123020 9/20/2007 15:39 07LISBON2443 Embassy Lisbon UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY 07SECSTATE129764 VZCZCXRO8400 PP RUEHPA DE RUEHLI #2443/01 2631539 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 201539Z SEP 07 FM AMEMBASSY LISBON TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6275 INFO RUEHBP/AMEMBASSY BAMAKO 0015 RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST 0209 RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KIEV 0152 RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 0129 RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA 0145 RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 0065 RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0120 RUEHPG/AMEMBASSY PRAGUE 0141 RUEHPA/AMEMBASSY PRAIA 0227 RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 0166 RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 0310 RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0392 RUEHSN/AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR 0049 RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0105 RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0117 RUEHUM/AMEMBASSY ULAANBAATAR 0010 RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 0292 RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1490 UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LISBON 002443
DEPARTMENT FOR G (FERRARO) AND DRL/MLGA (PAZ)
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KDEM, PHUM, PREL, PGOV, PO SUBJECT: PORTUGUESE RESPONSE ON OCTOBER COMMUNITY OF DEMOCRACIES MEETING
REF: SECSTATE 129764
This is an action request. Please see para 7.
1. (SBU) Summary: Portuguese MFA Deputy Director General for Foreign Policy Antonio Ricoca Freire concurred with the U.S. priorities for the October meeting (reftel) and reported that Portugal would probably be represented by its Ambassador in Washington due to Minister Amado's other commitments. Ricoca Freire outlined Portugal's thoughts on assisting Mali with the Convening Group (CG) Ministerial, working with the new Secretariat, identifying a new leader after Portugal's
SIPDIS leadership ends in 2009, and expanding the CG to include new members. End summary.
2. (U) Ricoca Freire underscored Portugal's interest in sending high-level participation to the October 1 meeting but admitted that, given other EU commitments at that time, Minister Amado would not be able to attend. He added that Secretary of State Cravinho was also scheduled to lead an
SIPDIS interfaith dialogue, and predicted that the Portuguese Ambassador de Vallera would most likely represent Portugal at the meeting.
3. (U) Turning to issues of institutional infrastructure, Ricoca Freire offered Portugal's thinking on how it could best support the Community of Democracies (CD). Portugal has already offered Mali logistical assistance through the Portuguese embassy in Dakar. The MFA agreed to assist with one of the following tasks: (1) renting vehicles for the November Ministerial, (2) providing computers, printers, and faxes for the office, or (3) funding the cost of a few interpreters. Ricoca Freire had not received a response. For Portugal's upcoming Chairmanship of the Convening Group, the MFA plans to dedicate two or three people to CD issues full-time. The GOP also has set aside a special budget for consultation trips to Warsaw, Washington DC, New York, and Geneva over the next two years. Ricoca Freire confirmed Portugal's support for the newly-established Secretariat but underscored his hope that the body would become the institutional memory rather than a political force within the Community of Democracies.
4. (U) Portugal's role in leading the inter-regional working group has officially passed to Romania, according to Ricoca Freire. He said the Portuguese MFA sent a diplomatic note to Mali to confirm the transfer. Romania has begun to lead the group and will report on its activities in Bamako.
5. (SBU) Ricoca Freire asked to coordinate with the USG on two issues that the Portuguese plan to raise, either during the October 1 meeting or at the Bamako Ministerial: CG Chairmanship after 2009 and strategies to encourage new participation in the CG. Thus far, Portugal has been unable to identify a nation interested in becoming the 2009-2011 CG Chair. He confided that the GOP was disappointed by other CG members' lackluster responses and underscored his government's hope that a candidate would come forward before the Bamako Ministerial. If no nation volunteered, it would make it difficult to work on projects beyond the two year horizon, and would look bad overall, he said. The Portuguese embassy in DC has approached Mexican, Italian, Czech, and Mongolian diplomats as potential successors but has not yet received any commitments. India, South Africa, and Cape Verde are not interested at this time. Ricoca Freire requested U.S. support for the Portuguese embassy's efforts in order to get a firm commitment from one nation before November.
6. (SBU) Ricoca Freire further related Portugal's interest in
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creating a rotation schedule for the Convening Group so that new members from each region could join and participate. He suggested that five members would volunteer to rotate in every two years to replace one other representative from the region, assuming no objection from the sitting CG. By establishing this rotation process, Ricoca Freire predicted that the CG would benefit from fresh input, would be an all-new body every six years, and would become more flexible as an institution. He added that the Secretariat and other ten CG nations could assist by providing institutional knowledge and continuity. Portugal would like to get the U.S. reaction before presenting this concept publicly.
7. (SBU) ACTION REQUEST: Post requests Department's views on Portugal's proposal to rotate Convening Group members as outlined in para 6. Post also seeks guidance on how to best respond to the GOP's request for assistance in identifying a nation to serve as CG Chair for 2009 as per para 5. Post appreciates the Department's assistance with these requests.