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Cablegate: Media Reaction; Argentine Foreign Policy; 11/21/07

VZCZCXYZ0003
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #2252/01 3270920
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 230920Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9762
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002252

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; ARGENTINE FOREIGN POLICY; 11/21/07


1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Today's most important international stories are related to
President-elect Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's trip to Brazil and
a change of priorities in Argentina's foreign policy.

2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS

- "(Argentina's) foreign policy has already started"

Daily-of-record "La Nacion" (11/21) front-pages an opinion piece by
prestigious political analyst Joaquin Morales Sola, who opines "The
(Argentine) President-elect has already made a U-turn on foreign
policy issues.

"It is increasingly clear that Argentina's main ally in the region
is Brazil and that Chile comes next. The news is that Hugo Chavez
does not appear among Argentina's foreign policy priorities although
Cristina Kirchner does not often criticize him or let other leaders
do it.

"Truly enough, Chavez' attitudes have distanced him from the
President elect rather than Cristina's foreign policy convictions.

"... Chavez's fourth visit to Iran in just two years is another
point of disagreement between the Venezuelan leader and Cristina...
The President-elect has a long-standing commitment to clarifying the
fierce attack on AMIA...

"... Not long ago, an influential foreigner told Cabinet Chief
Alberto Fernandez that Argentina should put its ties to the US on a
safe track... The President-elect's decision to appoint an entrusted
person as US Ambassador could indicate that she has decided to
handle ties to Washington personally. During recent years Chavez has
been a permanent obstacle to the US-Argentine bilateral
relationship. Distancing from Chavez or getting closer to him
implies two different ways of relating to the world."

- "The Buenos Aires-Brasilia axis"

Walter Goobar, international columnist of business-financial "BAE,"
writes (11/21) "In her short five-hour visit to Brazil, Cristina
Fernandez de Kirchner's crystal-clear words and gestures confirmed
that she will give the Buenos Aires-Brasilia axis top priority. Ever
since the President-elect confirmed her visit to Brazil, the
Brazilian media have speculated very much with Buenos Aires' 'change
of focus, more inclined to Brasilia rather than Caracas,' although
Brazilians hesitated with the appointment of Economy Minister Martin
Lousteau... Lousteau could impose a critical view of Mercosur's
impact.

"Lousteau criticizes the asymmetries with Brazil and believes that
Mercosur did not contribute to Argentina's industrialization.

"... The number of ongoing projects (between Argentina and Brazil),
which are supposed to be short- or mid-term, is another piece of
evidence of the so-called strategic partnership between the two
countries.

"... There are cooperation projects on defense and energy, and also
the possibility to stop using the dollar as a reference currency in
financial exchanges within the bloc...

"There is also the possibility that Embraer (Empresa Brasilea de
Aeronautica) could build cargo airplanes for the Argentine Air
Force...

"... The international scenario is where Cristina distances herself
from her husband. The President-elect has already set priorities -
the Southern Cone. She has been to Chile, Brazil and she will go to
Uruguay, according to the evolution of the Botnia crisis.

"On foreign policy issues, the order of any number of factors does
matter. This is why for the time being Lula comes before Hugo
Chavez. In this way, the priorities established by (Cristina's)
husband have changed.

"This change of priorities was defined when Brazil announced its
withdrawal from Gasoducto del Sur."

- "Nearer Lula, further from Chavez?"

Eduardo van der Kooy, political columnist for leading "Clarin,"
opines (11/21) "... Cristina Fernandez's trip to Brasilia could
imply a smooth turn in the orientation established by the Nestor
Kirchner administration. The President-elect believes that current
and also future conditions could justify the reiteration of strong
winks in Argentina's alliance with Lula da Silva, Argentina's main
strategic partner.

"Will this mean a distancing from Hugo Chavez? Cristina will not
make any gesture that could be interpreted as distancing herself
from Venezuela and she will also honor her commitments to Venezuela.
One example - the senator has asked Lula to make an effort to
approve Venezuela's entry into Mercosur... Caracas appreciated her
gesture...

"The Kirchnerist government has always had in mind that Venezuela
provided financial aid for our country at difficult moments. As a
matter of fact, Argentina will again have to honor financial
commitments next year for about seven billion dollars. Perhaps
Caracas will again have to purchase more debt bonds. However,
Cristina may want to have her Paris Club deal unblocked by then. If
this happens, the brand-new government could have some alternative
sources of funding.

"Beyond those considerations, the Argentine-Venezuelan bilateral
ties have cooled down. The incident between Chavez and King Juan
Carlos from Spain during the Ibero-American summit contributed to
it...

"Regarding Chavez's constitutional amendment project, Kirchner and
Cristina have questioned it. They are also mistrustful over the
progress made in Venezuela's ties to Iran...

"... Cristina's trip was the first she made abroad as
President-elect... It is true that that she was previously in Chile,
but she did that to attend the Ibero-American Summit. Her choice did
not seem by chance but rather to establish a priority in regional
politics in an attempt to preserve the fragile balance exhibited so
far."

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

WAYNE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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