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Cablegate: Mexican Ambassador On Relations with Argentina And

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1436/01 2051959
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241959Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8736
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6395
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 6258
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUL MEXICO 1418
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 6607
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001436

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MX AR
SUBJECT: MEXICAN AMBASSADOR ON RELATIONS WITH ARGENTINA AND
THE MEX-ARG "STRATEGIC ASSOCIATION"


1. (SBU) Summary: In a meeting July 13 with Ambassador,
Mexican Ambassador to Argentina de la Garza Sandoval
discussed President Kirchner's visit at the end of July to
Mexico to sign an "Agreement of Strategic Association," which
will group together under one instrument a number of existing
bilateral political, commercial, cultural and science and
technology agreements. Separately, Argentina's Planning
Minister De Vido told Ambassador that President Kirchner is
privately very impressed by President Calderon, and Deputy
Foreign Minister Garcia Moritan said that the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs sees excellent economic and strategic benefit
in building closer cooperation with Mexico. Garcia Moritan
said First Lady and presidential candidate Cristina Fernandez
de Kirchner is a strong supporter of building closer ties to
Mexico.

2. (SBU) Mexican Ambassador de la Garza said she felt U.S.
engagement with Argentina was critical but recommended
waiting until after the October presidential election for
engaging on new initiatives. On MERCOSUR, she noted the
problem with the economic "asymmetries" of the member
countries, expressed Mexico's interest in increasing ties,
but stressed that Mexico would likely never become a full
member because MERCOSUR calls for integration beyond trade
and commercial ties. End Summary.

3. (SBU) Ambassador and A/PolCouns on July 13 called on
Mexican Ambassador to Argentina Maria Cristina de la Garza.
De la Garza explained that the "Strategic Association
Agreement" to be signed by Presidents Kirchner and Calderon
during the former's official visit to Mexico July 30-31, is
essentially an umbrella instrument under which the two
countries will group the approximately 15 existing agreements
covering various political, commercial, cultural and science
and technology areas. Most importantly, de la Garza
explained, the Association was a reflection of both parties'
political will to strengthen and deepen bilateral relations.

4. (SBU) De la Garza noted that Mexico was culturally
important in Argentina. Mexican art, literature and popular
culture have long been popular in Argentina. During
Argentina's military dictatorship, Mexico was home to the
largest Argentine exile community. Today, the Mexican
Embassy continues to promote youth and cultural interchanges.

5. (SBU) In a July 23 meeting with Planning Minister Julio De
Vido, De Vido stressed to the Ambassador the importance of
the bilateral commercial relationship with Mexico and that he
may travel with the Kirchners to Mexico. He stated that
President Kirchner had met on several occasions with Mexican
magnate Carlos Slim. De Vido also noted that Kirchner and
President Calderon get along quite well, that the two had
clicked when Calderon visited Argentina as President-elect.
De Vido told the Ambassador that, at least due to this
relationship, he expected the bilateral relationship to
deepen. It was not this way, De Vido offered, with former
President Fox.

6. (SBU) Separately Deputy Foreign Minister Roberto Garcia
Moritan told the Ambassador that the MFA sees deepened
relations with Mexico as beneficial economically and as
helpfully broadening Argentina's strategic ties to other
Latin American countries. He said Cristina Fernandez de
Kirchner strongly supports this deepened relationship.

7. (SBU) In the conversation with Mexican Ambassador de la
Garza, Ambassador noted that the Mexican-Argentine
relationship was, in his view, important as it counteracted
some of the sub-regional nationalism evident and provided
some balance to Argentina's growing commercial dependence on
Venezuela. De la Garza agreed and opined that she believed
Argentina was seeking balance in its foreign relations. She
also stated her belief that the U.S. and U.S. initiatives
were important for Argentina but recommended we wait until
after the October presidential elections before trying to
engage on new initiatives.

8. (SBU) Responding to Ambassador's query about relations
with MERCOSUR, de la Garza explained that Mexico was an
Associate Member and very interested in increasing links to
MERCOSUR, but stressed that Mexico would likely never become
a full member. MERCOSUR's concept implies greater
integration than Mexico could undertake due to its trade
agreements with some 47 countries, including NAFTA. For many
Argentines, she explained, they confuse the mechanisms of
NAFTA with MERCOSUR's. MERCOSUR is a very different concept
and this accounted for some the problems the group was
experiencing in moving toward more integration, due to the
"asymmetries" between the member states.

9. SBU Comment: De la Garza is a knowledgeable, engaged
observer of Argentina, its domestic politics and its role in
the region. And, the Mexicans enjoy a positive relationship
with the GoA and Argentine society. Embassy will look for
ways our two missions might be able to work together to
advance common issues such as freer trade, strengthening
institutions and promoting more north-south interchange.
WAYNE

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