Cablegate: Foreign Minister Taiana Deciphers Argentina For
DE RUEHBU #1069/01 2661953
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231953Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4395
INFO RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L BUENOS AIRES 001069
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2019
TAGS: PREL PHUM PARM ECON AR
SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTER TAIANA DECIPHERS ARGENTINA FOR
Classified By: Amb. Vilma Martinez for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Summary: Ambassador Martinez presented copies of her
credentials on September 18, the day of her arrival in
country, to Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana. A friendly and
expansive Taiana emphasized the high priority the Government
of Argentina (GOA) placed on securing a meeting for President
Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK) with President Obama, saying that
there would be a cost to the relationship if such a meeting
were delayed much longer. Ambassador Martinez encouraged the
Foreign Minister to ensure that Argentina raised its voice in
opposition to Iran's nuclear ambitions and asked him to
consider more of a leadership role for Argentina in defending
human rights and democratic values abroad, including in
Bolivia, Venezuela, and Cuba. End Summary.
2. (U) Ambassador Martinez met one-on-one with Foreign
Minister Jorge Taiana the afternoon of September 18 to
present a copy of her letter of credentials. The friendly
meeting lasted for 75 minutes, more than twice as long as
Taiana usually takes for such meetings. The Foreign Ministry
had previously requested that Ambassador Martinez move
forward her arrival in country by one day to facilitate the
meeting (prior to Taiana's travel to the UNGA), a request
meant to signal the importance the Government of Argentina
attaches to improved bilateral relations.
3. (C) The Foreign Minister spent much of the meeting talking
about Argentina's history and trying to introduce the
Ambassador to peculiarities of the Argentine psyche. He
shared the oft-noted claim that Buenos Aires has more
psycho-analysts per capita than any other city in the world.
Apparently further suggesting collective neurosis, he also
related that when in Washington he had always had to catch
Woody Allen movies at small theaters, while in Buenos Aires
Allen's movies were premiered in the best venues.
4. (C) Turning serious, Taiana stressed that the time has
come for Presidents Fernandez de Kirchner and Obama to meet.
He told the Ambassador that ""if the United States doesn't
cultivate her, others will."" He said that the prolonged
failure to arrange a meeting had been an embarrassment for
CFK, with her opponents mocking her for her failure to secure
a meeting. This is a negative dynamic that does not redound
to the bilateral relationship's benefit, Taiana said. Taiana
said that he had encouraged CFK to accept the President's
invitation to next year's nuclear security summit.
5. (C) Minister Taiana talked at length about the economic
situation, describing the CFK government as ""populists with a
fiscal surplus."" The fundamentals, he argued, were good.
6. (C) Ambassador Martinez voiced appreciation to Taiana for
receiving her so quickly and shared her eagerness to present
credentials to the President. She described the Obama
Administration's commitment to a good and constructive
partnership with Argentina. She encouraged the GOA to
support Embassy efforts to promote greater person-to-person
contacts between our two countries.
7. (C) The Ambassador took the opportunity to encourage
Argentina to raise its voice in international fora to insist
that Iran engage in real dialogue with the P5 plus 1 and that
it abide by its obligations to the IAEA and the Non
Proliferation Treaty. Minister Taiana acknowledged the
utility of increasing independent voices on this topic and
promised to consider what steps Argentina might take.
8. (C) Ambassador asked Taiana to consider Argentina's
leadership role in hemispheric and international issues of
human rights and democracy, noting that the Minister had
earlier pointed to these values as something held in common
by both our countries. She suggested to Taiana that he
consider how Argentina could assume a leadership in promoting
human rights and democracy agenda akin to its peacekeeping
role in Haiti, an agenda that could usefully include
Venezuela and Bolivia. ""Don't forget to mention Cuba,""
Taiana interjected, anticipating the next point. On this,
Taiana was noncommittal, averring that ""Argentina and
Venezuela have always been friends.""
In Other News: The Tea that Wasn't
9. (C) The Casa Rosada, through an intermediary, also asked
the Ambassador at the last minute to include a New York City
stop in her Los Angeles-to-Buenos Aires travel plans to ""have
tea"" with CFK; the Ambassador declined, preferring to adhere
to normal protocol and the previous, more straightforward
travel plan. This invitation was later leaked to leading
paper Clarin, which tendentiously characterized the episode
as another indication of the USG's disinclination to engage
10. (U) All major dailies as well as most broadcast news
carried positive and prominent stories on the Ambassador's
arrival and presentation of credentials to Taiana. Press
carried our statement that Ambassador Martinez would
represent the Obama Administration's interest in improving
the existing good bilateral relationship between the United
States and Argentina.