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Cablegate: President Uribe Meets with Codel Reyes

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #5256 2002102
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 192102Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7313
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 9190
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUL 8845
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5264
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 0470
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 5863
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4025
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS BOGOTA 005256

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINR ETRD PGOV PHUM PREL PTER MARR ELAB CO
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT URIBE MEETS WITH CODEL REYES

1. On July 8, at 1730, at CATAM airfield in Bogota.

2. Participants:

United States

Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)
CDA Milton Drucker
C/ORA David Fitzgerald
Michael Delaney
George Pappas
Notetaker

Colombia

President Uribe
FM Fernando Araujo
DAS Director Andres Penate


-------
SUMMARY
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3. President Uribe told CODEL Reyes he was frustrated by the
U.S. Congress' decision to delay consideration of the
U.S.-Colombia bilateral Free Trade Agreement (CTPA).
Congressman Reyes noted a significant improvement in
Colombia's security situation, and committed to work to gain
passage of the CTPA. END SUMMARY.

4. President Uribe told CODEL Reyes he was frustrated by the
U.S. Congress' decision to not support the bilateral CTPA at
this time. He said the 29 June announcement from the U.S.
Congress implied Uribe was being dishonest about the
situation in Colombia. He feared that if the agreement was
not approved by the U.S. Congress by December, it would not
be signed during a U.S. presidential election year. Uribe
said the CTPA was a major policy initiative, and its blockage
would widely be seen as a significant political failure. He
said that at least one member of the extreme left, Senator
Gustavo Petro from the Polo Democratico party, claimed credit
for the supposed demise of the agreement in the U.S. Congress.

5. Uribe asked the U.S. Congress to consider how politically
difficult it was to jail senior ex-paramilitary members. He
said his government had taken significant steps to protect
labor leaders, and was working to improve general access to
justice by adding 104 investigators to the national
prosecutor's office.

6. Uribe said his government was looking for more effective
ways to eliminate coca, by increasing manual eradication, and
by shifting the patterns of aerial eradication to make it
less predictable.

7. Congressman Reyes said that there were significant
improvements in the security situation since his 2002 visit.
He committed to work to gain passage of the CTPA. Reyes said
that although Uribe's recent visit with the Congressional
Hispanic Caucus was positive, the U.S. Congress misunderstood
the situation in Colombia, in part due to negative publicity.
Uribe said he would continue working to improve this
perception, would meet with all members of Congress who visit
Colombia, and would send regular updates to U.S. Congress
members about the improving human and labor rights situation.

CODEL Reyes did not review this message.
Drucker

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