US embassy cable - 03TEGUCIGALPA824

TFIZ01: AMBASSADOR URGES HONDURAN FM PEREZ-CADALSO TO MAKE STRONGER PUBLIC STATEMENTS SUPPORTING U.S. ON IRAQ

Identifier: 03TEGUCIGALPA824
Wikileaks: View 03TEGUCIGALPA824 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Tegucigalpa
Created: 2003-04-02 21:36:00
Classification: SECRET
Tags: PREL PGOV PTER PHUM AORC KTIA KAWC IZ HO KICC
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.

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 TEGUCIGALPA 000824 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR TFIZ, IO, PM, S/CT, S/WCI, DRL, NP, AND L 
STATE FOR WHA, WHA/CEN, WHA/CCA, WHA/USOAS, AND WHA/PPC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/02/2013 
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PTER, PHUM, AORC, KTIA, KAWC, IZ, HO, KICC 
SUBJECT: TFIZ01: AMBASSADOR URGES HONDURAN FM PEREZ-CADALSO 
TO MAKE STRONGER PUBLIC STATEMENTS SUPPORTING U.S. ON IRAQ 
 
REF: A. STATE 82391 
 
     B. OLSEN/KELLY E-MAIL 04/01/03 
     C. STATE 81638 
     D. TEGUCIGALPA 789 
     E. KELLY/PALMER E-MAIL 03/21/03 
     F. 02 TEGUCIGALPA 3318 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Larry Palmer; Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (S) Summary.  Ambassador met April 1 with Honduran 
Minister of Foreign Affairs Guillermo Perez-Cadalso to 
discuss a wide range of issues, with a focus on Iraq and 
combating terrorism.  Ambassador urged the GOH to make 
stronger public statements on Iraq, including on Iraqi war 
crimes, and criticized the recent statement by the Honduran 
UN PermRep as "empty."  Perez-Cadalso said that the GOH would 
definitely provide troops to support the U.S. in post-war 
Iraq, and pledged to work with the Ministry of Defense to get 
a formal letter offering support to the USG.  Ambassador 
pressed the FM on the need to ratify the ICC Article 98 
Agreement with the U.S., sign/ratify five outstanding UN and 
two OAS counterterrorism conventions/protocols, and support 
the USG candidacy for the UNESCO Executive Board.  The FM 
pledged that the GOH would support the final draft of the 
UNCHR resolution on Cuba, reiterated the GOH's desire for an 
18-month extension of TPS, and noted the tougher language in 
the 2002 Human Rights Report on extrajudicial killings and 
corruption in Honduras.  End Summary. 
 
2. (U) Ambassador and PolOff met April 1 with Honduran 
Minister of Foreign Affairs Guillermo Perez-Cadalso Arias at 
the MFA to discuss Iraq and other key issues.  The meeting 
followed the Ambassador's March 28 meeting with Honduran 
President Ricardo Maduro (septel). 
 
Iraq: GOH Needs to be Publicly Supportive 
----------------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) Ambassador thanked FM Perez-Cadalso for the GOH's 
support for the U.S. as a member of the Coalition of the 
Willing on Iraq.  The Foreign Minister said that he was the 
highest ranking representative of foreign governments in 
attendance at a recent briefing at the State Department for 
representatives of the coalition, during his recent trip to 
Washington (ref E).  Ambassador told the FM that the USG was 
not happy with Honduran UN PermRep Manuel Acosta Bonilla's 
statement during the March 26 United Nations Security Council 
open debate on Iraq.  It was a weak and empty statement that 
did not show support for the USG position on Iraq, said the 
Ambassador.  Ambassador emphasized that he had already 
discussed with President Maduro March 28 the USG's 
disappointment with the statement (septel).  Ambassador told 
FM Perez-Cadalso that the USG needed stronger support from 
coalition partners, and urged the GOH to speak out publicly 
in support of U.S. policy on Iraq.  Perez-Cadalso made it 
clear that he had gotten the message, but he neither 
criticized the PermRep nor pledged to make a more forceful 
public statement on Iraq. 
 
