Vuelos CIA

Cable en el que se dice que Sócrates autorizó los vuelos de repatriación de prisioneros de Guantánamo

El primer ministro portugués dio luz verde a la "repatriación de combatientes enemigos" desde la cárcel de Guantánamo a través de la base aérea de Lajes, bajo el criterio de caso por caso. La decisión nunca se hizo pública

Date:2007-09-07 16:09:00
Source:Embassy Lisbon

DE RUEHLI #2307/01 2501609
P 071609Z SEP 07

S E C R E T LISBON 002307




E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/07/2017

Classified By: Ambassador Alfred Hoffman for
reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).

1. (SBU) Mr. President:

Your meeting with Prime Minister Socrates -- two months into
Portugal's EU presidency -- provides an excellent early
opportunity to try to shape the Portuguese government's
priorities in a direction consistent with U.S. interests,
both from a bilateral perspective and in the EU context.

Portugal - A Steadfast Ally

2. (C) Portugal, a founding member of NATO, is a steadfast
ally that has consistently stood by our side over the years
under both center-right and center-left governments. The
President and Prime Minister -- from opposing political
parties -- each regularly stress that trans-Atlantic
relations are a pillar of Portuguese foreign policy and that
NATO is the primary guarantor of European security. At our
request, Portugal ultimately withdrew its leading candidacy
to host the 2008 NATO Summit in favor of Romania. In return,
the USG agreed to support Portugal's bid to host the 2010
NATO Summit.

3. (SBU) Portugal has provided virtually free access to
Portuguese air and seaports for military support operations
in Iraq and Afghanistan, with over three thousand flights a
year transiting Lajes Air Base in the Azores. It has also
granted permission to use Lajes in support of repatriation of
detainees from Guatanamo. Despite severe budgetary
constraints, it is currently engaged internationally on
numerous fronts with military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan
(where it has lost one soldier), East Timor, Kosovo, and
Lebanon, and, until recently, in Bosnia and the Congo.
Portugal has been an outstanding partner in the war on terror
and collaborates actively with us as a member of the
Proliferation Security Initiative, the Container Security
Initiative, and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear

EU presidency priorities

4. (C) While agreement on the shape of a new EU treaty was
achieved during the German presidency, detailed negotiation
and signature of the document have fallen to the Portuguese
presidency, which hopes to secure endorsement of a final text
by the heads of government meeting in December. This
internal EU task has not derailed Portugal's external policy
goals, but it has absorbed scarce resources and high-level
attention within the Portuguese government.

5. (U) Socrates and other senior Portuguese officials have
noted that the EU's biggest foreign policy concern is along
its southern and southeastern borders, which are threatened
by radical Islam and poverty. He has proposed strengthening
the EU's ties to Washington, Moscow, and Mediterranean
countries to help contain radical Islam in that region; this
strategy includes lending strong support to Turkish accession
to the EU, involving the EU more closely in the Middle East
Peace Process, and strengthening the EU's economic and
cultural ties to the region through the Barcelona Process.

6. (C) So far during their Presidency, the Portuguese have
taken a primarily facilitative approach, seeking broad
consensus on most issues. They have dedicated their
individual efforts to the few issues they care most about: a
strategic partnership with Africa and the Middle East
processes noted above. Beyond those issues, the Portuguese
governmental structure has engaged in efforts to strengthen
EU ties with Brazil, India, China, Russia, and Ukraine
through high-profile summits.

7. (C) The EU-Brazil summit in Lisbon the first week of
Portugal's presidency was successful in establishing a
long-term relationship with a significant partner and
energizing the debate in Europe on biofuels. Portuguese
interlocutors candidly told us that they did not expect much
and that the summit was only the first step toward an
EU-Brazil strategic partnership, but that they were delighted
with the outcome. We believe this may raise Portuguese
ambitions for the other summits.

Suggested areas of focus

8. (C) Kosovo: The Portuguese believe the current Troika-led

negotiations are a necessary last effort but are not
optimistic about the outcome. They believe Kosovar
independence is inevitable, but worry about both the Kosovars
moving too quickly and the perceived need to have Russian
agreement on any solution. The Portuguese are working to
find a legal mechanism that permits individual member states
to recognize an independent Kosovo absent a UNSCR, and that
provides the basis for deployment of an EU rule of law
mission. They need to hear from you that leaving Kosovo in
limbo is not an option, that giving Russia veto power over
foreign policy challenges in the heart of Europe sets a
troubling precedent, and that the world needs resolution on
this troubling issue this year.

