El caso Couso

Cable sobre una comunicación entre De la Vega y la Embajada estadounidense

La vicepresidenta agradece la respuesta del Gobierno de EE UU ante la petición de cooperación judicial

ID:57678
Date:2006-03-22 17:33:00
Origin:06MADRID722
Source:Embassy Madrid
Classification:CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno:06STATE40904
Destination:VZCZCXRO8353
PP RUEHLA
DE RUEHMD #0722/01 0811733
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 221733Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9231
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHTO/AMEMBASSY MAPUTO PRIORITY 0157
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI PRIORITY 0085
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 5942
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA PRIORITY 1819

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 000722

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/21/2016
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, SP
SUBJECT: VICE PRESIDENT ON SYRIA, AFRICA, BILATERAL
RELATIONS

REF: A. STATE 40904

B. STATE 41315

Classified By: DCM Bob Manzanares; reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).

1. (C) Summary. The Ambassador met with Vice President Maria
Teresa Fernandez de la Vega on March 21 to review key
bilateral issues and to relay USG messages on Syria,
Venezuela, and Libya. On Syria, the Ambassador reviewed USG
concerns regarding FM Moratinos' travel to Damascus and urged
Spain to adhere to the international consensus on high-level
contacts with Syria. Regarding Venezuela, the Ambassador
said the USG was very concerned by reports that aircraft
maker EADS CASA was looking for substitutes for U.S.
components in order to complete its proposed sale of twelve
planes to Venezuela. On Libya, the Ambassador noted news
reports that Spain planned to refurbish four Chinook
helicopters and explained that Libya remained on the U.S.
list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, creating a legal barrier
to transfers of U.S. military components to Libya. Vice
President de la Vega thanked the Ambassador for the USG's
response to a Spanish request for judicial cooperation in the
case of Jose Couso, the Spanish news cameraman killed by U.S.
fire during the takeover of Baghdad in 2003. De la Vega, who
recently returned from a visit to Subsaharan Africa, stressed
the growing importance of Africa for Spanish security and
urged strong USG engagement in the region. This meeting
underscored the importance of maintaining a good channel to
Vice President de la Vega, who clearly acts as the "CEO" of
the Zapatero government. End Summary.

2. (C) The two-hour meeting at the Ambassador's residence was
warm and relaxed throughout. Vice President de la Vega said
she believed bilateral relations were on a positive track and
underlined President Zapatero's strong interest in "normal"
relations with the U.S. (NOTE: She did not raise the issue
of high-level visits in either direction. END NOTE). She
expressed the Spanish government's appreciation for the USG
response to the Spanish request for judicial cooperation in
the Jose Couso case. De la Vega said Attorney General Conde
Pumpido had briefed her on the excellent cooperation he had
enjoyed from the Embassy and U.S. authorities in helping
bring this case to a conclusion. She suggested establishing
regular meetings with the Ambassador every 45 days to ensure
full communication on important issues.

//SYRIA//

3. (C) Vice President de la Vega asked for Ambassador's views
on the state of bilateral relations. The Ambassador said
that relations were good, but that there were some areas of
concern on the U.S. side. In particular, there was
significant concern regarding FM Moratinos' recent visit to
Damascus and plans to make an official visit in April, which
appeared to break an international consensus restricting
high-level exchanges with the Syrian government. The
Ambassador reviewed REF A and B points and explained that the
USG was providing its views on the planned visit to Syria at
FM Moratinos' request. Vice President de la Vega said that
there had been no change in Spanish policy towards Syria, but
also said Moratinos had "good ideas" on how to alleviate
tensions in the region. The Ambassador replied that, while
the USG appreciated FM Moratinos' expertise and good
intensions, his visit to Damascus sent the wrong message and
undermined efforts to win Syrian cooperation with UNSC
resolutions. He noted that the Embassy was seeking a meeting
with Moratinos (who is on travel) in order to relay these
views directly to him.

//ARMS SALES//

4. (C) Turning to Venezuela, the Ambassador said the USG was
concerned by reports that Spanish aircraft maker EADS CASA
planned to find substitutes for U.S. components in its
aircraft in order to complete a sale of twelve planes to
Venezuela. The Ambassador noted that he and other U.S.
officials would attend the March 22-23 rollout of an EADS
CASA model being produced for the U.S. Coast Guard; it would
be unfortunate to have this positive deal overshadowed by an
EADS CASA deal with Venezuela on which the USG had already
made its views known. Vice President de la Vega did not
respond to the Ambassador's comments on this issue.

5. (C) The Ambassador said press reports of plans for a large
Spanish weapons sale to Libya had also caught the USG's
attention, particularly reports that the plans included

MADRID 00000722 002 OF 002


refurbishment of four Chinook helicopters by the Spanish
division of Eurocopter. The Ambassador explained that the
USG and Libya were working towards an improved relationship,
but that Libya remained on the list of State Sponsors of
Terrorism, which created legal barriers to the transfer of
U.S. military technology to Libya. Vice President de la Vega
said she was not aware of a possible sale to Libya and urged
the Ambassador to relay any concerns to Minister of Defense
Bono.

//AFRICA//

6. (C) De la Vega reviewed her recent trip to Mozambique and
Kenya, as well as her visit to a migrant holding facility in
the Canary Islands. She said it was becoming ever more
apparent that Africa would represent a significant security
challenge for Spain for some time to come and that much
needed to be done to improve social conditions in order to
ease migration pressures. De la Vega urged strong USG
engagement in the region. The Ambassador reviewed for the
Vice President U.S. support for Africa through the Millenium
Challenge Account and the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act,
as well as USG funding to counter AIDS, malaria, and other
health threats. De la Vega said there was room for increased
U.S.-EU cooperation in this area.

//COMMENT//

7. (C) We remain impressed by Vice President de la Vega's
ability to manage the broad range of domestic and
international interests of the Zapatero government. She acts
as the "CEO" of the administration, personally handling the
most sensitive projects and carrying out the difficult job of
maintaining internal discipline. De la Vega is a
tough-minded, but reliable interlocutor and we are well
served by strengthening our level of communication with her.
AGUIRRE
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