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Cablegate: North Korea; Robert Gates Head of the Us Pentagon;

Published: Tue 19 Dec 2006 07:32 PM
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SUBJECT: NORTH KOREA; ROBERT GATES HEAD OF THE US PENTAGON;
COLOMBIA-ECUADOR; IRAN AND THE HOLOCAUST; 12/19/06
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Today's newspapers carry opinion pieces on the Six-party talks to
address North Korea's nuclear program; Robert Gates taking office as
the new head of the Pentagon; Colombia's conflict with Ecuador; and
Iran's move to question the Holocaust.
2. OPINION PIECES
- "A dispute with little margin for maneuver"
Oscar Raul Cardoso, international analyst of leading "Clarin,"
comments (12/19) "... "The Six-party negotiations seeking to stop
Pyongyang's nuclear development resumed in Beijing yesterday.
"... Two of the actors in this play - North Korea and the US - are
back at the negotiating table with extreme positions and they even
'showed their teeth.'
"... The margin for maneuver is scarce for the remaining countries -
who will try to get Washington and Pyongyang to moderate their
initial tough stances...
"In any case, there is not too much time to improve negotiations.
China, which succeeded in bringing North Korea once again to the
negotiating table, is worried, and some Japanese political sectors
seek a reinterpretation of the Constitution to allow Tokyo to
access a nuclear arsenal.
"As in the case of Iran, although this is less serious, it is not so
much that experts see Pyongyang making effective use of the bomb -
but that its mere existence turned life into a persistent nightmare
and an arms race."
- "Robert Gates already heads Pentagon"
Leonardo Mindez, Washington-based correspondent for leading
"Clarin," writes (12/19) "Donald Rumsfeld is part of history...
Robert Gates is now the head of the Pentagon, and he will try to
rescue the most powerful army in the world from an adventure that
killed tens of thousands of Iraqis and 2,949 US soldiers,
accumulated spending for 400 billions dollars, and whose outcome of
it is still uncertain.
"... Gates is a conservative with common sense. Distancing himself
from the White House's main policy guidelines, he acknowledged
during a confirmation hearing at the US Senate that the US 'is not
winning' the war in Iraq, although he was not as blunt as former
(US) Secretary of State Colin Powell, who said 'we are losing.'
"... But it remains to be seen how much margin of action he will
have when it comes to re-defining the military strategy."
- "The roots"
Pablo Biffi, international columnist of leading "Clarin," writes
(12/19) "The recurring conflict on the Colombian-Ecuadorian border
unveils the problems faced by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe,
despite his attempts to portray himself as triumphant in all
fronts.
"The fact that he again had to fumigate illegal crops with
glyphosate reveals that his policy of manual eradication has failed.
And that in spite of the millions invested, he has not managed to
reduce coca plantations. By blaming the FARC guerrillas, he also
confirms that this area, as many others, is not under real control
of the State.
"Lastly, a clash with Ecuador... always comes in 'handy' when trying
to scare away allegations haunting him about an alleged alliance
between several of his legislators and ultra-rightist paramilitary
groups."
3. EDITORIALS
- "The Iranian regime and the Holocaust"
Daily-of-record "La Nacion" editorializes (12/19) "Iran's
dictatorial and authoritarian regime has just organized a shameful
conference in Tehran with a highly anti-Semitic and racist tone.
During this meeting, some aspects of the horrible Holocaust suffered
by the Jewish people were analyzed with an extreme bias...
"... During the conference, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a
disrespectful radical fanatic, reiterated some of the expressions,
plagued with lies and cynicism that he has already made public on
other occasions regarding the State of Israel. Once again, he
announced that Israel would be 'wiped off the map,' something that
is certainly unacceptable.
"... It should be reminded that Ahmadinejad is 'a strategic ally' of
the Chavez administration, which has not taken due distance from
such an absurd meeting, and this cannot and should not be omitted
either."
To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at:
http://www.state.sqov.gov/p/wha/buenosaires
WAYNE
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