Viewing cable 04MADRID4687, DEPUTY FM LEON ON CUBA, IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN,
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|04MADRID4687||2004-12-13 15:03||2010-12-07 12:12||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Madrid|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 MADRID 004687 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/09/2014 TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM SP SUBJECT: DEPUTY FM LEON ON CUBA, IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, BILATERAL RELATIONS Classified By: Charge Bob Manzanares; reasons 1.5 (B) and (D) XXXXXXXXXXXX //U.S.-SPAIN RELATIONS// ¶7. (C) Leon said that Spain is politically divided at the moment, as demonstrated by the PP's decision to adopt an aggressive posture towards the GOS in hopes of bringing down the government and forcing early elections. He claimed that PP leaders, including former President Aznar and former FM Ana Palacio, were trying to use their contacts in Washington to shape USG opinion against Zapatero. The PP's objective, he said, is to use bilateral friction between the USG and the GOS as part of its campaign to unseat FM Moratinos, and eventually Zapatero. Leon said it was important for USG officials, such as A/S Noriega, to understand that even comments in seemingly innocuous settings can get picked up by the press and have an impact far beyond that intended by the speaker. ¶8. (C) Charge noted that we had been sending an identical message to GOS officials, with mixed success. For example, the visit of King Juan Carlos sent an excellent, positive message regarding the importance of our bilateral relations, but the positive effect had been negated by the simultaneous visit of Venezuelan President Chavez to Madrid. All of the good news from the King's visit was drowned out by three days of Chavez' revolutionary rhetoric and tirades against the USG while standing next to Spanish officials. ¶9. (C) Leon agreed that the Chavez visit had been a public relations failure, adding that the GOS only invited Chavez after months of requests from Chavez. Turning to the King's meeting with President Bush, Leon said that there might be some "misunderstandings" on the part of the USG regarding the GOS. He said that when King Juan Carlos had raised Spain's exclusion from November White House briefings on the Middle East to which other European (G-8) countries had been invited, President Bush, the King said, expressed surprise and reassured the King that Spain would be invited to future such meetings. XXXXXXXXXXXX