INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Can Leaders Meet in Quito

Published: Thu 15 Jun 2006 03:45 PM
VZCZCXYZ0037
OO RUEHWEB
DE RUEHQT #1477 1661545
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151545Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4626
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 5714
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1810
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUN 9892
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 0680
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 0673
UNCLAS QUITO 001477
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EC
SUBJECT: CAN LEADERS MEET IN QUITO
1. (U) Summary: Presidents from Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and
Bolivia met at the Andean Community (CAN) conference in Quito
on June 13 to publicly demonstrate their commitment to the
troubled regional organization, discuss areas for cooperation
with the European Union (EU), and to issue a joint letter
asking the U.S. to extend trade preferences set to expire
this December. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez did not
attend. Palacio and Morales criticized the U.S. for the
eventual lapse of ATPDEA, calling it their just due for
cooperating on narcotrafficking issues. End Summary.
CAN Presidents Meet, Chavez Absent
----------------------------------
2. (U) Andean Community Presidents Alfredo Palacio, Alvaro
Uribe, Alejandro Toledo, and Evo Morales met in Quito on June
13 to reaffirm their nation,s commitment to CAN, agree to
engage the EU on commercial and development issues as a bloc,
and to draft a joint letter asking the U.S. to extend trade
preferences beyond December 2006. Bolivian President Evo
Morales, who assumed the presidency from Palacio, presided
over the event. Notably absent was Venezuelan President Hugo
Chavez, who despite invitations from Palacio and Morales, did
not attend.
3. (SBU) Acting Colombian DCM Rodrigo Burgos told PolOff on
June 14 that the principal objective of the meeting, in light
of Venezuela,s decision to leave CAN, was to publicly
demonstrate their nation,s commitment to the organization.
He said that the meeting was positive overall, and should
help the organization move beyond recent controversies.
Burgos confessed that there was considerable concern and
debate over how the U.S. would react to the joint letter, and
confirmed reports of tension between Toledo and Morales. He
said that Colombia will not likely pass the FTA before
January or February 2007, and would benefit from extension.
ATPDEA is Our Right!
--------------------
4. (U) Bolivian President Evo Morales reportedly said that
Andean countries had assumed responsible roles in the fight
against narcotrafficking, and that the U.S. should not use
ATPDEA as a form of political control nor to force their
governments to privatize natural resources. Palacio weighed
in, reportedly calling the trade preferences Ecuador,s
"moral, economic, and social" right for their efforts against
narcotraffickering, and reissued his plea for the U.S. to
return to free trade talks.
Joint Declaration
-----------------
5. (U) CAN Presidents issued a joint declaration affirming
each country's commitment to regional integration and
development based on sound democratic and social principles.
The Quito Declaration also voiced CAN's desire to enter an
Agreement of Association with the European Union, which would
include a commercial agreement and grater cooperation on a
range of unspecified issues. They reaffirmed CAN,s
commitment to fight narcotrafficking and terrorism, and to
address structural causes for migration, poverty, and social
exclusion, among other tings.
6. (U) CAN leaders also drafted and signed a letter asking
for the renewal of ATPDEA trade preferences for the region,
which Colombian President Uribe reportedly presented to
President Bush today in Washington. The letter stresses the
importance of the U.S. market to CAN countries and asked that
it be extended until Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador conclude
free trade agreements (or ratification) with the US. Toledo,
who expects that the FTA will pass the Peruvian Congress
soon, declined to be included in the petition, choosing
instead to note Peruvian solidarity for the measure.
JEWELL
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media