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Viewing cable 06MADRID1490, AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH VICE PRESIDENT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MADRID1490 2006-06-09 16:04 2010-12-02 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Madrid
VZCZCXRO4064
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHMD #1490/01 1601646
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 091646Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9958
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 0234
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 4952
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 0422
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 0272
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0936
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 0314
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ PRIORITY 1185
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 0438
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA PRIORITY 1916
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 0121
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MADRID 001490

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/09/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV SP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH VICE PRESIDENT

MADRID 00001490 001.2 OF 003


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

1. (C) Summary. The Ambassador met with Vice President Maria
Teresa Fernandez de la Vega on June 8 to review bilateral
relations and to discuss regional issues of joint interest,
including developments in Peru, Bolivia, Iran, Syria, and
North Africa. Regarding the CIA flights issue, Vice
President de la Vega said Spain's inclusion in the Council of
Europe report had caught the Zapatero Government totally off
guard and she insisted Spain had nothing to hide on the
issue. She said the Spanish Government felt comfortable that
it could contend with domestic concerns regarding CIA flights
through Spain, asking only that the USG provide Spain any
relevant information to avoid any surprises. De la Vega made
a strong pitch for increased USG-Spanish collaboration on
North Africa (NOTE: FM Moratinos will likely raise this
during his June 19 meeting with the Secretary. END NOTE).
On Iran, de la Vega agreed with the need to maintain a
unified international voice on Iran's nuclear program, saying
Javier Solana was the appropriate interlocutor with Tehran.
She welcomed Alan Garcia's victory in Peru, but lamented that
in Bolivia Evo Morales appeared to be under the direction of
the most negative leftist elements in his administration.
End Summary.

//BILATERAL RELATIONS IMPROVING//

2. (C) Vice President de la Vega said she was aware of FM
Miguel Angel Moratinos' upcoming meeting with the Secretary,
as well as MOD Alonso's June 8 meeting with Secretary
Rumsfeld on the margins of the NATO ministerial. She
expressed satisfaction with the improvements in the bilateral
relationship over the last year. The Ambassador agreed that
we had made progress, adding that there was much more that
our countries could do together. The Ambassador
congratulated the Zapatero Government for its handling of the
thorny Catalan autonomy issue. De la Vega said that the
Zapatero administration was convinced that the Catalan issue
was nearing a successful conclusion and predicted that the
June 18 referendum in the Catalan Region would go smoothly
and result in public acceptance of a renegotiated autonomy
statute. The Ambassador reviewed his plans to visit the
Basque Region June 22-23, a visit focused on business issues,
but also including a courtesy call on Basque Regional
Government leader Juan Jose Ibarretxe. Vice President de la
Vega expressed no concern regarding such a visit.

3. (C) The Ambassador informed de la Vega of the June 28-29
visit of Education Secretary Spellings, noting Secretary
Spellings' strong background on foreign affairs and lengthy
government career. He said that while he would not normally
suggest Vice President de la Vega meet visiting cabinet
officials, it could be worthwhile to arrange a brief meeting.
De la Vega said she would welcome such a meeting if her
schedule permitted.

//CIA FLIGHTS//

4. (C) The Ambassador said that FM Moratinos had recently
advised him that Spain's National Court had accepted a case
filed by a private individual alleging USG wrongdoing in
Spain during the transit of Spanish airports by CIA aircraft.
Moratinos indicated the Spanish Government's desire to give
this issue as low a profile as possible, though, as a
judicial case, the government had a limited capacity to
influence the direction of the case. De la Vega said she was
aware of FM Moratinos' communication on this issue and
expressed confidence that the Zapatero Government could
manage it with little difficulty. (NOTE: According to June 9
press reports, government prosecutors have expressed
opposition to the National Court's hearing of a case in which
there is no evidence of a crime having been committed. END
NOTE).

