116448 7/24/2007 15:18 07BUENOSAIRES1431 Embassy Buenos Aires UNCLASSIFIED VZCZCXYZ0000 OO RUEHWEB DE RUEHBU #1431/01 2051518 ZNR UUUUU ZZH O 241518Z JUL 07 FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8728 INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2// RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001431
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC, WHA/EPSC CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KPAO, OPRC, KMDR, PREL SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; IRAN TIES TO LATIN AMERICA; IMF LEADERSHIP; 07/24/07
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Leading international stories include Israel's concern over Iran's growing ties to Latin America; and U.S.-Argentina concurrence on the appointment of the next head of the IMF.
2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS
- "Israel is concerned over Iran's growing ties to Latin America"
Shlomo Slutzky, Tel Aviv-based correspondent for leading "Clarin," writes (07/24) "The Israeli Foreign Ministry expressed its concern over what it considers a campaign of Iranian 'colonization' in Latin America, which is evident in Iran's ties to President Hugo Chavez and in the 'astronomic' number of Persian diplomats visiting Latin American embassies.
"Sources from the Israeli Foreign Ministry expressed to 'Clarin' their concern over the possibility that some Iranian diplomats in Latin America are devoted to some tasks other than diplomacy, such as forming terrorist groups that are ready to act following Tehran's orders.
"The Foreign Ministry source pointed out that the Argentine example, in which... Iranian diplomats are reported to have taken part in the attacks against the Israeli Embassy and the AMIA in 1992 and 1994, is a clear reason to fear an Iranian 'conquest' of Latin America...
"... The Government is reported to be concerned over the 'strategic alliance' between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez...
"The Foreign Ministry denounced that, according to international reports, Venezuela is attempting to sell uranium to Iran in order to cooperate in developing its nuclear activity and that Caracas is reported to have counterfeited documents of equipment exports heading for Tehran.
"In view of this panorama, Israeli representatives in Latin American capital cities pointed out that Iran jeopardizes world peace through terrorism and its nuclear program.
"In bilateral conversations, several Latin American governments shared their concern with Israel. On the contrary, according to those reports, other countries reacted with lack of interest due to their commercial ties to Iran and their economic need for keeping those ties.'"
- "Long-standing and new denunciations with an attentive look at South America"
Oscar Raul Cardoso, international analyst of leading "Clarin," opines (07/24) "It is understandable that for Israel the cooperation between Venezuelan Hugo Chavez and Iranian Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is something like a love affair with hell. However, what is unusual is the fact that its Foreign Ministry uses the media to express its 'concern' about some political developments in South America.
"... While the gist of the Israeli complaint is not new..., some new elements imply that Israel is convinced that there is a new front gaining ground in South America, which is against its interests...
"... The idea that Venezuela and Iran are acting as a source of hard currency for other countries of the region (including their joint military cooperation for Bolivia) is another point on which those sources insisted.
"In the same way, one cannot consider their reference to the Tri-Border something new...
"... Let's consider new reasons for malaise - Israel perceives some sort of Iranian diplomatic leakage on countries like Nicaragua, Ecuador and Chile, with which Tehran has increased its commercial ties and again with Venezuela, Mexico, Uruguay and Colombia...
"... Barak Ravid (the author of the report) hinted that the Latin American governments which Israel has contacted with this denunciation do not seem to have much interest, which leads Israeli analysts to think that if the dispute over the Iranian nuclear program escalated and paved the way for more sanctions, South American countries would not have much of an incentive to cooperate with the punitive measures. In fact, Tehran is transferring its international deposits to Venezuelan banks to protect them from future seizures.
"Nonetheless, there is an additional element that does not seem to be included in the ministerial analysis - Israel's deteriorated
image in South America following last year's brief although destructive war waged against Lebanon."
- "Argentina supports the US in IMF tussle"
Ana Baron, Washington-based correspondent for leading "Clarin," writes (07/24) "The dispute over who will succeed the current IMF managing director, Rodrigo Rato, is 'on fire.' Europe is strongly pressuring in favor of Frenchman Dominique Strauss Khan. However, developing countries, led by Argentina, recalled that, as relevant to the ongoing IMF reform, the future managing director does not automatically have to be a European as has been the case so far, but he should rather be appointed based on merit. In this regard, Argentina backs the US position.