4. (C) Ambassador reiterated that the USG was watching 
closely Honduran statements, or lack thereof, on Iraq.  The 
comparison with El Salvador, which has made repeated public 
statements of support on U.S. Iraq policy, already offered 
troops in a post-war Iraq, and has ratified virtually all 
counterterrorism conventions, was not favorable to Honduras. 
Ambassador said he understood that the war was a potentially 
difficult issue for the GOH, but emphasized that the neutral 
UN statement by the Honduran PermRep was seen by the USG as a 
lost opportunity for the GOH to publicly support U.S. policy 
on Iraq. 
 
Iraqi War Crimes - FM Asks for Written Material 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
5. (SBU) Ambassador delivered ref C demarche on Iraqi war 
crimes, which PolOff had delivered March 31 to MFA DG for 
Foreign Policy AMB Mario Fortin.  The FM asked for a brief 
written report from the U.S. detailing the points raised by 
the Ambassador.  Perez-Cadalso said that the GOH needed this 
before making any statement to the press.  Ambassador said 
that the Embassy would request it from the Department.  Post 
has since asked WHA/CEN to find out when the "public 
diplomacy package" on this issue mentioned in the cable will 
be ready to give to Posts to release to host governments and 
the press, and if there was anything in the meantime that the 
Department can provide posts for use as a non-paper or fact 
sheet to the GOH, preferably in Spanish (ref B). 
 
Honduras Will Offer Troops for Post-War Iraq 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
6. (S) Ambassador raised the issue of possible GOH 
participation in post-war "phase IV" operations in Iraq, 
saying that both President Maduro (septel) and Minister of 
Defense Fred Breve had previously given the Embassy 
indications of support.  Ambassador emphasized that the USG 
needed a formal written offer of support from the GOH 
detailing the kind of assistance the GOH was prepared to 
provide.  Perez-Cadalso said that the answer was yes, the GOH 
would provide troops, and that he would talk with MOD Breve 
and work on getting a formal offer of support to the USG. 
 
ICC Article 98 Agreement: Congress a Potential Problem 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
7. (C) When asked about the status of ratifying the ICC 
Article 98 Agreement between the U.S. and Honduras, 
Perez-Cadalso confirmed that it had not yet been sent to 
congress for approval.  The FM said it was a difficult time, 
given the ongoing war in Iraq, for the GOH to seek 
congressional approval of this controversial agreement. 
Ambassador underlined that the USG would remember favorably 
countries that stood by the U.S. during the war in Iraq, and 
noted that this support might include taking tough steps such 
as this.  Perez-Cadalso asked Ambassador for USG assistance 
to urge Congress, especially the opposition Liberal Party, to 
support approval of the agreement.  Ambassador said that the 
Embassy would be happy to talk to congressional leaders about 
the importance of approving the agreement.  (Note:  The 
Liberal Party is opposed to U.S. policy on Iraq. 
Perez-Cadalso evidently believes that this may fuel potential 
Liberal Party opposition to an ICC Article 98 Agreement. 
Post notes that the GOH had months since the September 19, 
2002 signing of the agreement in which the GOH could have 
introduced the agreement to congress for approval prior to 
the start of the war in Iraq.  End Note.) 
 
Honduras Moving Slowly on Counterterrorism Conventions 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
8. (SBU) Ambassador gave the FM a Spanish-language copy of 
the IAEA's 1980 Convention on the Physical Protection on 
Nuclear Materials (which WHA/CEN had obtained with the 
assistance of NP/NE and U.S. Mission Vienna).  PolOff told 
the FM that the Embassy hoped to soon have Spanish-language 
texts of the two ICAO and two IMO counterterrorism (CT) 
conventions/protocols also outstanding.  (In fact, with the 
assistance of IO and Embassy London, WHA/CEN obtained copies 
of the two IMO CT conventions/protocols which Post sent to 
the FM April 2.  Post now only needs the two ICAO 
conventions/protocols, with the assistance of ConGen 
Montreal.)  This was in addition to the Spanish-language 
texts of the two OAS CT conventions (obtained by WHA/CEN with 
the help of WHA/USOAS and delivered to the FM during WHA DAS 
Fisk's February 6 meeting with him.) which the FM claimed 
would soon be sent to congress for approval.  Ambassador made 
clear the USG's desire that Honduras sign and/or ratify all 
seven outstanding CT conventions as quickly as possible.  The 
FM told Ambassador that the CT conventions would not be 
controversial in Congress, but blamed the Casa Presidencial 
for some of the delay in forwarding the CT conventions to 
congress.  (Note:  The DCM has raised the issue of the CT 
conventions/protocols with Minister of the Presidency Luis 
Cosenza in a March 12 meeting and a March 28 letter.  End 
Note.) 
 
