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Cablegate: Unasur Stresses South-South Assistance to Haiti

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DE RUEHQT #0160/01 0402351
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (CCY AD2000BC TOQ8521-695)
O R 092349Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0945
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS
RUEHGE/AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA
RUEHPO/AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO
RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA

UNCLAS QUITO 000160

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
C O R R E C T E D COPY CAPTION
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL EAID EFIN MARR EC HA CO XR
SUBJECT: UNASUR Stresses South-South Assistance to Haiti

REF: QUITO 65

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a UNASUR summit meeting in Quito on February
9, presidents and other representatives from member countries
approved a $100 million UNASUR fund for Haiti and requested a $200
million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank that would be
repaid by UNASUR member states. President Correa, in his role as
interim president of UNASUR, called upon creditors to cancel
external Haitian debt and on UNASUR member states to adopt special
migratory procedures for Haitians and eliminate import duties on
Haitian products. These points were included in a joint statement
issued following the meeting. END SUMMARY.

SUMMIT MEETING

2. (U) In an emergency summit called by President Correa in his
role as interim president of the Union of South American Nations
(UNASUR), representatives met to coordinate humanitarian assistance
from the region and design a mid- to long-term strategy for the
physical, institutional and economic reconstruction of Haiti.
Presidents from Colombia, Peru, Paraguay, Haiti and Ecuador
attended the meeting, along with Bolivian Vice President Alvaro
Garcia. Venezuelan President Chavez apparently canceled his
participation shortly before the meeting, and was represented by
Foreign Minister Maduro. The foreign ministers of Argentina,
Suriname, and the Dominican Republic also participated, as did
Brazilian President Lula's international affairs advisor and
representatives from Guyana, Chile, and Uruguay. In addition, OAS
Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza and an Inter-American
Development Bank representative reportedly attended the meeting.

3. (U) In his inaugural comments, President Correa said that
UNASUR should support the reconstruction of Haitian infrastructure
with human, physical and financial resources. He called upon all
creditors, in particular all multilateral organizations, to cancel
all external Haitian debt, noting that it exceeded $1.3 billion.
Correa also proposed that UNASUR member states study the
possibility of supplying subsidized gas to Haiti, send a delegation
composed of representatives of government planning entities, adopt
special migratory regularization processes for Haitian citizens,
temporarily eliminate import duties on Haitian products, and
stimulate investment by South American companies with high
potential for use of manual labor.

4. (U) Correa stressed that UNASUR should focus on South-South
cooperation, saying that the immediate and massive assistance
offered by more industrialized countries was not always the most
effective. He called development a "process of accompanying," but
emphasized that it was necessary "to know how to accompany." He
said this process would be subject to the decisions of the Haitian
public in the "framework of absolute respect of national
sovereignty and the principle of non-intervention in internal
affairs."

5. (U) UNASUR approved the formation of a $100 million fund for
Haiti with the support of each member country, under a mechanism
that is still to be defined. In addition, the group asked the
Inter-American Development Bank to invest $200 million in
infrastructure, health and agricultural development, defined by
Haitian President Preval as Haiti's greatest needs. The loan would
be paid by UNASUR member countries over a 20-year period.
President Uribe stated that "we are ready to lend our help without
any compensation." President Garcia offered to donate $10 million
for schools and potable water in the zones most affected by the
tragedy. At the close of the session, President Correa said that
"a first conclusion is that (the assistance) should be through the
Haitian government, strengthening state institutions."

6. (SBU) Prompted by the needs in Haiti, UNASUR members discussed
the formation of a civil defense agency to coordinate civil defense
matters. President Correa suggested that this group be led by the
South American Defense Council, but the Argentine representative
thought that the Defense Council was not the appropriate venue for
the proposed agency.

JOINT STATEMENT

7. (SBU) Participating UNASUR members reportedly met in the
afternoon to approve a joint statement summarizing the conclusions
of the summit. The joint statement without signatures was then
posted on the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry website. A
non-Ecuadorian participant told the embassy that an initial draft
of the joint statement included language that the U.S. would likely
have found objectionable, but this language was excised early on.

8. (U) The operative paragraphs of the joint statement focused on
respect for Haitian sovereignty, continuation of bilateral aid,
meeting Haiti's needs in its three stated priority areas, the
UNASUR fund, and the Inter-American Bank credit (described above).
They also mentioned cooperation in maritime and aerial transport of
relief goods, supported the call of the UN Special Rapporteur on
External Debt for debt forgiveness, stated that there would be a
study of establishment of a UNASUR civil defense agency, and
provided for delegates of the South American Defense Council to
travel to Haiti, among other points. The statement does not
recognize any specific bilateral donors, only the work of MINUSTAH.
The full statement can be found at
http://www.mmrree.gov.ec/2010/declara_unasur_ 0210.pdf

CORREA' CRITICISM OF WESTERN ASSISTANCE

9. (SBU) Correa took advantage of a mid-afternoon joint public
appearance with Haitian President Preval to expound a bit more on
the importance of South-South assistance. He criticized Western
aid as "big at first, but then they forget you," alleging that the
assistance goes through NGOs and the military and that the benefits
accrue to those organizations.

URIBE's VISIT

10. (SBU) The Ecuadorian press continued to play up the symbolic
importance of Colombian President Uribe's attendance at the UNASUR
meeting, saying that it represented a further step by Colombia in
the process of rapprochement with Ecuador. No bilateral meeting
between Uribe and Correa was reported. A group of protestors from
the movement "DiablUma," which labels itself "a cultural/political
(non-governmental) organization of the radical left," gathered in
the square in front of the Presidential Palace to protest the
arrival of Uribe. The protestors denounced the GOC for the
"Colombian tragedy of missing persons" and the March 2008 Colombian
attack on a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia camp in northern
Ecuador.

11. (U) Minimize considered.
HODGES

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