Viewing cable 07BRASILIA64, FRANCE MAKES BRAZIL NUMBER ONE IN LATIN AMERICA
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|07BRASILIA64||2007-01-12 17:05||2011-01-18 00:12||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Brasilia|
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C O N F I D E N T I A L BRASILIA 000064 SIPDIS SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/11/2017 TAGS: PREL BR SUBJECT: FRANCE MAKES BRAZIL NUMBER ONE IN LATIN AMERICA Classified By: AMBASSADOR CLIFFORD SOBEL. REASONS: 1.4 (B)(D). ¶1. (C) French Ambassador to Brazil Antoine Pouillieute met with Ambassador Sobel on January 9, 2007 for a surprisingly frank and substantive conversation. Key themes from the meeting are reported below. BRAZIL -- THE NEW FRENCH PRIORITY ¶2. (C) Pouillieute noted that his government has a complicated relationship with Brazil and had recently decided to make Brazil France's largest and most important embassy in Latin America. His government has upgraded its presence in Brazil to 110 French nationals, thereby surpassing the French contingent in Mexico. Some of France's most successful and promising recent endeavors with Brazil have been in the area of military sales, where Pouillieute said the potential for sale of additional future French military equipment (NFI) is quite good. ¶3. (C) Pouillieute commented that the EU's efforts in Brazil are not united and that each EU Country is pursuing its own aims in Brazil separately. He commented that he had little faith in the EU-Mercosul free trade negotiations, confirming that they basically boiled down to what will likely be a biofuels deal. In addition he speculated that even though Venezuela is not yet disruptive to Mercosul, it probably will be in the future and that it is critical to Brazil for Venezuela to become a full member. FOREIGN POLICY ¶4. (C) Regarding broader Brazilian foreign policy issues, France has actually found a way to work within Brazil's stated south-south policy focus, using common interests in Africa as a key foundation. That said, Pouillieute admitted that the French were often frustrated with Brazil: the Brazilians had often been duplicitous, pointing out to African countries that they were natural allies given their common colonial past and reminding these countries that France had once exploited them. The French Ambassador was incredulous that the Brazilians could think that such comments would not eventually get back to the French. Another source of frustration for the French Ambassador is that the Brazilian foreign ministry (MRE) will often sideline some long-planned official French VIP visit to instead focus on some competing visit by a minor African visitor. This baffled Pouillietute. ¶5. (C) Changing topics, Pouillieute said that Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim apparently has planned extensively for transition in Cuba, and knew exactly what Brazil's role would be in post-Castro scenarios on the island (NFI). Pouillieute also offered that there might be room for tripartite cooperation on law enforcement issues. (Note: US LEA's do not currently engage French counterparts on local efforts.) Finally, he expressed his amazement at the lengths Brazil was going to try to cultivate China. Sobel.