US embassy cable - 02ROME2551

ALEMANNO TO SEMBLER: LESS OPEN ON BIOTECH

Identifier: 02ROME2551
Wikileaks: View 02ROME2551 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Rome
Created: 2002-05-24 15:28:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: EAGR ECON IT PREL TBIO ECON IT PREL TBIO ECON IT PREL TBIO WTOEAGR WTOEAGR WTO
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
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 03 ROME 002551 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCIENCE ADVISOR NEUREITER, EUR FOR EUR/WE AND 
EUR/ERA FOR HEN-NIL, EB FOR GADSDEN AND EB/TPP/ATT FOR 
PEREZ, E FOR SHUB, OES A/S TURNER, STATE PASS USTR FOR 
STROJE AND NOVELLI, STATE USDA FOR O/S HEGWOOD, FAS/OA 
TERPSTRA AND SLUTSKY, ITP SHEIK, MACKE, AND EJONES, 
FAS/FAA/WILSON, AND FAS/OPD BLU, NSC FOR EDSON 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        ROME  02551  01 OF 03  241547Z 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/24/2012 
TAGS: EAGR, ECON, IT, PREL, TBIO, ECON, IT, PREL, TBIO, ECON, IT, PREL, TBIO, WTOEAGR, WTOEAGR, WTO 
SUBJECT: ALEMANNO TO SEMBLER: LESS OPEN ON BIOTECH 
 
REF: A. ROME 1457 
 
     B. ROME 1697 
     C. ROME 1726 
     D. ROME 1965 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: AMBASSADOR SEMBLER FOR REASONS 1.5 (B AND D) 
 
1.  (SBU)  SUMMARY.  AMBASSADOR MET MAY 17 WITH ITALIAN 
MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE ALEMANNO TO DELIVER SECRETARY 
VENEMAN'S LETTER ON ALEMANNO'S BIOTECH WHITE PAPER AND LAY 
THE GROUNDWORK FOR THE MAY 27 MEETING BETWEEN PRESIDENT 
BUSH AND PRIME MINISTER BERLUSCONI.  ALEMANNO INDICATED 
THAT HIS POSITION ON AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY IS LESS 
OPEN TODAY THAN WHEN HE AND THE AMBASSADOR MET LAST 
JANUARY.  THERE APPEARS TO BE A SMALL OPPORTUNITY FOR 
COLLABORATIVE BIOTECH RESEARCH.  THE EMBASSY WILL CONTINUE 
TO WORK WITH MINAG STAFF TO SECURE ALEMANNO'S SUPPORT FOR 
AN AGREEMENT ON COLLABORATIVE BIOTECH RESEARCH THAT COULD 
FREE OTHER MINISTRIES TO WORK MORE ACTIVELY WITH US. 
 
2.  (C)  COMMENT.  AS PREVIOUSLY REPORTED, ALEMANNO 
CONTINUES TO AVOID AN OPEN AND HONEST DEBATE ON THE MERITS 
OF AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY.  HE CONTINUES TO TRY TO 
SECURE A PRE-DETERMINED OUTCOME BEFORE OTHER COMPETING 
POINTS OF VIEW WITHIN THE GOI CAN EFFECTIVELY WEIGH-IN. 
VARIOUS AND CONTRADICTORY MOTIVES ARE ASCRIBED TO 
ALEMANNO'S POSITION ON BIOTECH, FROM A ROMANTIC VIEW OF 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        ROME  02551  01 OF 03  241547Z 
ITALIAN AGRICULTURE, TO PANDERING TO CONSUMER SENTIMENTS 
AND POPULIST POLITICS.  WHATEVER HIS UNDERLYING 
CONVICTIONS, WE ARE NOT GOING TO GET ANYWHERE ARGUING THE 
MERITS OF BIOTECHNOLOGY WITH HIM.  RATHER, THE WAY TO ROLL 
BACK HIS MOMENTUM IS BY CONTINUING TO HELP OTHER VOICES 
WITHIN THE AN PARTY, BERLUSCONI'S BROADER COALITION, AND 
ITALIAN SOCIETY WHO WANT TO TALK THROUGH THE ISSUES ON THE 
MERITS. SUCH A COALITION OF LIKE-MINDED, OR AT LEAST 
OPEN-MINDED, ADVOCATES OF BIOTECHNOLOGY AND SCIENCE-BASED 
DECISION MAKING CAN PROVIDE A COUNTERWEIGHT TO THE 
COALITION OF STRANGE BEDFELLOWS THAT ALEMANNO HAS BEEN 
RIDING TO THIS POINT.  PM BERLUSCONI AND DEPUTY PM FINI CAN 
ALSO MODERATE ALEMANNO'S INTENTIONS, BUT IF, AND ONLY IF, 
THEY ARE CONVINCED THEY NEED TO FOCUS THEIR ATTENTION ON 
THE ISSUE.  END COMMENT AND SUMMARY. 
 
