MFA AND PRESIDENCY VIEWS ON COLOMBIAN HOSTAGE NEGOTIATIONS FOLLOWING PRESIDENT URIBE’S JANUARY 21 VISIT TO PARIS

ID 08PARIS149
SUBJECT MFA AND PRESIDENCY VIEWS ON COLOMBIAN HOSTAGE
DATE 2008-01-29 13:01:00
CLASSIFICATION CONFIDENTIAL
ORIGIN Embassy Paris
TEXT id: 139121
date: 1/29/2008 13:17
refid: 08PARIS149
origin: Embassy Paris
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination:
header:
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PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHFR #0149/01 0291317
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291317Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1812
INFO RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN 2056
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 0470
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 2010
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RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0540
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 2762
RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN 0079
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—————– header ends —————-

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 000149

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/24/2018
TAGS: PREL PTER PHUM FR CO VZ SP SZ VT
SUBJECT: MFA AND PRESIDENCY VIEWS ON COLOMBIAN HOSTAGE
NEGOTIATIONS FOLLOWING PRESIDENT URIBE’S JANUARY 21 VISIT
TO PARIS

REF: 08 BOGOTA 00267

Classified By: POL M/C Josiah Rosenblatt for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: MFA A/S for the Americas Daniel Parfait described an uncertain way forward to secure the release of FARC hostages following the January 21 visit of Colombian President Uribe to France. While a determined President Sarkozy continues to press the MFA for proposals to obtain Ingrid Betancourt’s release, MFA specialists perceive a negotiated solution in large measure subject to the whims of an unpredictable FARC that is focused on self-preservation and continuing the drug trade. During his one-day visit, Uribe met with Sarkozy and Ingrid Betancourt’s family. Uribe asked Sarkozy to support the Catholic Church’s mediation and thanked the GOF for continuing to support keeping the FARC on the EU terrorist list. Uribe also asked France, Spain and Switzerland to restart a European dialogue with the FARC; however, Parfait expressed doubt these discussions would be productive given their failure two years ago. Parfait remains unsure of the best course of action to secure the release of the hostages, but does credit Hugo Chavez for securing the release of Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez as well as obtaining “proof of life” for Ingrid Betancourt and other hostages, the two achievements on the hostage front in recent years. END SUMMARY

HOSTAGES: URIBE’S PROPOSALS – SARKOZY PRESSES FOR A STRATEGY
——————————————— —————

¶2. (C) Daniel Parfait, A/S-equivalent for the Americas, met EUR/WE Office Director Kathy Allegrone and Political Minister Counselor Josiah Rosenblatt on January 24. Parfait credited Hugo Chavez with the November 30 “proof of life” and the January 10 release of Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez. When asked about next steps, Parfait said France supports Uribe’s proposal for the Catholic Church to act as a negotiator. He also noted that Uribe supports the resumption of the SWISS, Spanish, French mediation effort, but he is not optimistic that the unpredictable FARC will accept the proposal. Damien Loras, Americas’ Counselor to President Sarkozy told us on January 24 that the French are wary of
Uribe’s offer and believe he might support renewed SWISS, Spanish and French involvement to limit each country’s ability to maneuver independently. France also supports Brazil and Argentina playing an unspecified role to promote the release of the hostages. Parfait acknowledged Sarkozy is singularly focused on the Betancourt hostage aspect of this issue, and Loras privately admitted that France has a “Betancourt problem” – Betancourt’s value to the FARC rises as the media attention and international support for her increases. In light of this political pressure, Sarkozy regularly presses the MFA to propose solutions; however, Parfait acknowledged that France cannot make offers until the FARC provide an idea of what concessions they want. Parfait suggested the FARC’s primary objective is to stay alive and to continue drug trafficking.

¶3. (C) While he had limited detail on the Uribe visit, Parfait described Hugo Chavez’s proposal to remove the FARC from international terrorist lists as a “surprise.” After suffering international embarrassment when the EU flatly rejected the idea, Chavez privately walked back his suggestion and explained to Parfait during a January 13-14
trip to Guatemala that he hoped the EU would consider the FARC “belligerents” and not “terrorists” if they freed hostages and stopped kidnapping. France publicly rejected Chavez’s suggestion as long as the FARC does not release its hostages. Parfait clarified that France would consider Chavez’s suggestion only if the FARC liberated hostages,
stopped kidnapping, and began negotiations.

VENEZUELA
———
¶4. (C) Parfait welcomed Chavez’s December 3 referendum loss as “the best thing” that could have happened to the country. He noted that Chavez’s first response to the loss (acceptance of the vote) was constructive, but his secondary reaction (i.e. a call for a new referendum) has not been “as good.” Parfait said Chavez’s defeat offers the opposition an
opportunity to strive towards greater internal organization to create better prospects for democracy in Venezuela. Both Parfait and Loras commented on Chavez’s fascinating personality saying that he is able to adapt to audiences very easily and is politically savvy. Parfait called the diplomatic row between Colombia and Venezuela as the worst in decades. He expects Colombia’s economy will suffer dramatically as a result.

CUBA
—-
¶5. (C) On Cuba issues, Parfait expects the GOF to continue to defer to Spain once France takes over the EU Presidency. During an August visit to Miami, Parfait was impressed by the thoughtful, pragmatic representatives of the Cuban-American community he met with. He recommended that they meet with EU officials, probably on a visit to Brussels. Such contact could help broaden and inform the EU point of view on Cuba.

Please visit Paris’ Classified Website at: http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.cfm

PEKALA

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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DE RUEHFR #0149/01 0291317
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1812
INFO RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN 2056
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 0470
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RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0540
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 2762
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ADDED 2011-04-29 00:12:00
STAMP 2011-04-30 15:37:40
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http://www.wikipedia.ch/cable/2008/01/08PARIS149.html

 

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