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Viewing cable 05MADRID4314, AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH FM MORATINOS ON

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MADRID4314 2005-12-23 11:11 2010-12-08 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Madrid
VZCZCXYZ0008
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMD #4314/01 3571155
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231155Z DEC 05
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8478
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 4871
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0854
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 0088
C O N F I D E N T I A L MADRID 004314

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/21/2015
TAGS: PREL SP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH FM MORATINOS ON
BILATERAL RELATIONS

REF: A. MADRID 3974
B. MADRID 3929

Classified By: DCM Bob Manzanares; reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).

1. (C) Summary. The Ambassador called on FM Miguel Angel
Moratinos on December 22 to review the progress made in
U.S.-Spain relations over the last six months and to identify
areas that remained problematic. He said the Spanish
ship/plane sale to Venezuela had undermined progress in other
areas, particularly given the mixed messages we received from
the Spanish government in the runup to the conclusion of the
deal. Moratinos acknowledged the damage inflicted by the
episode, but insisted that he remained in charge of Spain's
foreign relations and wanted to find areas to work more
closely with the USG, particularly in Latin America. He
complained that the USG seemed to hold Spain to a different
standard than other EU countries and allowed disagreements on
some issues to overshadow Spanish contributions on others,
such as Afghanistan and BMENA. He expressed disappointment
that Secretary Rice had been unable to attend the Euro
Mediterranean Summit in November and noted the strong
interest of Vice President Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega
in visiting the U.S. in the near future. End Summary.

2. (C) The Ambassador noted that bilateral relations had
improved substantially over the last six months, and there
would have been even more progress had it not been for
Spain's sale of ships and planes to Venezuela. He assured
Moratinos that the USG knew that the Spanish MFA had made a
good faith effort to derail the weapons deal, but had been
outflanked by MOD Jose Bono. Moratinos acknowledged the
basic facts of the issue and said that both he and Deputy FM
Bernardino Leon had believed they had successfully turned off
the aircraft component of the sale at the time they
approached the Ambassador. However, MOD Bono did eventually
win the internal debate and proceed with the sale.

3. (C) The Ambassador said it had been disconcerting for the
USG to have such differing messages from the Spanish
government regarding Venezuela (REF A). The Ambassador
underscored his need to be certain that his primarily Spanish
interlocutor (whom he understood to be Moratinos) could speak
for the government on the most critical and sensitive issues.
Otherwise, the Embassy's credibility in Washington would be
eroded, to the detriment of all. Moratinos insisted that he
spoke for the government on foreign affairs and, press
reports to the contrary, had the full confidence of President
Zapatero (COMMENT: Spanish media reported rumors that
Zapatero had been displeased with the limited attendance and
impact of the Euro Mediterranean Summit in Barcelona in
November and was considering replacing Moratinos. Some in
the diplomatic corps have also speculated on no Moratinos'
eventual replacement, but we have reason to place much stock
in this latest version. END COMMENT).

4. (C) Continuing on Venezuela, Moratinos said that there was
much the USG and Spain could still do together despite
friction over the sales, and that such cooperation fell
squarely within the purview of the MFA. He said the Spanish
government was concerned about the continuing anti-democratic
drift of the Chavez government and understands that
organizations such as the NGO "Sumate" need outside support.
Moratinos said Spain would continue to monitor democratic
conditions in Venezuela and lend its support whenever
possible to steer events in a positive direction.

//SPANISH ANGST OVER BILATERAL "VISUALS"//

5. (C) Adopting a more severe tone and saying he was
delivering a message as Foreign Minister, Moratinos
complained that the USG treated Spain differently than other
EU countries, for example "singling out" Spain on weapons
sales to Venezuela when other European countries were
undertaking similar sales with no impact on their bilateral
relations with the U.S. He wondered when the USG's goalposts
for improved relations with Spain would remain constant. "We
do so much with you on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and BMENA, yet
one misstep and we're back starting over," he lamented.

6. (C) Moratinos asked whether it would be reasonable to
expect improved visuals in the bilateral relationship. The
Ambassador noted that Secretary Rice did not have a visit to
Madrid on her agenda and would probably not visit in the
first part of 2006. The Ambassador said that if we had seen
greater progress on issues such as Venezuela, we may have
been able to envision higher-level contacts, but at this
point such meetings seem doubtful. He noted that comments
such as those made December 18 by President Zapatero taunting

the Popular Party for its close relations with the U.S. were
not helpful and undermined those who said that the Spanish
government had moved away from using anti-Americanism for
domestic political gain.

7. (C) Returning to Latin America, Moratinos reiterated
Spain's readiness to work with the USG on issues of mutual
concern. He said democracy promotion and dealing with
populist leaders such as Evo Morales posed a serious
challenge to all of us. The Ambassador agreed, noting that
we had congratulated Morales on his victory and hoped that he
would govern democratically. Moratinos said Spain could work
with the USG on Cuba (he did not elaborate). He noted
Deputy FM Leon's good meetings with USG counterparts during
his recent visit to Washington and said he looked forward to
furthering our joint agenda during the upcoming visit of WHA
A/S Tom Shannon.

//SPANISH VP WANTS TO VISIT U.S.//

8. (C) Moratinos resurfaced the idea of having Vice President
Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega visit the U.S. soon (REF
B), saying he believed it was important for both our
leaderships to understand where our common interests lie. He
said the Vice President is very interested in making this
visit and hoped the Embassy could work with the Spanish
government to support the visit and arrange a strong agenda.
Moratinos reiterated his disappointment that Secretary Rice
had been unable to attend the Euro Mediterranean Summit,
noting that he had worked hard to get the invitation for her
despite UK resistance to the idea.

AGUIRRE