Cablegate: Amb Rice's Meeting with Brazilian Permrep


DE RUCNDT #0088/01 0472119
P 162119Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/08/2020

Classified By: Ambassador Susan E. Rice for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

1. Summary: During a February 8 lunch hosted by Ambassador Rice for Brazilian PermRep Viotti, the U.S. and Brazil were in agreement on priorities for and approaches to dealing with Haiti. On Sudan, Viotti said she believes there is "a measure of convergence" in the SC on what needs to be done there, but the details are hard and the possibility for UN action is limited. However, she agreed that it might be useful to think about new ways for the Security Council to approach the issue. Viotti said that on the Middle East issue, Brazil sees potential for greater contribution by the Security Council and the international community to the peace process, including doing more to encourage both parties to return to negotiations. She urged additional efforts at quiet diplomacy with the Iranians, noting that in Davos the Iranians did not seem to be rejecting the basic concept of the proposal; they simply wanted more time to discuss the details. End Summary.

2. (C) Ambassador Rice began the discussion at a February 8 lunch she hosted for Brazilian PermRep Viotti by outlining the U.S. view of the situation in Haiti and priorities over the coming weeks and months. Viotti agreed with the U.S. assessment, concurring that it is important to keep Haitians themselves in the lead on all efforts, and stressing that the international community must already begin thinking about reconstruction and rebuilding. She said that Brazil has been very much engaged in Haiti since 2004 and wants to reinforce regional efforts to assist Haiti. Viotti said she believed that Brazil's participation in MINUSTAH had encouraged greater participation by other Latin American countries in addressing Haiti's needs. She also highlighted enhanced cooperation efforts among Latin American countries in order to deconflict bilateral aid to Haiti. She agreed that CARICOM countries have "taken a more distant position" with regard to Haiti, but in light of the current crisis they are offering support and assistance, and she suggested that this might be the beginning of more effective long-term engagement on the part of the Caribbean countries.

3. (C) Viotti noted that maintaining calm in Haiti will depend on effective distribution of food, water, medicine, and other basics. Cash distributions to Haitians are a vital part of assistance, she added, as they allow people to re-open businesses and take other actions that give them back some control over their lives. Brazil will probably donate money for the cash distribution program, separate from the $15 million it has already given to the Flash Appeal for Haiti. She said that the MINUSTAH mandate seems to be sufficient to cover everything that needs to be done right now, but it might need to be reviewed when it comes up for renewal in October.

4. (C) Viotti said that while Haiti is an immediate priority, Brazil's other priorities include Africa, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, protection of civilians, and Timor-Leste. She commented that Brazil has been very active in Timor-Leste since the start of UN involvement there. Brazil is the chair of the Security Council's DRC sanctions committee, and Viotti said they are setting up a new expert group for the committee and she looks forward to working closely with them to improve monitoring of the sanctions regime. On Sudan, Viotti said she believes there is "a measure of convergence" in the SC on what needs to be done there, such as implementing the CPA and planning for after the election, but the details are hard and the possibility for UN action on these issues is limited. Rice responded that while the SC should not prejudge or influence the outcome of the election or the referendum, it is pretty clear to everyone what the outcome of a free and fair referendum would be, and we need to begin planning now, in a creative and sustained way. Viotti suggested that it might be possible for the Council to approach this through setting up some type of informal group or committee to examine possibilities, and both ambassadors agreed it will be important to work closely with U/SYG Menkerios on this.

5. (C) The Middle East is also an issue of interest for Brazil, Viotti said, particularly since Brazil has a large Arab community and a "strong and powerful" Jewish community. Rice outlined the U.S. position on the Middle East, stressing that the SC's monthly meetings are not necessarily helpful to efforts to bring the parties back to the negotiating table, and that the Council must be careful that its meetings and pronouncements are constructive and supportive of the larger goal of getting the parties to a two-state solution. Viotti said that Brazil takes a somewhat different view of the potential contribution of the SC and the international community to the peace process, and suggested that perhaps the SC can do more to encourage both parties to return to negotiations. Maybe they need encouragement from the broader international community in order to move the process forward, she suggested.

6. (C) When the discussion turned to Iran, Viotti repeated Brazil's position that all countries have the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy under IAEA safeguards. Brazil has told Iran that the offers on the table from the P5 1 are an opportunity not to be missed, she said, and judging from Brazil's contacts with the Iranians last year, it seemed that by the end of the year Iran, including President Ahmadenijad, saw the value of engaging, but domestic problems prevented the GOI from doing so, since such engagement provided an opening to criticize the government. She urged additional efforts at quiet diplomacy with the Iranians, noting that in Davos the Iranians did not seem to be rejecting the basic concept of the proposal; they simply wanted more time to discuss the details. Rice responded that there has been a clear deal from the IAEA on the table - send all 1200 kilograms of their LEU to Russia and then France to be processed - but the Iranians have been unable to come to grips with it in all this ti me. The deal's utility as a confidence-building measure is diminishing every day, as Iran makes more LEU. Viotti said the question for Brazil is whether sanctions will be effective, since they have not been so with Iran in the past. Crippling sanctions could close the door to further diplomatic efforts. Rice replied that the U.S. sees sanctions as having exactly the opposite effect: they are a way to keep the diplomatic option alive and reduce the risk of a military conflict, since their purpose is to encourage Iran to move in the right direction.


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