US embassy cable - 86MADRID4272

SPAIN RECALLS AMBASSADOR FROM LIBYA IN - RESPONSE TO QADHAFI'S THREATS

Identifier: 86MADRID4272
Wikileaks: View 86MADRID4272 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Madrid
Created: 1986-04-11 17:14:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL MARR SP LY
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 111714Z APR 86
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7698
NATO COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
INFO EUROPEAN POLADS COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY ALGIERS
AMEMBASSY CAIRO
AMEMBASSY RABAT
AMEMBASSY TUNIS
C O N F I D E N T I A L MADRID 04272 
 
E.O. 12356:  DECL:  OADR 
TAGS:  PREL, MARR, SP, LY 
SUBJECT:  SPAIN RECALLS AMBASSADOR FROM LIBYA IN 
-         RESPONSE TO QADHAFI'S THREATS 
 
REF:  A) MADRID 3838, B) MADRID 3703 
 
1.  (U) THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCED APRIL 10 THAT 
IT IS "RECALLING" ITS AMBASSADOR TO TRIPOLI FOLLOWING 
QADHAFI'S RENEWED THREAT THE DAY BEFORE TO ATTACK U.S. 
FACILITIES IN SPAIN. 
 
2.  (C) THE MFA DESK OFFICER FOR LIBYA, JOSE MARIA 
VALDEMORO, TELLS US THAT AMB. PEIDRO WAS IN FACT 
ALREADY HERE ON VACATION WHEN THE DECISION TO RECALL 
HIM WAS TAKEN.  MFA WILL RETAIN HIM "A FEW EXTRA 
DAYS" TO DRIVE HOME ITS MESSAGE.  NO DECISION HAS 
BEEN TAKEN ON WHEN HE MAY RETURN TO LIBYA.  IN THE 
ABSENCE OF LIBYAN CHARGE NAKAA, THE MINISTRY 
CONVOKED THE PEOPLES' BUREAU'S NUMBER TWO ON APRIL 
9 TO RECEIVE A PROTEST.  IN REJECTING QADHAFI'S 
THREATS, MFA NOTED THAT U.S. FACILITIES IN SPAIN ARE 
GOVERNED BY A BILATERAL ACCORD WHICH WOULD PREVENT 
THEIR USE AGAINST LIBYA.  THE LIBYAN DIPLOMAT RESPONDED 
THAT HIS COUNTRY HAS EXPERIENCE OF U.S. BASES FROM 
KING IDRIS' DAYS; THE U.S. DID NOT ASK PERMISSION 
FOR PROHIBITED MISSIONS THEN AND WOULD NOT DO SO IN 
THE CASE OF SPAIN.  THE PEOPLES' BUREAU PRESS 
SPOKESMAN HAS TRIED TO DOWNPLAY QADHAFI'S THREATS, 
INSISTING THAT THEY ARE DIRECTED AGAINST AMERICAN 
BASES AND NOT SPANIARDS.  THIS LINE HAS NOT PROVED 
CONVINCING, HOWEVER, SINCE REPORTERS HAVE NOTED 
THAT GOS FORCES SHARE THE BASES USED BY THE UNITED STATES. 
- 
3.  (C) COMMENT.  THE TIMING OF QADHAFI'S RENEWED 
THREAT WAS SOMETHING OF A PERSONAL EMBARRASSMENT FOR 
FOREIGN MINISTER ORDONEZ.  THE LATTER HAD APPEARED IN 
CTFGRESS THAT SAME DAY TO ANSWER AN INTERPELLATION 
ABOUT THE LIBYAN MENACE TO SPAIN.  ORDONEZ REPORTED 
THAT THE LIBYAN CHARGE HAD EXPRESSED REGRET OVER AN 
EARLIER QADHAFI THREAT, WHICH THE CHARGE ALLEGED HAD BEEN 
DISTORTED, OVERPLAYED AND TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT. 
THIS EPISODE HAS AGAIN DRIVEN HOME TO THE SPANISH 
THAT QADHAFI IS MERCURIAL AND HIS GOVERNMENT'S 
ASSURANCES ARE UNRELIABLE.  THAT IS NOT TO SAY, 
HOWEVER, THAT THE SPANISH HAVE CONCLUDED THE ONLY 
WAY TO DEAL WITH QADHAFI IS TO CONFRONT HIM.  THE 
PREVAILING ATTITUDE STILL SEEMS TO BE THAT IT IS 
BEST NOT TO ATTRACT QADHAFI'S ANGER. 
 
 
ENDERS 

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