INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: New Spanish Government to Increase Aid

Published: Wed 12 May 2004 10:47 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS MADRID 001691
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
USAID FOR LAC
STATE FOR EUR/WE AND EB/IRAQ
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PINR PGOV IZ SP
SUBJECT: NEW SPANISH GOVERNMENT TO INCREASE AID
1. This report is sensitive but unclassified and is not for
Internet distribution.
2. (U) In an initial courtesy call on new Secretary General
for the Spanish International Aid Agency (AECI) Juan Pablo de
Laiglesia, de Laiglesia laid out the new Socialist
government's vision for Spanish aid policy. Top on the
Administration's list is increasing aid funding from the
current level of 0.24% of GDP. The GOS hopes to reach 0.3%
of GDP by 2005, 0.5% by 2008 and finally 0.7 - the EU's goal
- by 2012. AECI hopes to increase its share of total GOS aid
from the current 17% to 25%. While the Administration plans
to continue Spain's traditional focus on the Latin American
and Mediterranean regions, de Laiglesia told us that
additional funding will be directed toward Africa as well as
"horizontal" (cross-cutting) issues such as health and
support for microbusinesses. De Laiglesia also mentioned
that AECI will support Brazilian President da Silva's
anti-hunger initiative.
3. (U) AECI leadership plans to restructure the agency to
meet its new goals. Specifically, de Laiglesia mentioned
streamlining and professionalizing AECI staff, strengthening
offices working on horizontal issues, and improving the
agency's ability to monitor and evaluate projects. He also
referred to two objectives laid out by the new State
Secretary for Cooperation, Leire Pajin - to integrate aid
SIPDIS
policy into traditional foreign policy priorities (Note: the
Zapatero government changed the MFA's name to the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and Cooperation) and to reduce tied aid.
IRAQ
4. (U) EconCouns told de Laiglesia we were pleased to see
that the new Administration has promised to carry through on
the pledge Spain made at last October's Iraq Donors'
Conference. De Laiglesia confirmed that is the case, but
added that factors on the ground in Iraq will determine how
much funding can actually be disbursed in the short-term. He
specifically mentioned the need for a "sovereign government"
to which concessional credits for reconstruction can be
issued and the difficult security situation that has led to
suspension of certain AECI actions in Iraq, particularly
around Diwaniya. He confirmed that Spain's mix of assistance
(credits, humanitarian aid, reconstruction funding, etc.) can
be modified if on-the-ground conditions require.
LATIN AMERICA
5. (U) Finally, de Laiglesia confirmed AECI's interest in
coordinating with USAID at both agency and mission levels on
projects and actions in Latin America.
COMMENT
6. (U) Under the previous Administration, AECI and USAID's
LAC bureau held periodic consultations on aid to Latin
America. Embassy stands ready to facilitate USAID dialogue
with the new AECI leadership.
BIO NOTE
7. (SBU) De Laiglesia is a career diplomat. He served as
Spain's Ambassador to Mexico from 1995-1997 and Ambassador to
Poland from 1997-2001. Most recently, he was Special Envoy
for Coastal Issues. We anticipate he will play a significant
role on aid issues, since the head of the AECI, Leire Pajin,
is a career Socialist politician who has never served in
government.
MANZANARES
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