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Cable de EE UU que hace un recuento del incidente diplomático originado por la escala técnica de Moratinos en Damasco

El entonces ministro español, de regreso de un viaje a Afganistán y Pakistán, realizó una parada en Siria

ID: 56480
Date: 2006-03-14 15:38:00
Origin: 06STATE40904
Source: Secretary of State
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno: 06MADRID568
Destination: VZCZCXRO8346
OO RUEHLA
DE RUEHC #0904/01 0731540
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O R 141538Z MAR 06
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID IMMEDIATE 1232
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 2366
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS 0232
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 3636
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA 1562
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0894

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 040904

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/14/2015
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, SP, SY, LE, IS, FR, UN
SUBJECT: DISCOURAGING MORATINOS' SYRIAN STRATEGY

REF: A. MADRID 568

B. ZEYA-BALL EMAILS 3/10/06

Classified By: EUR A/S KURT VOLKER, ACTING, REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)

1. (U) This is an action request. See Para 5.

2. (C) Summary: Spanish FM Moratinos' unannounced March 7
trip to Damascus to meet with Syrian FM Muallim is at
variance with US and EU policy on avoiding high-level visits
to Damascus. This policy gives concrete form to the
international isolation of the Syrian regime expressed in
UNSCRs 1559, 1595, 1636, and 1644. Post is asked to convey
strong USG concerns to Moratinos about his visit and
discourage him from making further visits to Damascus or
accepting SARG visits to Madrid, using the points in para 5.
U/S Burns made these points to Ambassador Westendorp in their
meeting on March 13. End Summary.

3. (C) Background: FM Moratinos made a brief "technical stop"
in Damascus on his return trip from Pakistan and Afghanistan
on March 7. During the unannounced stop, he met briefly with
FM Muallim. In a March 2 meeting with Ambassador Aguirre,
Moratinos had previewed his plan to travel to Damascus in
April in an effort to "pull Syria out of Iran's orbit" by
working with "moderate" members of the regime. He asked for
USG input, but did not mention any plan to visit Damascus
before April (Ref A). Moratinos said that he had briefed the
French on his intentions and that they had not raised any
objections. On March 3 Embassy Paris raised the issue with
French MFA Middle East advisor Christophe Guilhou, who was
not aware of a possible Moratinos visit to Damascus and said
that the GoF would oppose such a visit, given its policy of
discouraging EU ministerial or Head of State visits to or
from Damascus. On March 9 Guilhou told Embassy Paris that FM
Douste-Blazy would raise the issue with Moratinos on the
margins
of the March 13 de Villepin-Zapatero meeting in Madrid and
stress to him that the only official interlocutor with the
SARG should be UN Special Envoy for the Implementation of
UNSCR 1559 Terje Roed-Larsen. (Ref B)

4. (C) When Embassy Madrid learned of Moratinos' stopover in
Damascus, it attempted to contact Moratinos through the
Spanish MFA, which responded that the trip was a technical
stopover and that the meeting between Moratinos and Muallim
would be brief. When Ambassador Aguirre was finally able to
speak with Moratinos, after the meeting had taken place,
Moratinos insisted that he had not strayed from the
international consensus on Syria and would share the details
of his visit with the Ambassador upon his return to Madrid.

5. (C//REL to Spain) Post is requested to deliver the
following talking points to FM Moratinos. The points should
be delivered verbally; they are not to be left with him or
hand-delivered:

-- You are the first EU foreign minister to visit Damascus
since the assassination of former Lebanese PM Hariri and
twenty others, an assassination the UN determined likely
involved Syrian security officials.

-- We understand your desire to effect positive change within
the Syrian regime and your desire to pull Syria out of Iran's
orbit. However, we believe that unilateral measures, such as
your unannounced stop in Damascus, are inconsistent with our
joint message to the Syrian regime and risk undermining our
unity. UN Special Envoy for the Implementation of UNSCR 1559
Terje Roed-Larsen continues to meet with SARG officials and
communicate the international community's message to the
SARG.

-- Now - almost exactly one year after the assassination of
former PM Hariri - is not the time to open new diplomatic
channels with the SARG. To do so represents a weakening of
the policy of isolation and, as such, rewards the regime for
its lack of cooperation with the international community.

-- Since the Hariri assassination, there have been 13 other
bombings and assassinations in Beirut, targeting anti-Syrian
journalists and politicians.

-- In early February, the Syrian regime manipulated and

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directed crowds that burned the Danish, Norwegian, and
Swedish Embassies in Damascus. Syrian involvement is also
suspected in the violent demonstrations in Beirut that
attacked western embassies.

-- On March 1, Syrian authorities closed the European
Commission-funded Civil Society Training Center, only nine
days after its widely-covered opening on February 21. We
understand the European Commission is protesting the shutdown
to SARG authorities.

-- The Syrian regime continues to imprison and harass civil
society activists such as Riad Seif and Kamal Labbowani.

-- The international community has taken a number of steps
designed to force Syria to behave in accordance with
international norms. Despite these efforts, the Asad regime
is still bellicose, confrontational, and repressive one year
after Hariri's death. It also remains confident that it can
thumb its nose at the international community. It has failed
to provide full and unconditional cooperation to the UNIIIC
investigation. In Lebanon, the regime and its agents have
stoked chaos and uncertainty with overt interference and
economic pressure. Within Syria, the regime continues to
repress its people. It has conducted no substantive
political reform, and it has not moved on the limited
economic reforms that it has repeatedly promised. The regime
also continues to provide refuge, financial support, and
political encouragement to Palestinian terrorist groups, and
President Asad has called on Hamas not to recognize Israel.

-- The international community has spoken clearly on what it
expects of Syria with the adoption of UNSCRs 1559, 1595,
1636, and 1644. Syria must end its interference in Lebanon,
including facilitation of arms trafficking to militias in
Lebanon; close the offices of Palestinian rejectionist groups
in Damascus, stem the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq,
halt repression of Syrian civil society, and cooperate fully
with the investigation into the assassination of former
Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri.

-- The United States coordinates closely with France, the UK,
EU, and Germany on its policy towards Syria, Iran, and
Lebanon. The EU position to date, supported by the US, has
been to discourage ministerial or Head of State visits to and
from Damascus.

-- Official visits to Damascus send the wrong message at this
juncture by providing the Syrian regime with an opportunity
to exploit perceived differences in the international
community. We are in full agreement with the French on this
point.

-- Although your expertise on Middle East issues in general
and Syria in particular is of great value at this juncture,
we urge Spain to coordinate its actions closely with the U.S.
and the EU and to avoid unilateral measures. We can work
together effectively on this important issue only if we are
all working from the same precepts.

If raised:

-- During Russian FM Lavrov's recent trip to Washington, the
Secretary emphasized our deep concerns about continued SARG

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misbehavior, including arms trafficking and lack of
cooperation with the UN investigation. She also emphasized
the need to continue isolation of the Syrian regime and to
avoid minister-level visits to Damascus.

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