3.  (SBU)  AMBASSADOR SEMBLER MET AGMINISTER ALEMANNO ON 
MAY 17 TO DELIVER SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE VENEMAN'S LETTER 
TO ALEMANNO ON THE AGMIN'S PAPER ON BIOTECHNOLOGY ENTITLED 
"TRANSGENIC ORGANISMS AND AGRICULTURE: A TIME FOR CHOICES:, 
AND TO SEEK A WAY FORWARD ON BIOTECHNOLOGY IN ADVANCE OF 
THE MAY 27 MEETING BETWEEN PRESIDENT BUSH AND PRIME 
MINISTER BERLUSCONI.  AMBASSADOR SEMBLER EMPHASIZED THE 
SECRETARY'S CONCERNS THAT THE ALEMANNO PAPER IS UNBALANCED 
 
SIPDIS 
AND RELIES ON ARGUMENTS WITHOUT SCIENTIFIC FOUNDATION.  HE 
ASKED ALEMANNO FOR HIS SUPPORT OF UNDER SECRETARY GIANNI 
LETTA'S (SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRIME MINISTER) IDEA TO 
DEVELOP A COOPERATIVE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AGREEMENT ON 
BIOTECHNOLOGY, SIMILAR TO THE BILATERAL AGREEMENT ON 
CLIMATE CHANGE, AS A WAY FORWARD ON AGRICULTURAL 
BIOTECHNOLOGY.  A BUSH-BERLUSCONI ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF SUCH AN 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        ROME  02551  01 OF 03  241547Z 
AGREEMENT COULD THEN BE A BASIS FOR MINISTER ALEMANNO'S 
MEETING WITH SECRETARY VENEMAN IN JUNE DURING THE WORLD 
FOOD SUMMIT AT FAO.  (COMMENT: WE UNDERSTAND THE WHITE 
HOUSE DOES NOT WISH ANY BILATERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS.  A QUIET 
AGREEMENT TO DEVELOP AN ANNEX TO THE EXISTING BILATERAL S&T 
AGREEMENT MAY BE MORE APPROPRIATE.  WE WILL INVESTIGATE 
THIS POSSIBILITY.  END COMMENT.) 
 
4.  (SBU)  ADDRESSING THE TIMING OF THE WHITE PAPER, 
ALEMANNO INDICATED THAT IT WOULD BE NECESSARY TO CONSULT 
WITH REGIONAL GOVERNMENTS AND THE TAVOLA AGROALIMENTARE 
(THE GOVERNMENT'S FOOD INDUSTRY ADVISORY GROUP) PRIOR TO 
SUBMITTING THE DOCUMENT TO EITHER THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS 
OR THE PARLIAMENT FOR DEBATE.  THE TAVOLA AGROALIMENTARE IS 
SCHEDULED TO DISCUSS THE PAPER ON JUNE 4.  (COMMENT: WE 
LEARNED SUBSEQUENTLY THAT ALEMANNO HAD SENT THE THIRD 
VERSION OF HIS WHITE PAPER TO THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES ON 
MAY 16 AND TO THE SENATE ON MAY 17.  BOTH ARE CLOSED THIS 
WEEK FOR LOCAL ELECTIONS.  END COMMENT.) 
 
