Cable reference id: #09MADRID393

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Reference id aka Wikileaks id #202801  ? 

SubjectSpain: Senator Mel Martinez Meetings With Deputy Fm Lossada And Mod Secgen Cuesta
OriginEmbassy Madrid (Spain)
Cable timeFri, 17 Apr 2009 08:31 UTC
References09MADRID383, 09MADRID392
Referenced by09MADRID440
  • Time unknown: Original unredacted version, leaked to Wikileaks
  • Thu, 1 Sep 2011 23:24: Original unredacted version published, with HTML goodies

DE RUEHMD #0393/01 1070831
P 170831Z APR 09
Hide header
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 MADRID 000393



E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/28/2019
TAGS: MOPS [Military Operations], OREP [U.S. Congressional Travel], PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs], PREL [External Political Relations], SP [Spain; Balearic Islands; Canary Islands; Mallorca]

REF: A. (A) MADRID 383
B. (B) MADRID 392

MADRID 00000393 001.2 OF 004

Classified By: Charge D’Affaires Arnold Chacon for reasons 1.4 (b) and

¶1. (C) SUMMARY. Senator Martinez met with Acting Foreign
Minister Angel Lossada and MOD Secretary General of Defense
Policy Luis Cuesta on Wednesday, April 15. Interlocutors
confirmed Spain’s plan to send a 450-member battalion to help
support the Afghan August elections, contribute 5 million
euros to elections funding, contribute a one-time four
million payment to the ANA trust fund, and send 40 Guardia
Civil to assist with police training, along with other types
of assistance. Lossada said that Spain was still exploring
the legal questions to determine what was possible under
Spanish law with regard to transfer of Camp X-Ray detainees.
With regard to the Spanish National Court’s universal
jurisdiction case against six former U.S. officials, Lossada
said that the GOS advised through its Attorney General that
it did not support the proceedings, but that given the
independence of the court, the executive branch could not
close the case. Cuesta said that Spain was developing
specific proposals for adjustments to the U.S.-Spain
Agreement on Defense Cooperation (ADC) to be discussed during
high-level talks on the margins of Defense Minister Chacon’s
meeting with Secretary Gates in June. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (U) Senator Mel Martinez, accompanied by Charge and
Poloff, met with Acting Foreign Minister Angel Lossada and
MOD Secretary General of Defense Policy Luis Cuesta on
Wednesday, April 15. With Deputy FM Lossada, Martinez
discussed his work to ensure the continuing progress of the
U.S.-Spain Council and increase the participation level.


¶3. (C) Asked about Spain’s renewed commitment to
Afghanistan, Lossada said that Spain recognized the
importance of the international community pulling together in
a multilateral effort. Stressing that Afghan “ownership” of
solutions was the key to future stability, Lossada said that
backsliding on security gains was a real concern. He said
that Spain believed it was critically important that Afghan
public opinion evolve to a different perception of
international involvement. According to Lossada, more effort
needed to go into community liaison with localities and
village administrators to counter perceptions that foreign
troops were “invaders” imposing their will. To that end,
Spain would emphasize development cooperation and shared
ideas that linked civilian-military-economic-social
development goals in combination. Recognizing that the
August elections were essential to achieve credible political
representation, Lossada said that Spain would send a
battalion of 450 troops for the elections period. He also
said that Spain would send 40 Guardia Civil, noting that
Spain believed the police training should focus on rural
areas. Lossada confirmed that Spain would contribute 5
million euros for the Afghan elections and 4 million euros
for the ANA trust fund. Lossada said Spain would also
provide agricultural support for Afghanistan, with an
emphasis on crop substitution.

¶4. (C) Cuesta confirmed the details shared by Lossada. He
also said the Spanish were impressed by the explanation of
the U.S. strategy review at the Strasbourg Summit, noting
that Spain had pressed for many of the points during the last
three years — “Afghanization”, more comprehensive plans
focused on sustainable development, better coordination among
the international community and more involvement by the
neighbors. Spain had appointed a Special Envoy to
Afghanistan and Pakistan, Rafael Mendivil Peydro, as
Ambassador Holbrooke’s counterpart. Cuesta specifically
called for strong “political” control of NATO operations to
ensure that, “military operations don’t destroy the good will
of the local population and derail our ultimate strategic
goals.” He also said that Spain would work with allies to
set achievable targets, adding that it was important to

MADRID 00000393 002.2 OF 004

involve Iran. Cuesta said that Iran’s interest in narcotics
interdictions created an opportunity for cooperation. He
believed Iran might consider allowing NATO to transfer forces
or equipment across Iranian territory and it was ready to be,
“part of the solution rather than part of the problem.”
Senator Martinez agreed that the situation in Pakistan was
problematic and a comprehensive approach offered the best
chance of success. He emphasized that the allies needed to
be realistic about the need to ensure a long-term security
presence to support Afghan development, adding that “everyone
needs to contribute generously to the combined effort.”


