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Cablegate: (C) Vatican Foreign Minister On Amcits Detained in Iran,

VZCZCXRO7923
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHROV #0133/01 3501549
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 161549Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY VATICAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1212
INFO RUEHTG/AMEMBASSY TEGUCIGALPA IMMEDIATE 0009
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA IMMEDIATE 0008
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0109
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 0017
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 0022
RUEHGT/AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA PRIORITY 0005
RUEHBE/AMEMBASSY BELMOPAN PRIORITY 0004
RUEHSN/AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR PRIORITY 0005
RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN 1251

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 VATICAN 000133

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/16/2034
TAGS: PREL PHUM CASC KIRF VT IR HO UG UNGA

SUBJECT: (C) VATICAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON AMCITS DETAINED IN IRAN,
HONDURAS, UGANDA, UN VOTE ON RELIGIOUS DEFAMATION, AND U.S. HEALTH
CARE DEBATE



REF: A. VATICAN 99 (HONDURAS)
B. VATICAN 130 (UGANDA)
C. MCGEENEY-NOYES EMAIL OF DECEMBER 15, 2009 (DEFAMATION)

CLASSIFIED BY: Julieta Valls Noyes, DCM, EXEC, State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)



1. (S) Begin Summary and Introduction: At a December 16 meeting
requested by Ambassador Diaz, the Vatican's Foreign Minister
said the Papal Nuncio in Iran has been asked to intercede in the
case of three Amcits detained there; Mamberti said the Vatican
would be pleased to be of assistance in that case, on
humanitarian grounds. Ambassador Diaz, accompanied by DCM,
raised with Archbishop Mamberti the latest situation in
Honduras, proposed Ugandan legislation criminalizing
homosexuality, and the upcoming vote at the UN General Assembly
plenary on a defamation of religions resolution. AB Mamberti
also raised the U.S. health care debate. End Summary and
Introduction



Iran: Parents Asked Vatican to Intercede for Detained Amcits
--------------------------------------------- ---------------

2. (S) Archbishop Mamberti brought up the case of three American
citizens detained in Iran. The Vatican understood that Iranian
officials had announced they would be tried, but for illegal
entry, not for espionage. Mamberti indicated that the parents
of the three Americans had contacted the Vatican directly to
seek intervention on behalf of their children. The Foreign
Minister said the Papal Nuncio in Iran was in close contact with
the Swiss Ambassador there, and that the two of them were trying
to arrange a visit to the Amcits by the Nuncio over the
Christmas holiday period. The Nuncio would be pleased to pass
messages to the Americans. The Vatican would be willing to
intercede in this case on humanitarian grounds, Mamberti said.



Honduras: Lobos is President-Elect; Peaceful Transition Needed
--------------------------------------------- -----------------


3. (C) Ambassador briefed Mamberti on the latest developments
and asked for Vatican support in Honduras to expedite formation
of a national unity government, and in Latin America generally
for recognition of the November 29 elections. Mamberti replied
that the Vatican is watching the situation in Honduras very
closely. He asked about specific impediments to formation of a
national unity government and also about the proposed role for
the truth commission. The Foreign Minister implied, but did not
say directly, that the Vatican might deliver behind-the-scenes
messages in support of these goals. Insofar as a direct
statement from the Pope recognizing the elections, Mamberti said
that was not/not likely at this time. Nevertheless, Mamberti
referred to Pepe Lobos as the elected President of Honduras and
said the international community needed to put itself ""at
President Lobos' service"" to prevent violence in Honduras.



Uganda: Church Considers Sexuality a Moral, not Penal, Issue
--------------------------------------------- ---------------

4. (C) Further to ref B, and in light of the continued silence
of the Ugandan bishops on proposed legislation to criminalize
(and in extreme cases, impose the death penalty for)
homosexuality, Ambassador Diaz asked the Vatican to weigh in
with the Ugandan Episcopal Conference. Mamberti replied that
the Church's view about the sinfulness of homosexuality is
well-known. Nevertheless, the Church also teaches that sexual
relations between consenting adults are a moral, not penal,
issue. They should not be brought before the courts. In
addition, the Church is opposed to the death penalty as a
general rule. Mamberti registered the USG concerns about the
legislation, but did not commit to contacting the Ugandan
bishops about it. He said, however, that he was certain the
bishops would not remain silent for long on such an important
moral issue.



UNGA Plenary Vote on Defamation Resolution: Vatican Will Lobby
--------------------------------------------- -----------------



5. (C) Mamberti was very familiar with the status of this
resolution at the UNGA, and with the complex legal and human
rights issues associated with it. He said he had discussed the
Vatican's views on the defamation of religion concept with the
U.S. Commissioners for International Religious Freedom during
their recent visit, but did not think the commissioners had
understood the nuances of the Holy See's position. The Vatican,
he said, did not support the resolution or related arguments
posited by Islamic countries. The Vatican supports full freedom
of expression on all matters; it also believes individuals

VATICAN 00000133 002 OF 002


should exercise that freedom responsibly, in a manner that does
not incite violence or social unrest. Rights reside in
individuals not in groups, Mamberti affirmed. Ambassador Diaz
requested that Vatican diplomats lobby Argentina, Colombia,
Guatemala and Belize to move their Third Committee abstention on
this issue to a no vote in Plenary, and Honduras and El Salvador
to move from a yes to an abstention. Mamberti said he would
call the Vatican's UN PermRep, Archbishop Migliore, to instruct
him to do so.



U.S. Health Care Debate: No Abortion Funding
--------------------------------------------


6. (SBU) Mamberti asked the Ambassador about the status of the
health care legislation now pending before the U.S. Senate, and
reiterated the concerns expressed by the U.S. Catholic
Conference of Bishops that the final version of the legislation
not contain funding for abortion.
DIAZ

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