Oct 262014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/07/08MANILA1709.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANILA1709
2008-07-18 09:13
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO0629
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1709/01 2000913
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 180913Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1337
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001709

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/16/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL RP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR ENGAGES FOREIGN SECRETARY ON PEACE PROCESS, ASEAN, NORTH KOREA

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: In a wide-ranging conversation over lunch
with Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo, Ambassador discussed a
broad array of key bilateral subjects, including ASEAN, North
Korea, the Philippine peace process, and labor issues.
Romulo welcomed the planned ASEAN Regional Forum disaster
relief exercise and was sanguine that it would yield concrete
results. On North Korea, Romulo praised the Bush
administration’s successful negotiations, offering that it
was important to make as much progress as possible now that
there was clear momentum. Regarding the Philippine
government’s peace process with Muslim insurgents, the
Ambassador congratulated Romulo on the government’s July 16
breakthrough on long-stalled negotiations. Romulo was
appreciative of U.S. engagement to push the process forward
and said he would seek to meet with Malaysian interlocutors
regarding the peace process and ceasefire monitoring issues
during the ASEAN Regional Forum meetings in Singapore. With
regard to Doha, Romulo firmly stressed that President
Arroyo’s assurances to President Bush represented Philippine
policy, and instructions to demonstrate support for U.S.
positions had been relayed to the Philippine ambassador in
Geneva. Romulo was similarly unequivocal in his support for
an International Labor Organization technical mission to the
Philippines to review workers’ rights protections. END
SUMMARY.

¶2. (C) Secretary Romulo noted that he would be attending the
upcoming ASEAN Regional Forum meetings in Singapore, and said
that while Secretary Rice’s schedule was likely quite full,
he hoped that the Secretary would be able to talk at least
briefly to discuss key issues such as the peace process,
security cooperation, Burma and the Doha round. Romulo said
positive words about the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)
disaster-relief exercise planned for next year, noting that
although it was still unclear which countries would be able
to participate, he welcomed the idea of an exercise of
achievable scope that could offer concrete results.

¶3. (C) Turning to the subject of North Korea, the Ambassador
commented on recent positive moves in the Six Party Talks.
The Foreign Secretary responded that “not everyone feels that
way,” explaining that both Japanese and Korean officials had
expressed to him a certain skepticism regarding recent
progress, apparently worrying that their particular issues
were not sufficiently addressed. Romulo opined that it was
important to make as much progress as possible to build on
the recent positive momentum.

¶4. (C) The Ambassador offered her congratulations on the
July 16 breakthrough in the Philippine government’s
long-stalled negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation
Front. The Foreign Secretary agreed that this was an
important step and praised the efforts of Presidential Peace
Advisor Hermogenes Esperon. Romulo said that he hoped to be
able to talk with his Malaysian counterpart in Singapore next
week to discuss next steps in the peace process given
Malaysia’s role as facilitator of the talks. He hoped that
Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front could
formally agree to a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on the
territorial issues by July 24, and that he and Malaysia’s
foreign minister might sign the MOA soon thereafter. He also
expected further discussions with Malaysia on the announced
pullout by the end of August of Malaysians from the
international monitoring team overseeing the ceasefire.

¶5. (C) With regard to Doha negotiations, Ambassador followed
up on the assurances of close coordination and cooperation
that President Arroyo gave to President Bush in the Oval
Office last month. Romulo stressed without reservation that
the assurances represented firm Philippine policy and said
that instructions to demonstrate flexibility and support for
U.S. positions had been relayed to Philippine Ambassador
Teehankee in Geneva. In order to ensure that Teehankee is
clear on these instructions, Romulo pledged to contact him
personally before the start of the talks to make sure he
understands. (Septel describes Embassy discussions with
Philippine officials on the Doha Ministerial.)

¶6. (C) Turning to U.S. concern about Philippine labor issues
and the potential for this to affect Philippine tariff
benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP),
the Ambassador raised the importance of moving rapidly to
allow an International Labor Organization technical mission
to the Philippines to review workers’ rights protections.
Romulo was unequivocal in his support for such a technical
mission. While discussing labor rights, Romulo took the
opportunity to seek the Ambassador’s views on where the
Philippines stood, from the U.S. perspective, on progress in
Trafficking in Persons (TIP). Ambassador responded that we

MANILA 00001709 002 OF 002

applauded recent progress in combating trafficking, including
a recent TIP conviction in Batangas, but underscored the
importance of further prosecutions and convictions.
KENNEY

   

 

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