5.  (SBU)  ON THE SUBSTANCE OF THE WHITE PAPER, ALEMANNO 
EXPLAINED THAT HIS POSITION ON BIOTECHNOLOGY HAD BECOME 
LESS OPEN SINCE HE AND THE AMBASSADOR LAST MET (JANUARY 22, 
2002) BECAUSE OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC EVENTS THAT HAVE SINCE 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ8283 
 
PAGE 01        ROME  02551  02 OF 03  241547Z 
ACTION EUR-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AGRE-00  AID-00   AIT-03   AMAD-00  ACQ-00 
      CEA-01   CIAE-00  COME-00  CTME-00  DODE-00  DOTE-00  PERC-00 
      SRPP-00  DS-00    EB-00    EXIM-01  E-00     FAAE-00  VC-00 
      FRB-00   HHS-01   H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   ITC-01   L-00 
      VCE-00   AC-01    NSAE-00  OES-01   OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00 
      PM-00    PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    SSO-00   SS-00 
      STR-00   TRSE-00  T-00     USIE-00  EPAE-00  PMB-00   DSCC-00 
      DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00     /014W 
                  ------------------B38537  241547Z /38 
P 241528Z MAY 02 
FM AMEMBASSY ROME 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3906 
NSC WASHDC PRIORITY 
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE 
AMEMBASSY VATICAN 
AMCONSUL FLORENCE 
AMCONSUL MILAN 
AMCONSUL NAPLES 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 ROME 002551 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCIENCE ADVISOR NEUREITER, EUR FOR EUR/WE AND 
EUR/ERA FOR HEN-NIL, EB FOR GADSDEN AND EB/TPP/ATT FOR 
PEREZ, E FOR SHUB, OES A/S TURNER, STATE PASS USTR FOR 
STROJE AND NOVELLI, STATE USDA FOR O/S HEGWOOD, FAS/OA 
TERPSTRA AND SLUTSKY, ITP SHEIK, MACKE, AND EJONES, 
FAS/FAA/WILSON, AND FAS/OPD BLU, NSC FOR EDSON 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        ROME  02551  02 OF 03  241547Z 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/24/2012 
TAGS: EAGR, ECON, IT, PREL, TBIO, WTO 
SUBJECT: ALEMANNO TO SEMBLER: LESS OPEN ON BIOTECH 
 
TAKEN PLACE IN ITALY.  HE EXPLAINED THAT ITALY'S LARGEST 
AND STRONGEST FARMERS' ORGANIZATION, COLDIRETTI, HAS MADE 
CLEAR ITS OPPOSITION TO BIOTECHNOLOGY AND HAS "CEMENTED A 
STRONG FRONT WITH ALL OF ITALY'S CONSUMER ORGANIZATIONS AND 
ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS".  THEIR STRENGTH WAS "CLEARLY SHOWN" 
IN THE DEMONSTRATION THEY HELD IN FRONT OF MONSANTO'S 
FACILITY IN LODI ON APRIL 20, ALEMANNO ASSERTED.  ACCORDING 
TO ALEMANNO, COLDIRETTI HAS ALSO ACCUSED THE MINAG OF BEING 
TOO SOFT ON GMO-USE IN ITALY. 
 
6.  (C) COMMENT. ALEMANNO'S ANALYSIS IS CLEARLY 
SELF-SERVING. FIRST, ACCORDING TO MONSANTO, THE 
DEMONSTRATION WAS PEACEFUL WITH A FEW TRACTORS AND PERHAPS 
30-40 PEOPLE.  BY ALL ACCOUNTS, THE PRESS COVERAGE WAS FAR 
MORE DAMAGING TO MONSANTO THAN THE PROTEST ITSELF.  SECOND, 
WE STILL NEED TO BE CONVINCED THAT ALEMANNO AND COLDIRETTI 
HAVE ALL ITALIAN CONSUMER GROUPS IN THEIR CORNER.  THOSE 
THAT ATTENDED THE EMBASSY'S FEBRUARY 14 PROGRAM WITH 
TUSKEGEE UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR C.S. PRAKASH DEMONSTRATED 
OPEN-MINDEDNESS AND EVEN WARMED TO THE SUBJECT OF 
BIOTECHNOLOGY.  END COMMENT. 
 
