"
currently on trial in New York for abetting kidnapping of 3
U.S. citizens, and FARC finance expert "Sonia," whose U.S.
trial starts in January. Uribe approved, but suspended,
extradition of 5 paramilitary leaders, subject to full
compliance with Justice and Peace Law terms. U/S Burns and
INL A/S Patterson emphasized it was vital that extraditions
continue, and noted the GOC's increased use of suspensions
will be viewed skeptically in Congress and elsewhere.

-- Victims, Justice, and Reparations: The National
Reparations and Reconciliation Commission has opened two of
its five regional offices to register victims of paramilitary
violence and assist them with legal issues associated with
implementation of the Justice and Peace Law. The Commission
will design individual and collective reparations. The
Commission has been seized with organizational issues, and
has launched few concrete programs. U/S Burns stressed the
need for the Commission to start programs that recognize
victims' suffering and begin the reconciliation process.

--FARC and ELN Talks: Prior to an October 19 car bomb
attributed to the FARC at the Nueva Granada military
university in Bogota, the GOC and FARC had traded public
statements on a possible exchange of imprisoned FARC
terrorists for FARC "political" hostages. Uribe accepted a
FARC proposal for an "encounter zone" for negotiations but
insisted it be free of armed FARC. Uribe has always insisted
FARC prisoners do not return to criminal activities. The car
bomb led Uribe to suspend outreach to the FARC as long as it
conducted terrorist acts. To date, the FARC has not shown it
is serious about the talks. The ELN is negotiating with the
GOC but it is unclear whether it is ready to implement a
cease-fire; the U.S. supports a process that leads to ELN
cease-fire, disarmament, and demobilization.

-- Human Rights: Recent GOC actions to strengthen human
rights protections are promising. Defense Minister Santos
appointed the first civilian, a woman, to head the Military
Penal Justice (MPJ) system and announced the need for
additional MPJ reforms. The Prosecutor General's Office is
implementing an MOU it signed with the MOD that assigns
civilian investigators to cases of alleged military human
rights abuses, and permits the Office to make the initial
decision to send a case to civilian courts. The Prosecutor
General's office arrested 14 military officials since late
August for their alleged involvement in extrajudicial
killings, and four deputies for alleged involvement in
paramilitary criminal activities. In October, the GOC
published an implementing decree on the Justice and Peace Law
that largely meets our concerns. New head of the Office of
the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Juan Pablo
Corlazzoli, has a positive relationship with the GOC, and
with us.


WOOD

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