US embassy cable - 03GUATEMALA369

AMBASSODOR,S MEETING WITH FOREIGN MINISTER GUTIERREZ

Identifier: 03GUATEMALA369
Wikileaks: View 03GUATEMALA369 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Guatemala
Created: 2003-02-10 23:13:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL CJAN EAGR KTIA PGOV PHUM SNAR CFED GT
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 02 GUATEMALA 000369 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/10/2013 
TAGS: PREL, CJAN, EAGR, KTIA, PGOV, PHUM, SNAR, CFED, GT 
SUBJECT: AMBASSODOR,S MEETING WITH FOREIGN MINISTER 
GUTIERREZ 
 
 
Classified By: AMB JOHN R. HAMILTON FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  Over lunch at the residence February 10, the 
Ambassador gave FM Gutierrez a heads up that we are actively 
working on specific benchmarks for re-certification; pressed 
him on Article 98, extradition, Belize-Guatemala, election 
observation, the proposal to investigate clandestine groups, 
and delays in the Mediterranean fruit fly program (Moscamed). 
 Gutierrez was generally forthcoming in most areas; whether 
he can bring his government along remains to be seen.  End 
summary. 
 
Belize-Guatemala: 
----------------------- 
 
2. (C) DCM accompanied the Ambassador; Gutierrez came alone. 
He had just returned from Washington, where he had signed a 
protocol for continuing a regime of confidence building 
measures with his Belizean counterpart, Assad Shoman, with 
OAS Secretary General Gaviria and Deputy SecGen Einaudi 
looking on.  Einaudi had been critical in getting the 
Belizeans to closure, Gutierrez said.  He felt that he would 
be able to develop a good relationship with Shoman, whom he 
intended to visit in Belize after the March elections there. 
He is also taking a proposal to Panama (for the Central 
American summit with Colombia) to include Belize in certain 
Central American integration activities.  He was not (at all) 
encouraging about post-November, Guatemalan election interest 
in the facilitators, recommendations, voicing again what we 
have heard here, that it would have been easier for Guatemala 
to accept the results of international arbitration than the 
facilitators, recommendations.  He in effect shrugged when 
the Ambassador pointed out that the &recommendations8 had 
in fact been negotiated with the MFA (under his predecessor, 
Gabriel Orellana) and that the Guatemalans discovered the 
defects in process pretty late in the game.  He suggested 
that Orellana had failed to keep the government informed, had 
not consulted the &Council of Belize8 (of notables, set up 
under the Arzu government to advise on matters Belizean) and 
that Vice President Reyes Lopez had been horrified when he 
saw what Orellana had agreed to. 
 
OAS Resolution on Colombia Bombing: 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
3. (C) Gutierrez said President Uribe had phoned President 
Portillo over the weekend, seeking Guatemalan support for a 
strong OAS resolution.   Briefed by Portillo, who had 
immediately sat down to draft a statement of support that the 
Central American presidents might make when they meet 
February 11 with Uribe in Panama, Gutierrez said he had 
cautioned Portillo that Guatemala needed to consider any 
resolution carefully, think it all the way through.  He 
clarified, when the Ambassador asked what there is to think 
about when a bomb kills 32 civilians, that Guatemala will 
support a forceful condemnation of terrorism, but that he 
thinks Uribe may be after much more than that and his 
instincts will be to be cautious. 
 
Narcotics: 
------------ 
4. (C) Gutierrez was apologetic that President Portillo had 
surfaced, in the press this morning and in a tendentious 
manner, a proposal that he had intended to broach at the 
lunch, namely that the U.S. engage Guatemala in a much more 
robust program of port security.  Portillo had said that the 
GOG would be proposing, through the Ambassador, that the U.S. 
take over and run the ports, "with Guatemalan authorities" 
(the only caveat), and  "we,ll see then if drug control is 
any better."  The Ambassador said we will be continuing our 
technical assistance on port security but that running 
foreign ports is not in our portfolio.  If the GOG wants to 
think in ambitious terms, however, it might consider putting 
out for bid a long-term concession to run the ports, both in 
the interest of overall efficiency and good management and in 
the interest of narcotics control.  Gutierrez returned to the 
subject at the end of the lunch, saying he would raise it 
with Portillo. 
 
