(C) ARGENTINA: TAIANA TRIES TO EXPLAIN CFK’S MACHINATIONS ON COLOMBIA-US DCA

Código Fecha Clasificación Origen
09BUENOSAIRES927 13 August 2009 Confidencial Embassy Buenos Aires

Buscar la fuente: [Wikileaks] [MRKVA] [Google]

VZCZCXRO2020
PP RUEHAO RUEHCD RUEHGA RUEHGD RUEHHA RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHMT RUEHNG
RUEHNL RUEHQU RUEHRD RUEHRG RUEHRS RUEHTM RUEHVC
DE RUEHBU #0927/01 2252252
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 132252Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4207
INFO RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BUENOS AIRES 000927

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2029
TAGS: PREL, MASS, SNAR, PTER, PARM, PGOV, CO, AR
SUBJECT: (C) ARGENTINA: TAIANA TRIES TO EXPLAIN CFK’S
MACHINATIONS ON COLOMBIA-US DCA

REF: A. BUENOS AIRES 0911
B. STATE 82581
C. QUITO 715

Classified By: CDA Tom Kelly for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: The GOA confirmed August 12 President
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s (CFK) August 10 invitation
to South American heads of government to an August 28 UNASUR
meeting on the Colombia-U.S. negotiations of a Defense
Cooperation Agreement (DCA). CFK made the invitation during
UNASUR discussions in Quito on August 10, where she also
repeated her criticisms of the DCA, calling it a
destabilizing development in the region. Foreign Minister
Taiana and other MFA sources tell us that CFK’s offer to host
was an impromptu decision, and Taiana insisted to the CDA
that we should view as sincere CFK’s position that she wants
to be a moderating force and honest mediator. At the same
time, however, CFK revealed her propensity to utter
anti-American rhetoric when she concluded "we cannot permit
that in addition to exporting to us the economic crisis and
the (H1N1) influenza they now establish a situation of
belligerence in the region." Although Argentine press
reported that Brazilian President Lula had undertaken to
invite President Obama to meet with UNASUR leaders and
explain the DCA, Taiana told us that invitation would not be
to attend the August 28 meeting but might be sought for the
margins of UNGA in September. End Summary.

Taiana on the GOA’s Strategy


2. (C) Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana reviewed the upcoming
UNASUR summit on August 13 on his return from Ecuador and
Venezuela. Taiana took pains to insist that CFK’s offer to
host the summit in Argentina was intended to contain
bellicose Bolivarian rhetoric in the wake of the emotional
discussions in Quito (ref C). Despite Lula’s call for a
meeting with President Obama, Taiana said that CFK wanted to
bring UNASUR members together first to try to find some
common ground. Argentina was the natural government to play
this role, he argued, because of its low level of military
spending and its good relations with both Bolivian and
non-Bolivarian countries.

3. (C) According to Taiana, upon her return to Buenos Aires
August 12, CFK called Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. In
what Taiana claimed was a cordial conversation, CFK secured
Uribe’s agreement to attend the summit on the condition that
the agenda would enable him to address Colombia’s security
concerns. With Uribe’s agreement to participate in hand, she
then called the other UNASUR leaders on August 12 and 13.
Taiana said that the GOA now had commitments from all
participants to participate in the August 28 summit in the
Argentine resort town of Bariloche.

4. (C) Noting the USG’s position on the DCA’s limited and
targeted scope, CDA pressed Taiana to articulate what the GOA
expected to achieve by bringing together such a motley crew
of governments. Taiana admitted that the GOA’s expectations
for concrete outcomes from the summit were limited. He
observed that relations between Colombia on one hand and
Venezuela and Ecuador on the other could not be worse, and
the personal enmity between Rafael Correa and Uribe was
particularly intense. No consensus on the DCA was likely
from the summit, he conceded. Nonetheless, he said, the GOA
would seek to win UNASUR support for confidence-building
measures concerning the DCA and related security issues that
could serve to reduce regional tensions. If the discussion
succeeded in that regard, he continued, UNASUR leaders would
seek to engage President Obama, perhaps on the margins of the
upcoming U.N. General Assembly meetings.