"In a communiqu signed by the Argentine Central Bank head, Martin Redrado, the so-called G-24 emphasized that it is necessary to implement 'an open, transparent and multilateral selection system, now that the IMF is facing crucial challenges regarding its relevance and feasibility,' and that the IMF's legitimacy is at stake."
To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our classified website at: http://www.state.sqov.gov/p/wha/buenosaires -- INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHPS/USOFFICE PRISTINA PRIORITY C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 PARIS 003166
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2017 TAGS: PREL, MARR, NATO, FR, PARM, RS SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR TO NATO NULAND'S JULY 19-20 CONSULTATIONS IN PARIS
Classified By: DCM Mark Pekala for reasons 1.4 (B & D).
1. (C) SUMMARY: In July 20 meetings with Presidency Diplomatic Advisor Levitte, MFA Political Director Araud, and MOD Strategic Affairs Director Ponton d'Amecourt, Ambassador to NATO Nuland previewed U.S. preliminary thinking on preparations for the 2008 NATO Bucharest Summit, highlighting the need for accelerated NATO engagement in Afghanistan, stabilization of the Balkans, protection of the homeland (primarily missile defense), and global partnerships. While generally receptive to the U.S. approach, the French side stressed its desire for a "success strategy" for Afghanistan; appeared generally receptive to membership for Croatia, undecided on Macedonia and Albania, and negative on MAP for Georgia; suggested budgetary constraints would limit French participation in NATO MD while reviewing its efforts to encourage the Russians to take a more constructive approach; and neither commented on nor contested expanding NATO's global partnerships. They agreed with Nuland on the need for increased engagement with Turkey, given the negative impact that Turkish-EU tensions was also having on NATO-EU cooperation. Nuland also called on the French side to follow through on its pledge to be more pragmatic and less ideological at NATO. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) Ambassador to NATO Victoria Nuland met July 20 to exchange preliminary views with French officials on deliverables for the April 2-4, 2008 Bucharest Summit and probe the potential for increased French flexibility and pragmatism on NATO in the wake of President Sarkozy's election, and his government's pledge to Secretary Rice and others to be "pragmatic" at NATO. Nuland met with Presidency Diplomatic Advisor Jean-David Levitte, MFA Political Director Gerard Araud, MOD Director for Strategic Affairs Jean de Ponton d'Amecourt, and MFA Strategic Affairs Director Phillip Carre (July 19). She also attended a luncheon with a number of prominent opinion makers and gave two press interviews.
LOOKING TO BUCHAREST
3. (C) Looking forward to the Bucharest Summit, Nuland stressed in all her meetings the importance of success in Afghanistan to strengthen the country and as a symbol of NATO's effectiveness, transformation, and comprehensive approach to security; NATO's success, in dealing with Kosovo and the Balkans and through enlargement, in making Europe whole and free; agreeing on a NATO approach to European theater missile defense, as an illustration of Allies' determination to respond to new security threats in securing their homelands; and global partnerships, which illustrate how NATO is working with other like-minded democracies to promote security worldwide. To achieve these goals, she asked her interlocutors to do more to ensure that France followed through on its prior pledge to take a more pragmatic, non-theological approach to NATO on any number of operational issues. She also asked her interlocutors to give thought to ways to ease Turkey-EU tensions and practical NATO-EU cooperation.
4. (C) Nuland welcomed recent steps France has taken to contribute more trainers as well as its increased military operational flexibility in Afghanistan, while expressing the hope that France would consider doing still more in 2008, including increased combat power, helicopters, and development aid. She also sought French support in a more aggressive NATO communication strategy to get its message out -- to European publics as well as the Afghans. The French side acknowledged the need for doing more to foster public support, while arguing that elaboration of a "success strategy" was also essential to prove that NATO's and France's engagement was not forever, even if France was not seeking a specific timetable. Noting former President Chirac's skepticism on Afghanistan but describing Sarkozy as more uninformed than negative, Araud expressed the hope that President Bush would make the case for the importance of success in Afghanistan in their next bilateral meeting.
BALKANS AND GEORGIA
5. (C) Nuland noted that NATO would need to decide at the Bucharest Summit on membership for Albania, Macedonia, and Croatia. She also asked about French/EU plans for Serbia. The French side expressed willingness to consider NATO Intensified Dialogue as well as an EU Stabilization and Association Agreement with Serbia as means to prevent it from becoming "a revanchist state," while noting that Serbia would nonetheless need to take additional steps on ICTY.
