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Cablegate: Uribe Reaffirms Opposition to Demilitarized Zone

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DE RUEHBO #8086 3192057
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 152057Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0119
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7867
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 9544
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV 9059
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5634
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 0824
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 6290
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4175
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RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
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id: 130283
date: 11/15/2007 20:57
refid: 07BOGOTA8086
origin: Embassy Bogota
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination: 07BOGOTA8001
header:
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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #8086 3192057
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 152057Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0119
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7867
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 9544
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV 9059
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5634
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 0824
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 6290
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4175
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY


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C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 008086

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/13/2017
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREF PREL PTER VZ CO
SUBJECT: URIBE REAFFIRMS OPPOSITION TO DEMILITARIZED ZONE
FOR FARC

REF: BOGOTA 8001

Classified By: Political Counselor John S. Creamer.
Reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d)

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) President Uribe reiterated his opposition to a
demilitarized zone ("despeje") in talks with the FARC, and
ruled out a meeting between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
and senior FARC leader Manuel Marulanda. In his November 8
meeting with Chavez, FARC Secretariat member Ivan Marquez had
called for a Chavez-Marulanda meeting in Colombia, repeated
the FARC demand for a demilitarized zone, and said the FARC
would provide proof of life for the hostages. GOC High
Commissioner for Peace and the Minister of Interior said the
GOC would not support an endless round of Chavez-FARC
negotiations. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) On November 13, President Alvaro Uribe underscored
the GOC's commitment to negotiating a humanitarian accord
with the FARC, but reiterated his opposition to a
demilitarized zone ("despeje"). He also ruled out a meeting
between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and octogenarian
FARC leader Manuel Marulanda in the Yari, a region in
southeast Colombia historically dominated by the FARC. Uribe
said the "only meeting we want for Marulanda is with police,
prosecutors and judges." He noted that GOC had already shown
its openness to a humanitarian accord by releasing more than
170 FARC, including Rodrigo Granda, earlier this year -- a
gesture that has gone unanswered by the FARC.

3. (SBU) Uribe's statement was prompted by Chavez' insistence
on a Chavez-Marulanda meeting after his November 8 meeting in
Miraflores presidential palace with FARC Secretariat member
Ivan Marquez. Marquez had proposed that such a meeting be
held in Colombia, and reiterated the FARC's calls for a
"despeje" for humanitarian exchange. In an October 31 letter
to Senator Piedad Cordoba, Marquez praised statements by FARC
members Sonia and Simon Trinidad--currently serving time in
U.S. prison--that they do not want to be an obstacle to
accord, but insisted they must be included in any deal.
Marquez called their extradition to the U.S. an act of
"treachery" by Uribe. He said Marulanda has given the order
to provide Chavez with proof of life of for Ingrid
Betancourt, the three Americans, and the other hostages.

4. (SBU) Colombian High Commissioner for Peace Luis Carlos
Restrepo said on November 14 in Madrid that Chavez' mediation
in a humanitarian swap was an important development, but
Chavez' meeting with Marquez in Venezuela - which the GOC
was not informed of beforehand - proves a "despeje" in
Colombia is not needed for negotiations. He added that the
"despeje" option was a "closed door." Minister of Interior
and Justice Carlos Holguin echoed Restrepo's comments, adding
that Venezuela's involvement, although made in good faith,
cannot be indefinite or allowed to take over the
negotiations. Restrepo traveled from Madrid to Caracas where
he meet with ELN leaders and GOC officials.

5. (C) The press reports that the FARC will provide proof of
life to Chavez before his November 20 trip to Paris. Cordoba
has publicly suggested that she has proof of life for the
three Americans and will provide it to U.S. officials on
November 16. Control Risk official Robert Froude told us
November 14 that his company--which was hired by Northrop
Grumman to work on the case of the three Americans--has been
communicating independently for some time with Colombian
journalist Jorge Botero to produce proof of life. Botero, an
associate of Cordoba who interviewed the three Americans in
2003, has told Control Risk he has the "green light" from
FARC leaders to film the U.S. hostages. Froude said it is
unclear how Botero's efforts track with those of Cordoba.

Brownfield

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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