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Cablegate: Ambassador Discusses Regional Issues with Mod Silva

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P 262212Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0369
INFO JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY

S E C R E T BOGOTA 002736


NOFORN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/26/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER MARR MASS CO
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES REGIONAL ISSUES WITH MOD SILVA

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


SUMMARY
--------
1. (S/NF) In an August 20 conversation with newly installed
Minister of Defense Gabriel Silva, Ambassador Brownfield
discussed several regional issues related to the Defense
Cooperation Agreement (DCA). The Ambassador noted that any
cross-border operations while the region was focused on the
DCA would be a political disaster. Minister Silva said the
GOC would refrain from any such operations before, during, or
after the signing the DCA. He also transmitted a draft
protocol with regard to the use of precision-guided munitions
(PGMs) recently acquired via the Foreign Military Financing
(FMF) program. Silva said the GOC is concerned about a
"surgical strike" by Venezuela at this time of high tension,
and that U.S. military activity would reduce this
possibility. The Ambassador responded that he did not think
this reflected USG thinking at present. Silva also informed
the Ambassador of diplomatic actions taken by the Brazilians,
who were concerned about U.S. flights near Brazil and a
possible increase in U.S. military personnel in Colombia as a
result of the DCA. End Summary.

Assurances on Cross-Border Ops, PGMs
------------------------------------
2. (S/NF) Ambassador Brownfield noted any cross-border
operations while the region was focused on the DCA would be a
political disaster. He asked if he could tell his government
that the GOC would conduct no such operations before, during,
or in the aftermath of signing the DCA. Silva said he
understood the Ambassador's concerns and assured him that the
GOC would refrain from any such operations as suggested.

3. (S/NF) Regarding a recent acquisition of PGMs via the FMF
program, Minister Silva promised to send (and subsequently
sent on August 21) a draft protocol outlining use of the
weapons, including an assurance for prior consultation before
any cross-border use. A copy of the document was scanned and
forwarded to WHA/AND on August 21.

USG Activity in Palanquero Air Base
-----------------------------------
4. (S/NF) Silva said President Uribe and he were concerned at
the possibility of a "surgical strike" by Venezuela at this
time of high tension. Visible or symbolic military activity
by the U.S. at this time would reduce this possibility. He
hoped the USG could do something quickly at Palanquero Air
Base, which is a prime candidate for a Cooperative Security
Location. Ambassador said he did not think this reflected
USG thinking at present. (Note: Post plans to undertake no
additional activity at Palanquero until the DCA has been
signed.)

Brazilian MOD Visit
-------------------
5. (S/NF) Silva previewed the August 25 visit of Brazilian
Defense Minister Jobim. Silva said the Brazilians had
expressed concerns about cross-border missions, U.S. flights
near the Brazilian border, and the number of U.S. military
and contractors in Colombia. The Brazilian Ambassador had
reached out to Silva and Vice Foreign Minister Forero to
express these concerns. (Note: Separately, we learned that
the Brazilians had requested the text of the agreement for
study. The MFA told us they did not intend to share the
text. On August 25, Minister Jobim visited Colombia.
Minister Silva told reporters they discussed the possibility
of expanding Colombian-Brazilian military cooperation,
including a possibly bilateral agreement.)

Brownfield

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