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Cable del embajador Hoffman a Condoleezza Rice: "Portugal es un firme aliado"

Alfred Hoffman, embajador de EEUU en Lisboa, escribe a la secretaria de Estado, Condoleezza Rice, hace un encendido elogio de Portugal y recuerda que el Gobierno luso abrió el espacio aéreo y marítimo para operaciones militares de apoyo estadounidense en Irak y Afganistán

ID: 82694
Date: 2006-10-20 17:13:00
Origin: 06LISBON2366
Source: Embassy Lisbon
Classification: SECRET
Destination: VZCZCXYZ0013

DE RUEHLI #2366/01 2931713
O 201713Z OCT 06

S E C R E T LISBON 002366




E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/19/2026


Classified By: Acting Pol/Econ Counselor Cari Enav for reasons 1.4 (b)
and (d)

1. (S/NF) Foreign Minister Luis Amado's visit with you is
part of Portugal's effort to raise its profile in the
international arena, particularly in the run-up to its EU
Presidency which it will assume in the latter half of 2007.
Although Prime Minister Socrates focused primarily on
domestic issues during his first year in office, the
government has made international engagement a priority since
Amado assumed his current position as Foreign Minister in
July 2006. Minister Amado will want to discuss Portugal's
agenda for its EU Presidency (emphasis on the Middle East and
Africa), the US-EU Transatlantic Relationship and the role
Portugal plays in it. He will expect you to raise our
request to use Lajes AirBase in the Azores to repatriate
Guantanamo detainees.

The Minister
2. (C) The superb personal relationship I enjoyed with Amado
when he was Defense Minister continues in his current
capacity as Foreign Minister. I have found him to be
even-tempered (unlike his unpredictable predecessor Diogo
Freitas do Amaral), thoughtful and low-key. He is pro-US,
committed to a strong NATO and Transatlantic relationship and
seeks to coordinate policy with the US. He places great
importance on presenting a united public front, whether it be
within the EU, NATO or with the US. If there are
differences, he prefers to discuss them discreetly behind
closed doors. Minister Amado last visited the U.S. in his
official capacity of Minister of Defense in November 2005
when he had a personal meeting with Defense Secretary
Rumsfield. He is still smarting from being stood up by the
NSC - Crouch during last year's visit. It would be to our
benefit to stroke him a lot.

Portugal - Steadfast Ally
3. (SBU) Portugal, a founding member of NATO, is a steadfast
ally who has consistently stood by our side over the years
despite various changes in government. Portugal was an early
supporter of US operations in Iraq, hosting the Azores Summit
just before the war. It has provided virtually free access
to Portuguese air and seaports for flights supporting
military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, with over three
thousand flight a year transiting Lajes Air Base in the
Azores. Despite severe budgetary constraints, it is engaged
internationally on numerous fronts with military personnel in
Iraq, Afghanistan (where it lost one soldier), East Timor,
the Congo, Kosovo, Bosnia and soon Lebanon, and it is member
of both the Proliferation Security Initiative and the
Security Container Initiative.

New Approach to International Engagement
4. (SBU) Minister Amado and other government officials have
underscored to me Portugal's desire to influence - not just
follow - international policy. He has stated publicly on
several occasions the need for Portugal to be engaged
globally, not just for the sake of its alliances, but for the
country's own safety and security. He first relayed this
message late last year when he traveled to Afghanistan as
Minister of Defense following the loss of a Portuguese
soldier there and has since reaffirmed Portugal,s commitment
to the war against terrorism on several occasions. He has
taken a pro-active role in the Middle East, particularly
during the most recent conflict in Lebanon where he was in
the forefront of EU leaders calling for a variety of
initiatives to deal with the crisis. He also hopes to host
engage more broadly on African issues.