Impromptu Decision


5. (C) In separate conversations, others in the MFA went off
script to describe the UNASUR summit’s improvised origins.
Raul Ricardes, General Coordinator for Multilateral Affairs
at the Argentine Foreign Ministry, told CDA on August 12 that
CFK’s August 10 offer in Quito to host a Union of South
American Nations (UNASUR) summit on the U.S.-Colombian
Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) was impromptu, done
without any advance planning at the Foreign Ministry.
According to press reports, CFK spoke following Brazilian
President Lula’s call for dialogue on the issue and made the
offer to host. In her remarks, she emphasized that Colombia
needed to participate, so that it would "not be seen as a

BUENOS AIR 00000927 002 OF 002

source of tension," and that the meeting needed to occur
somewhere that Colombian President Uribe could meet with his
counterparts without a sensation of "hostility against him."
Per Ref C, when Ecuadorian President Correa interjected to
propose Buenos Aires, CFK immediately accepted and offered to
host. (Comment: It is perhaps a measure of the decision’s
spontaneity that overnight the GOA shifted the venue from
Buenos Aires to the legendary Llao Llao resort in the
Bariloche ski area. Taiana’s chief of cabinet told the CDA
that the Casa Rosada made the decision to give a boost to the
resort town, which is suffering during through a disastrously
sub-par high season, despite the MFA’s protests that holding
the summit there will prove a logistical nightmare.)

6. (C) Despite her expressed desire to mediate, CFK was again
critical of the DCA in Quito, consistent with remarks
attributed to her following an August 5 meeting in Buenos
Aires with Uribe (ref A). She said that because of
"endogenous and exogenous factors, they are bringing about an
unprecedented ("inedita") and unacceptable situation of
hostility." She also said the problem could not be treated
by Defense Ministers because it was "not military but
political," one that could only be resolved, if at all, by
the regional presidents. CFK then set her crosshairs on the
United States, saying, "We cannot permit that in addition to
exporting to us the economic crisis and the (H1N1) influenza,
they now establish a situation of belligerence in the region.
This would be highly worrying and damaging to our societies
and governments."

7. (C) Acting DCM called on MFA Latin American Affairs
Director Agustin Colombo-Sierra (ACS) August 13, who also
described the Quito ministerial and presidential meetings as
exceptionally improvised. ACS confirmed that CFK had
followed up her August 10 impromptu invitation with telephone
calls to all South American leaders (except Guyana and
Suriname), and that all had accepted — starting with Uribe,
whose participation was crucial. ACS confirmed that
Brazilian President Lula had undertaken, at the August 10
meeting in Quito, to invite President Obama to meet with
UNASUR leaders and explain the DCA. ACS said there were no
plans to invite President Obama to the August 28 meeting in
Bariloche but that that Lula might seek to arrange a meeting
for UNASUR leaders with President Obama in New York on the
margins of the UNGA in September.

8. (C) ADCM stressed to ACS that the U.S. was not seeking to
establish bases in Colombia and that it was wrong to speak of
U.S. "bases" in Colombia. He said the U.S. was talking with
Colombia about gaining additional access to Colombian
military facilities in order to deepen our cooperation
against narcotics trafficking and other transnational crimes.

But She Means Well


9. (C) Charge d’Affaires discussed CFK’s intervention on the
DCA issues on August 12 with Gustavo Cinosi (protect), a
businessman with close ties to the Kirchners. Cinosi said he
had been discussing the matter with Carlos Zannini, Kirchner
confidant and Casa Rosada Legal and Technical Secretary.
Cinosi said Zannini had emphasized that Argentina did not
share Venezuela’s ideological position on the DCA and that
the GOA truly wanted to be a constructive mediator on the
issue. Cinosi suggested we should try to excuse CFK’s
rhetorical flourishes; she was not a good listener and her
"social autism" left her unawares of how some comments might
be perceived. In fact, he said, CFK undoubtedly expected the
U.S. to be grateful for her standing up to President Chavez’s
outright condemnation of the DCA and instead pushing for a
fair hearing at which Uribe could present his views.

Comment


10. (C) Despite Taiana’s valiant effort to portray the
summit as a well-planned Argentine effort to mediate the
regional conflict, we have the sinking feeling that the event
will not end well. CFK’s continuing propensity to cast
Colombia’s security problems in Bolivarian terms makes it
unlikely that she will identify and build consensus around
constructive confidence-building measures that appeal to all
sides. As a very heterogeneous group of leaders prepares to
converge on Bariloche, we will continue to seek to impress
upon the GOA the importance of behaving less tendentiously.

KELLY