82081 10/17/2006 7:22 06MADRID2624 Embassy Madrid CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN 06MADRID2624|06STATE170214 VZCZCXRO1130 PP RUEHAG RUEHROV DE RUEHMD #2624/01 2900722 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 170722Z OCT 06 FM AMEMBASSY MADRID TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1051 INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 0267 RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST PRIORITY 1386 RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 0769 RUEHSF/AMEMBASSY SOFIA PRIORITY 0718 RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI PRIORITY 0044 RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA PRIORITY 2153 RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0225 C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MADRID 002624
EUR FOR JOHN ROBINSON
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2016 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, UN, EU, YI, SR, BO, MK, SU, CG, IS, LE, IR, IZ, UP, KPAL, SP SUBJECT: SPAIN: IN ADVANCE OF OCT. 16 GAERC
REF: STATE 170214
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Classified By: DCM Hugo Llorens for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. (C) SUMMARY: Poloff met with MFA European Correspondent Carlos Fernandez-Arias on October 13 to discuss Spain's position in advance of the October 16 GAERC meeting. Fernandez-Arias indicated that Spain was in complete agreement on most topics with the United States, but he singled out Kosovo as an area of disagreement both with the U.S. and within the EU. On the Middle East, Spain differs by degrees on the U.S. position and remains fixated on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the main area of concern. Fernandez-Arias also reported that the GAERC would be discussing the Caucasus and in particular the relationship between Georgia and Russia, which has prompted concerns in Brussels and other European capitals. Lastly, Fernandez-Arias told Emboff that Spain would support Turkey's entry into the EU, provided that Turkey can meet the conditions laid out for it. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) Fernandez-Arias stated that the EU is in full agreement with the U.S. on Sudan. He said that more could be done to approach the moderate Arab League states, which have done nothing to date, and that Spain and the EU would be approaching them. He said that more needed to be done with China as well. The EU's position does not include a call for an "experts" meeting although Javier Solana has asked for that and it will probably happen.
3. (C) Fernandez-Arias stated that the U.S. request for unity between the EU and the U.S. was impossible, since the EU does not itself agree on its position. Spain does not understand the need for urgency in Kosovo, and Fernandez-Arias feels that UNSE Ahtisaari's insistence on rapid resolution puts at risk the chances for a lasting solution. He said, "Darfur is an emergency. Lebanon is an emergency. Iran is an emergency. North Korea is an emergency. Kosovo is not an emergency." He characterized Ahtisaari as if he wished to be done with Kosovo and not be around if it were to blow up a year later. In order to meet the end of year deadline, Fernandez-Arias said it would be necessary to "impose a solution" on Kosovo and its neighbors. Such an imposition would, he warned, create a problem between Serbia and Kosovo and possibly create yet another set of eternal enemies in the region. Spain wants the solution to be stable, lasting and achieved through consensus of all parties, and the GOS feels that this will take additional time. The GOS is also wary of what it sees as an impulse to create micro-states of varying ethnicity in the region. Lastly, he stated that is not just the position of Spain, but that the French share these concerns, though they do not say so publicly. (NOTE: Though Fernandez-Arias did not say so, the Kosovo issue has particular saliency for Spain because of the political sensitivities associated with national minorities questions in the Basque and Catalan regions. END NOTE.)
4. (C) Spain agrees with the U.S. position on Serbia, but Fernandez-Arias cautioned that the GOS favors keeping an door open for Serbia and would seek to avoid Serbia's isolation and possible further radicalization.
5. (SBU) Spain shares the U.S. view on Bosnia and sees it as a positive example of how conflicts in the region can and ought to be resolved.
6. (C) Spain agrees with most of the U.S. position. Fernandez-Arias said that the international community must support Israel, especially since the GOI is in turmoil after the Lebanon war. The EU continues to call for the release of
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captured Israeli soldiers. He noted, however, that the EU would recognize Israel's obligation to pay out customs and tax moneys that it has been withholding. He said this could be done through the Temporary International Mechanism to avoid making those payments to a Hamas government. Spain's position is that the financial ruin of the Palestinian Authority will be bad for both Israel and the Palestinians in the long run. He said that it was important also to work with Abbas, who is in a difficult position.
7. (C) Fernandez-Arias said Spain agrees 100 percent with the U.S. on Lebanon. He noted that Syria is in a difficult position and that sooner or later it will be necessary to engage with Syria. He said that Syria and Lebanon were not the real problem; the real problem is between Israel and Palestine, and working to solve that crisis is the most important goal. He also noted that the EU invited PM Siniora to attend the GAERC, but that he was unable to accept. The EU will invite him to the November GAERC.
8. (C) On Iran, Fernandez-Arias agreed that the time has come for the UNSC to act. However, he adhered to the "double track" position of keeping a window open for negotiation, although he acknowledge that this had yielded "nothing so far." The situation calls for a "certain firmness."
9. (SBU) Fernandez-Arias said that work is underway in Brussels on a consensus statement condemning the DPRK that would incorporate the UNSC resolution.
10. (C) Fernandez-Arias offered the Georgia-Russia relationship as an additional topic not covered by reftel. He said that the EU would be preparing a consensus paper on this calling on both sides to exercise restraint. The EU has noted with alarm that Georgian citizens inside Russia have been experiencing prejudicial treatment and xenophobic acts, including difficulty in sending remittances out of the country.
11. (C) The EU heads of state have invited Putin to dine with them in Helsinki in late October to discuss energy security, but Fernandez-Arias said that this would be a good chance to pass serious messages on this and other topics. He expressed confidence that the Finns had experience with Russia and could make them understand EU concerns.
12. (C) Conversely, Fernandez-Arias said it was important for Georgian President Saakashvili to refrain from antagonizing Russia, as if Russia were not a friend of the U.S. and the EU. He said that the EU wants friendly relations with both Georgia and Russia and intends to make that clear.
13. (C) Lastly, Poloff asked Fernandez-Arias about a Turkish media report quoting Alberto Navarro, Spanish Secretary of State for the European Union, as saying
SIPDIS "Turkey's accession into the European Union is a strategic obligation." Fernandez-Arias said that Spain does support Turkey's entry into the EU, provided that they meet the conditions set out for membership, which they have not yet done. He said the GOS feels that the Cyprus disagreement will resolve itself in time and that Turkey will be able to join, though there will likely be tension throughout the process. Emboff asked if Spain was acting on Turkey's behalf due to their special relationship as leaders of the Alliance of Civilizations, and Fernandez-Arias replied that the relationship goes back well before this. He also said that Spain is generally in favor of EU expansion for the benefits it provides to the joining states and the union as a whole.
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