¶5. (C) Senator Martinez and Charge conveyed our deep
concern over a universal jurisdiction case in which a Spanish
NGO requested that the Spanish National Court indict six Bush
Administration officials for creating a legal framework that
allegedly permitted torture. Martinez noted that the
prosecutions would neither be understood nor accepted in the
U.S. and would have an enormous impact on the bilateral
relationship. Martinez also asked if the Spanish government
had thoroughly considered the source of the material on which
the allegations were based to ensure the charges were not
based on misinformation or factually wrong statements.
Lossada said that, as he discussed with Deputy Secretary
Steinberg during their April 7 meeting, President Zapatero
was focused on intensified cooperation with the U.S.
Moreover, Zapatero envisioned a close, personal relationship
with President Obama in the future. Lossada explained that
the National Court had broad jurisdiction for universal
justice and that there was no political influence on the
judicial process. The only input from the Zapatero
administration was to have the Attorney General advise the
courts of the government position. While the government was
not supportive of the universal jurisdiction case, it had no
authority, the final decision rested with the presiding

¶6. (C) Lossada noted that many countries including Rwanda,
China, Argentina, El Salvador, Israel and Guatemala had faced
similar investigations. Asked by the Charge about comments
reportedly made to the Israelis that the Spanish government
planned to curtail via legislation universal jurisdiction,
Lossada said that a change was “being reflected upon,” but
that there was no immediate action planned — a broad range
of Spanish interests were involved and the consensus-building
process would take much time. Senator Martinez noted that
the case appeared to be politically motivated, as well as
built on inaccuracies and misinformation; where were the
checks and balances of Spanish governance to ensure that one
judge could not express personal opinion through the judicial
process? Lossada responded that the GOS recognized all of
the complications presented by universal jurisdiction, but
that the independence of the judiciary and the process must
be respected. The GOS would use all appropriate legal tools
in the matter. While it didn’t have much margin to operate,
it would advise the Attorney General that the official
administration position was that the GOS was “not in accord
with the National Court.” He reiterated that the executive
branch of government could not close any judicial
investigation. Lossada urged that this case not affect the
overall relationship, adding that our interests were much
broader, and that the universal jurisdiction case should not
be viewed as a reflection of the GOS position. NOTE: During
an April 16 public address, Spanish Attorney General
Conde-Pumpido said that his office would not support the
judicial action. See reftel B for more details. END NOTE.


¶7. (U) Thanking Lossada for Spain’s willingness to consider
the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo’s Camp X-Ray,
Martinez asked about next steps. Lossada said that Spain was

MADRID 00000393 003.2 OF 004

exploring the legal questions to determine what was possible
under Spanish law. Pursuant to Lossada’s meeting with Deputy
Secretary Steinberg when Lossada seemed unclear about
specific provisions, Charge shared another copy of
information provided to EU officials detailing answers to 18
questions about detainee transfer and release.


¶8. (C) Secretary General of Defense Policy Cuesta expressed
satisfaction with “excellent overall military relations”
noting that Spain had steadfastly supported U.S. operations
in Spain since 1953. Cuesta suggested that the U.S.
benefitted rather more than Spain from the bilateral
Agreement on Defense Cooperation (ADC) given the heavy use
the U.S. made of Spanish bases at Rota and Moron, but noted
this could be balanced by other polQcal factors. He
expressed some doubt as to whether the benefits of the ADC to
the U.S. were fully appreciated in the U.S. and noted that
Spain was developing specific proposals for minor adjustments
to the ADC to be discussed during high-level talks on the
margins of Defense Minister Chacon’s meeting with Secretary
Gates in June. Senator Martinez said he would be sure to
highlight Spain’s contributions to his colleagues on the
Senate Armed Services Committee and that there was no U.S.
intention to overlook Spain’s importance — perhaps the
overall smooth functioning of the relationship meant that
defense cooperation might not be front page news, but it was
never taken for granted. Martinez also told Cuesta that he
hoped to see Defense Minister Chacon when she visited
Washington and that if she was interested, he could organize
a meeting with his Senate colleagues.

¶9. (C) Cuesta also told Martinez that Spain wanted to
ensure that the U.S. maintained full transparency in the U.S.
Air Force aerial refueling tanker procurement process.
Senator Martinez said there had been tremendous oversight to
ensure transparency and that decisions would be driven by
cost and price. He also noted that the DOD procurement
process was being revised and that Cuesta could expect a
refueling tanker solution in the next few months. He also
noted that a new litoral combat ship under consideration
might be an asset adaptable to asymmetrical threats
encountered by the Spanish and other allies.


10 (C) When Senator Martinez asked his views on missile
defense, Cuesta said that Spain viewed NATO security as
indivisible, but that defense systems must be coordinated in
a transparent manner with Russia, despite Russian
recalcitrance. He also said that Spain’s participation in
expensive missile defense systems would need to be
rationalized. The architecture of any defensive shield would
need the flexibility that some nations could contribute with
existing resources or means other than financial inputs.
Citing Poland and the Czech Republic as examples, Cuesta said
that any new NATO members would need to be security providers
since, “we don’t need to import any more problems,”
According to Cuesta, “the Cold War is over and those
countries are still fighting over old Cold War issues.”
Martinez noted that proliferation concerns go beyond the
interests of any one country and that Russian ambitions and
attempts to maintain old spheres of influence were a
continuing threat- as evidenced by Georgia. Russia was
dragging the past into the future through aggression.


¶11. (C) Lossada was interested in Senator Martinez’ review
of recent U.S. policy changes regarding Cuba. Juan Carlos
Sanchez, MFA Director General for IberoAmerica, who
accompanied Lossada along with MFA Deputy Director General
for North America Fernando Prieto, agreed that in Cuba, there

MADRID 00000393 004.2 OF 004

were no clear prospects for near term change. He said that
Spain would continue to engage in modest cooperation projects
geared at fomenting change over the long term. Senator
Martinez noted that Cuba had a window of opportunity to
respond in a positive manner to U.S. openings. Martinez also
noted that under the new Spanish “Historic Memory Law” that
allows descendants of Spanish citizens who fled during the
Civil War to apply for citizenship, a significant number of
Cubans would be eligible. Lossada agreed and said that yes,
a large number of applications were anticipated and the GOS
would work to implement the law as enacted, regardless of the
numbers – an eligible citizen was an eligible citizen
regardless of where they had been living most recently.”

¶12. (U) Senator Martinez cleared this cable.