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Cable sobre la primera visita de Solomont a Zapatero

El embajador de Obama en Madrid habla con el presidente español de la instalación del AFRICOM en Rota

ID: 245346
Date: 2010-01-25 16:45:00
Origin: 10MADRID80
Source: Embassy Madrid
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Destination: VZCZCXRO7217
DE RUEHMD #0080/01 0251645
R 251645Z JAN 10

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MADRID 000080



E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/25/2020

Classified By: Ambassador Alan D. Solomont, Reasons 1.4(b),(d).

1. (C) Summary: In a wide-ranging two-hour meeting with the
Ambassador January 22, President Zapatero praised USG
humanitarian efforts in Haiti, reiterated his personal
commitment to resettle as soon as possible five detainees
from Guantanamo, pledged Spanish support on Iran and
Afghanistan, and endorsed the Ambassador,s efforts to
promote job creation both in the U.S. and Spain through
enhanced economic ties and investment. Zapatero told the
Ambassador that his government considered him special and
would open "all doors" to him. He pledged to work towards
concrete deliverables leading to a U.S.-EU Summit and said
Spain was open to an expanded USG presence at the Rota Naval
Base for Africom objectives. Zapatero made a strong case for
Spain,s ongoing participation in the G-20, noting that he
appreciated D/NSA Froman,s openness to Spain,s possible
participation if the EU reduces its institutional membership.
Zapatero expressed sincere admiration for President Obama and
his belief that the President's election had transformed the
U.S. standing and image in the world. He also evinced a deep
fascination with the U.S. political system and recent
electoral developments, noting his life-long obsession with
politics. End Summary.

Bilateral Relations

2. (C) The Ambassador thanked Zapatero for receiving him so
quickly after his arrival in Spain, and for the warm welcome
by his cabinet, in particular NSA Leon, Foreign Minister
Moratinos, and Interior Minister Rubalcaba. The Ambassador
said President Obama, NSA Jones, and the USG appreciated
Spain,s expressed desire to work closely and collaboratively
with the United States. He welcomed Zapatero,s upcoming
visit to Washington to participate in the forthcoming
National the Prayer Breakfast as well as King Juan Carlos,
mid-February visit to the White House. Despite the negative
press Zapatero had received for attending a "religious"
event, the Ambassador noted the close connection between
religious and political values in promoting the cause of
justice, compassion and service to a cause greater than

3. (C) The Ambassador said his priorities are to strengthen
the GOS-USG partnership; explain USG policies to the Spanish
public, particularly on our mutual interests in Afghanistan;
and to promote job creation through enhanced investment and
economic activity, both in the U.S. and in Spain. He thanked
President Zapatero for publicly praising USG humanitarian
efforts in Haiti, which are an important expression of
American values. Zapatero said not only he but the European
Parliament and the whole world recognized that the U.S. is
doing an exemplary job in Haiti. He lauded the U.S. military
forces, and thanked the Ambassador for his condolences for
Spanish casualties in Haiti. The Ambassador also welcomed
ongoing law enforcement and counter-terrorism cooperation
with Spain and thanked Zapatero for the warm reception DHS
Secretary Napolitano had received during her three visits to
Spain over the past year.


4. (C) In view of the mixed signals and confusing messages
from Interior Minister Rubalcaba and other GOS senior
officials, the Ambassador said he wanted to express clearly
and concisely the importance of Spain following through on
its commitment to take five detainees at Guantanamo. He
welcomed Leon,s clarification that Spain would act quickly,
including taking the detainee from Yemen which it had agreed
to. Zapatero reiterated his personal commitment. The
Ambassador stressed the need for the GOS to follow through
and to be consistent in its public messages. Zapatero
acknowledged that Spain's desire to be helpful on Guantanamo
was in response to its desire to have the USG close the
facility, and said he would talk to Minister Rubalcaba to
ensure the government was speaking with one voice on this
important matter.


5. (C) On Iran, the Ambassador said we appreciated Foreign

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Minister Moratinos, public comments about the importance of
sanctions as a diplomatic tool. He briefed on U/S Burns
recent meetings with EU Foreign Ministers to lay the ground
for a UNSC resolution. While we were not closing the door to
dialogue, Iran had not been responsive and the international
community must stand together in bringing pressure to bear on
Iran. Spain,s leadership in the EU is very important on
these key foreign policy challenges.

Economy and Climate Change

6. (C) On the economic front, the Ambassador noted the great
potential for investments in alternative energy,
infrastructure, and banking both in the U.S. and Spain.
Spanish companies had benefited from their investments in the
United States, receiving significant USG support and tax
credits. U.S. companies similarly wanted to compete on a
level playing field in Spain, with two companies in
particular poised to make hundreds of millions of dollars in
renewable energy investments in Spain. Ambassador noted his
and Senator Menendez,s plans to reinvigorate the US-Spain
Forum, which is an important vehicle for enhancing economic
and investment opportunities. He also emphasized our desire
to work closely with Spain on climate change, and noted his
conversation with Teresa Ribera, Spain,s point person on
climate change, and her efforts to achieve Latin American
support for a global comprehensive climate change agreement.
Zapatero said he was pleased to learn of the Ambassador,s
keen interest and direct involvement in promoting enhanced
economic ties. He said we needed a model of cooperation to
spur investment in both directions, and noted that he had
proposed to the White House the establishment of a high level
Forum for Trade and Investment to help U.S. and Spanish
businesses. The Ambassador noted that there were already a
number of vehicles for achieving progress on this front,
including the US.-Spain Foundation chaired by Senator Bob

