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Viewing cable 07MADRID911, SCENESETTER FOR US-SPAIN HIGH LEVEL DEFENSE TALKS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MADRID911 2007-05-14 17:05 2010-12-01 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Madrid
VZCZCXRO4693
OO RUEHLA
DE RUEHMD #0911/01 1341744
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 141744Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2514
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA 2699
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MADRID 000911 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 
NOFORN 

FROM THE AMBASSADOR FOR OSD/P DASD DAN FATA 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/14/2017 
TAGS: PREL MARR SP
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR US-SPAIN HIGH LEVEL DEFENSE TALKS 

Classified By: Ambassador Eduardo Aguirre for reasons 1.4 b & d. 

1. (C/NF) Dan, welcome back to Spain. I appreciate your 
patience and efforts to finally resolve the NCIS/OSI issue 
and I'm glad that you've made this High-Level Defense 
Committee (HLDC) meeting a priority. Now that the Permanent 
Committee is back on track, handling routine issues at the 
staff level, we can use the HLDC forum to share views and set 
strategic direction on key international policy issues like 
Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Couso case, missile defense, the 
NATO Summit in 2008, and future US use of Moron and Rota 
military bases. As we've discussed before, Spain can at 
times be a difficult partner, but never more so than when it 
feels ignored. This meeting, along with Secretary Rice's 
visit in a few weeks, should reassure the GOS that we take it 
seriously, but while reminding MOD that we have high 
expectations of such important partners. 

-- US USE OF SPANISH BASES -- 

2. (C/NF) The DCM, the Embassy's political-military team, and 
I travel regularly to Rota and Moron, the Spanish bases where 
nearly 3000 US troops and dependents live and work. With 
each successive visit, I am more impressed by the important 
activities and outstanding working-level cooperation at the 
bases. The Czech Deputy Prime Minister, planning for the 
possibility of US missile defense installations in his 
country, recently visited Rota in order to understand how the 
US military behaves as a tenant. Perhaps on your next trip 
you'll be able to travel to southern Spain to get a better 
idea of the key role that the bases play in US efforts in 
Iraq, Afghanistan, and other operations. As you know, it is 
taking MOD longer than we expected to implement its new 
interagency process for reviewing proposed Naval Criminal 
Investigative Service and USAF Office of Special 
Investigations activities. We continue to press them to 
speed the process so that we can begin to implement the 
agreement and our investigators can get back to work. 

-- AFGHANISTAN -- 

3. (C/NF) Despite the limitations imposed by Spanish domestic 
politics, which are foremost in every minister's mind, due to 
nationwide local/regional elections in two weeks and national 
elections within the year, Spain remains a stalwart ally in 
Afghanistan. Though not currently in a position to increase 
the 690-soldier troop ceiling that Parliament set, the GOS 
insists that it is committed to maintain current levels for 
the long haul. Your primary interlocutor, MOD Secretary 
General for Policy Luis Cuesta, recently spent a week in 
Kabul and Herat with his counterpart from MFA. They both 
returned relatively optimistic that NATO-ISAF is making 
progress but understanding more clearly than ever that NATO 
won't be able to leave anytime soon. Top MOD leaders have 
also told us privately that CHOD General Sanz has initiated 
discussions in Brussels regarding the possibility that Spain 
would staff the core of the ISAF HQ in summer 2008, after 
Spanish elections. We continue to press the GOS to increase 
its public diplomacy efforts, and to consider doing more when 
it is able. 

4. (C/NF) While the GOS has lately complained about the lack 
of coordination between ISAF and Operation Enduring Freedom 
-- specifically the airstrikes in Herat province that killed 
civilians as well as Taliban -- Spain remains active on the 
security and reconstruction fronts. The Spanish Provincial 
Reconstruction Team (PRT) is well regarded for involving 
local Afghanis in its efforts to provide basic services and 
critical infrastructure to the people of Badghis province, 
but MFA officials note that there is no sign of the central 
government or national security forces in the province. While 
carefully complying with its caveat, Spanish troops supported 
NATO-ISAF's Operation Achilles earlier this spring by sealing 
the southern border of their zone. Regarding its Sevilla 
Ministerial commitments, MOD sources say that two Spanish 
military training teams (OMLTs) will arrive in Afghanistan in 
early June to begin training Afghan National Army troops. 
They have told us that that these 30-50 soldiers will be in 
addition to the 690 troops that are already deployed. The 
Spanish Army is also proceeding with its purchase of tactical 
UAVs, and expects to have them in the field later this year. 

-- KOSOVO -- 

5. (C/NF) In the Balkans, where its troops have served for 
more than 15 years, Spain has shown its ability to maintain 
troops for the long-term. Right now, however, we need keep 

MADRID 00000911 002 OF 003 


making our case to keep troops in Kosovo. For domestic 
political reasons and fear of provoking Russia, Spain is 
ambivalent about the current direction of Kosovo policy. So 
long as there is a UN resolution authorizing the Ahtissari 
plan, Spain will maintain its troops in KFOR. If the UN 
fails to agree on a new resolution, Spain has said that it 
would have to seriously consider pulling its troops out, but 
has emphasized that it would do this only in extremis and 
only in careful consultation with allies. We need to keep the 
pressure on, reminding Spain that NATO has a critical role 
and that we can't let the Russians drive a wedge between the 
US and Europe on issues like this. 

