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Cablegate: Ambassador Solomont's January 21, 2010, Meeting

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RR RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHMD #0067/01 0221543
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 221543Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1721
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA 4302
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 000067

SIPDIS

FOR EUR/WE AND EEB/IPE, STATE PASS USTR FOR D.WEINER,
COMMERCE FOR 4212/D.CLAVERT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/21/2020
TAGS: PREL KIPR AF IR XM SP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR SOLOMONT'S JANUARY 21, 2010, MEETING
WITH SPANISH OPPOSITION LEADER MARIANO RAJOY

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Classified By: Ambassador Alan D. Solomont, Reasons 1.4(b)(d).

1. (C) Summary. The Ambassador called January 21, 2010, on
opposition party leader Mariano Rajoy and Rajoy,s Chief of
Cabinet, Jorge Moragas. They discussed Afghanistan, Iran,
IPR, the Spanish economy, and Latin America. End summary.

Afghanistan

2. (C) The Ambassador congratulated Rajoy on the Popular
Party,s (PP) electoral successes in 2009 and its improving
poll numbers. He noted he hopes to have as good a
relationship with the opposition as with the government.
Rajoy reciprocated that wish. The Ambassador stressed the
importance of good bilateral relations, citing AFPAK as one
area where the two countries can and must work together. The
Ambassador noted that President Obama,s has identified AFPAK
as the central front in the fight against terrorism, and that
the President has shifted the U.S. orientation toward
partnership with our allies. Rajoy cited the shared
principles and values of Spain and the U.S., noting the PP
has supported the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan and would
continue to do so. He specifically mentioned that the PP
supports sending more Spanish troops to Afghanistan (he made
no reference to his public questioning a few weeks ago of the
government,s plans to do just that). The Ambassador
expressed appreciation for Spain's initial committment to
Afghanistan and for plans to send more troops. He said the
expression of PP support is heartening.

Iran

3. (C) On Iran, the Ambassador stressed the importance the
U.S. attaches to European and Spanish support for tougher
sanctions. He said the first track of the two track strategy
is not working and explained the U.S. is working on a new
UNSCR and with allies such as Spain to find ways to enhance
existing sanctions and develop new ones. Rajoy said that the
PP fully shares U.S. concerns about Iran and assured the
Ambassador the party is supportive.

IPR

4. (C) The Ambassador described his strong commitment to
helping U.S. business compete in Spain, noting that the IPR
situation is a major concern, especially for the U.S. music
and film industries. He noted MPAA head Dan Glickman called
him the day before to register concerns about Spain. The
Ambassador said that at a recent movie premiere in Madrid,
Warner Brothers' executives reported sales of new release
DVDs were down 80 percent. Rajoy, whose party has in recent
weeks objected to a GOS legislative proposal that would
authorize shutting down websites that promote piracy, said
this is a great debate in Spain and there are diverse
opinions, including a vocal community of internet users. He
said the PP is asking for appropriate judicial safeguards for
shutting down websites and is working to find the appropriate
balance between IPR protection and freedom of expression. He
noted the issue is not only important economically but
politically. Nevertheless, he assured the Ambassador that
the PP wants to play a constructive role and promised to keep
an eye on the issue.

Spanish Economy

5. (C) Rajoy described the principal difference between the
PP and the government as being the handling of the economy.
He noted the news that Spain was now paying one percent more
than Germany in interest on its debt. He said the deficit is
over ten percent of GDP -- twice what it was two years ago --
and unemployment is nearly 20 percent. He said maintaining
social benefits under these circumstances will be difficult
and Spain needs reforms. He added that Spain,s immigration
policies also need a dose of "common sense."

Latin America

6. (C) Rajoy stressed the interests of Spain in Latin
America. He noted he had been to Cuba three times, but the
poverty there and the plight of the dissidents made it a
depressing experience. He said the PP appreciated the U.S.
policy. The Ambassador noted that the new U.S. President of
the U.S.-Spain Council, Senator Menendez, is deeply
interested in the issue.

7. (C) Rajoy said Moragas would attend the Lobo inauguration
in Honduras. He and Moragas expressed appreciation for U.S.

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handling of the Honduras situation and said the PP is
following the U.S. line. Rajoy mentioned Argentina, where he
said 40 percent of the population is of Spanish descent, as a
country of great potential and continual crisis. He noted
Spain has large business interests there but the situation
was "complicated" given the lack of judicial security. He
compared the climate for Spanish business in Argentina
unfavorably with that in Brazil and Mexico. Venezuela, said
Rajoy, is a "disaster." He described Chavez as buying
friendship in Central America with oil while Venezuela is
being destroyed. He noted the plight of Spanish citizens
there facing expropriations (Rajoy mentioned his father in
law had worked in Venezuela).

Comment

8. (C) Rajoy was clearly eager to establish a rapport with
the Ambassador. While his comments on Afghanistan were
welcome, we would be pleasantly surprised if the PP resisted
the temptation to take its shots at the GOS in the pending
congressional debate on the additional troops. However, we
expect that in the end the PP will not vote against sending
more troops. Likewise, on IPR we took Rajoy's message to be
that while the PP understands the need for Spain to do more,
it is going to extract whatever political benefit it can from
the debate over exactly what mechanism Spain uses to shut
down pirating websites.
SOLOMONT

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