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Viewing cable 07TRIPOLI1033, QADHAFI'S TRAVEL TO SPAIN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TRIPOLI1033 2007-12-12 14:02 2010-12-07 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tripoli
VZCZCXRO9894
OO RUEHTRO
DE RUEHTRO #1033/01 3461407
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O P 121407Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2918
INFO RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 0007
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0382
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0686
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0947
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 0376
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0581
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0531
RUEHVT/AMEMBASSY VALLETTA PRIORITY 0240
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 3354
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 001033

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/12/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL LY SP
SUBJECT: QADHAFI'S TRAVEL TO SPAIN

CLASSIFIED BY: Chris Stevens, DCM, Embassy Tripoli, Department
of State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)



1. (C) Summary: Planning for Leader Muammar al-Qadhafi's
upcoming visit to Spain has been complicated by contradictory
GOL requests for meetings and content. After initially saying
the Leader did not want to sign bilateral agreements during his
visit, the GOL has reversed course and the two sides are now
scrambling to finalize language for a host of memoranda and
treaties. The Libyan advance team's requirements for the
Leader's lodging have prompted speculation about his health.
End summary.

LACK OF CLARITY COMPLICATES PLANNING

2. (SBU) Spanish DCM Rafael-Maria Reig Sanchez told P/E Chief
December 9 that planning for Leader Muammar al-Qadhafi's
mid-December visit to Spain had been problematic in both a
logistical and substantive sense. Qadhafi originally wanted to
visit Spain before the recent EU-African Union Summit in Lisbon;
however, that wound up not being possible for scheduling reasons
on both the Libyan and Spanish sides. It is now expected that
Qadhafi will travel to Spain December 15-18 for a visit
comprising both personal and official elements. Sanchez noted
noted that the GOL has been unclear and at times contradictory
about whether it wishes the visit to be considered official or
unofficial.

3. (C) Confirming press accounts, Sanchez said Qadhafi will meet
with Spanish PM Zapatero December 17; King Juan Carlos is also
scheduled to host a luncheon in honor of the visiting Libyan
leader. Finalizing protocol arrangements has been "incredibly
difficult", in part because Qadhafi does not encumber an
official position or carry official title, and because the GOL's
advance team -- apparently responding to shifting dictates from
its principal -- continues to change its requests for meetings
and content. Spain's Ambassador to Tripoli, Joaquin
Perez-Villanueva, told the DCM that Qadhafi's plans to visit
Seville and nearby Islamic sites in Cordoba and Grenada have
prompted concern about the nature of the remarks he may deliver
at historic Islamic sites.

INITIALLY COY, GOL NOW WANTS TO SIGN BEVY OF AGREEMENTS

4. (C) After initially indicating it did not/not want to sign
bilateral agreements during the visit, the GOL indicated late
last week that it wished to quickly finalize language for an
education and culture agreement, a defense cooperation
agreement, a bilateral legal cooperation and extradition treaty,
an investment security agreement and a double taxation-exemption
agreement. Sanchez expressed frustration about the GOL's "wait
and hurry up" approach, noting that Spain had tried for some
time to finalize several of the agreements, but to no avail.
According to Sanchez, the only document for which agreement on
the language had been achieved was the education and culture
agreement. He noted that GOL officials, referencing the recent
denouement of the Bulgarian medics' case, had been particularly
insistent that a bilateral legal cooperation and extradition
treaty should preclude the possibility of immediate pardon for
prisoners returned to their home country. Sanchez lamented that
the rush to finalize agreements for signature in time for
Qadhafi's visit had precluded meaningful bilateral discussions
of what the two sides' understanding of those accords would mean
and how they would be implemented. "The form is more important
to the GOL than the substance", he said.

LODGING REQUESTS PROMPT SPECULATION ABOUT QADHAFI'S HEALTH

5. (C) Sanchez noted that Qadhafi's lodging requirements were
also problematic. GOL officials insisted that the Leader not be
housed above the first floor of the hotel in which he will stay,
saying Qadhafi refuses to ride in elevators because of security
considerations. In addition, GOL minders insisted that the
hotel and room in which Qadhafi will stay should feature as few
stairs as possible. Sanchez said that GOL officials, when
pressed, conceded that Qadhafi has difficulty physically
negotiating stairs (NFI). (Note: Post notes that Qadhafi
appeared to be unwell in television footage of Lisbon's

TRIPOLI 00001033 002 OF 002


EU-African Union Summit. His gait was unsteady and he appeared
to have difficulty turning his head, forcing him to turn his
entire upper torso. There have been recent, unconfirmed reports
that he may have suffered a stroke. End note.)

6. (C) Comment: Madrid's frustration with Qadhafi's advance team
and the Leader's vascillating druthers echoe what we've heard
from our French counterparts here regarding trip coordination
for the Paris stop. The focus on securing a raft of bilateral
agreements, regardless of content, is consistent with the GOL's
desire for demonstrable symbols of Libya's re-integration into
the international community. End comment.

MILAM