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Viewing cable 07MADRID116, SENIOR SPANISH OPPOSITION OFFICIAL REITERATES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MADRID116 2007-01-22 12:12 2010-12-09 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Madrid
VZCZCXRO4359
PP RUEHLA
DE RUEHMD #0116/01 0221255
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 221255Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1682
INFO RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA 2382
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 000116

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

WHA FOR A/S SHANNON AND PDAS SHAPIRO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/21/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL SP
SUBJECT: SENIOR SPANISH OPPOSITION OFFICIAL REITERATES
CRITICISM OF GOS POLICY/SUPPORT FOR U.S. AGENDA

REF: A. MADRID 81

B. MADRID 87
C. 2006 MADRID 3081

Classified By: DCM Hugo Llorens for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)

1. (C) Summary. The DCM on January 16 met with Angel Acebes,
Secretary General of the opposition Popular Party (PP) and

SIPDIS
Minister of Interior under former President Aznar. The
meeting covered a myriad of foreign policy issues. Acebes
reiterated his party's strong disagreement with the
anti-terrorism policies of President Zapatero and the PP's
belief that there is absolutely nothing to negotiate with
ETA. Acebes also professed his party's strong support for
much of President Bush's foreign policy agenda. On Cuba, the
DCM thanked the PP for raising a Parliamentary motion on
December 19 calling for unity among Spanish political parties
in supporting a democratic transition in Cuba. Although
Zapatero's far-left allies in Parliament scuttled the effort,
Acebes said his party will bring this resolution up again in
the coming weeks. End Summary.

2. (C) In a January 16 introductory courtesy call on Angel
Acebes, Secretary General of the opposition Popular Party
(PP), the DCM reviewed the current areas of close cooperation
between the U.S. and Spain in NATO, Afghanistan, and Lebanon.
The DCM discussed our close cooperation now and particularly
in the past with the PP and the Aznar government, but said
that it was important for us to now work with the current GOS
on a variety of issues. Acebes replied that he understood
this perfectly, indeed it was good for him as a Spaniard that
the U.S. and Spain have good working relations, but believed
that bilateral relations would improve even more in the
future when the PP returns to power. The DCM noted the
continued range and frequency of high-level contacts between
the Embassy and the PP, including at the Ambassadorial level.

3. (C) The DCM asked Acebes for his thoughts on the
contentious debate between President Zapatero and PP leader
Mariano Rajoy that had taken place in Spanish Parliament the
day before (reported separately in REFTEL A), and what has
become the defining political issue of the day in Spain, the
GOS' policies towards the terrorist group ETA. Acebes stated
that Rajoy had indeed been very severe in his criticisms of
the President, because this issue was of the most severe
importance to the Spanish people. Acebes then added that
Rajoy had criticized Zapatero's anti-terrorism policy, "not
for the mere purpose of Parliamentary debate or to win
elections, but because of the party's strongly-held
principles." Despite Zapatero's calls for all of Spain's
democratic political parties to join a united anti-terrorist
pact, Acebes said that the PP would not join in any coalition
with parties that support continued dialogue with ETA or
political participation with ETA's outlawed political wing
Batasuna. Acebes said his party fears that a broad pact
would also broaden and weaken its terms to accommodate
Zapatero,s left-wing coalition partners and ultimately give
him the wiggle room for a future negotiated settlement.

4. (C) Acebes and the DCM then touched on a full range of
foreign policy issues related to Iraq, Iran, and Cuba. The
DCM briefed Acebes on the impetus behind President Bush's new
strategy for the way forward in Iraq that will include
increases in the number of U.S. troops in Baghdad and U.S.
economic assistance. The DCM said that the U.S. and the
Zapatero Government have agreed to move beyond past
disagreements over the war and we continue to appreciate
Spain's continued economic assistance to the country. Acebes
agreed that the Coalition cannot afford to fail in Iraq and
expressed his hope that this change in strategy will serve to
get a handle on security in Baghdad and al-Anbar Province.
On Iran, Acebes was in agreement on the importance of the
U.S. and the E.U. maintaining a united front against that
country's nuclear ambitions, and posited that Iran likely
represented the "crisis to come." Acebes said that Spain
should work within the E.U. to ensure that a hard line is
maintained. Acebes expressed his concern with the antics of
Iranian President Ahmadinejad during his recent visit to
Nicaragua.

5. (C) A discussion of the current situation in Cuba wrapped
up the meeting, and Acebes stated that Fidel Castro's health
prognosis is likely very bad. Whatever the truth behind
recent conflicting reports in Spanish newspapers on the
status of Castro's health (REFTEL B), Acebes believes that we
are already in a "post-Fidel era," and agreed with the DCM
that Raul Castro and other senior regime figures are right
now gauging the international community's reaction to events
in the country before deciding how to proceed. Acebes stated
that for this reason, it is vital for the U.S. and E.U. to

MADRID 00000116 002 OF 002


speak with one voice. The DCM reiterated the importance of
the E.U. making a statement of strong support for a
democratic Cuba, even if this statement is not made jointly
with the U.S., and Acebes agreed. The DCM thanked the PP for
raising a Parliamentary motion December 19 calling for unity
among Spanish political parties in supporting a democratic
transition in Cuba (REFTEL C). Although Foreign Minister
Moratinos had signaled to PP Parliamentarians that a common
position on Cuba could be negotiated, the PP measure was
defeated by the Socialist Party (PSOE) and its far left
coalition partners. Acebes told the DCM that the PP intends
to bring this resolution up again in the coming weeks and
will probably propose a similar motion in the European
Parliament, where it expects greater success. (Note:
Following this meeting, the DCM met with PP foreign policy
advisor Moragas and with the leadership of President Aznar's
think tank, FAES, to suggest FAES and the Embassy coordinate
on a major seminar on Cuba in Madrid in the coming months.
FAES officials were receptive to the idea and undertook to
give a definitive answer to the DCM soon.)
Aguirre