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Cablegate: Portuguese Response On October Community Of

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LISBON 002443

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR G (FERRARO) AND DRL/MLGA (PAZ)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PHUM PREL PGOV PO
SUBJECT: PORTUGUESE RESPONSE ON OCTOBER COMMUNITY OF
DEMOCRACIES MEETING

REF: SECSTATE 129764

This is an action request. Please see para 7.

1. (SBU) Summary: Portuguese MFA Deputy Director General for
Foreign Policy Antonio Ricoca Freire concurred with the U.S.
priorities for the October meeting (reftel) and reported that
Portugal would probably be represented by its Ambassador in
Washington due to Minister Amado's other commitments. Ricoca
Freire outlined Portugal's thoughts on assisting Mali with
the Convening Group (CG) Ministerial, working with the new
Secretariat, identifying a new leader after Portugal's

SIPDIS
leadership ends in 2009, and expanding the CG to include new
members. End summary.

2. (U) Ricoca Freire underscored Portugal's interest in
sending high-level participation to the October 1 meeting but
admitted that, given other EU commitments at that time,
Minister Amado would not be able to attend. He added that
Secretary of State Cravinho was also scheduled to lead an

SIPDIS
interfaith dialogue, and predicted that the Portuguese
Ambassador de Vallera would most likely represent Portugal at
the meeting.

3. (U) Turning to issues of institutional infrastructure,
Ricoca Freire offered Portugal's thinking on how it could
best support the Community of Democracies (CD). Portugal has
already offered Mali logistical assistance through the
Portuguese embassy in Dakar. The MFA agreed to assist with
one of the following tasks: (1) renting vehicles for the
November Ministerial, (2) providing computers, printers, and
faxes for the office, or (3) funding the cost of a few
interpreters. Ricoca Freire had not received a response.
For Portugal's upcoming Chairmanship of the Convening Group,
the MFA plans to dedicate two or three people to CD issues
full-time. The GOP also has set aside a special budget for
consultation trips to Warsaw, Washington DC, New York, and
Geneva over the next two years. Ricoca Freire confirmed
Portugal's support for the newly-established Secretariat but
underscored his hope that the body would become the
institutional memory rather than a political force within the
Community of Democracies.

4. (U) Portugal's role in leading the inter-regional working
group has officially passed to Romania, according to Ricoca
Freire. He said the Portuguese MFA sent a diplomatic note to
Mali to confirm the transfer. Romania has begun to lead the
group and will report on its activities in Bamako.

5. (SBU) Ricoca Freire asked to coordinate with the USG on
two issues that the Portuguese plan to raise, either during
the October 1 meeting or at the Bamako Ministerial: CG
Chairmanship after 2009 and strategies to encourage new
participation in the CG. Thus far, Portugal has been unable
to identify a nation interested in becoming the 2009-2011 CG
Chair. He confided that the GOP was disappointed by other CG
members' lackluster responses and underscored his
government's hope that a candidate would come forward before
the Bamako Ministerial. If no nation volunteered, it would
make it difficult to work on projects beyond the two year
horizon, and would look bad overall, he said. The Portuguese
embassy in DC has approached Mexican, Italian, Czech, and
Mongolian diplomats as potential successors but has not yet
received any commitments. India, South Africa, and Cape
Verde are not interested at this time. Ricoca Freire
requested U.S. support for the Portuguese embassy's efforts
in order to get a firm commitment from one nation before
November.

6. (SBU) Ricoca Freire further related Portugal's interest in

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creating a rotation schedule for the Convening Group so that
new members from each region could join and participate. He
suggested that five members would volunteer to rotate in
every two years to replace one other representative from the
region, assuming no objection from the sitting CG. By
establishing this rotation process, Ricoca Freire predicted
that the CG would benefit from fresh input, would be an
all-new body every six years, and would become more flexible
as an institution. He added that the Secretariat and other
ten CG nations could assist by providing institutional
knowledge and continuity. Portugal would like to get the
U.S. reaction before presenting this concept publicly.

7. (SBU) ACTION REQUEST: Post requests Department's views on
Portugal's proposal to rotate Convening Group members as
outlined in para 6. Post also seeks guidance on how to best
respond to the GOP's request for assistance in identifying a
nation to serve as CG Chair for 2009 as per para 5. Post
appreciates the Department's assistance with these requests.

Hoffman

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