Viewing cable 08MADRID1366, SCENESETTER FOR JAN 8-9 VISIT OF ASSISTANT
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|08MADRID1366||2008-12-31 13:01||2010-12-07 12:12||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Madrid|
VZCZCXYZ0020 PP RUEHWEB DE RUEHMD #1366/01 3661306 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 311306Z DEC 08 FM AMEMBASSY MADRID TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5831 INFO RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON PRIORITY 1728 RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L MADRID 001366 SIPDIS FOR STACIE ZERDECKI AND ELAINE SAMSON, EUR/WE WHA FOR STACY WILLIAMS, KAREN RAM USEU FOR BOB BLACKSTONE E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/09/2019 TAGS: PREL PGOV SP SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR JAN 8-9 VISIT OF ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHANNON Classified By: Acting Deputy Chief of Mission William H. Duncan, for re asons 1.4(b) and (d). ¶1. (SBU) Embassy Madrid warmly welcomes your visit to Spain. U.S.-Spanish relations are strong and based on shared global interests, including the fight against terrorism, the bilateral military relationship, our association in NATO, and rapidly expanding economic ties. Your Spanish interlocutors will be eager to share their assessment of financial developments and bilateral relations, and they will be eager to hear your perspective on the incoming U.S. Administration and prospects for cooperation. Most of all, they will seek your prognosis for Latin America and for Spanish-U.S. and U.S.-EU cooperation to ensure democracy and prosperity in the Western Hemisphere. The GOS is sensitive to the importance of U.S. involvement and investment in the region, but sometimes GOS officials suggest the USG has "abandoned" Latin America. Your visit presents a timely opportunity to counter these assertions while inviting Spain to take more concrete steps to promote democracy and good governance. //YOUR SCHEDULE IN MADRID// ¶2. (C) The Ambassador looks forward to meeting with you upon your arrival and is pleased to invite you to stay at the Residence while you are here. Your program includes what we hope will be quality interaction with your Spanish counterparts, extensive media outreach to the top Spanish news outlets, a gathering of thinktankers and Latin Americanists, and a public roundtable forum on U.S. and Spanish approaches to Latin America. Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs Trinidad Jimenez will join you at the roundtable January 9 and will host a lunch in your honor January 8. Spain's Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Soraya Rodriguez, will participate in the lunch, providing an opportunity to discuss improved coordination of our foreign assistance programs. The DCM will host a representational dinner January 8 to include our key Latin American contacts at the leading Spanish thinktanks. Carlos Malamud (Instituto Real Elcano) and Jose Herrera (FAES) among others look forward to welcoming you back to Madrid. One-on-one interviews with Spain's leading print and broadcast media -- and through Cadena SER and Television Espanola to their Western Hemisphere affiliates -- will complete your visit and magnify your messages not just to Spanish publics but throughout Latin America. //BILATERAL RELATIONS// ¶3. (SBU) Spain is an important friend and ally of the U.S. We especially value Spanish cooperation in the fights against terrorism, narcotics, and human trafficking. Spanish troops are carrying out important missions in countries such as Afghanistan and Lebanon. Spain has long fought a domestic terrorist threat from the Basque terrorist group ETA and suffered tragically from Islamic extremist terrorism in the March 2004 Madrid train bombings. We need to be innovative in finding new and improved avenues for bilateral and multilateral cooperation against the threats we both face. It would be worth discussing increased cooperation against Latin American narcotics traffickers. Spain is the principal point of entry for South American cocaine coming to Europe and has a serious domestic drug consumption problem. Since winning a second term in March 2008, President Zapatero has publicly and privately stressed his desire to further improve bilateral relations. The relationship will be of increasing importance when Spain takes over the EU presidency in January ¶2010. After 15 years of rapid economic growth, Spain is now in recession as the result of the end in 2007 of its long housing boom and the international financial crisis. The unaccustomed hard times have hurt support for Zapatero, who has at times tried to place the blame for Spain's difficulties on the United States. XXXXXXXXXXXX ¶11. (SBU) Possible VP Biden Visit - The Spanish press have reported obsessively on the fact that Presidents Bush and Zapatero have not met (Zapatero finally visited the White House during the November 15 G-20 financial summit). They followed closely statements during the presidential campaign by Senators Obama and McCain and their spokesmen about the possibility of meeting with Zapatero. GOS officials made no secret of their satisfaction with the results of our elections, and they may have unrealistic expectations about how soon the new President will visit Spain, or Zapatero Washington. Spanish officials informed reporters recently that Vice President-elect Biden had told Zapatero in a November 17 phone conversation that he would visit Spain shortly after taking office to discuss the global financial crisis. The Vice President-elect also was said to have mentioned the importance the President-elect places on bilateral relations and highlighted the possibility for cooperation on Latin America. We have not heard any confirmation of this from U.S. sources. XXXXXXXXXXXX AGUIRRE