-- MISSILE DEFENSE -- 

6. (C/NF) Though initially tentative about the US missile 
defense (MD) plan, Spain listened carefully to the Missile 
Defense Agency Deputy Director BG O'Reilly's presentation in 
March, asked some tough questions, and has taken the position 
that so long as the US attends to Russian and is willing to 
discuss the issue in NATO, it won't stand in the way. MOD 
said that it will soon announce support for the development 
of a NATO study on the issue. MOD has asked to see a 
simulation of how well the proposed MD system would cover 
Spain, though it says that it doesn't currently see a 
particular threat from Iran and is willing to support the 
US's plan primarily as a show of solidarity among allies. 
While we need to continue to inform and engage MOD on this 
issue, we don't see Spain causing problems on missile defense. 

-- NATO -- 

7. (C/NF) On 2008 NATO Summit issues of enlargement and 
partnership, Spain believes that NATO should keep an open 
door to European applicants who can qualify. MOD says that 
the Balkans should be treated as a single unit, despite their 
different stages of development, because it will be important 
to future Balkans stability to eventually get them all around 
the NATO table. Regarding Ukraine and Georgia, Spain is not 
opposed to the idea that they would eventually join NATO, but 
says that the best thing at the moment is to wait and see 
what direction they choose to go. Spain is a big fan of NATO 
partnerships, especially the Mediterranean Dialogue, which it 
believes should be strengthened for the sake of fighting 
terrorism in North Africa and supporting the current 
governments and militaries against extremists. MOD says that 
the Med Dialogue countries know that they aren't going to 
someday join NATO, but that they should be invited to observe 
exercises, included in training, and given other 
opportunities to deepen ties and cooperate with NATO. 

-- CRITICAL SIDEBAR ISSUES -- 

8. (C/NF) A couple of other key issues will be in the air, if 
not actually on the agenda. For our side, it will be 
important to continue to raise the Couso case, in which three 
US servicemen face charges related to the 2003 death of 
Spanish cameraman Jose Couso during the battle for Baghdad. 
XXXXXXXXXXXX. I raised this issue with Vice 
President de la Vega on April 30. She was supportive but 
uncertain that direct GOS involvement would be productive. 
DCM spoke late last week with the Deputy Justice Minister, 
and we continue to prod the GOS to appeal. We were informed 
Monday morning that the Chief Prosecutor of Spain's National 
Court has indeed filed an appeal, which will go to the same 
court which originally dismissed the case (in 2006) on 
procedural grounds. The Deputy DIGENPOL in MOD told the 
Embassy last week that MOD completely supports the US 
position, and said that he would raise with his superiors the 
possibility of making a statement to the court or otherwise 
demonstrating support. The Deputy Justice Minister also said 
the GOS strongly opposes a case brought against former 
Secretary Rumsfeld and will work to get it dismissed. The 

SIPDIS 
judge involved in that case has told us he has already 
started the process of dismissing the case. 

9. (C/NF) An issue that MOD may raise with you is their 
perception of "imbalance" in the defense industrial 
relationship. The HLDC is not the most appropriate forum for 
a discussion of this issue, especially since Al Volkman, 
Director of International Cooperation for acquisitions, will 
be in Madrid at the same time as you precisely for the 
long-scheduled 17th US-Spain Defense Industrial Cooperation 
Committee meeting and the 4th US-Spain Declaration of 

MADRID 00000911 003 OF 003 


Principles meeting. Nonetheless, Spanish Defense Ministry 
officials have seen you with Secretary Gates, and may raise 
the issue with you in hopes of getting it top-level 
attention. Defense Minister Alonso has raised the issue in 
public speeches and his people have raised it in meetings. 
They point to Spanish purchases like 24 Tomahawk missiles and 
US AEGIS combat systems for its F-100 frigates and S-80 subs, 
which the GOS made over the protests of European allies like 
France and Germany, and say that while MOD plans to continue 
a strong relationship with the US defense industry and knows 
that it is getting the best when it buys US, it would 
appreciate a "gesture" from the US so that it can show 
domestic audiences that Spain gets something out of the 
relationship. While we continue to push Spain to buy into 
the Joint Strike Fighter program, we know that Spain is very 
anxious to learn whether Spanish company EADS-CASA will get 
the Joint Cargo Aircraft contract. We try to remind MOD that 
while there may be a dollar imbalance in the defense 
relationship, Spain benefits from the relationship in other 
ways, not only getting the best technology for its military, 
but also being able to sell products that include US 
technology to third countries. 

10. (C/NF) We want to use the HLDC to further strengthen the 
Permanent Committee and are pleased that EUCOM will propose 
the joint working group as a means to increase EUCOM 
involvement on Spanish military issues. Direct and ongoing 
communication between MOD and EUCOM at the staff level can 
only help us to avoid minor problems that have the potential 
to escalate, like NCIS/OSI. 
Aguirre