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Viewing cable 06MADRID2281, SPAIN: FM MORATINOS ON MIDEAST, NORTH AFRICA,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MADRID2281 2006-09-13 08:08 2010-12-10 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Madrid
VZCZCXRO1435
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHMD #2281/01 2560812
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 130812Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0721
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 0230
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR PRIORITY 0110
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 0323
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ PRIORITY 1195
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 5969
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA PRIORITY 2059
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0200
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 0149
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 002281

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/13/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV SMIG SP
SUBJECT: SPAIN: FM MORATINOS ON MIDEAST, NORTH AFRICA,
LATIN AMERICA AND MIGRATION

REF: EUR/WE E-MAIL OF 09/08/2006

MADRID 00002281 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Amb. Eduardo A. Aguirre Jr. for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: During his trip to Ronda in southern
Spain's Andalucia region, Ambassador Aguirre spent the
afternoon and evening of September 9 with Foreign Minister
Miguel Angel Moratinos. Ambassador pressed Moratinos on
recent incendiary comments from President Zapatero regarding
Iraq, and he raised the pending sale of patrol boats to
Venezuela. Outside the confines of the capital, Moratinos
spoke candidly about several issues, voicing pessimism about
progress on Iran and Syria and expressing confidence in his
position within the GOS. He indicated that Spain's top
foreign policy priorities are the Middle East, North Africa
(Western Sahara and the Moroccan bilateral relationship), and
the continuing issue of illegal immigration from Sub-Saharan
Africa. Moratinos also touched on the recent shakeup in his
ministry with the addition of Trini Jimenez at the deputy
minister level, saying that he expected Deputy FM Bernardino
Leon's influence would not be adversely impacted and Leon
would retain direct control of relations with the U.S., Cuba
and Bolivia, three key foreign policy issues for Spain. In a
September 11 telcon with Ambassador, Leon expressed the same
sentiment. END SUMMARY.

//IRAN, SYRIA, LEBANON//

2. (C) Moratinos asked whether Ambassador had seen his
letter to Secretary Rice on the Middle East/Iran (faxed from
Spanish Embassy Washington to EUR/WE on September 8) and said
he hoped he would have the chance to follow up with the
Secretary at UNGA. Ambassador promised to check on the

SIPDIS
Secretary's reply.

SIPDIS

3. (C) Moratinos expressed pessimism on Iran, and he is
increasingly inclined to view the issue as a global crisis.
He said that a solution to Iran's nuclear ambitions may be
beyond reach. Moratinos told Ambassador that the recent
visit by Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Lariyani came at
Iran's request. According to Moratinos, President Zapatero
agreed to the visit warily, and his meeting with Lariyani was
nothing more than an exchange of pleasantries. NOTE:
Embassy will report septel on Spain's Iran activism. END
NOTE.

4. (C) Regarding the recent trip to Iran of former Spanish
President Felipe Gonzalez, Moratinos said that no one in the
GOS had asked him to go, although they did not object when
Gonzalez notified them of his intended travel. Moratinos
expressed disappointment in Gonzalez' comments in Iran,
saying that there was no value added, but perhaps some value
lost. NOTE: In his remarks, Gonzalez went well beyond the
current Western position on Iran, stating that the current
crisis was an opportunity for engagement and defending Iran's
right to nonmilitary nuclear development. END NOTE.

5. (C) Ambassador, drawing on ref points, asked Moratinos
for Spain's help in ensuring that Hizbollah not be allowed to
rearm, that the Syrian-Lebanese border be tightly monitored,
and that Syria be held accountable for any re-supply of
Hizbollah. Moratinos said that he was of the same mind.
Moratinos also noted that Spain's presence in Lebanon was
critical and was evidence of their unwavering commitment to a
solution in the Middle East.

//ZAPATERO OFF MESSAGE//

6. (C) Ambassador took the opportunity to raise the recent
controversial comments made by President Zapatero in a
September 8 interview in Germany, in which the Spanish
President seemed to go out of his way to blame international
terrorism on the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Ambassador told
Moratinos that his understanding was that the GOS was going
to put Iraq in the past in the interest of the bilateral
relationship. Ambassador said that he had chosen not to
respond to these particular remarks, part of what has been an
ongoing nuisance. However, if the Government of Spain wished
to continue with its rhetorical barbs, then the Ambassador
would oblige. Moratinos responded that he too was perturbed
by Zapatero's comments and spoke with the President after the
interview. He stated his belief that Zapatero would refrain
from such statements in the future. NOTE: In his September

MADRID 00002281 002 OF 002


11 address at the ASEM summit in Helsinki, Zapatero took a
more restrained approach and focused not on the United States
but on the global crisis of international terrorism. END NOTE.

//MIGRATION: NO HELP FROM WEST AFRICA//

7. (C) On illegal immigration, Moratinos expressed great
frustration. He noted that Spain's diplomatic efforts in
West Africa are yielding little tangible results, and he
singled out Senegal in particular as a country that agreed to
cooperate (after a visit by VP Fernandez de la Vega) but has
done little. Ambassador only half-jokingly noted that there
are four warships currently under construction in Spain that
could be used for patrolling the West African coast if the
sale to Venezuela were to be canceled. COMMENT: A recent
poll showed a four percent drop in President Zapatero's
approval rating since July, with illegal immigration as the
leading issue of concern. The Zapatero government appears to
be at somewhat of a loss for how to handle the situation, and
it is having difficulty making the issue a top priority in
the European Union. END COMMENT.

//BOLIVIA AND CUBA//

8. (C) Moratinos opined that Evo Morales was not fully in
charge in Bolivia and that he was saying one thing and doing
another. Moratinos said Spain is having minimal success
establishing credibility and traction with the Morales
government, noting that while Morales has tried to assuage
Spanish concerns about their hydrocarbon interests, people in
his own government do not appear to be under his control.
Moratinos views Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Marcelo Garcia
Linera as the real power in La Paz.

9. (C) On Cuba, Moratinos said that Deputy Minister
Bernardino Leon is in Cuba now and could provide Ambassador
with a readout upon his return. Ambassador reminded
Moratinos that the United States is still interested in a
joint statement on Cuba. Moratinos replied that the planned
meeting in New York with A/S Shannon will be a good
opportunity to discuss the situation frankly.

//FEELING GOOD//

10. (C) Moratinos told the Ambassador that he feels very
confident about his position in the GOS and that what he
called recent Spanish foreign policy "successes" have
empowered him to continue pursuing an aggressive agenda. He
also told Ambassador that the recent addition of PSOE foreign
policy advisor Trinidad Jimenez as Secretary of State for
Iberoamerica was not intended to reduce the influence of
current Secretary of State for Foreign Policy Bernardino
Leon. Rather, the move frees up Leon to truly act as a
deputy with oversight throughout the ministry, and Leon will
still hold the Bolivia, Cuba and United States accounts.
During a September 11 telcon, Leon told Ambassador much the
same. Leon said his travel load will likely not change in
the immediate future, though presumably Jimenez will do more
traveling once she is up to speed.

------------------------------------------
Visit Embassy Madrid's Classified Website;
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/madrid/
------------------------------------------
AGUIRRE