5. (C) By contrast, she said, the Zapatero Government had
been surprised by the Council of Europe report alleging that
Spain "permitted or failed to investigate" the use of
Mallorca as a staging point for the "illegal" transfer of
individuals by the CIA. (NOTE: An MFA spokesperson roundly
denied any involvement by Spain in the illegal transfer of

MADRID 00001490 002.2 OF 003


suspected terrorists. END NOTE). De la Vega said Spain was
prepared to deal with this issue, but wanted to be certain
that it had all the information available regarding the
flights to avoid being caught unprepared. The Ambassador
noted that we too had an interest in preserving our
credibility and were careful to share whatever information we
had and to avoid any actions that might create problems for
the Spanish authorities. De la Vega emphasized that Spain
had no objection to USG intelligence flights through Spanish
territory; they simply wanted to be kept informed and, if
necessary, to be able to demonstrate that they were
exercising proper oversight of foreign aircraft passing
through Spain.

//IRAN, SYRIA//

6. (C) The Ambassador recounted his last meeting with
President Zapatero, during which Zapatero identified Iran as
the greatest threat to peace in the Broader Middle East. The
Ambassador said this was precisely the view of the USG and
that this underscored the importance of the USG's historic
decision to directly join the multilateral discussions with
Iran. He said it was vital at this critical phase that Iran
see a united international front, determined to prevent its
production of nuclear weapons. Vice President de la Vega
emphatically agreed, saying Javier Solana was the appropriate
interlocutor to deliver a unified message to Iran. The
Ambassador conveyed a similar message on the need to maintain
the consensus limiting high level contacts with Syria in
order to prevent Damascus from driving a wedge between
allies. Vice President de la Vega agreed on this point as
well.

//PERU, BOLIVIA, ARGENTINA//

7. (C) Vice President de la Vega expressed satisfaction with
the "good news" of Alan Garcia's victory in Peru, but
lamented that Bolivian President Evo Morales seemed to be
under the sway of his extreme left Vice President. Without
naming Venezuelan President Chavez, de la Vega indicated
Spain's conviction that other "negative influences" were also
at work in Bolivia. The Ambassador said that Chavez was
certainly eager to exert influence, but that Castro was
likely just as involved, though with more subtlety than
Chavez. De la Vega said that one positive development
resulting from Chavez' meddling was realization by Brazilian
President Lula da Silva that Chavez represented a genuine
threat to Brazilian interests in the region, just as Peruvian
President-elect Garcia, and to a lesser extent Chilean
President Bachelet, understood the nature of the threat.

8. (C) The Ambassador asked for Spain's view on whether
Argentine President Kirchner was likewise growing wary of
Chavez. De la Vega said that Kirchner was a special case, in
that he felt a strong affinity towards both President
Zapatero and Vice President de la Vega. She said she
believed Spain could influence his actions in a positive
direction and noted that he would be making a state visit to
Spain in the near future.

//NORTH AFRICA//

9. (C) Turning to her previous meeting with the Ambassador,
de la Vega recalled having urged the USG to increase
collaboration with Spain in promoting stability in North
Africa. She asked whether the Ambassador saw any chance of
progress on this issue. The Ambassador said that the USG was
actively considering various approaches on North Africa, in
light of the stalemate on Western Sahara and other sources of
tension. He suggested the Spanish Government present the USG
and other interested parties a detailed explanation of how it
intends to move forward on North Africa and recommend what
others could do to promote such an initiative. (NOTE: Our
sense is that FM Moratinos may raise this issue in his June
19 meeting with the Secretary. END NOTE).

//COMMENT//

10. (C) As with the Ambassador's last meeting with Vice
President de la Vega in April, the atmosphere was relaxed and

MADRID 00001490 003.2 OF 003


cordial throughout. The key message being relayed by the
Spanish Government through the nature and frequency of these
meetings is that they want to put bilateral relations on an
even keel. They do not use these encounters to press for a
meeting between Presidents Bush and Zapatero, an objective
they appear to have abandoned for the moment. Instead, the
Zapatero Government seems content to use the Vice President's
channel with the Ambassador to transmit where they see
opportunities for cooperation (Africa, Latin America) and to
assess the USG's view of the overall state of the bilateral
relationship.
AGUIRRE