6. (C) The French reiterated their continuing reservations
PARIS 00003166 002 OF 003
about starting the NATO membership process for Georgia, beginning with a Membership Action Plan, citing their concerns about provoking Russia, lack of confidence in Georgian predictability, and the difficulty of extending Article 5 protections there (i.e., French soldiers are not prepared to die defending Georgia). At the same time, they indicated that President Sarkozy so far has yet to take a position on Georgia. Nuland argued that MAP by Bucharest could potentially help Russia and Georgia find a solution on Abkhazia.
HOMELAND SECURITY AND MD
7. (C) Nuland expressed the hope that the NATO Summit would agree on NATO's role in theater missile defense (MD), in particular for those countries in Southern Europe that faced a short- and medium-range threat from Iran that would not be covered by the U.S.-operated MD facilities in Poland, the Czech Republic, and the UK. The French side, recalling its deliberately discreet approach on this issue, acknowledged after some hemming and hawing that budget constraints were ultimately the main driver behind French skepticism about a NATO-funded theater missile defense system. Nuland urged the French side to consider the potential commercial benefits of French participation in mid- and short-range missile defense. She also warned her French interlocutors that France could come under increasing pressure from those southern Europeans not covered by the U.S. umbrella to contribute in the name of security indivisibility.
8. (C) Nuland expressed the hope that Russia would eventually agree to cooperate with the U.S. and NATO in MD as well. The French side suggested they were making some limited headway in explaining to the Russians that its objections to MD did not appear factually justified, and indicated interest in further technical information from the U.S. to help bolster their "no threat" case to the Russians.
9. (C) The French expressed a keen interest in cyber-security, citing the Estonian experience with the Russians as a wake-up call for the Alliance.
10. (C) Nuland stressed that the Summit should celebrate NATO's cooperation with like-minded partners and expand it to include new partners such as India and Pakistan, and potentially others. The French side expressed interest in also developing NATO's relationship with China.
NRF --- 11. (C) Nuland pushed for creative thinking on updating the NATO Response Force concept, and urged direct discussions between French CHOD Georgelin and SACEUR to find a solution. The French side reiterated its view that the NRF should be a first-entry force and not a reserve force, but agreed to initiate discussions.
12. (C) Nuland stressed the importance of increased engagement with Turkey, given its unhappiness with the EU in general and the French in particular about its EU membership prospects. She urged France, in conjunction with the UK and Germany, to find ways to help Turkey feel more appreciated as a partner of the EU and to put some pressure on Cyprus to allow improved NATO-EU cooperation, particularly in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Although her interlocutors argued that Turkey-EU tensions over ESDP were the result of Cypriot and not French actions, and noted that the Senate would not take up legislation passed by the National Assembly to criminalize denial of the Armenian "genocide," they agreed that Turkey-EU tensions were also having a negative impact on NATO-EU cooperation and undertook to explore ideas for improving the relationship.
A MORE POSITIVE FRANCE IN NATO
13. (C) Nuland welcomed the Sarkozy government's earlier pledge to take a more pragmatic and less theological approach to NATO but suggested that the message had not yet percolated throughout the French bureaucracy. The French side agreed to look again at a number of technical issues it is still blocking at NATO.
THINK-TANKERS ON NATO STRATEGIC CONCEPT AND MISSILE DEFENSE
14. (SBU) At a lunch with prominent French defense and strategic experts, Nuland highlighted the need to increase
PARIS 00003166 003 OF 003
European defense spending, to improve NATO capabilities, and to increase cooperation among democratic, like-minded countries. She defended the importance of full missile defense coverage for the Alliance, while stressing that the U.S. offer to cooperate with Russia is sincere. The French experts suggested NATO might need to update its Strategic Concept, questioned whether the U.S. had consulted adequately with European Allies on Russia on missile defense, and worried that recognition of Kosovo in the absence of a UNSC Resolution might prompt the Russians to recognize Abkhazia or South Ossetia. Two experts in particular advocated partition or at least a special status for Mitrovica as a possible solution, ideas that the U.S. side firmly rejected.
15. (U) This message was cleared by Ambassador Nuland.
Please visit Paris' Classified Website at: http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.c fm