Portugal not ready to sacrifice EU-Africa summit


Portugal was prepared to allow President Robert Mugabe to attend the European Union-Africa summit in Lisbon despite protests from other EU members, if this was the price for ensuring that the summit took place.

The EU-Africa summit was a political hot potato that could create a diplomatic row with some EU and African countries.

The British and Dutch had already indicated that they would not attend the summit if Mugabe was invited and there was a likelihood that other EU countries might join them.

Mugabe was likely to use the summit as a platform to thumb his nose at the international community.


Full cable:


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Reference ID





2007-07-16 12:56


Embassy Lisbon



DE RUEHLI #1841/01 1971256


R 161256Z JUL 07







C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 LISBON 001841






E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/13/2017





B. B. LISBON 1148


Classified By: LCLIFTON



1. (C) SUMMARY. In recent meetings with EUR/ERA director Bill

Lucas, Portuguese officials shared their latest thinking on

Lisbon’s agenda for its EU presidency (July ) December

2007). Lisbon has a number of challenges on its plate:

securing final approval of an EU reform treaty; holding an

EU-Africa summit while not exacerbating internal EU tensions

over the question of Robert Mugabe’s participation; and

achieving an expeditious implementation of the Ahtisaari

proposal on Kosovo. It will be a demanding presidency, and

it is not yet clear whether Portugal will have the heft to

drive EU action on some of the key issues in a direction

consistent with U.S. interests.   END SUMMARY.


2. (SBU) EUR/ERA Director Bill Lucas met in Lisbon on June 28

with the directors of the MFA’s regional offices and the next

day met separately with the Prime Minister’s senior

diplomatic advisor, MFA Director for European Institutions

Mario Miranda Duarte, MFA Director for the Americas Helena

Coutinho, and senior Ministry of Economy policymakers. Lucas

was accompanied by EUR/ERA econ deputy Eric Luftman, Portugal

desk officer Kevin Opstrup, and Embassy officials.


U.S. Priorities



3. (SBU) With all his interlocutors, Lucas underscored U.S.

interest in building on strong US-EU cooperation during the

preceding German presidency and highlighted USG priorities in

the economic, political, and Justice and Home Affairs

spheres. On economic issues, Lucas identified the top three

objectives as progress on Doha, concrete deliverables * such

as agreement on accounting standards * for signing at the

first ministerial meeting of the Transatlantic Economic

Council (TEC) this November, and a high-level dialogue on

energy and climate change. On the political front, he

stressed support on Afghanistan and Iraq reconstruction, on

dealing with a newly assertive Russia — including on missile

defense and Kosovo — EU-NATO collaboration on ESDP, Iran,

the Middle East, and Darfur. He noted that now that the

Passenger Name Record agreement is practically done, we must

continue our effort to reach agreement on principles for

sharing sensitive data for law enforcement and

counterterrorism purposes. Lucas also urged Portuguese help

toward member- state ratification of the implementing

instruments for the U.S.-EU Extradition and Mutual Legal

Assistance Treaty.


EU Reform Treaty



4. (C) Mario Miranda Duarte, the MFA’s Director for EU

Institutions, said the mandate for the way forward on the

reform treaty that emerged from the June European Council had

been very clear, and he outlined an ambitious timeline for

finalizing the text. The Portuguese plan to circulate a

draft text at the next General Affairs and External Relations

Committee (GAERC) meeting July 23-24, to allow parties time

to review it during August vacations.   Miranda Duarte added

that Portugal’s ultimate goal is to have leaders endorse a

final text at their informal European Council meeting October

18-19. According to Miranda Duarte, the Portuguese will add

a clause on energy security, a Polish initiative endorsed by

the German presidency.


5. (C) Ministry of Economy (MoE) Deputy Director General (DG)

for Economic Activity Nuno Lucio noted Sarkozy’s insistence

on removal of any reference to “free and undistorted

competition” from the revised EU treaty preamble. Lucio’s

supervisor, DG for Economic Activity Mario Lobo, commented

that the French President “likes to shake things up” by

saying that competition is a means to an end, not an end in

itself. Lobo further remarked that Sarkozy’s removal of the

“free and undistorted competition” wording was “a powerful

message received by all of the EU member states.”





6. (C) The MFA’s Miranda Duarte said the Portuguese

presidency is in the process of developing a joint strategy

with Africa ) covering commerce, good governance, health

issues, and defense/security ) in anticipation of the

EU-Africa summit Portugal hopes to host in December.



LISBON 00001841 002 OF 003



7. (C) Nuno de Mello Bello, the MFA’s Director for Africa,

declined to speculate on Zimbabwean President Mugabe’s

possible participation or on how this might affect other

leaders’ attendance, stating that those decisions would be

made above his level. (Comment: Mello Bello has told us in

previous conversations that Portugal plans to invite European

leaders and the AU would invite African leaders. Although

the Portuguese share our views about Mugabe, they are willing

to allow him to travel to Lisbon, if that is the price for

ensuring the summit occurs. End comment.)





8. (C) Miranda Duarte noted that the idea for the EU-Brazil

Summit came about in part to address the fact that Brazil was

the only BRIC country (Brazil, Russia, India, China) with

which the EU did not have a sustained, institutionalized high

level dialogue.   Helena Coutinho, the MFA’s Americas

Director, added that the EU’s efforts to upgrade relations

with Brazil to a strategic partnership would have a positive

impact on EU discussions with Mercosul.





