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Cablegate: Brazil: Demarche/Letter Delivered On U.S.-Colombia Dca Prior to August 28 Unasul Summit

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C O N F I D E N T I A L BRASILIA 001084

SIPDIS

WHA FOR A/S SHANNON, DAS MCMULLEN, WHA/BSC - SIMPSON/POSIVAK

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/28/2019
TAGS: MARR OPDC PREL CO BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL: DEMARCHE/LETTER DELIVERED ON U.S.-COLOMBIA DCA PRIOR TO AUGUST 28 UNASUL SUMMIT

REF: SECSTATE 89408 Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Lisa Kubiske. Reasons: 1.4 (B) & (D).

1. (SBU) Charge delivered reftel letter on the U.S.- Colombia Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) to Brazilian Ministry of External Relations (MRE) Head of the United States/Canada/Inter-American Affairs Department Carlos Abreu on August 27. Later that day, Abreu confirmed that FM Celso Amorim had read the letter before he departed for Bariloche, Argentina to attend the August 28 UNASUL summit.

2. (C) In a meeting that afternoon with PolCouns and MLO Chief, Abreu, Pol/Mil Advisor to the Deputy Foreign Minister Amb. Marcos Pinta Gama, and Policy Planning Director Amb. Hermano Telles Ribeiro said that the Secretary's letter was helpful as a "political document." However, it had not answered all of the questions they still had about the DCA. They raised several follow on questions and concerns regarding the types of missions that will be flown from the bases negotiated in the DCA. PolCouns and MLO Colonel explained the agreement and its basic intent, the provisions for respecting sovereignty, and the requirements of Colombian permission for U.S. operations. In addition, MLO Chief explained the nature of a U.S. Air Force TransCom white paper, clarifying that it was not a policy document. Both said they were grateful for the information the United States and Colombia had shared on the DCA, but said they were still unclear on the "full scope" of operations that would be conducted under the DCA and what types of planes would be used. They encouraged us to provide in writing any additional information we could regarding the operations that would be conducted. Pinta Gama stressed the sensitivity of this U.S. presence in South America, especially in light of how the news had come to the region's attention. Telles Ribeiro said that Brazil has a mediating role to play in the region and was trying to prevent the worst of the rhetoric at the UNASUL meeting.

3. (C) COMMENT: Although Brazilian suspicions about U.S. intentions toward the region, the Amazon, and their recently discovered sub-salt oil reserves have been heightened by the Colombia bases issue, Brazil's immediate goal in seeking detailed information on the DCA and our planned operations in Colombia is to countering Venezuelan assertions regarding the intent of the DCA in order to preserve peace among its neighbors and ensure that UNASUL does not collapse. The GOB wants to be assured that the United States does not intend to run operations outside of Colombia--in particular in Venezuela--and the rather vague provisions of the DCA leaves them uneasy. Two GOB officials have separately referred to Brazil,s "mediating role" in the region, leading us to believe that Brazil is actively trying to lower the temperature at the UNASUL meeting.

KUBISKE

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