GOH Will Support Final Draft of UNCHR Resolution on Cuba 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
9. (C) In response to Ambassador's request for the GOH to 
co-sponsor the United Nations Commission on Human Rights 
(UNCHR) resolution on Cuba (as it had done in 2002), the FM 
said that his understanding was that the Peruvian draft 
resolution was still circulating for comments.  Once the 
draft was finalized, Perez-Cadalso said that the GOH would 
support it.  AMB Fortin told PolOff April 1 that the GOH had 
a copy of a draft resolution sponsored by Peru, Costa Rica, 
and Nicaragua. 
 
UNESCO Executive Board - Noncommittal Response from FM 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
10. (U) Ambassador demarched FM on the upcoming re-entry of 
the U.S. into UNESCO, and urged the GOH to support the USG 
candidacy for the UNESCO Executive Board as requested in a 
dip note.  Perez-Cadalso was noncommittal.  PolOff, who had 
previously demarched AMB Fortin on the issue (ref D), called 
Fortin after the meeting to confirm that the scheduled date 
for the election was October 10, 2003, in response to a 
question from the FM, who mentioned that the Honduran 
Ambassador in Geneva would be changing prior to October. 
 
TPS - GOH Makes Another Plea for 18 Month Extension 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
11. (SBU) Ambassador gave Perez-Cadalso a copy of the letter 
from the Secretary to the FM on the Honduran request for an 
extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Hondurans, 
that thanked Perez-Cadalso for his March 18 letter and 
explained that a decision was pending (ref A).  The FM 
reiterated that the GOH was seeking an 18-month extension of 
TPS.  The Ambassador said that he would relay this request to 
Washington. 
 
FM Notes Criticism in Human Rights Report 
----------------------------------------- 
 
12. (SBU) Ambassador gave FM a copy of the final version of 
the Country Report on Human Rights Practices for Honduras for 
2002.  PolOff had given an embargoed copy to AMB Fortin March 
31, which the FM said he had skimmed that afternoon. 
Perez-Cadalso noted that the criticism on extrajudicial 
killings and corruption was somewhat tougher than the 2001 
report, and said that the timing of the release of the report 
was difficult.  He said that it was difficult for the GOH to 
be criticized by the USG at the same time it was supporting 
the U.S. on Iraq. 
 
MFA Gets the Message on Iraq 
---------------------------- 
 
13. (S) Comment.  FM Perez-Cadalso understood Ambassador's 
direct message that the GOH, as a member of the coalition, 
needed to express its public support for U.S. policy on Iraq 
in a more forceful manner.  His definitive answer that the 
GOH would provide troops in some capacity for post-war Iraq 
was positive, but his failure to pledge to make a more 
forceful public statement on Iraq was not.  On most issues 
the MFA is a cautious institution, and Perez-Cadalso is often 
an embodiment of that caution.  He has not taken any bold 
initiatives as Foreign Minister but has conscientiously 
carried out Maduro Administration foreign policies.  It is 
important to note that he is not a member of the tight Maduro 
inner circle.  (In fact, his removal has been the subject of 
ongoing speculation since December 2002.)  Nevertheless, Post 
believes that Perez-Cadalso and President Maduro understand 
that as a member of the coalition on Iraq, the GOH needs to 
make bolder public statements.  End Comment. 
Palmer 

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