9. (C) Russia: Prime Minister Socrates visited Moscow
recently and was criticized in many quarters for his failure
to address Russia's aggressive behavior against EU allies
Poland and Estonia, human rights issues, or Moscow's penchant
for rhetoric and gamesmanship on energy and security.
Portugal currently does not depend on Russia for any energy
needs, although that dynamic may be changing, given recent
collaborative efforts between the national oil company and
Gazprom, and Gazprom's collaboration with Algeria's
Sonatrach, which provides a majority of Portugal's natural
gas needs. Socrates's advisors suggested to us following the
trip that we needed to tone down our own rhetoric in order to
elicit more constructive engagement from Moscow. One senior
advisor even suggested that our plan to place the missile
defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic -- the two
more problematic EU member states -- had not helped matters
when we wanted the EU to come to our defense.

10. (C) Middle East: The Portuguese believe they have little
historical baggage in the region and thus can advance
progress on key issues. They have stressed many times and at
the highest levels that the Road Map is the way forward, but
that it needs to be reinvigorated. Foreign Minister Amado
has traveled extensively to the Middle East and was one of
the first to call for a special session of EU Foreign
Ministers at the onset of last summer's hostilities in
Lebanon. In addition, Portugal has contributed an Army
engineering company to UNIFIL. Portugal shares our deep
concerns about Iran's nuclear weapons program and has been
very supportive of efforts to increase pressure on Tehran.

11. (C) Afghanistan: Portuguese Special Forces and other
troops serve without caveat and are engaged in heavy fighting
in the volatile south. In addition, in response to an appeal
from the United States, Portugal recently agreed to assume
leadership of one Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team
(OMLT). The Portuguese stress that they are with us in
Afghanistan for the duration of NATO operations so
congratulations for their current contributions are in order
as well as encouragement to continue. Portugal has
contributed $2 million in assistance; however, they are
financially over-stretched and have not given more because of
budgetary constraints.

12. (C) Iraq: Portugal had an infantry company in Iraq for
two years and also contributed trainers for the police
training mission. Portugal recently downsized its diplomatic
presence in Baghdad because of cost (its operations were four
times as expensive as any other embassy), but let us know far
in advance and wanted to coordinate what they said publicly
as they were sensitive to the political ramifications.

13. (C) Africa: Portugal has a special relationship with
Africa, particularly with its former colonies. It intends to
host an EU-Africa Summit, although it has tried to deflect
diplomatic conflict over the potential attendance of
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe who is subject to an EU
travel ban. The UK, the Netherlands, and others may not
attend at the head of government level should Mugabe
participate. Although the Portuguese have led the
development of an action plan between the EU and African
Union, the negative ramifications of Mugabe's presence in
Lisbon could overshadow any accomplishments.

14. (SBU) Major Economies Meeting: Socrates was pleased that
Portugal, in its capacity as EU President, was invited to
represent the European Union at the September 27-28 Major
Economies Meeting on Climate Change and Energy Security in
Washington. He is strong proponent of environmental issues,
having served as Environment Minister from 1999-2002. The
current Environment State Secretary Humberto Rosa is
scheduled to lead the delegation.

Particular Bilateral Points

15. (SBU) The Portuguese government has, at the highest
levels, stressed its interest in collaborating with the
United States to strengthen security and stability in Africa,
an effort which has begun in earnest. We are conducting
joint demining training in Guinea-Bissau and are looking at
developing an HIV prevention program for African armed
forces. We are also exploring opportunities to work together
in the Special Operations arena in Africa. We hope to include
the Portuguese in peacekeeping training in Mozambique and
Angola under the African Contingency Operations training and
Assistance (ACOTA) program and a joint State-Defense team
from Washington recently visited Lisbon to discuss further
opportunities. In addition, our Department of Commerce has
been working with Portuguese counterparts on a program to
computerize Angola's judicial records.

16. (S/NF) Socrates agreed to allow the repatriation of
enemy combatants out of Guatanamo through Lajes Air Base on a
case-by-case basis. This was a difficult decision, given the
sustained criticism by Portuguese media and leftist elements
of his own party over the government's handling of the CIA
rendition flights controversy. Socrates's agreement has
never been made public. The Attorney General's Office was
forced to review a dossier of news clippings and
unsubstantiated allegations regarding CIA rendition
operations through Portugal provided by a member of the
European Parliament. The AG's report should be released in
the near future. Although we cannot predict its conclusions,
government insiders and legal scholars have told us there was
no useful or prosecutable information in the dossier.

Prime Minister Socrates

17. (C) Socrates is a telegenic and charismatic leader, who
worked hard to improve his English in advance of the EU
presidency. He relies on advice from a small circle of
advisors. He is a very moderate Socialist who has been
successful at co-opting or marginalizing the leftists in his
party, from whom he has taken some heat for his pro-U.S.
policies. He also aggressively pursued his domestic agenda
before assuming the EU presidency, achieving difficult labor
and social security reforms and reducing Portugal's budget
deficit to near EU-mandated levels.

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