A/S SHANNON,S FEBRUARY 19 MEETING WITH ARGENTINE VICE FOREIGN MINISTER VICTORIO TACCETTI

Código Fecha Clasificación Origen
09STATE18528 27 February 2009 Confidencial United States Secretary of State in Washington

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P R 271601Z FEB 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY
INFO AMEMBASSY ASUNCION
AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
AMEMBASSY CARACAS
AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN
AMEMBASSY QUITO

C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 018528

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/27/2019
TAGS: AR, BL, CO, EC, OTRA, OVIP, PA, PBTS, PREL, TD, VZ
SUBJECT: A/S SHANNON,S FEBRUARY 19 MEETING WITH ARGENTINE
VICE FOREIGN MINISTER VICTORIO TACCETTI

REF: A. BUENOS AIRES 119
B. BUENOS AIRES 153

1. (U) Classified by: Assistant Secretary Thomas A. Shannon
for E.O. 12958, Reasons 1.4 (b) AND (d).

2. (U) February 19, 2009, 10:00a.m. ) 1:00p.m.

3. (U) Participants:

United States
A/S Thomas Shannon
DAS Christopher McMullen
WHA/BSC Director Milt Drucker
WHA/BSC Deputy Director Bruce Friedman
WHA/EPSC Director Matthew Rooney
WHA/PPC Director William McIlhenney
Argentina Desk Officer Jennifer Showell

ARGENTINA
VFM Victorio Taccetti
Ambassador Nestor Stancanelli, Director for International
Economic Negotiations
Ambassador Noemi Gomez, Director for Latin American and
Multilateral Affairs
Minister Antonio Trombetto, Director for North American
Affairs
Ambassador Hector Timerman, Argentine Ambassador to the
United States
DCM Jose Luis Perez Gabilondo
Gustavo Torres, Political Counselor
Roberto Salafia, Economic Counselor
Carlos Mascias, Political Officer

4. (U) Summary: Assistant Secretary Thomas A. Shannon and
Argentine Vice Foreign Minister Victorio Taccetti met on
February 19 at the Department of State to discuss bilateral
relations and issues of mutual concern. The conversation
focused primarily on the economic crisis, priorities for the
upcoming G-20 and Summit of the Americas meetings, and
regional issues. Overall, the meeting had a positive and
cordial tone, demonstrating the Government of Argentina,s
(GOA) desire to have a more constructive and cooperative
relationship with the United States. End summary.

5. (U) The meeting, held at the request of the GOA, was
intended to serve as an interim meeting in the bilateral
consultation process (under a 1997 agreement, the USG and GOA
hold high-level bilateral consultations, the last of which
was held in Buenos Aires in July 2008). The discussions were
candid and free flowing. They focused primarily on bilateral
issues and topics of mutual concern, including the global
financial crisis, the Summit of the Americas, and bilateral
and multilateral relationships with other countries in South
America.

6. (C) The global financial crisis was the focus of much of
the discussion of the meeting. A/S Shannon noted the crisis
is one of the highest priorities for the United States and
emphasized the need for a coordinated global response. The
members from the Western Hemisphere make up one quarter of
the memberhip of the G-20, and will have an important role to
play both at the London meeting and in shaping the outcome of
the April Summit of the Americas meeting in Trinidad and
Tobago. VFM Taccetti stressed the GOA,s desire to avoid a
crisis similar to that of 2001-2002. Ambassador Timerman,
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner,s (CFK) sherpa for
the G-20 meetings, described the GOA,s plans to call for
reforms to international financial insitutions at the G-20,
particularly with respect to developing countries. He also
criticized the USG,s &Buy America8 plan, asking if it
signaled a retreat from U.S. commitments at the G-20 and
elsewhere to avoid protectionist measures. A/S Shannon
pointed to President Obama,s strong statements opposing
protectionist measures in the stimulus bill and assured the
GOA that we would not retreat from international commitments.

