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Cablegate: Spanish Participation in Prague Prt Conference

VZCZCXYZ0007
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMD #0062 0211611
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 211611Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHPG/AMEMBASSY PRAGUE PRIORITY 1053
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1716
INFO RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0219
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS MADRID 000062

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR DERECK HOGAN, S/RAP
PRAGUE FOR JOHN LAW
KABUL PLEASE PASS TO STATE AND USAID REPS AT PRT QAL-E-NOW

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL NATO EAID KPAO AF SP
SUBJECT: SPANISH PARTICIPATION IN PRAGUE PRT CONFERENCE
JANUARY 25-27

REF: STATE 3595

1. (SBU) Post conveyed reftel invitation and talking points
to key contacts at Spanish Ministries of Defense and Foreign
Affairs the week of January 11, and learned that Spain will
be represented by the civilian team leader from its
provincial reconstruction team and possibly by local embassy
staff. According to Cristobal Ramon Valdes Valentin-Gamazo,
Head of the Department of Cooperation with Asian and Eastern
Europe within Spain's Agency for Cooperation and
International Development (AECID), Spain will be represented
by the civilian representative at the Spanish-run PRT in
Qal-e-Now, Badghis Province, Regional Command-West. Borja
Morate, also described as Spain's Political Advisor to the
PRT, is a well respected career diplomat (the second in this
role) who was posted to Afghanistan in September 2009.
Morate works closely with USG reps at the Spanish PRT and
reports regularly to Spain's embassy in Kabul and to the
MFA's Asia and cooperation/foreign assistance offices.

2. (SBU) Defense Minister Carme Chacon's schedule will not
permit her to attend the conference, according to contacts
close to the minister. The invitation was brought informally
to the attention of USDP-equivalent Luis Cuesta on or around
January 13. Cuesta was not invited in his own right and
Chacon, who was, is unlikely to send an alternate at this
time. According to MFA Subdirector General for Continental
Asia Jose Luis Garcia Galan, Spanish S/RAP-equivalent Special
Ambassador for Afghanistan and Pakistan Rafael Mendivil is
also unlikely to attend the conference. Mendivil will be
directly involved in the lead-up to the January 28 London
conference for Afghanistan donors, and Spain has no Deputy
S/RAP equivalent. Garcia Galan and other working-level
contacts at Defense and Foreign Affairs were grateful for
information about the conference but did not seem to have
been briefed prior to our encouraging senior-level
participation. Defense policy staff further indicated
January 15 they were otherwise occupied with the management
of military and civilian aircraft bearing humanitarian relief
for Haiti and would be unable focus attention on the Prague
conference. Our contacts further confirmed January 21 that
no one from the Spanish MOD will attend, saying MFA has the
lead.

3. (SBU) COMMENT: Spanish presence and participation in this
conference is important to our bilateral and multilateral
agenda in Spain. According to the Defense Minister's Special
Advisor for International Affairs, however, the original
invitation letter appeared to come directly from the
Executive Director of the Prague Security Studies Institute
and was only addressed to Minister Chacon herself. Our
defense contacts told us they assumed it was "just another
think-tank conference on Afghanistan" and did not realize
that the USG was so deeply involved in its organization.
While it would not have made a difference with the Minister's
schedule, they informed us they would have focused on
considering an MOD or other GOS representative had the letter
offered that option to the Minister. They also indicated
that Spanish Embassy staff in Prague seemed unaware of the
conference and noted they had not been invited, though Post
understands the Spanish Embassy in the Czech Republic was
involved in conference planning discussions. END COMMENT.
SOLOMONT

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