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Cablegate: U/S Otero,S September 23 Meeting with Bolivia

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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 7925

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 100988

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/28/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV SNAR BL
SUBJECT: U/S OTERO,S SEPTEMBER 23 MEETING WITH BOLIVIA
FOREIGN MINISTER CHOQUEHUANCA

Classified By: U/S Maria Otero (G). Reason: 1.4 (b) and (d)


1. Classified by U/S Maria Otero (G). Reason: 1.4 (b) and
(d)

2. (U) September 23, 2009; 11:00; New York, USA.

3. (U) Participants:

U.S.
U/S Maria Otero
WHA A/S Thomas Shannon
Laura Pena
Barbara Rocha (Notetaker)

Bolivia
Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca
UN Charge Pablo Solon

4. (C) SUMMARY. Under Secretary Otero reaffirmed Secretary
Clinton,s commitment to improve relations with Bolivia,
noting her own interest in finding ways to be helpful to the
bilateral dialogue process. Foreign Minister Choquehuanca
and Charge Solon expressed frustration with slow progress and
the decisions on Andean Trade Preference Program (ATPA) and
the narcotics certification. U/S Otero and A/S Shannon
expressed disappointment at Bolivia,s decision to terminate
USAID,s democracy programs. Both sides committed to setting
a date for a second round of talks in Washington in the first
half of October. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------
BILATERAL DIALOGUE: SLOW AND DIFFICULT
--------------------------------------

5. (C) Under Secretary Otero opened the meeting by
reaffirming Secretary Clinton,s commitment to improve
relations with Bolivia and noting her own interest in finding
ways to be helpful to the bilateral dialogue process, given
her Bolivian background.

6. (C) Foreign Minister Choquehuanca stressed the importance
of building mutual trust and said Bolivia would always be
open to dialogue. He appreciated our first round of talks
(held in May, in La Paz) as a first step in overcoming
differences and establishing a relationship of mutual
respect. He did complain there had been no progress since
then, and that the decisions to remove Bolivia from the
Andean Trade Preference program (ATPA) and to flunk Bolivia
in the narcotics certification were not constructive. He
noted Bolivia,s new alliances with Brazil, Argentina, and
Paraguay to combat drug trafficking and affirmed that,
despite difficulties, they are ready for a second round of
talks. Choquehuanca said the Bolivian government cancelled
USAID democracy programs &en el marco del dialogo8 and that
they look forward to discussing pending assistance issues and
finalizing a bilateral framework agreement.

7. (C) U/S Otero welcomed their commitment to advancing the
dialogue as &good news8 but expressed disappointment in
Bolivia,s decision to terminate USAID democracy programs.

8. (C) Charge Solon said they feared a new &golpe8 to the
dialogue process in December when ATPA legislation is
renewed. He warned the consequences for the bilateral
relashionship would be grave if Bolivia is not included.
Solon said the clock is ticking, and if we do not move fast
the dialogue will become increasingly difficult and the U.S.
Congress will eventually put Bolivia in a category where it
doesn,t belong. He said what they need from us is a
concrete proposal on what steps we will take to advance the
dialogue process.

9. (C) Solon recalled the advances of the first round of
talks, especially how close we were in reaching agreement on
principles to guide our development cooperation. Yet, from
the four elements of their framework agreement proposal
(political relations, development cooperation,
counternarcotics, and trade) our counter-proposal was weakest
in the area of development cooperation, a step backward.

--------------
MOVING FORWARD
--------------


STATE 00100988 002 OF 002


10. (C) A/S Shannon noted that although we understand there
may be another &golpe8 to the dialogue process in December,
we are working with Congress to look at trade preferences
more broadly. Noting that we face obstacles on both sides,
A/S Shannon pointed out that our Congress sees the Bolivian
government,s decision to expel parts of our mission and to
terminate USAID democracy programs as punitive actions, and
justifying engagement becomes an obstacle for us. To that
end, it would be useful for us to know if we should expect
further measures before December.

11. (C) Choquehuanca said what we need is to set a date and
focus on it. Choquehuanca said the first half of October is
preferable because Bolivia is hosting the ALBA summit October
16-17. A/S Shannon said we would present them with a set of
potential dates by next week.

-------------------------------
WTO Health Services Commitments
-------------------------------

12. (C) Finally, Charge Solon raised the WTO health services
commitments issue pending in Geneva. He said no one opposes
Bolivia,s withdrawal from the commitments except the United
States. He asked for our assistance in resolving this issue
in a satisfactory manner and avoiding arbitration.
CLINTON

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