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Cablegate: Goc Wants Quick Agreement in Principal On Defense

VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #3028 2311713
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 181713Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4220
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 8329
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0881
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 6459
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 2169
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 7151
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 003028

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2018
TAGS: MARR PREL SNAR MCAP PGOV CO
SUBJECT: GOC WANTS QUICK AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPAL ON DEFENSE
COOPERATION AGREEMENT

REF: SECSTATE 85514

Classified By: Ambassador William R. Brownfield
Reasons 1.4 (b and d)

1. (C) SUMMARY. The Ambassador delivered draft text of the
Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) to the Acting Foreign
Minister, Minister of Defense, and Armed Forces Commander on
September 13-14. All agreed that a formal agreement was
necessary, hoped to announce agreement in principle soon, and
hoped it could be portrayed to the media as continuation of
long-standing cooperation. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) The Ambassador on August 13, met with acting Foreign
Minister Camilo Reyes and passed him a diplomatic note in
both English and Spanish containing the draft U.S-Colombia
Defense Cooperation Agreement (reftel). The Ambassador
summarized our full proposal for use of Palanquero, Apiay,
and Barranquilla, and other provisions regarding privileges
and immunities. He told Reyes that following Ecuador's
decision not to renew the agreement covering the Cooperative
Security Location (CSL) at Manta, the USG wanted to provide
the GOC our draft now. The Ambassador said the USG would not
publicly release any information on the agreement; the
decision on when and how to make the agreement public rested
with the GOC. The Ambassador also met separately with
Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos and Armed Forces
Commander General Freddy Padilla, and provided them with
copies of the draft and similar talking points.

3. (C) Reyes told us that the GOC wanted to reach an
agreement in principal as quickly as possible, and would also
review the U.S. agreement covering Manta. Reyes indicated
that once an agreement in principal is reached, our
governments would be able to iron out remaining details
later. This would allow the GOC to quickly and more easily
control the release of news on the agreement. He said the
GOC would likely frame the agreement as a "continuation of
our historic cooperation." Reyes added that he planned to
review the U.S. agreement with Ecuador over the use of Manta
as a "point of comparison."

4. (C) Defense Minister Santos, after initially questioning
whether a formal agreement was needed--and worth the public
scrutiny--told the Ambassador he agreed that this new step in
the U.S.-Colombia security partnership would require
something formal. Like Reyes, he very much hoped the new
agreement could be couched publicly in terms of continuation
of long-standing bilateral cooperation. He added that
President Uribe would likely want to conclude an agreement
quickly, noting that Uribe planned to visit Washington
September 18. Uribe would probably prefer to finish by
November, he added. Santos also indicated that a formal
agreement would assure continuity in key elements of the
U.S.-Colombia relationship over the long-term.

BROWNFIELD

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

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