7.  (SBU)  ACKNOWLEDGING THAT THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC 
EVIDENCE WHICH INDICATES THAT BIOTECH PRODUCTS ON THE 
MARKET ARE HARMFUL TO HUMAN HEALTH, ALEMANNO EXPLAINED THAT 
ITALIAN CONSUMERS BELIEVE BIOTECHNOLOGY IS INCOMPATIBLE 
WITH QUALITY FOOD.  IN ITALY, WHERE THE REPUTATION OF 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        ROME  02551  02 OF 03  241547Z 
ITALIAN PRODUCTS FOR QUALITY IS OF PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE, IT 
WOULD NOT BE COMMERCIALLY VIABLE TO DEVELOP BIOTECH CROPS. 
ALEMANNO ADDED THAT BECAUSE OF THE LIMITED QUANTITY OF LAND 
AVAILABLE FOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION, IT WOULD BE 
IMPOSSIBLE TO GUARANTEE THE SEPARATION OF GMO-FREE 
PRODUCTION, IF PLANTED ALONGSIDE GMO CROPS.  THE LATTER 
CONCERN IS THE BASIS FOR ITALY'S ESPECIALLY CAUTIOUS 
APPROACH TO BIOTECHNOLOGY.  HE REPEATED THAT ITALY'S 
CONCERN WITH BIOTECHNOLOGY WAS BASED ON COMMERCIAL, NOT 
HEALTH, FACTORS.  IN CONCLUSION, ALEMANNO STATED THAT THE 
PURPOSE OF THE WHITE PAPER IS TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEMS 
SURROUNDING BIOTECHNOLOGY IN ORDER THAT THE COUNCIL OF 
MINISTERS OR THE PARLIAMENT COULD HAVE AN OPEN AND FAIR 
DEBATE ON THE ISSUE.  HE PROCLAIMED THAT IF THE WHITE PAPER 
IS PERCEIVED AS BIASED, HE IS PREPARED TO MODIFY IT. 
 
8.  (SBU)  THE U.S. SIDE EXPLAINED THAT THERE IS NO 
CONCLUSIVE STUDY WHICH SUPPORTS THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE 
CULTIVATION OF BIOTECH CROPS CANNOT CO-EXIST WITH 
CONVENTIONAL CROPS.  TO THE CONTRARY, SIMILAR CHALLENGES 
HAVE BEEN OVERCOME IN ORDER TO ENSURE THE PURITY OF 
PLANTING SEEDS.  THE ANSWER TO ALEMANNO'S QUESTION LIES IN 
RESEARCH, SOMETHING THE UNITED STATES AND ITALY MIGHT WORK 
ON TOGETHER.  THE U.S. SIDE ALSO CHALLENGED ALEMANNO'S 
ASSERTION THAT BIOTECHNOLOGY IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH QUALITY 
AGRICULTURE.  ITALIAN SCIENTISTS HAVE ALREADY DEVELOPED NEW 
PLANT VARIETIES WHICH DEMONSTRATE THE POTENTIAL FOR 
BIOTECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE THE PRODUCTION, QUALITY, AND 
SUSTAINABILITY OF TRADITIONAL CROPS SUCH AS THE SAN MARZANO 
TOMATO AND CARNAROLI RICE. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        ROME  02551  02 OF 03  241547Z 
9.  (SBU)  ALEMANNO WAS QUICK TO DENY THAT HE PERSONALLY 
BELIEVES GMO'S ARE INCONSISTENT WITH QUALITY ITALIAN 
AGRICULTURE.  RATHER, THIS WAS THE PREVAILING PERCEPTION 
AMONG ITALIAN CONSUMERS.  RETURNING TO THE IDEA OF A 
COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT ON BIOTECHNOLOGY RESEARCH, ALEMANNO 
ENCOURAGED THE EMBASSY TO WORK WITH PROF. FERNANADO ROMANO, 
THE NEWLY APPOINTED CHAIR OF THE MINISTER'S BIOTECH 
COMMITTEE.  ROMANO IS ALSO CHAIR OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE 
ON NUTRITION.  ALEMANNO SAID HE WOULD ASK ROMANO TO CONTACT 
THE EMBASSY EARLY THE WEEK OF MAY 20. 
 