The Transatlantic Relationship
5. (SBU) Amado is a strong advocate of the Transatlantic
relationship. He is looking to fortify engagement between
the US and NATO, the EU and Portugal and implement his own
brand of "transformational diplomacy" by working with the US
in hot spots around the world. He will want to discuss NATO,
peacekeeping efforts, and the transformation of the alliance
in preparation for the Riga Summit later this year. He will
likely reaffirm Portugal's commitment to the fight against
terrorism and express disappointment that the U.S. has
decided to support Bucharest to host the 2008 Summit instead
of Lisbon. On the other hand, he will welcome the recently
announced intent to upgrade the NATO Command at Lisbon into a
Full Command with responsibility in Africa.

EU Presidency
6. (C) Minister Amado has told me that Portugal's main
foreign policy objectives during its EU Presidency will focus
on the Middle East and Africa. Amado has already traveled
extensively to the Middle East where he believes Portugal's
relationship with the Maghreb states and its position as an
honest broker can help move the peace process forward. Amado
was one of the first to call for a special session of EU
Foreign Ministers at the onset of the summer hostilities in
Lebanon, and Portugal is sending a contingent of Army
engineers to there later this year to help with
reconstruction. Although I have underscored the US position
on engagement with Syria on numerous occasions, Amado
believes dialogue with Damascus is necessary to resolve the
regional conflicts and to isolate Iran. Amado further told
me that he sees Iran as the greatest threat since WWII, and
his diplomatic advisor confirmed that Amado is pressing for
sanctions in light of the failed efforts to halt nuclear

7. (SBU) Portugal has a special relationship with Africa,
particularly with its former colonies. It would like to host
an EU-Africa Summit and is looking at creative solutions to
work around the Zimbabwe question. Amado,s diplomatic
advisor commented that perhaps locating the summit in Africa
rather than in Europe might resolve the thorny issue.
Strategic policy issues would include Darfur, energy issues,
the fight against poverty and illegal immigration.

8. (SBU) This might be a good opportunity to underscore the
need to show progress in US-Portugal cooperation to bring
security and stability in Africa. At the Rumsfeld-Amado
meeting a year ago, the two sides agreed to focus on working
together on security issues in Africa. A variety of US
proposals have been explored such as joint training of
peacekeepers in Mozambique and Angola, joint training of
deminers in Guinea-Bissau, and cooperation in HIV Prevention
among African Armed Forces. Unfortunately, we have achieved
no forward movement, and we would welcome any specific
proposals from the Portuguese side.

CIA Flight Inquiry Complicates Gitmo Repatriation Request
--------------------------------------------- ---------------
9. (S/NF) Amado has told me that he would like to assist us
in our efforts to repatriate Guantanamo detainees through
Lajes AirBase. However, given intense CIA Rendition scrutiny
and his own party's left wing opposition to his pro-US slant,
Amado underscored the need to be on firm legal ground before
consenting to do so. Subsequent conversations with MFA staff
indicate that Amado is awaiting the US to address his
concerns before responding to our request.

10. (S/NF) I would like to underscore the delicate balancing
act Amado is confronting in minimizing damage to his
government - however unwarranted - due to previous CIA
Rendition investigations while trying to convince it to grant
our request for access to Lajes AirBase. Unrelenting media
and political attacks which have been ongoing for months
resulted in an atypical outburst before Portugal's Parliament
earlier this week. Amado publicly offered to resign if anyone
could prove the government was complicit in an illegal act
related to CIA flights on Portuguese territory. It would be
of great assistance if you could personally express
appreciation for Amado's steadfastness in supporting the US
position on this issue and his continued contribution of
troops to global operations.

11. (C) I believe you will find the Minister intelligent,
deliberate, and engaging. He will likely raise the
possibility of Prime Minister Jose Socrates meeting with
President Bush in Washington before Portugal assumes the EU
Presidency. I urge you to support this request, and as early
as possible, particularly in view of the fact that it was
made almost two years ago and that Portugal is now working on
the joint EU agenda with Germany and Slovenia. Amado will
also be exploring opportunities to invite high level USG
officials, including yourself, to Portugal during its EU
Presidency and might try to revitalize a BMENA Conference
which did not receive an enthusiastic State Department

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