5. (C) The Ambassador advised that the Washington 
inter-agency community is engaged in developing benchmarks 
for re-certification and that he hoped to have them in hand 
before the Embassy,s next ministerial level meeting with his 
government, February 21. 
 
6. (C) Guatemala has contracted the Greenberg-Taurig law 
firm, of Washington, which has hired former WHA Assistant 
Secretary Peter Romero, to assist it on re-certification. 
 
SIPDIS 
(The Ambassador met with Greenberg Taurig attorney Ruth 
Espey-Romero and Romero on February 7, outlining what we see 
as the problem areas; Romero out-briefed the Ambassador 
February 10 on his meetings with the government, saying that 
he had emphasized only a strong anti-drug performance would 
sell in Washington. 
 
Extradition: 
-------------- 
7. (C)  Gutierrez claimed that the presidential authorization 
in the Castillo extradition is only one or two signatures 
away from being complete.  He reluctantly agreed to provide 
us a copy of it when we questioned if the authorization would 
come free and clear of conditions with which we could not 
comply.  (We suspect it does and will advise when we get it.) 
 He warned that the authorization goes as far as Guatemala 
can go. 
Elections: 
------------ 
8. (C) Gutierrez says that the Government will be issuing 
invitations to the international community in general (he 
mentioned EU, UN and OAS in particular) to observe 
Guatemala,s November elections.  He needs to coordinate 
further with Guatemala,s elections tribunal before issuing 
the invitations, but does not anticipate problems.  He hopes 
that elections missions could be on the ground, at least with 
a minimum presence, by mid-year. 
 
Clandestine Group Commission: 
----------------------------------------- 
9. (C) Gutierrez gave the Ambassador a heads up that the 
government of Guatemala would be asking for declassification 
of USG classified holdings on this subject.  The Ambassador 
reviewed our support for the proposal but warned against a 
strategy of transferring responsibility for the Commission,s 
success to the U.S.  Gutierrez protested that that was not 
the idea; he recalled that the vast majority of information 
received by the Historical Clarification Commission (Truth 
Commission) had come from Guatemalans (victims and individual 
military officers), but that the little that the U.S. had 
provided had been valuable in cross-checking and verifying 
Guatemalan sources.  The Ambassador said we will see how we 
can be helpful but left a marker that declassification was 
not necessarily in the cards. 
 
10. (C) Gutierrez said that Peace Secretary Catalina 
Soberanis would be the GOG point person on the Clandestine 
Commission proposal.  She is currently ill, however, which 
leaves him to work this week with Human Rights Watch 
executive Jose Miguel Vivanco.  The government has invited 
Vivanco to act as &facilitator8 in reaching agreement on 
the Commission,s mandate and structure.  Noting that the 
Guatemalan human rights community had complained that the 
Government has not yet responded to the human rights 
ombudsman directly, Gutierrez said the problem was that the 
ombudsman launched the proposal publicly but never sent the 
proposal to the government.  A reply to the proposal was 
already drafted for whenever this oversight was corrected. 
Gutierrez also mentioned the government,s interest in not 
limiting the commission,s mandate to the period since 1996 
(note:  putting some practical limits on the commission,s 
mandate was a U.S. suggestion). 
 
Article 98: 
------------- 
11. (C) We briefed Gutierrez extensively on the issue.  He is 
aware of it, had assumed that Guatemalan not being a 
signatory to the Rome Treaty would deal with our concern and 
was disappointed to learn it will not.  He also had not 
understood that the ICC can exercise jurisdiction over 
citizens whose state is not a treaty signatory.  Upshot was 
that he promised to give the issue more attention. 
 
Moscamed program: 
-------------------------- 
12. (C) We briefed Gutierrez on problems we are having with 
the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment in moving ahead 
with this year,s spraying program (whose season is 
determined by the biological cycle of the Med fruit fly).  We 
also alerted him that USDA/APHIS might raise the issue with 
Ambassador Arenales in Washington.  He offered to speak to 
both ministers. 
 
Comment: 
------------- 
13. (C)   This meeting covered a lot of ground.  Gutierrez is 
an easy and responsive interlocutor who conveys a 
well-meaning persona.  Not an FRG member, we'll see how much 
influence he has within this FRG government. 
 
 
 
 
Hamilton 

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