10.  (SBU)  AMBASSADOR SEMBLER REPEATED THE INTEREST OF THE 
UNITED STATES TO MOVE QUICKLY IN ADVANCE OF PRESIDENT 
BUSH'S VISIT.  ALEMANNO IN RESPONSE CONFIRMED THAT PM 
BERLUSCONI, DEPUTY PM FINI, AND HE ALL WANTED TO AVOID A 
DISPUTE OVER BIOTECH THAT IMPINGES ON U.S.-ITALIAN 
RELATIONS.  HE SUGGESTED THAT IF GMO-FREE PRODUCTION COULD 
TAKE  PLACE ALONGSIDE BIOTECH CROPS "WITHOUT CONTAMINATION" 
THE ISSUE COULD BE EASILY RESOLVED. 
 
11.  (C) ANALYSIS AND COMMENT.  ALEMANNO WAS OBVIOUSLY 
UNCOMFORTABLE WITH SCIENCE AND BACKED DOWN QUICKLY TO 
EMBRACE THE CAUSE OF FURTHER RESEARCH WHEN THE FOUNDATIONS 
OF HIS POLICY PAPER WERE SCRUTINIZED.  HE AGREED UNDER FIRE 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ8285 
 
PAGE 01        ROME  02551  03 OF 03  241547Z 
ACTION EUR-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AGRE-00  AID-00   AIT-03   AMAD-00  ACQ-00 
      CEA-01   CIAE-00  COME-00  CTME-00  DODE-00  DOTE-00  PERC-00 
      SRPP-00  DS-00    EB-00    EXIM-01  E-00     FAAE-00  VC-00 
      FRB-00   HHS-01   H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   ITC-01   L-00 
      VCE-00   AC-01    NSAE-00  OES-01   OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00 
      PM-00    PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    SSO-00   SS-00 
      STR-00   TRSE-00  T-00     USIE-00  EPAE-00  PMB-00   DSCC-00 
      DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00     /014W 
                  ------------------B38541  241548Z /38 
P 241528Z MAY 02 
FM AMEMBASSY ROME 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3907 
NSC WASHDC PRIORITY 
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE 
AMEMBASSY VATICAN 
AMCONSUL FLORENCE 
AMCONSUL MILAN 
AMCONSUL NAPLES 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 ROME 002551 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCIENCE ADVISOR NEUREITER, EUR FOR EUR/WE AND 
EUR/ERA FOR HEN-NIL, EB FOR GADSDEN AND EB/TPP/ATT FOR 
PEREZ, E FOR SHUB, OES A/S TURNER, STATE PASS USTR FOR 
STROJE AND NOVELLI, STATE USDA FOR O/S HEGWOOD, FAS/OA 
TERPSTRA AND SLUTSKY, ITP SHEIK, MACKE, AND EJONES, 
FAS/FAA/WILSON, AND FAS/OPD BLU, NSC FOR EDSON 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        ROME  02551  03 OF 03  241547Z 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/24/2012 
TAGS: EAGR, ECON, IT, PREL, TBIO, WTO 
SUBJECT: ALEMANNO TO SEMBLER: LESS OPEN ON BIOTECH 
 
THAT RESEARCH COOPERATION WITH THE U.S. COULD BE A GOOD 
THING AND COULD HELP CLARIFY SOME OF THE QUESTIONS HIS 
PAPER RAISES WITHOUT REFERENCE OR CITATION.  NO PROGRESSIVE 
THINKER HERE, BUT WE MAY BE ABLE TO PIN HIM DOWN BY HIS OWN 
WORDS INTO COOPERATIVE RESEARCH THAT WILL OPEN THE DOORS 
FOR ITALY'S UNIVERSITY RESEARCHERS AND ORGANIZATIONS, SUCH 
AS ENEA AND ISS.  WE WILL SOON KNOW WHERE ALEMANNO STANDS 
BY WHETHER HIS BIOTECH RESEARCH ADVISOR CONTACTS US AS 
PROMISED. 
 