9. (C) Liliana Araujo, MFA Director for European Affairs,

said Kosovo would obviously be one of Portugal’s top

priorities during the next six months. She noted that

Lisbon’s Special Envoy for the Balkans, Antonio Tanger

Correa, is Ambassador in Vilnius. He travels extensively in

relation to his Balkans responsibilities, and he will

maintain Vilnius for now as his home base. Asked if it was

the Portuguese view that the independence of Kosovo might set

a precedent, Araujo responded that Kosovo was a specific case

at a specific time that Lisbon did not expect to set a

precedent, although she said she expected others to claim

that it would. She suggested that the EU-Russia dynamic was

complicated by the Russian electoral process.


10. (C) Roza de Oliveira, the Prime Minister’s senior

diplomatic advisor, insisted that Russia must be a part of

any solution on Kosovo, and he declined to be drawn out on

what path the EU ought to pursue in the event of a Russian

veto of the draft UN Security Council Resolution.





11. (C) Isabel Pedrosa, MFA Director for the Middle

East/Maghreb, pointed out that Lisbon has appointed two

full-rank Ambassadors to be Special Envoys in the region.

The Portuguese Consul General in Barcelona will serve as

Envoy to the Mediterranean and the Barcelona Process while

the Ambassador in Algeria will serve as Envoy to the Middle

East Peace Process (MEPP). Pedrosa confirmed that PM Jose

Socrates hopes to travel to the Middle East early in the

presidency and added that his agenda will be to try to

advance progress on the key issues by engaging all of the

relevant actors.





12. (C) Gabriela Albergaria, MFA Director for Asian Affairs,

commented that Portugal’s Asia agenda will feature three

summits: with China, India, and the first-ever EU-ASEAN

Summit at the heads of state/heads of government level, but

added that the main focus will be on the first two. The

EU-China Summit will focus on energy/climate change and a

Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA). When asked, she

said there is no political will among the EU member states to

revisit the arms embargo, given the internal lack of

consensus. The agenda for the EU-India Summit will emphasize

science and technology and energy/climate change, although

there also will be exploratory talks on a PCA agreement. The

ASEAN summit, to be held November 22 in Singapore, will be a

largely symbolic event to mark 30 years of dialogue between

the two blocs and will seek to adopt a joint action plan.

Separately, Albergaria noted that Portugal currently is too

stretched to contribute to an ESDP mission in Afghanistan.



——————————————— ———


13. (C) Mario Lobo, the Ministry of Economy’s DG for Economic

Activity, who had recently taken up his position, indicated

that Portugal’s economic priorities are reviewing the EU’s

competition and innovation policy, launching an EU energy

policy with a focus on renewable energy, and refining the


LISBON 00001841 003 OF 003



EU’s market access strategy to better compete in the

globalization of the economy. He also stated that Lisbon

would emphasize boosting economic ties with the countries

with which it will hold summits. Deputy DG Nuno Lucio

expressed frustration that summits between US and EU

officials create expectations that often are not fulfilled

afterwards. Chief of the Energy Policy and Planning Division

Maria Luisa Portugal Basilio emphasized that Lisbon, with an

eye toward meeting the EU’s goal of having 20 percent of its

energy in 2020 derive from alternative and renewable sources,

would concentrate its efforts on linking climate change with

energy issues. The Portuguese urged Washington to work with

Lisbon to meet the 2020 goal.





14. (C) EUR/ERA Director Lucas suggested that Lisbon’s

upcoming summits with Brazil and India would provide good

opportunities to narrow the gap with Brasilia’s and New

Delhi’s positions. Miranda Duarte agreed that would be a top

item on the agendas for those summits.



——————————————— ——-


15. (C) The MoE’s Nuno Lucio observed that the TEC would seem

to replace the US-EU economic ministerial meetings, since, in

Lucio’s view, many of the issues would overlap. He also asked

about the relationship between the TEC and US regulatory

agencies. EUR/ERA Deputy Director Eric Luftman answered that

a key goal of the TEC is to facilitate collaboration between

European authorities and OMB in developing common regulations

for currently unregulated technology sectors, such as

biofuels. Mario Lobo mentioned that Lisbon and Madrid had

recently created a biotechnology partnership and cooperation

with us in this area would be welcome.





16. (C) Portugal intends mostly to shepherd issues inherited

from the German presidency, particularly putting the

finishing touches on the reform treaty, and to be prepared to

react to developments in hot spots such as Kosovo and the

Middle East. At the same time, Lisbon is staking the success

of its presidency in part on the EU-Africa Summit, a

political hot potato that could create a diplomatic row with

at least some EU and/or African countries. While Portugal

appears ready to permit Mugabe’s participation in the face of

British and Dutch opposition, the threat that additional EU

leaders may stay away could weaken Lisbon’s willingness to

allow the Zimbabwean president a platform to thumb his nose

at the international community. More generally, senior

Portuguese officials have expressed their interest in

collaborating closely with us during their presidency, but

Lisbon’s inclination to play facilitator and fair broker on

issues that require more aggressive leadership )- Kosovo and

Russia in particular )) means it will require some bucking

up from us.


17. (U) EUR/ERA Director Lucas cleared this cable.




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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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