U.S.-EU Summit

7. (C) Regarding Spain,s desire for a U.S-EU summit during
its EU Presidency, the Ambassador said the matter was under
consideration at the highest levels of the U.S. government,
but that no commitment had been made. We are hoping for a
specific response soon. While it is a White House call, what
matters most is coming up with deliverables to ensure the
meeting was substantive rather than symbolic. He noted that a
prospective E.U.-U.S agreement on data protection and
information-sharing would be of great interest to Washington.
Zapatero reiterated on several occasions the importance of
having a Summit in Madrid, noting that Spain and the U.S.
have many common interests and that there are many ways Spain
can exert its leadership and influence in the world. He
mentioned Latin America, North Africa, and Turkey's accession
to the EU as key areas of cooperation. He said he
appreciated the U.S. expectation for Summit deliverables,
recalling that President Obama during one of their first
encounters had observed the cumbersome process of the many
U.S.-European organizational architectures. Zapatero agreed
that while regular meetings among U.S. and European leaders
were important, concrete results needed to emerge from such
meetings. He added that NSA Leon was working closely with
the NSC on a Summit menu we could find attractive.

8. (C) Zapatero said that he was pleased to finally have the
Ambassador in Madrid and promised that the Spanish government
would ensure he had a successful tenure. "All doors are open
to you. I have told my team that the U.S. Ambassador to Spain
and personal representative of President Obama is not just
another Ambassador but rather someone special," he said. "We
want to reinforce our excellent relationship with the United
States and for you to know that my government is one you can
count on and trust."

9. (C) On the Middle East, Zapatero said Spain appreciated
the imperative of bucking up the Palestinian Authority
leadership and getting them back to the negotiating table,
notwithstanding Israeli,s unhelpful actions on settlements.
The Ambassador briefed on Special Envoy Mitchell,s
diplomatic endeavors, in particular his efforts to get the
Palestinians to return to the bargaining table. Although
critical of Israel's settlements policy, Zapatero noted that

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if any Israeli leader could forge a peace agreement with the
Palestinians, it was PM Netanyahu, who had little incentive
for returning to power other than achieving a lasting,
sustainable peace agreement.

10. (C) Zapatero said he was pleased the U.S., as the
world,s leading power, wanted to nurture and strengthen its
alliance with Europe. The West would do well to bear in mind
our long term strategic mutual interests in dealing with
emerging powers such as China and India. Zapatero expressed
particular anxiety regarding China, underscoring that it was
a huge player and the West should be watchful of its growing
influence on the world stage. He hoped the U.S. appreciated
Europe's importance. The Ambassador reassured Zapatero the
U.S. fully appreciated the importance of Europe as our

11. (C) Zapatero praised President Obama,s leadership and
influence throughout the world. The Ambassador agreed that
President Obama had positively influenced America,s standing
in the eyes of the world. He said the U.S. looks first to a
strong, united Europe for assistance, and sees Spain as an
essential partner. Europe is the most reliable partner for
the United States, which cannot solve the world,s problems
alone. As President Obama said, now is the time for all of us
to take our share of responsibility for a global response to
global challenges.


12. (C) Zapatero reiterated that Spain would continue its
responsibilities in Afghanistan. He lamented that it has not
been easy convincing Spanish public opinion about the
objectives in Afghanistan, and welcomed the Ambassador,s


14. (C) In response to the Ambassador,s gratitude for use of
Spanish military bases, Zapatero acknowledged the strategic
importance of the Rota Naval base, querying if the USG
remained interested in basing Africom or one of its
components there. Zapatero noted Spain,s continuing concerns
about Al Qaeda in the Lands of the Maghreb (AQIM). Ambassador
undertook to get a status report, underscoring the importance
of the African continent. Zapatero thanked the USG for its
intelligence support in Mauritania and Mali with a view to
getting Spanish hostages released from AQIM.


15. (C) Zapatero emphasized Spain,s overriding goal to
continue its participation in G-20 meetings. The Ambassador
relayed D/NSA Froman,s consideration in principle to accept
Spain as the fifth European country if the EU reduces its
institutional membership from two to one. He cautioned that
this must be done in the context of what the EU is willing to
accept and with the understanding that we do not want to open
up G-20 membership. The Ambassador said that Froman believes
that Spain understands that it cannot be a formal member of
the G-20 but might be allowed to be a permanent participant,
if the EU agrees. Froman also noted that it was important for
Spain to have an effective G-20 Sherpa. Zapatero said he
appreciated Froman,s openness to Spain,s participation.

Domestic Politics

16. (C) Discussion then turned to Spanish and American
domestic politics. Zapatero spent considerable time querying
the Ambassador on the U.S. political system, including the
January 19 Massachusetts senatorial election outcome. The
Ambassador described the body politic's mandate for change
and the public's impatience. In the U.S. as everywhere the
political imperative of addressing everyday struggles people
have, with respect to jobs, was paramount. Zapatero agreed,
describing himself as a passionate, life-long student of
politics who continued to be impressed and fascinated by the
American political scene.