12. (C)  ALEMANNO IS NOT NEARLY SO OPEN-MINDED TO 
BIOTECHNOLOGY AS HE ATTEMPTED TO PORTRAY HIMSELF TO THE 
AMBASSADOR.  HIS PUBLIC STATEMENTS AND SPEECHES MORE 
CLEARLY REFLECT HIS VIEWS ON THE SUBJECT.  THE LATEST 
EXAMPLE WAS ON MAY 21 WHEN ALEMANNO, SPEAKING TO A NAPLES 
CONFERENCE ON WINE, SAID THAT HE WAS PERSONALLY CONVINCED 
THAT IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO WED "GMO-FREE" TO QUALITY FOOD. 
WHAT IS ALSO CLEAR IS THAT HE'S RIDING A WAVE OF SUPPORT 
FROM THE MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE BETWEEN COLDIRETTI 
(FORMERLY ASSOCIATED WITH THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS), THE 
GREENS, ANTI-GLOBAL GROUPS, AND SOME CONSUMER 
ORGANIZATIONS.  ARE THEY AS FORMIDABLE AS HE SAYS? WE THINK 
NOT, BUT THEY CAST A MENACING SHADOW.  THEY'VE HAD SUCCESS 
SIMPLY BY VIRTUE OF THE LACK OF ANY REAL COMPETING VISION 
ON BIOTECHNOLOGY, ESPECIALLY FROM POLITICAL LEADERS. 
 
13.(C)  WE SHOULD NOT UNDERESTIMATE ALEMANNO AND HIS 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        ROME  02551  03 OF 03  241547Z 
DETERMINATION TO ADVANCE HIS POLITICAL CAREER.  ALTHOUGH HE 
KNOWS NEITHER AGRICULTURE NOR SCIENCE (HIS SPECIALTY AND 
POLITICAL HOBBY HORSE IN THE PAST HAS BEEN LABOR), HE KNOWS 
POLITICS FROM THE GRASSROOTS TO THE CONSIGLIO.  HE HAS USED 
HIS HOME TIES TO THE PUGLIA REGION AND PARTY CONNECTIONS TO 
LINE UP SUPPORT FOR HIS WHITE PAPER AMONG REGIONAL 
AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONERS, AND TO CUT A DEAL WITH SOME 
NATIONAL ALLIANCE (AN) MEMBERS AND FORMER COMMUNIST REGIONS 
TO SUPPORT HIS NO-GMO VIEWS (WITH ONLY THE REGION OF 
LOMBARDIA DISSENTING, AND STRONGLY).  HE RECENTLY DISPLAYED 
HIS AMPLE POLITICAL SKILLS AT THE AN CONGRESS IN BOLOGNA; 
HIS ONE HOUR SPEECH IN A FIFTEEN MINUTE SLOT GALVANIZED THE 
PARTY FAITHFUL.  HIS MOST TRUSTED STAFF AT MINAG FEEL AT 
LIBERTY TO ROUTINELY ENGAGE IN VERBAL ATTACKS ON OPPONENTS 
WITHIN THE GOI'S NATIONAL BIOTECH COMMITTEES WHO DARE TO 
CRITICIZE THE WHITE PAPER. 
 
14. (C)  WE SUSPECT THAT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS ALEMANNO SEEKS 
TO SWAY GOVERNMENT POLICY WITH THE SPECTER OF POPULAR 
PROTESTS.  WE QUESTION THE VIABILITY OF SUCH A STRATEGY, 
BUT NONETHELESS WE CAN'T AFFORD TO LET HIM PROCEED 
UNIMPEDED.  AT PRESENT THE ONLY COUNTERWEIGHT WE SEE TO 
ALEMANNO'S STRATEGY IS TO CONVINCE PM BERLUSCONI AND DEPUTY 
PM FINI THAT ADOPTING ALEMANNO'S PAPER UNCHANGED (WHETHER 
OUT OF FEAR OF POTENTIAL DEMONSTRATION OR A DESIRE TO AVOID 
INTERNAL CONFLICT ON THE ISSUE) WOULD CREATE A SUBSTANTIAL 
IMPEDIMENT TO U.S.-ITALIAN RELATIONS.  THE UPCOMING VISITS 
OF THE PRESIDENT, SECRETARY VENEMAN, U/S LARSON AND OTHERS 
TO ROME PROVIDE PERFECT OPPORTUNITIES TO ADVANCE OUR 
INTERESTS.  END ANALYSIS AND COMMENT. 
SEMBLER 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        ROME  02551  03 OF 03  241547Z 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
> 
 2002ROME02551 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL 


Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04