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Cablegate: Media Reaction; Lebanon; Argentine Debt to Paris Club;

VZCZCXYZ0002
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1879/01 2631403
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 201403Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9290
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001879

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
WHA/EPSC
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; LEBANON; ARGENTINE DEBT TO PARIS CLUB;
ARGENTINE FOREIGN POLICY; 09/20/07


1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Major international stories today include the implications of
yesterday's attack on Lebanon; First Lady/Senator and presidential
candidate Cristina Kirchner's economic agenda; and expected changes
in Argentina's foreign policy.

2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS

- "A scenario with too many actors"

Leading "Clarn" (09/20) carries an opinion piece by its
international columnist Paula Lugones, who writes "Lebanon has
always been the battlefield for regional confrontations and for the
settlement of disputes among major powers... Yesterday's attack is
not an exception to the rule. It occurred only a few days before a
crucial leader will be elected both for neighboring countries and
the West. The US and Israel want an anti-Syrian president who will
put an end to Hezbollah's growing clout. Obviously enough, Syrians
want a loyal government, just like Iran, an ally of Damascus and
Lebanese Shiites.

"The attack occurred in the context of escalating threats of war
between Tehran and the West. In this regard, the car-bomb that
murdered the anti-Syrian deputy is a devastating message for the
region, and an alert signal to any attempt to form a democratic and
independent government in Lebanon."

- "Cristina's agenda includes public service rates and a 'light'
deal with the IMF"

Daniel Fernndez Canedo, senior editor of leading "Clarn," comments
(09/20) "... The IMF is analyzing a new credit line (RAL) that could
be the key to Argentina's reaching a deal aimed at renegotiating its
six-billion-dollar debt with the Paris Club...

"This credit line has an advantage for the (Argentine) Government -
it does not include IMF monitoring, which President Kirchner
considers unacceptable.

"... The Argentine Government has already begun delineating the
economic steps forward in a future government led by Cristina
Kirchner. And one of them, which the Government considers a
priority, is reaching a deal with the Paris Club.

"Until now, an important obstacle was that any deal with the Paris
Club calls for IMF approval... and Kirchner does not want even to
talk about an IMF program.

"However, a future Cristina administration could include such a deal
and the country reportedly already fulfills the main conditions
-there is no immediate need for using the money; the country has
implemented sound macro-economic policies...; its public debt has a
schedule of payment that can be met; and the country must prove
transparency in its statistical data.

"The Government believes it easily meets the first three criteria,
and, although no one mentions it, it is aware that its credibility
on statistics, is very low due to the crisis at INDEC, the national
statistics agency.

"Another unwritten point is that the IMF bureaucracy is deeply
mistrustful of Argentine promises.

"In addition to the resumption of the Paris Club debt negotiations,
the public service rates issue is one of the first initiatives that
will be undertaken.

"(The Government) is planning to significantly reduce subsidies for
energy generation and transport.

"Some estimates are that public service rates could be increased by
15 percent starting in February, which could allo for a 50-percent
reduction in electrical subsidies.

"... As a matter of fact, the Government wants to make Cristina
appear more austere than Nestor. The message the Government wants to
convey is that after one year of almost 50 percent increases in
public expenditure, next year's public expenditures will only
increase by 25 percent or less."

- "The tragedy of a country that does not solve its problems"

Joaqun Morales Sol, political analyst of daily-of-record "La
Nacisn," opines (09/20) "... According to a reliable source from the
Argentine Government, the Kirchner administration and a future
government led by Cristina Kirchner, will make some changes to the

country's foreign policy. The list of friendly countries includes
three priority nations - Germany, Spain and the US.

"The country's new (foreign) policy is focused on the need to reach
a deal for the repayment of the Paris Club debt. The same source
said 'If one has to have friends in the world, then one should look
for them among the powerful.' Germany is the country that has most
emphasized the need for Argentina to repay its Paris Club debt.
Washington could veto any unorthodox solution of the problem, even
the one that the Government has already started to negotiate with...
Dominique Strauss-Kahn. And Spain is important because the EU does
not decide anything about Latin America without Madrid's approval.

"... In the US, any debt negotiation should be approved by Congress.
The US Congress will hardly accept a renegotiation that does not
include an assessment of the IMF. The problem is more complicated,
then, than the Kirchner administration's easy optimism..."

To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at:
http://www.state.sqov.gov/p/wha/buenosaires

WAYNE

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