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Cablegate: (C) Goc Seeks to "Normalize" Relations With

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #3521/01 2632000
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 192000Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4849
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 8389
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 2186
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1022
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ SEP 9670
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 6570
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 2342
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 7250
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 003521

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/18/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PTER PHUM CO VE EC
SUBJECT: (C) GOC SEEKS TO "NORMALIZE" RELATIONS WITH
VENEZUELA, WILL REMAINS PATIENT WITH ECUADOR, AND SEES
BRAZILIAN ...


id: 170699
date: 9/19/2008 20:00
refid: 08BOGOTA3521
origin: Embassy Bogota
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination:
header:
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #3521/01 2632000
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 192000Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4849
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 8389
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 2186
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1022
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ SEP 9670
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 6570
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 2342
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 7250
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY


----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 003521

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/18/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PTER PHUM CO VE EC
SUBJECT: (C) GOC SEEKS TO "NORMALIZE" RELATIONS WITH
VENEZUELA, WILL REMAINS PATIENT WITH ECUADOR, AND SEES
BRAZILIAN INFLUENCE ON THE RISE

Classified By: Acting Political Counselor David M. Zimov
Reasons 1.4 (b and d)

SUMMARY
-------
1. (C) Foreign Minister Bermudez announced that he would meet
with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Maduro in mid-October to
discuss trade and a full range of bilateral issues. Vice FM
Reyes told us the GOC wants to use the meeting to "normalize"
relations through existing bi-national forums to address
security, commercial, immigration, and border demarcation
issues. The GOC will remain patient with Ecuador and does
not expect any improvement in relations with the GOE until
after the September 28 referendum. Reyes said Brazilian
influence was on the rise due to de-institutionalization
underway in some Latin countries. Separately, President
Uribe told the Ambassador that at the UNASUR conference on
Bolivia in Chile, Argentine President Fernandez was a
"stalking horse" for Chavez; Brazilian President Lula was
moderate and helpful; and Chavez pitched for language
permitting military intervention until Lula talked him down.
End summary.

COLOMBIAN-VENEZUELAN FOREIGN MINISTERS TO MEET
--------------------------------------------- -
2. (U) Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez said on September 16,
that he will meet with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas
Maduro in Caracas, likely on October 16 or 17. Bermudez,
speaking from Santiago, Chile on the fringes of the Union of
South American Nations (UNASUR) conference on Bolivia, said
the meeting would focus on a full range of issues. The
foreign minister added that commerce ministers would also
participate.

3. (C) Vice Foreign Minister Camilo Reyes told us separately
that the GOC wants to "normalize" bilateral ties as much as
possible given political and personal tensions between
Presidents Alvaro Uribe and Hugo Chavez. The Bermudez-Maduro
meeting would serve to follow up on pending issues from the
July Uribe-Chavez meeting in Venezuela. The GOC's goal is to
revive the various bi-national forums created to handle
commercial, immigration, infrastructure, security, and water
issues. These include COPIAF (border issues, integration,
immigration, security, trade); CONEG (delimitation of borders
in the gulf, river basin issues, and other boundary issues),
and COBAN (a forum that covers infrastructure and energy).
Chavez created the latter, Reyes noted, because the other
bodies had been set up by Chavez' enemy, former-President
Carlos Andres Perez.

GOC PATIENT WITH ECUADOR
------------------------
4. (C) Reyes said the GOC would remain patient in its
approach to Ecuador, believing there can be no lasting
improvement in bilateral relations until after the September
28 constitutional referendum in Ecuador. Reyes told us the
key was to avoid a further deterioration in relations, noting
that while FM Bermudez met with his Ecuadorian counterpart at
President Lugo's inauguration in Asuncion, President Rafael
Correa renewed his verbal attack on Colombia. Correa has
consistently used Colombia as a "political football" to
advance his interests, even prior to his initial election,
and the GOC expects this to continue. Reyes confided that
OAS SYG Jose Miguel Insulza shared this view, and decided to
hold off on further OAS efforts to promote better ties until
after the 28th.

5. (C) Colombian Representative Guillermo Rivera, a member of
the Carter Center group trying to improve Colombia-Ecuador
relations, told us the group was set to meet with President
Correa again in Quito in late October. Rivera said group
members and Carter Center officials were surprised Correa had
accepted the meeting. Correa stormed out of the last meeting
on June 25, saying he would only meet with the group again
"to talk about football, not restoring relations with
Colombia." Rivera said several members of the group,
including prominent leftist politicians Antionio Navarro
Wolff (Narino governor) and Angelino Garzon (former Valle de


Cauca governor) were "puzzled" by Correa's behavior--and
would brush up on football prior to the meeting.

GOC: BRAZILIAN INFLUENCE ON THE RISE
------------------------------------
6. (C) Vice FM Reyes said the current process of
de-institutionalization underway in some Latin countries has
increased Brazil's importance and influence. Brazil
possesses an "institutional solidity" that distinguishes it
from many of its neighbors and allows for continuity of
policy. Reyes said Brazil's UNASUR initiative would likely
provide a useful forum where Colombia can interact with its
more unstable neighbors (Venezuela and Ecuador) within a
controlled environment. Reyes said the GOC would participate
in talks on the South American Defense Council, but he said
progress would be slow due to limits imposed by sovereignty
and domestic legislation. He doubts the Council will ever be
more than a talk shop--which would suit the GOC just fine.

URIBE ON UNASUR BOLIVIA CONFERENCE
----------------------------------
7. (C) President Uribe told the Ambassador on September 16,
that at the UNASUR meeting in Santiago on Bolivia, Argentine
President Fernandez de Kirchner represented a bad influence
and was a "stalking horse" for Chavez. He said Brazilian
President Luis Inacio Lula was moderate and helpful in
producing a decent outcome. Finally, Uribe told the
Ambassador that Chavez had actually pitched for language
permitting military intervention until Lula managed to talk
him down.

NICHOLS

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

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