Vuelos CIA

Cable en el que EE UU pide autorización para usar la base de Lajes para repatriar prisioneros de Guantánamo

El embajador de EE UU en Lisboa, Alfred Hoffman, pide al ministro de Exteriores de Portugal, Luis Amado, luz verde para el uso de la base de Lajes (Azores), como escala de los vuelos de repatriación de prisioneros de Guantánamo

Date:2006-09-08 16:57:00
Source:Embassy Lisbon
Dunno:05LISBON1609 06LISBON1593 06LISBON1845 06STATE147780

DE RUEHLI #1921/01 2511657
O 081657Z SEP 06

S E C R E T LISBON 001921



E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/07/2026

REF: A. STATE 147780
B. 2005 LISBON 1609
C. LISBON 1845
D. LISBON 1593

Classified By: Classified by Pol/Econ Officer Cari Enav for reasons 1.4
(a) (b) and (d)


1. (S/NF) Ambassador Hoffman's meeting with Foreign
Minister Amado on September 8 covered the waterfront of
issues. The Minister said that he would push hard with the
Prime Minister to allow Lajes to be used as a transit point
in repatriating Guantanamo detainees (ref a). During recent
closed testimony before the Portuguese Parliament, he did not
diverge from his predecessor's position that the Portuguese
government was not aware of any CIA flights on/through
Portugal (ref b). He highlighted the EU's increased
involvement in the Middle East, calling for greater
engagement with Syria to isolate Iran. Amado said he would
encourage other members of the Community of
Portuguese-speaking Nations (CPLP) to vote for Guatemala for
the UNSC. Amado reiterated his request to meet with
Secretary Rice as soon as possible to discuss the Guantanamo

detainee repatriation request in addition to Portugal's
upcoming EU Presidency agenda.

Transit at Lajes for Detainee Flights
2. (S/NF) Ambassador Hoffman gave the Foreign Minister a
copy of President Bush's Sept. 6 speech on the Global War on
Terrorism, noting the President's desire to be transparent
and to address the suspended state of many Guantanamo
detainees. He asked the Minister if the USG could use Lajes
as a transit point for flights returning detainees to their
home countries, per ref a. Minister Amado said that he
needed to check with the Prime Minister who would be
difficult to convince, but that he would push hard for
Portuguese cooperation so long as there was total
transparency. Details would need to be worked out; there
would need to be a clear political approach. He underscored
that there could be tremendous negative fallout if this was
not done right. The timing was not ideal on the heels of his
Sept. 5 testimony on CIA flights. He promised to provide an
interim answer next week. He said that he needed to meet
with Secretary Rice to discuss this and a host of related

3. (S/NF) Amado said that the return of Guantanamo detainees
would be an excellent opportunity for the USG to "turn the
page" and to begin working on a new human rights image.
Europe understood the USG reaction to the horrific events of
9/11, but it was time to return to normalcy since effective
security measures had been put in place. He noted that Europe
and the US shared a value system and that this initiative
provided an excellent base upon which to rebuild the
framework of cooperation.

Testimony on CIA Flights
4. (C) Minister Amado said that his Sept. 5 closed-door
testimony on CIA flights before Portugal's Parliament did not
diverge from his predecessor's position that the Portuguese
government was not aware of any CIA flights on/ through
Portuguese soil. Amado commented, "I said what (Freitas do
Amaral) said." He also reiterated the government's
willingness to revamp the legal framework for the clearance
process. He added that Freitas do Amaral had sent a letter
to the European Parliament's Temporary Committee
investigating CIA flights in response to its inquiries.
Amado commented that the media had misquoted him when it said
that he had acknowledged CIA flights. All he said was that
he had the same list of flights as Eurocontrol had.

5. (C) In addition to European Parliament agitation on this
issue, Amado expressed a need to control his own Socialist
Party. He said there was not a broad consensus within the
party to pursue a strong transatlantic foreign policy and
that there was concern that the "left wing" within the party
could break away in response to the government's handling of
human rights and security issues.