7. (C) Turning to regional issues, VFM Taccetti described
Argentina,s relationships with its neighbors and other
countries in the region. The GOA remains concerned about
instability in Bolivia, particularly with regard to its
effects on Bolivian migration across Argentine borders. In
Paraguay, the Lugo government is viewed as having good
intentions but in need of assistance in consolidating
democracy. Brazil is Argentina,s most important trading
partner, although Brazilian policies often have negative
effects in Argentina. Venezuela is also an important
commercial partner due to its energy exports and imports of
Argentine agricultural products. While Taccetti acknowledged
the Government of Venezuela can be a difficult partner, he
noted the GOA tries to maintain friendly relations with
Venezuela. Argentina,s relationship with Mexico is
increasing in importance due to levels of commerce as well as
the need for increased cooperation on counternarcotics,
particularly related to the ephedrine trade.

8. (C) In turn, A/S Shannon shared his views on USG
relations with the region, which he described as generally
positive and constructive. Several countries, including
Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay, are going through
historic political changes and are often caught up in their
own domestic challenges. While noting difficulties in our
relationship with Venezuela and ) particularly over the last
week ) Ecuador, our main concern regarding the Venezuelan
government is its relationship with the FARC. When asked his
opinion on Iran,s interaction in the hemisphere, A/S Shannon
observed that we are increasingly concerned about the
presence of Iran in Bolivia and Venezuela due to Iran,s
links to terrorism and the inability of their governments to
control Iran,s activities.

9. (C) Regarding the Summit of the Americas, Ambassador
Timerman noted that Cuba,s absence would not be sustainable
much longer. He said there is a new vision of Cuba in Latin
America in which Cuba has a more integrated role in global
affairs. Ambassador Noemi Gomez, the MFA,s Director for
Latin American and Multilateral Affairs, described the GOA,s
plan to introduce, in conjunction with Venezuela and Bolivia,
a declaration against anti-Semitism (similar to one proposed
at the Bahia Summit in December). The GOA also asked for
U.S. support for their proposed declaration seeking a
bilateral resolution to the Malvinas/Falklands dispute with
the United Kingdom. (Comment: The GOA had previously
introduced this declaration earlier at the Summit
Implementation Review Group; the USG was alone in opposing
it, as the Summit is not the appropriate forum for this
declaration. End Comment.)

11. (C) In the discussion on the Summit of the Americas, A/S
Shannon underscored the timeliness and importance of economic
issues and alternative energy. He pointed out that the
world,s focus on the economic crisis would consume much of
the discussion. Similarly, A/S Shannon suggested that the
world,s urgent need for affordable clean energy would also
be a prominent theme. He pointed out that alternative energy
maintains a much more predictable price structure compared to
petroleum, making for better planning.

12. (C) Over lunch at the Ambassador,s residence, the
conversation again turned to Cuba. When asked about U.S.
policy towards Cuba, A/S Shannon responded that in order to
promote change in Cuba, a united message from multiple
countries is needed; there will be no change based on a
message from the USG alone. A/S Shannon said that Cuba,s
problems with human rights would remain an important issue
for the United States, and it should for other countries in
the region as well. He said it was especially troubling that
the Cuban government continued to imprison individuals for
their political views, and that releasing these people would
be a good way to telegraph its intention to make progress on
the human rights front. He said that the United States would
continue to hold Cuba to international recognized standards
of human rights, and that there is also still a large
contingent of Americans and their legislators who oppose
engagement with Cuba on these grounds.

13. (C) Ambasador Gomez asked whether the U.S. would join
the new international energy organization being promoted by
the Germans, adding that Brazil, Chile and Peru were
supporting it. The objective, she said, was to develop a
mechanism to transfer energy resources from developed
countries to developing ones in an effort to stem poverty and
reduce the likelihood of religious or political fanaticism.
Ambassador Stancanelli commented that people were focused on
the social impact of the crisis, particularly on poverty and
unemployment, adding that energy and climate change were
really not in the forefront of peoples, thinking. The need,
he said, is to devise ideas on how to create and protect
employment.

14. (C) Ambassador Timerman said that his Embassy had been
working with some U.S. Congressmen on developing a Group of
Friends of Argentina on the Hill, and that he envisioned a
series of exchanges between U.S. and Argentine legislators.
He was particularly enthused about the possibility of
exchanges between legislators from Argentine and U.S.
agricultural regions.

15. (U) The lunch concluded with the agreement that both
sides would be open to similar meetings in the future, and
the next high-level bilateral consultations would be held in
late June or July.

CLINTON