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Viewing cable 05MADRID2478, SPAIN: AMBASSADOR AGUIRRE'S MEETING WITH FM

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MADRID2478 2005-06-28 14:02 2010-12-07 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Madrid
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 002478

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR A/S FRIED AND EUR/WE
NSC FOR NSA HADLEY
DOD FOR OSD/ISP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/28/2015
TAGS: PREL PGOV SP
SUBJECT: SPAIN: AMBASSADOR AGUIRRE'S MEETING WITH FM
MORATINOS

Classified By: Ambassador Eduardo Aguirre; reasons 1.4 (B) and (D)

1. (C) Summary: One day after his June 27 arrival in Spain,
US Ambassador Eduardo Aguirre met with Foreign Minister
Moratinos to lay the groundwork for a new relationship after
a year of difficult relations with the Socialist government,
but also to make clear US concerns about Spanish policy
toward Venezuela and Cuba and the lingering wounds in
Washington over the Zapatero government's harsh rhetoric on
Iraq and US electoral politics last year. Ambassador Aguirre
urged Moratinos to undertake high level public statements to
educate the Spanish public about the government's support for
and active role in Iraq reconstruction and democratization,
despite the withdrawal of Spanish troops. Moratinos took
note of this suggestion, underscoring Spanish financial
support for Iraq reconstruction, training of Iraqi security
forces and assistance in judicial training. Moratinos told
Aguirre he wants to work closely with him to avoid
misperceptions and misunderstandings between the two
countries. END SUMMARY

2. (C) Ambassador Aguirre thanked Moratinos for the warm
welcome he had received already from the Spanish government,
and for the speed in which the Spanish government has enabled
him to get started. Copies of his letters of credence were
accepted upon arrival, enabling his meeting with Moratinos to
focus on substance rather than courtesies. The King had
agreed to include him in a June 29 Ambassadorial credentials
ceremony at the Royal Palace, which opens the door for an
early meeting with President Zapatero. The Ambassador told
Moratinos that this quick start fit with his personal style
and his desire to be active as the face and the voice of
US-Spain relations. Ambassador Aguirre underscored to
Moratinos he plans to engage the Spanish public and press as
well as the government to convey US views and explain US
policies. He said President Bush, NSC Advisor Hadley and
Secretary Rice want him to turn a new, fresh page in the

SIPDIS
relationship, with the Ambassador as the face and voice of
the Administration. The Ambassador invited Moratinos to join
him as a partner in this endeavor.

3. (C) Moratinos welcomed the Ambassador's active approach
and said that the Spanish government had wanted to ensure a
rapid start to his tenure in Madrid. King Juan Carlos
personally decided to include the Ambassador in the
already-scheduled June 29 credentials ceremony for several
other Ambassadors, even though these ceremonies usually take
place at least a month or more after an Ambassador's arrival
in country.

4. (C) Ambassador Aguirre,s arrival, Moratinos said,
provides an opportunity to clear up misperceptions about the
Zapatero government's policies and intentions, which had
taken root after the Spanish troop withdrawal and during the
US electoral campaign. Moratinos wants the US to understand
that the Zapatero government seeks to create an atmosphere
with the US of friendship and collegiality, and would like
Washington to understand that his government is not
anti-American nor ideological in its approach. While lines
of communication were good, particularly after the series of
high level meetings such as Moratinos with Secretary Rice and
Defense Minister Bono with Secretary Rumsfeld, Moratinos
hoped the arrival of a new US Ambassador offered the
opportunity to develop a close dialogue and full cooperation
with the Bush Administration. Moratinos said he had
responded to a Spanish TV reporter's question June 27 about
whether Presidents Bush and Zapatero would meet by saying
that he had offered a broad time frame for a possible meeting
within the tenure of the current Spanish legislature (which
has at least 3 more years to go). Moratinos said he hoped
that relations by then would have improved to such an extent
that such a meeting could be possible.

5. (C) On Venezuela and Cuba, Moratinos worried that our
policy differences had contributed to misperceptions between
Washington and Madrid. He told the Ambassador that Spain
shared U.S. objectives aimed its policies toward results and
deeds. He urged cooperation between Spain and the US on
these and other Latin America issues, which would have a
significant force-multiplying effect. On the positive side,
Moratinos pointed to Spain's full support and leadership role
in Afghanistan as a major positive element in our
relationship. As an example, Moratinos noted Defense
Minister Bono's appearance in the Spanish Parliament June 22
to announce additional troop deployments to support
legislative elections there.

6. (C) Ambassador Aguirre said his focus would be on tangible
results in the relationship and would not measure success by
high-level visits (which he also stressed to the Spanish
press after the meeting). The Ambassador urged Moratinos to
work with him to turn our difficulties over Cuba and
Venezuela into a net positive in our relationship, by
remaining on the same page and avoiding steps that legitimize
and encourage Chavez and Castro.

7. (C) On Iraq, the Ambassador told Moratinos that while the
US had put the troop withdrawal issue behind us, there
remained considerable lingering concern and irritation over
the Zapatero government's rhetoric in the months following
the withdrawal and during the US electoral campaign. This
irritation will not easily dissipate but could be
ameliorated, the Ambassador suggested, by new, positive
public rhetoric by Zapatero and his team emphasizing that
Spain recognizes progress made in Iraq. New Spanish rhetoric
could note that Spain, along with the United States is now
focused on the here and now and the future of Iraq, including
reconstruction, democratization and capacity-building for
Iraqi security forces. Such statements, aimed at educating
the Spanish public about current goals and objectives in Iraq
rather than dwelling on the past, would be noticed and
welcomed in Washington. Moratinos said he would "take good
note" of this advice, underscoring Spain's active role in
providing financial support for reconstruction and
development, training Iraqi security forces and judicial and
related training.

8. (C) Ambassador Aguirre pointed to the Middle East and
North Africa as areas in which the US and Spain shared common
objectives and as ripe for opportunities to work together.
Moratinos agreed, welcoming Secretary Rice's activism in the
region. It would be very useful, Moratinos said, if all of
the players in Washington, the EU and its members, the
Quartet, could unify their messages both to Israel and the
Palestinians. In North Africa, Moratinos said that
competition among the players does not have to be the norm
and that there is space for all, including in the area of
commercial interests such as in oil and natural gas. He
urged the development of a common strategic vision in this
region.

9. (C) In a one-on-one session after the meeting, Moratinos
again underscored to the Ambassador his government's desire
to avoid misunderstandings with the United States and to open
a new chapter in the relationship. The Ambassador said that
he would work toward this end, but would also be frank but
constructive about policy differences.

AGUIRRE