6. (C) Ambassador Hoffman assured Amado that the US was very
careful to abide by all its agreements with Portugal - in
word and in spirit - and that the Ambassador had shared all
the information he had on the subject with Amado.

Underscoring USG position on Middle East
--------------------------------------------- -------
7. (C) Ambassador Hoffman thanked Amado for his pro-active
role within the EU during the recent conflict in Lebanon and
for Portugal's contribution to UNIFIL. He urged Portugal to
encourage continued EU coordination on Middle East policy,
underscored the four principles guiding US policy on Syria,
and reiterated the importance of diplomatically isolating
Iran. He asked that Portugal encourage other EU members to
do the same and that Portugal inform Post in advance of any
official meetings with controversial figures.

EU's New Role
8. (C) Amado commented that at the beginning of August, the
EU had "nothing to say" on developments in the Middle East,
and that many member-states were afraid that the conflict in
Lebanon would spiral out of control. A month later, the
Council of Ministers had met three times and agreed to pursue
a greater political and military role - beyond the
traditional role of providing development and humanitarian
assistance. Amado underscored that there was a strong desire
within the EU to coordinate initiatives with the US so as not
to open a new rift in the transatlantic relationship. He
said the EU needed "to coordinate internally, with the US and
with Russia" on finding solutions to the Middle East's many

Amado says - Engage Syria, Isolate Iran
--------------------------------------------- ------
9. (C) Amado said that Iran posed the greatest threat since
WWII - alluding to the country's growing influence in the
Middle East, the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, and its
nuclear program - and underscored the need for all sides to
work together on solving the problem. (Note: He did not
offer any concrete examples.) He agreed with the USG's four
basic principles on Syria. However, he added, the EU thought
it was important to engage Syria, and that by doing so, the
West would be in a better position to isolate Iran. On the
other hand, if the West isolated Syria, it would push the
country further into Iran's sphere of influence. He noted
that officials from Finland, Greece, Germany and Spain had
recently met with Syrian officials, and he encouraged the US
to have greater political contact with Syria. He said that
he had agreed to meet with Syrian Foreign Minister Bilal
after learning that several Socialist Party members had
already agreed to do so (ref c) .

10. (C) Amado said that the EU wanted to isolate Iran by
enhancing the role of the Arab League in drawing a
distinction between Arab and Islamic identity. Limiting the
spread of Islamic fundamentalismhe declared, could limit
Iran's influence in the Muslim world. He did not buy into
any of the claims by Syrian Information Minister Bilal that
the US was to blame for all the Middle East's woes,
underscoring to Bilal the strong US-Portuguese alliance and
the strong role the US played in the global arena. He urged
Syria to focus on the issues, not play the blame game.

Urging the CPLP to support Guatemala
--------------------------------------------- ---
11. (C) The Ambassador encouraged Portugal to reach out to
the Lusophone community to urge support for Guatemala's
election to the UNSC. Amado said he planned to do so when he
meets with members of the Community of Portuguese Speaking
Nations (CPLP) in New York later this month. Amado would
not confirm an official visit by Hugo Chavez to Portugal
later this year (ref d). While admitting that they could
not hold him off forever, Amado commented that no
arrangements had been made to receive Chavez. He added that
he had recently met with Brazilian President Lula, who he
thought could offer useful insight into dealing with
Venezuela. Portugal planned to have greater dialogue with
Lula should he win reelection. He emphasized the need for
strong US engagement with Brazil to manage the Venezuela

12. (S/NF) As usual, this was a very friendly and
broad-ranging discussion. Amado is very pro-American and
extremely accessible. He was strongly supportive of our
request to use Lajes as a refueling/transit point for Gitmo
detainees being returned to their home countries and was
prepared to press the Prime Minister for an expeditious and
positive response, so long as we continue to be fully
transparent with the GOP about the flights.
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