Viewing cable 04MADRID1731, DCM'S MEETING WITH MFA STATE SECRETARY BERNARDINO
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|04MADRID1731||2004-05-13 15:03||2010-12-07 21:09||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Madrid|
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C O N F I D E N T I A L MADRID 001731 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/12/2014 TAGS: PREL PGOV SP SUBJECT: DCM'S MEETING WITH MFA STATE SECRETARY BERNARDINO LEON REF: STATE 89241 Classified By: POLITICAL COUNSELOR KATHLEEN M. FITZPATRICK FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) and (D) ¶1. (C) DCM paid an initial call May 10 on MFA State Secretary Bernadino Leon, who said this was his first meeting SIPDIS with a foreign embassy since taking office. Leon made a point of saying that the new government wanted to have excellent relations with the U.S., especially on counter-terrorism in light of March 11. He said Spain likely would increase its Euro corps presence in Afghanistan and he expressed optimism that Spain would agree to a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) (but said the decision was still pending at MOD). DCM mentioned our desire for 500-800 more troops; Leon demurred on numbers, saying likely would not be that high, and the exact count had not yet been determined. ¶2. (C) Leon also said Spain was considering sending a Guardia Civil/police contingent to Haiti to help train the police and contribute to democratization there. He said MFA felt that would be Spain's most useful contribution, rather than peacekeeping forces. He also offered Spain's help on economic issues in the lead up to the US-EU summit. ¶3. (C) DCM noted our desire, now that we have expressed our disappointment on the Iraq troop withdrawal decision, to move forward to continue our excellent relations with Spain under the new government. DCM said U.S. would welcome support in the EU on counter-terrorism issues such as Passenger Name recognition and terrorist financing. DCM also noted that he thought that positive steps on Afghanistan, along the lines Leon foreshadowed, would likely be very well received in Washington. ¶4. (C) Noting that Iran was another area of cooperation between the US and Spain, with Spain chair of the IAEA board of governors, DCM said our experts on Iran were ready and willing to come to Madrid to brief the new government. Leon said Zapatero specifically wanted to maintain the good ties that Aznar had with Khattami, saying that Spain could be useful in this regard. ¶5. (C) On Iraq/UNSC resolution, Leon reconfirmed that Spain was not pursuing a parallel draft with France and Germany, but noted Spain could be helpful with these two countries as discussion progressed, as well as with the Latin Americans now on the UNSC (Chile and Mexico). He averred that Spain would adopt a "completely cooperative" approach on this issue. ¶6. (C) Leon noted his personal affinity with the U.S. He said his grandmother was an American citizen (from Baltimore, of a shipping family called Bevan, sent to Malaga on business and remained in Spain). Also present at the meeting was Rafael Descaller who essentially will have the number three post at the MFA. Descaller mentioned his very favorable experience as a Fullbright scholar at Stanford. Descallar also mentioned Latin America as another are of common U.S.-Spanish interest. Leon agreed that he and DCM should maintain a regular dialogue and open lines of communication. ¶7. (C) DCM also took the opportunity to ask about Spain's plans regarding its Embassy in Iraq after June 30 (reftel). Leon replied that the GOS might consider elevating the Spanish Charge to the rank of Ambassador. Leon said he would take this under consideration. ¶8. (C) At the close of the meeting, Leon noted that difficult issues like the Couso case (the Spanish cameraman killed during gunfire in the Palestine Hotel incident last year and a major cause celebre here), would have to be dealt with but could wait until an appropriate time. He reiterated his desire for open contacts and said he wanted to invite DCM to lunch in the near future. ¶9. (C) Comment: Leon's professed desire for good relations with the U.S. echoes sentiments we have heard from many in the new government -- and also parallels the lack of specific details on concrete cooperation. MANZANARES